|Lump love post.|
A lot of people seek to think this behavior is bad or aberrant or that your cat should be ashamed of what she's doing but let's face it, very few cats understand or are even capable of shame. Have you ever had a cat stare you dead in the eyes while you're using the bathroom? It's super awkward.
Cats scratch for all manner of reasons, any of which you can find with a mere google search including words like, "why," "cat," "scratch," and maybe, if things have gotten real bad, "Asshole feline." Basically it boils down to the very simple reason of, "you adopted an animal, you idiot."
|If you adopted the Cat With Hands, you're REALLY an idiot.|
Cats aren't people so, even though we'd like to think Muffin really appreciates that episode of The Bachelor you're watching or Mr. Tinkles is super into that RuPaul's Drag Race-themed water dish you bought her (don't assume Mr. Tinkles' gender identity, you jerk), there's a very good chance your cat really doesn't care.
Not that cats don't have preferences, they absolutely do. That's the problem people usually make when it comes to cats and the destruction they cause: they assume cat solutions are one-size fits all. I have five cats and they're all very different shapes and siz--well, not so much different shapes. I don't have a cactus-shaped cat or something, but they're all different sizes at least.
|Cactus cat pin by ponyponypeoplepeople on Etsy|
From monster-cat Wheatley to my delicate murderess Snapshot, all my different cats have their own preferences when it comes to scratching posts.
With Snapshot, I can tell you that she's tiny, but she has a big scratching appetite. She was the worst when it came to scratching as a kitten. Nothing was safe from her, no matter how high up it was. In fact, that ended up being what helped me figure out how to make her stop destroying everything that I didn't have the money to replace in my exorbitantly expensive, shoebox-sized CA apartment! She's tiny--barely the width of a donut--but she's looooong and I realized that she doesn't just want to scratch things that are eye-level to her when she's on all four feet. She wants to stretch herself out to the length of the autobahn and really flex her spine and all her tiny toes. I realized that I needed to make sure that her scratching posts were all at least twice the height of her little body when she stood on her teeny tippy toes. Sometimes she would climb and then just sort of hang for a second, before going up to the top of the post or dropping down. This has helped immensely and she no longer goes after my screen doors, my drapes, my couch, my tallest friends, or anything else I don't want her to destroy.
In contrast, her brother Lump is the laziest, derpiest, probably deafest cat you'll ever meet and he never wants to do any work at all. He still has that cat-based drive to scratch, but he wants to make sure that he's using as few muscles as possible when doing so. He was tearing up carpet and comforters, scratching only in those few instances when he was standing or sitting upright. He'd plant his fat, furry feet against the floor, flex his toes a bit, and stare off into the distance like he wasn't actually aware what his body was doing. For him, I started buying those flat, cardboard cat scratching trays that Target sells for a ridiculous mark-up. (Tip: Trader Joe's has a big one for pretty cheap, Amazon has a huge range of shapes and sizes for decent prices, and you can usually find little, narrow skinny ones for rock-bottom prices at Daiso, if you have one of those near you!)
|The most effort than Lump puts into anything.|
Other than style of scratching post, there's also material, and teaching your cat to use the post. Most of the time a cat will go to the post if you've managed to get something that appeals to them and you won't really have to train them, but not always. I've heard a lot of tips in my day, but the two that have worked best for me are to rub cat nip on the cat tree (assuming your cat likes nip, as not all of them do), and to put your own scent on it. For the latter, I'm not suggesting you pee on it or anything, but I've brought the cat over to inspect the new cat post or pad, and scratched at it myself, giving the cat love and praise and even treats when they copy my action. Usually they're so happy to have the post they don't care that I'm even in the room, but sometimes cats like the encouragement. #NotAllCats
|Uriko's insulted by the very idea of human encouragement.|
|That scratching ramp is not to scale, don't worry D:|
|Dreaming of never-ending snuggles with her human, Cody.|
So, to wrap up: buy based on how your cat scratches and what your cat is currently destroying, don't buy carpet-covered scratching posts, don't punish your cat for exhibiting its perfectly natural, ingrained behaviors, and buy my book, which is out in print and very pretty to look at!
And if you like posts about cats (and, more recently, failed serial killers) definitely follow me on Instagram! I post mostly cats and am almost always hilarious.