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Scratching--when does it really start?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have two kittens who are just over 4 months old. We've been working diligently to train them to use scratching posts. We have one upstairs, which has two sisal posts and 3 perches for them to play/sleep on, and allows them to look out the window. We have a regular sisal post downstairs. They will use the posts to stretch and thus scratch, but it doesn't seem like the really do a whole lot of scratching for the sake of scratching.

They do like to stretch/scratch downstairs on a berber remnant that I have near the door--it is strictly a mud rug so I don't care about it--but if I tell them to go scratch on their post (about 2 feet away) they will go do this. I have noticed that my female kitten does like the fabric on my desk chair, but she hardly has access to it since we keep the office door closed when we're not home or when we're not in there (and sometimes when we are). I sometimes give a treat when I catch them using the post. They seem to like their posts and think they are a great place to play.

So..have I just been lucky so far? Does scratching behavior usually kick in at a later time? I do cut their nails weekly so hopefully this will help should a problem develop.

post #2 of 9

Cats scratch instinctively for several reasons, to stretch their back, so if their scratching post is tall, that helps a great deal. To mark their terrritory, and to shed their outer bed of their claws. Usually a cat will scratch after a meal, so to help that along, put a scratching post in the same room where they eat.
post #3 of 9
I noticed Saki, my 4 and 1/2 month old doesnt really scratch all that much. He uses the small scratching post in the bedroom, and occasionally the rug when he stretches but aside from that he's not a big scratcher I guess
post #4 of 9
Both our new kittens love scratching. But what I don't get is how to get to them to ONLY use the scratching post. They finally learned how to use it and seem to like it but they also use our computer chair. Is there any way to get them to ONLY use the scratching post?
post #5 of 9
I start by rewarding treats to them when they use their post. Or if you see them scratch the computer chair, take them to the post immediately, and if they scratch, reward them.
post #6 of 9
This is what I've tried with both of my cats and luckily for me it worked.

Before entering the home, I made sure that I already had things for them to scratch. A scratching pole and a rug, purely for them to scratch at. Some cats like to scratch vertical surfaces, others horizontal or both. I'd sprinkle some catnip over these surfaces or around the area. And occasionally leave treats for them to find.

When I did ever see them scratching something other than the designated areas, I would gently pick them up and show them their scratching post. I'd scratch it with my nails to show them what to do or have a favourite toy of their's attached to a pole and run it along the post for them to paw at, and hence be able to scratch at the pole.

I've never told off either cat for scratching as it is part of their instinct and inherent nature. If they insist on scratching a particular undesired area, I'd get a piece of that same fabric and attach it to the scratching post. Some cats like to scratch particular surfaces.

And above all, have plenty of patience.
post #7 of 9
play, play, play! around the scratch posts. wind stringy toys around the pole and drag it up and down. as we all know, cats love string, and that is what worked for me. sit down and gather some toys around the scratching area and let your furbabies go to town.
post #8 of 9
My new kitten doesn't seem to have noticed the scratch post yet, but he does use his nails quite a lot - kneading, stretching, climbing - he razored my denims the day I went to get him because of the kneading. Methinks he might possibly have a seperation anxiety thing - taken from his mom too early - cause he'll knead and lick me all the time! (this is very unwelcome at 3 o'clock in the morning) but I have started using a spray gun on him with the scratching and I blow in his face to keep him from licking me. Is that the right way to go about it - he seems to have learned?
post #9 of 9
Please click here to read about how to stop scratching.
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