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If you don’t want your cat scratching the furniture, you’ll need to provide an object more appealing. When I say appealing, I’m not referring to whether your cat likes the way it looks – I’m referring to whether it gets the job done or not. The only reason your cat may decide to scratch on the furniture instead of the post is because the furniture meets his needs. If the post you provided looks pretty but isn’t effective from a cat’s point of view then it’ll just sit in the corner and gather dust.
There are three “must-have” basics when it comes to a scratching post:
The Scratching Post Must Have an Appealing Texture
Many of the cheap posts you find in your local pet supply store are covered in carpet. Pretty to look at, soft to touch, but totally ineffective when it comes to scratching. The post needs to have a rough texture that will allow the cat to rake his nails across the surface. When a cat scratches, he wants to dig his nails into the object’s surface in order to remove the outer deal nail sheath. If the post is covered in carpet, chances are all that will happen is the cat’s nails will get stuck in the carpet loops. That’s a sure way to drive him back to scratching on your sofa again.
So when it comes to texture, think rough and not soft loopy carpet covering. Overall, sisal is typically the best choice. It’s rough, it’s durable and the cat can get an effective and satisfying scratch.
Even though most cats prefer the sisal covering, there are some cats who have other preferences. If your cat doesn’t like sisal you can try other rough materials. Some cats even prefer to scratch on bare wood. I know of several cats who go crazy for tree bark when it comes time to scratch, so if you don’t mind the mess, bring in a few logs for the cat to scratch on.