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How to get your cat to use a scratcher, not furniture

April 4, 2022


It is difficult to educate a cat to respect your chairs, sofas and other furniture in the house. There are cats that use the scratcher on their own initiative. They like it, they use it daily, even several times. In it they stretch, polish their nails, and make movements that make them feel good. But not all owners, or all cats, are this lucky. What to do when a cat resists using the scratching post?


The key to living with a cat is knowing how to educate it so that coexistence is more compatible. Of course, it requires patience and perseverance like everything else. We cannot expect that the animals as soon as they enter the door of the house are the perfect companions.


All cats have a need for a hard, high, and usually vertical space in which to stretch their muscles and scratch their nails, as this is their way of leaving visual and olfactory cues, in other words, it is their way of marking their territory.


When they scratch, they cannot scratch any surface. They look for an object that has optimal firmness and texture. These two aspects are essential for them to be able to properly mark with their nails. It allows them to scratch the object well and file them well, producing a lot of relaxation. If the object is not well fixed to the ground and the texture is not rough, they will not be able to mark because the nail will not be able to scratch hard and will not achieve its goal.


Tips and tricks for your cat to use the scratcher


  • Start as soon as possible. Young cats are the fastest learners, making it much easier for kittens to get used to using the scratching post than when they are adults.

  • Choose the right place for it. By placing the cat scratcher next to their favorite furniture, they will be attracted by the smell while being more visible.

  • Cover the furniture. It will be enough to cover them with some sheets, old blankets or other material that discourages scratching them. This combined with placing the scratcher nearby will redirect their attention to it.

  • Attract your cat’s attention. A ball, feather or toy mouse hanging from the scratching post can attract your pet's attention and encourage them to come closer. Another tip would be to put some catnip on the scratching post so that they feel an extra stimulation.

  • Reward your cat. One way for your cat to understand that using the scratching post is good behavior is to reward your cat every time it uses it. This will encourage it to keep using it.

  • Use it in front of your cat. Leading by example can be another strategy. Some cats will acknowledge what you are doing and replicate it afterwards.

  • Get a different scratcher. If none of the above tricks work for you, it may be the material or shape of the scratching post that keeps your cat from going near it. In that case, try changing the cat scratcher for a totally different one.

For more information, talk to one of our Pet Experts and get customized advice by submitting a request in our Mavyn app or Mavyn Pet page.