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Dr. Rosie DVM


While you're aware that cats enjoy scratching, understanding why and how to encourage "proper" scratching is essential.

Scratching Behavior in Cats:

  • Scratching is a natural behavior for cats, serving several purposes such as stretching muscles, shedding old cuticle, sharpening claws, and leaving scent marks.
  • Even declawed cats retain the instinct to scratch, making it essential to provide appropriate scratching posts.

Choosing the Right Scratching Post:

  • Consider your cat's scratching preferences when choosing a scratching post.
  • Vertical scratching posts are ideal for cats that scratch chair legs or couch corners, while horizontal posts or mats are suitable for cats that scratch rugs or carpets.
  • Select a scratching post material that mimics your cat's preferred scratching surface, such as sisal, which is satisfying to scratch and durable.

Factors to Consider:

  • Place scratching posts near sleeping areas and room entrances, as cats often scratch these areas to leave scent marks.
  • Multi-cat households may require multiple scratching posts placed strategically throughout the house.
  • If your cat refuses to use the scratching post, provide alternative objects for her to scratch and use deterrents to protect furniture.

Encouraging Use of the Scratching Post:

  • Gradually move the scratching post to a more suitable location once your cat is consistently using it.
  • Trim your cat's nails regularly to reduce damage from scratching. Accustom her to having her paws handled and squeezed before trimming.

Nail Trimming Tips:

  • Use cat-specific nail trimmers to clip the sharp tips of your cat's claws about once a week.
  • Avoid cutting into the pink portion of the nail, known as the "quick," as it contains blood vessels and nerves.
  • Gradually increase pressure on your cat's paws to extend the claw for trimming, and provide treats to make the experience more pleasant.
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