A cat’s need to scratch is innate to the species and all cats will scratch items to some degree. Although there is a common misperception that a cat scratches it claws to sharpen them, it is quite the opposite. A cat scratches to dull its nails because they have become long and sharp. If their nails are trimmed regularly, about once a month, it will reduce the scratching. However, a cat with trimmed nails will still need some kind of scratcher.
Cardboard scratchers are widely available in many stores and are relatively inexpensive. Once your cat has heavily scratched the cardboard scratcher, some can be turned over. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and some can even be used by the cat as a bed. At some point, they will need to be thrown away and a new one purchased.
Many people purchase carpeted scratch posts or scratch posts covered with sisal rope. Please consider the size of your cat and try to pick one out that will be stable and not tip over if the cat reaches up to scratch them. Most cats enjoy these scratch posts. They are more costly than cardboard scratchers but last much longer. Eventually the carpet or sisal rope will wear out as well.
Most cats love cat trees and the taller the better! Cats like to be high up and like to sit, sleep, and play on cat trees. Cat trees are often partly carpeted and partly sisal rope to accommodate cats that prefer one type of material to scratch over the other.
Cat trees can also be very advantageous if you have a dog. It will allow the cat to climb up to a level that the dog can’t reach and feel safe. Cat trees can also be used as a place to feed your cat if you have a dog in the house that tries to eat from the cat food bowls on the floor. If you might want to feed your cat on the cat tree so the dog can’t get it, purchase a cat tree with sides around one of the highest shelves so the food bowls can’t be pushed off the shelf while the cat is eating.
Catnip can be spread on any cat scratcher to encourage the cat to scratch it.