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Cat Scratching Post
A cat scratching post is a viable solution to one of the most common problems you are likely to encounter with your kitty. This very common and most frequent problem is destructive scratching.
Cats sharpen their claws as part of a general routine associated with normal grooming activity. During this process the worn-down outer sheath of the claw is caught and removed. This exposes a new inner claw beneath. To avoid damage to upholstery and furnishings, you will need to provide your cat with a suitable substitute, such as a cat scratching post, where he can sharpen his nails.
Cat scratching posts can be purchased commercially, or you can build one yourself. Some commercial posts tend to be too short or have a knack for tipping over. The cat scratching post, either of the horizontal or vertical type, should be sturdy and tall enough to permit the cat to stretch out comfortably. A cat enjoys resting on his hind feet while sharpening his front claws.
A satisfactory cat scratching post can be made by mounting a 30 inch long pine board on a two foot square wooden base. Cover it with tightly woven carpet. A 45 degree slant can be constructed by using a second piece of pine board to form a triangle. Some people use a wooden box covered with carpet, while others tack a piece of carpet to the wall, or simply use a log with bark still covering it. There are an endless number of ways to construct a strong and effective scratching post.
Your cat scratching post should be ready when the kitten arrives. He should be trained with it several times a day; after naps, the first thing in the morning, and whenever he gives signs of wanting to scratch. Make sure that he uses the post and reward him for good behavior.
If you catch him in the act of scratching where he shouldn't, administer a squirt of water and take him back to the post. He should associate the spray with the object he's scratching - not his owner.
A very good way to keep your kitty from scratching at a favorite spot is to place several spring loaded mouse traps around him upside down. When he steps on the trap the resulting "pop" will provide quite a scare. Once this experience is witnessed two or three times, most kittens will not return to the scene of the crime.
An older cat can be trained to use a cat scratching post, but this will take more time and patience. In some instances the only alternative to giving him up is declawing.
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