How to Train Your Cat to Use a Scratching Post Effectively

How to Train Your Cat to Use a Scratching Post Effectively


Training a cat to use a scratching post is an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership. It not only helps to protect your furniture but also provides your cat with a healthy outlet for its natural scratching instincts. While cats are naturally inclined to scratch, directing this behavior to a designated post requires patience, understanding, and the right approach. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to train your cat tree to use a scratching post effectively.

Understanding the Scratching Behavior

Before training begins, it's important to understand why cats scratch:

  • Claw Maintenance: Cats scratch to remove the dead outer layer of their claws.
  • Marking Territory: Scratching leaves both a visual mark and a scent, signaling a cat’s presence.
  • Stretching and Exercise: It's a form of physical exercise for cats, stretching their bodies and flexing their feet and claws.
  • Stress Relief: Scratching can be a way for cats to relieve stress or express excitement.

Selecting the Right Scratching Post

1. Material and Texture

  • Choose a post covered in a material that attracts cats, such as sisal fabric, jute, or cardboard.

2. Sturdiness and Size

  • The post should be sturdy enough to not wobble and tall enough for your cat to stretch fully while scratching.

3. Location

  • Place the scratching post in an area where your cat spends a lot of time, like near their favorite sleeping spot or in a family room.

Training Your Cat

1. Introducing the Post

  • Allow your cat to explore the new scratching post at their own pace. Place it near areas where they typically scratch.

2. Using Attractants

  • Sprinkle catnip on the post or use a catnip spray to attract your cat. Some cats are more responsive to catnip than others.

3. Demonstrate Its Use

  • Gently take your cat’s paws and mimic a scratching motion on the post. Most cats will instinctively understand what to do.

4. Positive Reinforcement

  • Whenever your cat uses the post, reward them with treats, affection, or verbal praise. This will reinforce the behavior.

5. Consistency

  • Be consistent with your encouragement and rewards. Cats learn best through positive reinforcement and routine.

6. Discouraging Unwanted Scratching

  • If your cat scratches furniture, cover the area with double-sided tape or aluminum foil. Redirect them to the scratching post each time.

Making the Scratching Post Appealing

1. Incorporate Play

  • Attach toys to the post or play near it to make the area more appealing.

2. Choose Multiple Posts

  • Having more than one scratching post, especially in a multi-cat household, can prevent competition and ensure each cat has access to a post.

3. Varied Textures and Types

  • Offer different types of scratching surfaces – vertical and horizontal – to cater to your cat’s preferences.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

1. Lack of Interest

  • Experiment with different post locations and textures. Observe your cat’s scratching habits to determine their preferences.

2. Old Habits

  • Cats may return to old scratching spots. Use deterrents and continue redirecting them to the new post.

3. Fear or Anxiety

  • If a cat is afraid of the new post, give them time to adjust. Avoid forcing them to use it.


Training your cat to use a scratching post effectively is a gradual process that requires patience and understanding. By selecting the right post, using positive reinforcement, and making the post appealing, you can successfully direct your cat's natural scratching behavior to an appropriate outlet. This not only preserves the integrity of your furniture but also contributes to your cat's physical and mental well-being.

In summary, training your cat to use a scratching post is about meeting their natural needs in a way that’s acceptable in a household setting. By understanding your cat's behavior, providing the right tools, and using positive reinforcement, you can create a harmonious environment where your cat’s scratching instincts are satisfied healthily and constructively. Discover Australia's most affordable range of premium cat trees and towers at where we bring joy to your feline friends with Australia's best cat trees and towers!

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