How to Get a Cat to Use a Scratching Post

It is natural for cats to scratch here and there. That is why having a scratching post at home can make a huge difference in your cat’s life.

This makes it more convenient for them scratch through and it also protects your household furniture from being roughed up. Consider these tips on how to get a cat use a scratching post so you can try it with your own pet.

What is a scratching post?

Cats inherently like to scratch. A scratching post is a peace of cat furniture designed to satisfy every cat’s scratching behavior.

It is designed as a post so cats can climb through and stretch their bodies. Scratching removes the old material in their claws. This behavior also marks their own territory in your home.

What is a scratching post

A typical scratching post is usually made of wood that is tall enough for cats to play around. Some can have two to three tiers, depending on the design.

Some of them can be slim while some will leave your cat its own space on top. The wood is usually covered with a rough material for their claw to grip on

Can I make my own scratching post?

Yes, you can make your own scratching post. There are a lot of DIY scratching posts that you can follow.

Some of the common materials include an old carpet, cardboards, ropes, and more. You can also utilize a post that you have at home.

Some people cover the last few posts of their staircase with a material rough enough for their cats to scratch through.

What are the benefits of having a scratching post?

There are a lot of toys that you can give to your cat. However, nothing comes close to having a scratching post.

This greatly benefits them a lot and it satisfies their scratching anxieties. But aside from that, there are other benefits for you and your home as well. Here’s a quick breakdown of the benefits of having a scratch post.

Kitten Use

Aside from fully-grown cats, kitten can start building up their energy with the use of a scratching post. Training them early as kittens will ease up the scratching behavior in the future as they know what to do. It will also let them learn to have a vigorous activity every day.

Cat Health

When you furry baby has fully grown, the scratching post can have a totally different set of benefits for him. This could let them release stress as scratching is innate in them.

It could protect and shape their claws as well. It will also continue to be a great exercise for them to avoid being a sedentary pet at home.

Furniture Protection

As a pet owner, a cat’s own scratching post will give you so much peace because it means they get to take their paws off your favorite furniture. Although they won’t magically stop hitting on your furniture, they can divert their attention on the post. Let them stay curious and over time, your furniture will have less scratches.

Are there any alternatives of a scratching post?

Aside from a post, there are a lot of alternatives that you can provide your cat as a scratching area. There are a lot of alternative items that are found at home that can be of good use for your cats to scratch on.


The best alternative to a scratching post is an old rug or a rug specifically made for your cat. High-quality rugs don’t get ruined even if your cats scratch on them every day.

But if you have old rugs, it is one of the best alternatives for them to scratch on. Placing them strategically on tight spaces or rolling them on posts can give you an instant scratching post.


Modifying out scratch posts can be a fun way for you and your cat to bond over. Pieces of cardboard can be taped together.

This can be a thicker version of a scratching area, and they will have a good time unraveling and scratching through. Old package boxes will also do. You don’t only upcycle the boxes, you also give your cat something to enjoy on.


Wool is a common material that cats enjoy most of the time. An old blanket can be of good use to your cat.

They may be eyeing on it for quite some time, too! It is great to cut the huge one into two or three pieces, and you may place it on most furniture they scratch on.

How can I get my cat use the scratching post more often?

To let your cat use the scratching post, it is essential to have the right one that they can divulge their attention and time into. Consider the height of the post as well.

Getting the right scratching post an important part in the entire process. Here are other tips to get you started on training your cat to use the scratching post more often.

How can I get my cat use the scratching post more often

Choose the Right Location

The placement of the scratching post is important because it will mark the territory of your cat. This critical step will affect the mood of your cat and the way they will use the scratching post.

If you know your cat too well, deciding on the location will not be difficult. Consider placing the post on corners, or in spots that are not easy for other cats to see. Out-of-the-way places are also great for them to lounge on.

Attract your Cat on the Scratching Post

If the scratching post is new, consider laying it sideways on the ground. This will attract the cat.

And the sooner they find out that it stands, the more curious it will become because it will try to climb on the post.

Adding catnip works for some cats because they instantly go crazy over it. Place some at the bottom and on top. This will maximize their use of the post if they are into some catnip frenzy.

Integrate play on the scratching post by adding some of the toys nearby. Some cat owners place a string and a ball on top so they can try to jump on to reach the toy. Some posts are also already built with toys as well.

Don’t Forget Cat Treats

Every time your cat uses the scratching post, don’t forget to reward them. When you just introduced the post, having a treat in your pocket will encourage you to reward them instantly if they start using the post.

Remember to give it slowly; first when they sniff, next when they try to touch it around, and finally when try to climb on. Consider placing the treats on top to encourage them on climbing more.

Giving treats will create a positive experience on your pet as they will most likely remember the reward.

Placing the paw directly on the post will not work in almost all the time. Cats hate it when things are being forced on them.

Take time for your cat to learn the way around the post and let them have their own pace and time in using the scratching post.

How do I get my cat to stop scratching on my furniture?

As one of the goals in having is a scratching post is to let your cat stop using the furniture, it is vital to know some tips and tricks so your furniture won’t be a hot spot for scratching.

Discourage that Behavior

Startle your cat every time they use a household item or furniture for scratching. This will alert them they you do not like your furniture being scratched.

Try clapping your hand or letting out a loud sound as a sign of disagreement. Some also like to squirt water, but this can be quite messy.

Make your Furniture Unattractive

Cover the usual spots that they scratch with something they don’t like. You can place a sandpaper on the side of the couch, flip the rug upside down, add plastic on the furniture, and other home modification techniques so will lay off on other stuff.

You can also turn the speakers to the wall so they will be more hesitant on climbing on to home furniture.

Cut Nails Regularly

Cutting the nails regularly will tone down the scratching behavior. One of the reasons why they like scratching is because they have something underneath their nail that has been bothering them, or when it has been too long. Cutting it regularly will also, in effect, minimize the scratching habit.

Does a scratching post affect my cat’s nails?

Scratching is a natural habit by cats. It affects their nails directly. Letting them scratch off on the right surfaces will encourage growth of healthier claws. A scratching post will shape your cat’s nails naturally.


It is tricky to let your cat have a new scratching post when they have been scratching all over the house for quite some time. Learning the trick on how to get a cat use a scratching post will help you establish a commanding nature on how your cat should be using the post.

You may not see instant results when training your cat, but perseverance and patience will go a long way in letting your cat use a scratching post.

Rita Wagener
Rita is a resident paw expert at Pet Keepers. A registered & licensed dog trainer, she also has a degree in animal nutrition, and runs her own dog training course.

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