Ready. On your LUI. Scratch! Cats have scratching written in their genes and they use it in every space they find themselves in. And it’s not just about filing down their nails - for a cat it’s also a training, a fun exercise and an important element of territory marking. Every fluffy companion will admit that among all the fancy cat furniture and accessories that hoomans bring back from the pet shops, a scratcher is the most important one. It’s like a shiny cat Rolce Royce straight from a dealership. You won’t park a luxury car on the street under your flat complex - without proper shelter it will quickly lose its value. The same goes for cat scratchers: park them in a bad spot and in your cat’s eyes it won’t be usable at all.
Today, fabCats, we’re asking you and ourselves a question: Where to put a scratcher so it’s always a hit with your cat? And why does the placement matter so much? Let’s check!
Location does matter
Cats are curious by nature and it seems that when there’s a new scratcher or cat bed in their eyesight, they immediately go to it. Hold your horses, cowboy! Cats also have the right to turn their whiskers up if they’re not sure of something. When you come to us with a similar issue, fabCats, we always try to answer your question and help to encourage your cat to use the new scratcher. But there’s no list of golden tricks that will work with no exceptions and on every cat. There’s only one factor, without which it’s hard to count on a success: the right location.
For a moment, let’s head to the hooman world. Imagine, fabCat, that you get your dream car as a gift. A car that you’ve always dreamed of and it’s incredibly nice to drive, looks great and every neighbour would be jealous of you. Unfortunately, the car comes to you with a catch: the garage for the car is far from your home and you can never leave it anywhere else but there. And boom! The dream is over. The car is no longer as fun because it’s not where you want it to be and to use it, you have to travel 2 hours by train to get to it. Not cool! Cats react the same way to the location of their scratchers at home - if they’re garaged too far away, is there any point of using them?
Cat advice: on the lookout for the purrfect scratching spot
The art of finding the golden place for a cat scratcher is in understanding of how cats see their surroundings. Scratchers are not just a home gym for them - they are a place to play and serve as road signs. A scratcher at home lets your cat leave their scent mark in strategic places and with every patrol they do around their territory, they can make sure “I was here, it’s mine, I feel good here”.
Where do cat scratchers work best?
- In socially significant spots. Your cat wants to leave their scent right where their family is and that includes you, fabCat! That’s why they scratch the armchair, the couch, the carpet under your coffee table, the corners of your furniture. Make sure those places have a valuable scratcher alternative and your furniture might get out of the action without a scratch.
- In safe places. When scratching to mark their territory, cats leave a signal to themselves saying: I’m safe here. As such, they won’t use a scratcher standing right in the middle of the traffic route of the house, with everyone passing by it constantly. Yes, such places are significant and if the scratcher serves only as a road sign, the corridor or entrance to the living room will be a great spot. However, if the scratcher is supposed to be used for lounging and observation as well, spots like those mentioned will be simply too busy.
- With a view. Scratchers, especially the tall ones, should give a cat the chance to observe their entire territory. Smaller models, like our TOBI, look great on top of a bookcase or on a desk. It’s important, though, that cats always are able to stay close to the action - what is the point of an observation point with the view of the house if you have to get binoculars with it!
We previously wrote about cat superhighways here:
Where not to put your scratcher? Hidden behind a curtain, in a far corner of the house, in the bathroom, the kitchen or, hold on tight holy cat people - in the closet! We’ve heard many different stories of people trying to hide cat furniture which can often be not that aesthetically pleasing and that’s why our myKotty mission is to create cat scratchers that work purrfectly and look great in any space!
Meow with the new, out with the old - exchanging cat scratchers 1:1
Taking a new scratcher in under the roof of a cat house seems like a simple task - after all, cats and scratchers are the purrfect match. But if we get rid of the old scratcher too early and substitute it with a new one, there might be trouble. Why? Because cats don’t solely appreciate a fresh scratching surface made out of quality cardboard, asking for the first claw signs! Scents are far more important to them and those brought with the scratcher straight from a factory can’t win with the aroma of an old, well-loved and furred-over scratcher. And though the fresh scent of cardboard may work like a wind to the fire for some cats, others will need time to get used to the new piece.
The new and the old scratcher should both be available to your cat at the beginning. Put the new one in a spot where your cat will want to get interested in it, but leave the old one where they’d still have access to it and love using it. Cats don’t like change, but a scenario like this is much easier to digest than throwing out the old scratcher the moment a new one shows up at your door. An exception here are only old scratchers that are broken and using them is not comfortable or safe for your cat - a piece of furniture like this should be eliminated or properly secured until the new one is fully accepted.
Remember, dear fabCats, that every solution we give you here (being cat Guardians for 9 years now and having eaten our teeth and nerves on cat scratchers) doesn’t have to work for your fluffy friend. Why? Because, as we mentioned before, every cat has their own preferences and can react positively or negatively to totally different things than their other cat buddies. And that’s why experimenting is the best road to success, even if trying to get your cat familiar with a new scratcher was to take a while. Don’t give up! We know many of your stories from introducing a new scratcher to your house and the crushing majority of them ends with a spectacular success.
Let this interesting story be an example: we recently heard from one of our fabCats the story of a cat who accepted her LUI scratcher after… 2 years. Her Carers didn’t give up, the scratcher was always available to her and with time she decided: MEOW! That’s exactly what i need. Musti presented us with an extreme case, but it shows that time and patience can work wonders.
Testing different solutions gives you a unique insight into your cat’s preferences and a chance to understand which tricks work for them. Among others, you could use: time and patience, transferring scents, including the new scratcher into a play session, praising and giving treats, building positive associations, learning through imitation and using the power of aromeowtic cat herbs. We’ve discussed them all in our fabCatstic FAQ on how to get cats used to new cat furniture and we highly recommend checking it out:
And how your cats react to new cat furniture, dear fabCats? Are they accepted right away, straight from the box, or maybe your fluffy friends prefer to test your patience before taking the honorary place on the scratcher throne?