How to Teach Use of a Scratching Post to Your Kitten: Kirby's claws!

by Maria Kryszak
(Oak Lawn, IL)

How not to play with your kitten!

How not to play with your kitten!

How to teach your kitten how to use their scratching post... Maria shares her tips for kitten training, particularly in the area of scratching posts. She makes some really good points, and shows she is an experienced kitten trainer!

If you value your furniture, sanity and carpet - you will benefit from this article.

I have developed a "technique" for training my cats from kittenhood on, to use a sisal (rope), upright scratching post, and would like to share it with your readers.

With our first kitten, Zoe, we bought one of those really tall and large wire cat cages, with several shelves, to keep her safe when we couldn't supervise her. We also bought several scratching posts, and kept them near the cage.

Since kittens and cats usually always stretch as soon as they wake up from a nap, I made sure to entice Zoe to stretch and scratch on the post as soon as I let her out, and at other times during her play sessions, by dangling a toy from above the post and tying another toy from the top of it.

I also covered all the couches in the room where we kept the new arrival with sheets, so she wouldn't be able to easily use her claws to climb up the couches and possibly start a habit of using her claws on the fabric instead of the posts. I also made sure her nails were clipped short.

For the first few weeks the only time Zoe was let out of the cage was when someone was there to supervise and encourage her to use the post. She never got used to using anything else except
the posts, and when she was big enough to be allowed more freedom in the house, I had posts in every single room, especially in my bedroom, where she likes to sleep.

The post must be sturdy and tall enough to allow the cat to stretch fully--one can easily be made with a cedar post, rope, and thick plywood covered in a carpet remnant for the base. This technique has worked for ALL our cats, including our latest kitty, Kirby.

It takes some patience and time, but is a much more humane way of preventing your cat from scratching your furniture than having them declawed.

I do not recommend using posts covered in carpeting if you have any carpeting in your home because they may start scratching on your carpeting! The sisal rope seems to satisfy their natural urge to stretch and sharpen their claws.

We use treats (only) after the cats get their nails clipped, so they have something nice to look forward to afterwards. We have one cat who absolutely hates having his nails clipped, so we have to swaddle him in a thick blanket to protect ourselves. He is finally starting to mellow out a bit--the treats really helped with him. (Although he still makes awful yoweling sounds which sends the other cats running! LOL)

Thanks Maria shares for your excellent tips about how to teach a kitten to use a scratching post. Meet Kirby, Marias latest kitten, and be sure to check out Kirby's updates!

If you would like to share your kitten behavior tips, or training ideas use the link at the bottom of this page to do so. We would love to hear from you!!

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