Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Your cat needs a scratching post

Jasper the cat on his cat scratching post
Jasper pauses for his moment in the spotlight.
Our outdoor cats spend about 90 percent of their lives sitting on top of the hot tub. The 104 degree water in the tub kicks up steam that heats the cover, and the motor that moves the water creates a nice vibrating motion that the cats seem to find hypnotic. It's not unusual for me to look out the window and see all three cats lying on their backs, basking in the sun while the hot tub does its work.

Unfortunately, I've also looked out the window and have seen our cats sharpening their claws on the cover of the hot tub. The vinyl makes a great sticking noise when claws go in and out, and nothing completes an afternoon nap like a good stretch and scratch.

Just as indoor cats will use your furniture or the stairs if no scratching posts are nearby, outdoor cats will use your deck, your plants or your appliances to keep their claws sharp. Scratching is just a natural part of cat behavior, and it's not something any cat would choose to leave behind, just because you want that cat to behave.

Scratching posts are a perfect solution because they're fun to scratch, they're inexpensive and they often have little pockets made for catnip or treats. Sprinkle a little catnip or cat kibble on these things, and cats would rather scratch here than almost anywhere else. I also find that most cats like to sleep on their scratching posts, so these little cardboard scraps tend to turn into impromptu beds. I love to see my cats comfortable, so this is an added bonus for me.

So go ahead: Pick up some posts for your cats. You'll be glad you did.