Cat scratching trees are important items to have in your home when you are bringing a new kitten into the family.
Cat scratching trees and other furniture range from the simplest corrugated cardboard scratching pad, to tall sisal scratch posts, to the “upscale” multilevel kitty play gyms.
Whatever your space and budget will allow, it is important to have at least one (but preferably more) of these cat scratching trees around the home before you bring your kitten home.
You cannot teach your cat not to scratch!
Of course, you want to protect your sofa. That is why you need trees, pads or scratching posts to provide an acceptable alternative.
Why Do Cats Scratch?
Ever wonder why cats and kittens scratch? There are several reasons why cats do this:
To Exercise: Cats use their claws to latch on and their body weight to stretch out their shoulder muscles. Without this resistance, they cannot get the stretch they need to recover their bodies.
To Maintain Flexibility: How else will they be able to bend themselves into a pretzel?
To Sharpen Their Nails and Slough off Old Nails: Unlike humans who trim the length of their nails, cats lose their nails from the inside out, like a snake skin.
To Mark Their Territory: Cats excrete pheromones on various parts of their bodies, including their nail beds and around the pads of their feet.
Simply put, your kitten or cat will sink their claws into anything that suits their fancy. It’s like a second nature to them. It may seem that your kitten is just trying to annoy you, but she isn’t!
Options for Cat Scratching Trees
Every cat is unique and has different preferences. This is not only true for the food they like and the laps they lay on, but also with the type of scratching trees you select.
There are several factors to consider when selecting the right cat scratching trees or posts:
- Upright or horizontal?
- Cardboard, carpet, or sisal rope?
- free-standing or doorknob-hanging?
We recommend getting as many different types and textures as your budget and space will allow.
You may find that one day your cat likes the upright sisal, and another day he prefers the corrugated cardboard.
(Just as some days he prefers climbing your couch, the next day he likes tearing up your rug, the next day he’s scaling your curtains…you get the idea!)
If you can only get one or two cat scratching trees for now, we would recommend a sisal scratch post as tall as you can find especially if your cat grows to be large or long.
Sisal scratching posts are arguably the most universally-appealing for cats, so this would be the best one to start with.
Tall trees allow for a cat to really stretch all the way from his front toes to his thighs, getting a nice deep stretch while using his body weight to pull the stretch downwards towards the floor.
If it isn’t tall enough, he may try to find a substitute surface, so be mindful of what he will like the most!
Other Considerations for Cat Scratching Trees and Posts
You will also want to ensure that the cat scratching trees that you are thinking about purchasing are sturdy, safe, have plenty of room for multiple cats (if applicable) and that the ledges are wide enough to accompany one or more cats, if you are purchasing a gymnasium-style tree.
Construction quality is important. This is an investment, and you don’t want it falling apart on you, especially with lots of rough treatment from your active kitten!
Make sure that the rope or carpeting is attached securely to the wooden base, and that there are no uncovered sharp areas that could hurt him as he plays.
Are there any tunnels, holes or caves that your cat would enjoy crawling into and through?
If so, make sure they are large enough for her to grow into safely and comfortably as she gets bigger.
Are there any hanging mice or other toys? Some cat scratching trees will come equipped with this while others will not.
The preference is yours, as they can be added later, but they are definitely a great addition for playtime!
If you plan on ordering one online, try to find a reputable company and a model that has consumer reviews on which to base your decision.
Remember, you get what you pay for! Don’t choose the poorly-constructed one if you can get a well-made but less “flashy” model for the same price.