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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-14-2009, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Scratching Post Question


I have one cat, Munchie, a tortie. She moved in about 8 months ago, and is 2 and a half years old.

Before I got her, I got her a scratching post with carpet material which she absolutely loved and took to in no time at all after a couple of days of explaining to her where she can't scratch.

In late August or so I went to visit my parents for a week and a neighbor kept watch on her. He did a fine job and she took to him very quickly after a couple of visits he had before I left. But she took some of her stored up energy from less play time out on the scratching post, and when I got home, it was pretty much useless to her, threads coming out of it and everything.

So, I got her a new scratching post a couple days later. Because I have a pretty low income, this time I got her a scratching post with rope wrapped around it. It also has carpet at the very top of the post and a little sitting perch, as well as carpet on its base. I paid a little more for the rope post, knowing that a relative of mine who uses this kind of scratching post just replaces the rope when its worn out, and I figured I could save more money in the long run doing this.

So, that was August. She took to the small carpeted area of the post right away, scratching it as much as her old one. She avoided the rope part though, I assume because it was a different material and she didn't know it was for scratching. Here we are in February, and she has still not attempted to scratch the rope part of it on her own, and the carpet part is pretty much worn down.

Before I go out and get her yet another scratching post (an all carpet one) I wanted to see if anybody had any advice on how to get her to start scratching the rope. She is a very respectful kitty, and knows where not to scratch - even though she stays away from her post because she doesn't use the rope part and the carpet part is worn down for the most part, she still stays away from places she knows she can't scratch, mainly the couch. I've given her a few compromises, such as letting her scratch my cheap computer swivel chair and the cheap chair that she likes to use as her bed, and she very gently claws at some stuffed animals in an affectionate manner (she thinks they're real) that resembles scratching. But I know this doesn't suit her needs and she's not getting as much scratching in as she should.

These are things i have tried countless times over the past months to try to get her to scratch the rope part of the scratching post:

*Spraying it with catnip spray.
*Scratching it myself while she watches
*Placing her paw on it (from both a vertical and horizontal position) showing her how nice it is to scratch
*Her favorite game to play is knocking toys off of the top of the post, so I tried putting toys on the rope part (both from a vertial and horizontal position) but when her paw touches the rope she acts like it's not supposed to be there and she stops playing.
*My newest idea was placing treats between the ropes, and trying to make it so that she had to scratch the rope part to force the treat out. She tried it a couple times, gave up on that, and just tried to bite it out. I stopped this, because I was afraid she'd wind up eating the lose parts of the rope.

The most confusing thing: I have a hamper made up of a nearly identical rope material. She loves sitting in it and will occasionally scratch at it. I've tried showing her the connection between the rope of the hamper and the rope of the scratching post, but she does not quite understand that it's the same thing. I've made it a point to not take the hamper away from her while she's scratching it, hoping that she'd see she's allowed to scratch rope, but she hasn't figured out how to translate it to the scratching post.

Does anyone else have any ideas to offer someone willing but not really looking forward to buying another new scratching post?

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Scratching Post Question

Just one bump for good luck, since I'm likely going to go out and just get a new scratching post in 2 days or so if nobody has any other ideas. It is somewhat of a tricky issue, and I think I've tried solving it from all angles, but just want to make sure there are no other ideas floating out there.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 07:26 PM
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Re: Scratching Post Question

The only thing I can think of is trying some real catnip - I find the spray stuff smells a little funny.

To reduce scratching over all (or at least the damage) clip her nails?

Sounds like you're trying hard though.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Scratching Post Question

Yeah, I did try the real catnip - she sniffed it all up and then sneezed a lot. And I do clip her nails regularly - unfortunately I have to do it more now since she doesn't use a scratching post, and that's something neither of us enjoy too much. Thanks for the advice though.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 07:46 PM
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Re: Scratching Post Question

Welcome! I think you've just found out what she does like (and does not like) to scratch. Sorry, it looks like you'll have to buy a new carpeted post.

I have one that is almost 3' tall that my cats loved so much, they combed the carpet fibers straight and it no longer works as a sharpener at the height they like to scratch. I sewed a tube out of an old pair of jeans and pulled it over the post to give it a new life, and the kitties like to scratch it. They also enjoy the 3' tall sisal post, but the height they like to scratch, it is getting worn out. I'll have to see if the husband can flip it, or find sisal fabric we can staple to it.

Something you may want to try is a turbo scratcher? Several of my cats love it. It is a plastic circle, with a place in the center that accepts a round of cardboard to scratch and a track around the outer edge with a ball trapped in the track they can bat around and around.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 08:24 PM
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Re: Scratching Post Question

What about getting a carpet remnant and wrapping it around the rope post and stapling it with long staples to anchor it. When she scratches through that carpet, the rope will be right there and she will be in the habit of scratching that post.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 08:30 PM
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Re: Scratching Post Question

Yeah, if you already have a staple gun or the like, you could always try stapling some carpet to the post. Otherwise I'm afraid you might be stuck buying a new post. I guess Munchie is just a carpet-scratching kitty. (Cute name!)

If you haven't tried them, my cats really like those little cardboard scratching pads, the kind that are made of layers and layer of corrugated cardboard on the side. My ladies love them, and if Munchie doesn't, at least it's cheap!

Petco sells a scratching system that lets you mount a little carpet pad onto the wall and replace the carpet as it gets worn:
I have it, but I only use the cardboard inserts. Maybe you could find some way to attach carpet to the wall for her to scratch? Or, try Craigslist? Just trying to generate some cheaper alternatives.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 03:59 PM
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Re: Scratching Post Question

Neither of my cats use sisal (rope) so they need carpeted (vertical) or the cardboard (horizontal)scratchers.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2009, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Scratching Post Question

Thanks for the advice everyone, but she's just a finicky scratcher I suppose, and I just went out and got her a new carpet scratching post which she is enjoying very much.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2009, 03:06 PM
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Re: Scratching Post Question

My Nito is also a carpet scratcher. He won't scratch any posts whatsoever, but luckily he does enjoy scratching the post from his cat tree. He also enjoys doing a horizontal scratch on my cheap rugs, which I allow- because otherwise he chooses to do it on my leather furniture!
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