How to get your cat to use a new cat tree

If you have just bought a new cat tree this is fantastic, it is such an important necessity for a cat’s health and wellbeing. Cats need to spend time regularly scratching for the health of their claws, this is a very normal behaviour. Scratching removes the outer portion of the claw called the sheath, which exposes a new, sharp tip. If you’re like me, the first time you may have come across a health and get alarmed and run to your cat and make sure they are ok. Once you understand this natural feline process of “shedding” the sheath, it’s rather fascinating and no cause for concern.

Cats like to feel relaxed in their own space and use a number of methods to communicate their territory to other cats. Scratching is one way for your cat to make their mark on their home, signal their presence to other animals, and feel happy knowing that their territory is safe.

Unfortunately, cats may turn to scratching valuable furniture such as sofa legs, walls, or curtains in the absence of a dedicated scratching post.

The cat just needs to scratch and encouraging good scratching habits will go a long way toward saving your belongings from razor sharp kitty claws. Keep in mind that it’s much easier to train your cat to scratch on his post than to re-train him after he’s developed a habit of scratching up your favourite chair.

Positioning of cat tree

Experienced kitties know that location is everything! Cats often like to scratch after waking up; so, it’s a good idea to put a scratching post by your cat’s bed. It’s the cat equivalent of a cup of morning coffee!
If your cat has already shown an interest in certain areas such as the sofa, strategically positioning a post nearby can help to redirect their claws.

Having a cat tree placed at a random spot may not give a result desired. Cat, probably, has already established his own preferences and a daily routine, and including a new object in it, is not what’s in his mind.

The trick is integrating the new furniture into your cat’s life. That is, a cat tree should be placed somewhere near the spot, where your cat is spending a significant amount of his time already.

Getting Interest in the Scratching Post

If your cat doesn’t immediately use their new scratching post or shows only mild interest in it, don’t worry. Sometimes they need a little more coaxing in order to discover that you’ve provided them with the best scratching surface they could hope for. I have a few tips for introducing your cat to their new scratching post and training them to use it.

  • Catnip: A lot of cats go bonkers for catnip. If you have one of these cats, sprinkle or spray catnip on the base and top of the cat scratching post. When your cat licks it up, they will usually start kneading their paws. This will allow them to discover that it is a great scratching surface and remember that and use it to its fullest later.
  • Make it a positive experience: You can help your cat learn that their new scratching post is awesome by playing with them around and on it. You can also try using fishing-rod-type cat toys, to play with them on and around the scratching post. Encourage them to pounce on the toy so that their claws land on the post. They’ll soon realise how good it feels to sink their claws into. Whenever they are using their scratching post tell them what a good kitty they are!

With a little bit of thought, time, and praise, your cat will be ignoring your furniture and carpeting in favour of their new scratching posts all the time. Just be patient, you will get there.

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