Keeping Cat Nails Healthy
Author, Dorinne Whynott, Owner of Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
Cats love to scratch, and it’s important to understand that scratching is a normal and HEALTHY feline behavior. They love to scratch different types of surfaces, in a variety of positions. This seemingly simple activity provides numerous psychological and physical benefits to cats. Cats scratch to sharpen their claws, exercise their legs, mark their territory, and to reduce stress. Scratching also helps the cats get rid of the old claws/nails so that sharp new ones can grow. Unfortunately the scratching can cause all kinds of damage to your furniture, the curtains, carpet, and many other things in your home.
To avoid the damage, keep your cat’s nails trimmed. This should be done about every 4-6 weeks, depending on your cats nail growth.
Then offer your cats many different types of scratching alternatives.
Cats must have a proper outlet for their scratching urge, therefore, providing a scratching post can save your furniture, carpet and curtains from destruction. A scratching post is basically a pole which stands at about 4 ft tall or more, but can also lay flat on the floor, or can be inclined. The main benefit of a scratching post is that it turns your cat’s attention away from your carpet and furniture. Choosing or making the best scratching post can be somewhat frustrating and you might need to experiment with different types of scratching posts to find one that the cat will scratch reliably.
Cat Scratching Post Materials
The type of material used to make a scratching post is very important. For you to get the cat interested in a scratching post than the carpet and furniture, the material of the scratching post should to be enticing, and also feel good beneath the cat’s nails. Here are some of the most popular scratching post materials;
A cat scratching post covered with rough sisal rope is one of most popular options. Sisal material is heavy duty, feels absolutely great to cats, and it shreds under their nails in a very pleasing way. The sisal actually accomplishes the same purpose as the tree bark; it catches the cat’s front claws allowing the cat to pull downwards and release its’ sheath to expose the brand new claws underneath. Sisal posts are eco-friendly, more durable, and they usually last for many years before requiring a replacement.
This is another great material used to make scratching posts. Just like the sisal material, it also has a very pleasing feeling and it makes appealing noises when scratched. Economical corrugated cardboard posts are quite easy to replace, and they appeal to most cats.
Carpeting and Upholstery
There are some scratching posts which are covered with carpeting and/or upholstery. However, experts advice against using this type of material, as the cat will not understand why it’s okay to scratch some carpeting and not the other.
This type of scratching post is basically a polished timber board which is made of hardwood. In their natural habitat, cats normally sharpen their claws/nails against trees, therefore many of them do prefer this type of scratching material. It’s important that the wood be of high quality, otherwise your cat may get injured by splinters.
Cat Scratching Post Size
Cats like tall, sturdy posts (4 feet or higher) which do not move around when they’re scratching and stretching. If your cat happens to feel unsteady or uncomfortable on the post, he/she will find a much more solid scratching surface. The scratching post should also be tall enough to allow the cat to fully stretch when scratching. This basically means that the cat should,be able to extend his/her body fully, and pull the shoulder and back muscles, which is really important for flexibility and health. If the posts is too short, the cat will have to hunch over in order to use it, and this doesn’t allow for a proper shoulder and back stretch, They will not get the full benefit of exercising, and it might even feel uncomfortable for them.
That said, it’s important to note that, the taller the scratching post, the sturdier it should be. Cats can get injured or even killed by a big, unstable post falling on them. Make sure the post has an extra heavy, and wide base, preferably double thick.
Type of construction
These are bars, mats or plates which are attached onto a wall or standing on a pedestal. They are great for cats who sharpen their claws while standing on hind legs.
These are especially attractive for most cats, as they allow them to sharpen their claws in various different positions.The inclined scratchers also help the cat’s stretch and work more muscles.
These are usually planks or mats placed on the floor. These cat scratchers are designed for cats who like sharpening their claws/nails in the horizontal position. That said, you should know that some cats do not like scratching on the vertical scratchers, but will willingly scratch on a floor scratcher.
How To Make a Cat Scratcher
What you’ll Need –
-A wooden board
-hot glue gun
-One yard twine
-Six yards colored twine
Turn the wooden board onto its’ back, and hot glue the beginning of your sisal rope onto the middle of the wooden board where you’d like the scratching area to start.
Flip the wooden board, and then line the sisal rope up against itself with every turn. After a couple of turns, hot glue the sisal rope on the board’s back so as to firmly secure your scratching pad.
Continue turning the wooden board til you reach the bottom of the desired scratching section. Now, hot glue the back of the wooden board to properly secure the sisal rope, and cut the rope.
Hot glue the beginning of the yarn to the top, back of your desired scratch area, and twist the wooden board to make a nice pattern with the yarn. Now, tie off the end of the yarn, and secure it with hot glue on the board’s back. Repeat this with a different colored yarn.
Now trim any excess yarn, and securely twist the eye hooks into the top back of the wooden board.
Thread the twine through the eye hooks so as to create an “over the door” type of feature.
Hang your scratcher and let the games begin! Remember, you should make sure the scratcher is sturdily supported, because the cat will not use it if it is unsteady or wobbly.
Another Do It Yourself Scratcher is to use the poles in your basement.
The poles are used to hold up the main support beams for the house. I just used sisal rope wrapped around the entire pole. Starting at the bottom with hot glue, then wrap around and around. Hot glue each ending. I used SIX 50 foot rolls to go from the bottom to the top. My cats love climbing all the way to the top.
Have Fun !!
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About the Owner and Professional Pet Sitting Etc
Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
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