Scratchers, scratchers - no cat can resist their magnetic powers. At myKotty we know it very well, both thanks to you, fabCats, and thanks to our own cat experiences. Seeing cat scratchers at home is completely normal this day - a scratching post here, a cat tree there, a horizontal scratcher to match them and you’re set. But how many scratchers does one cat really need and does choosing between vertical and horizontal scratchers make any difference? More on that in today’s article. Let’s get reading, fabCats!
Why do cats scratch?
It’s a good starting question. In the words of Jackson Galaxy, a well-known cat expert and educator: For cats, scratching isn’t a luxury. In many cases, what people see as a “disruptive” behaviour, for cats is a necessity. Of course, we’re talking about scratching here, which, as Galaxy says in his book, “Total Cat Mojo”, serves cats as a way of stretching, as training and stress relief and as a good way to shed the outer layers of their claws.
The cat need of scratching can be further extended into some territorial aspects - scratchers play the role of road signs at home, allowing cats to leave their prints everywhere and mark their ownership of the territory. Scratching lets cats mix their scents with our scents and say they’re a part of the family. Because of that, a scratcher is a necessary part of home furnishings for a cat, just like a bowl full of food or a clean litter box! If there’s no scratcher at home or it’s not attractive enough (more on that later), it will be your couch, armchair, carpet or a door frame that will get its butt kicked. And we don’t want that, do we? :)
A horizontal or a vertical scratcher?
And here we arrive, dear fabCats, at the bottom line: choosing the scratcher. Most cat Carers go for the vertical scratchers first - the classic scratching post or cat tree where a cat can easily stretch and which, in most cases, can serve as a cat bed and an observation point by the window. And sure, most cats love that form of scratchers and feel great when they can stretch their paws and back upwards. Unfortunately, even with vertical scratchers available, many cats still spend their energy on scratching couches, carpets or bed mattresses and the reason is simple - they need a horizontal scratcher too.
Horizontal scratching lets cats work on different muscle groups compared to vertical scratching. When they hunker down, they can dig their back legs’ claws into the scratcher, work on their back muscles by making that characteristic cat pose and work their front legs, ripping the surface of the scratcher with double the force. Scratching horizontally is simply so much fun and a healthy dose of activity.
The story of horizontal scratchers at myKotty
MyKotty has been going for horizontal scratchers from the very beginning, seeing as this form of scratchers was our cats’ favourite. We also knew that this form was neglected by many manufacturers - whereas there are many sisal scratching posts on the market, horizontal scratchers (mostly made out of corrugated cardboard) are often small, of poor quality, easily destroyed and sized to fit a young kitten at best. We feel that both your cats and you, dear fabCats, deserve a top shelf product! A product that’s durable, made out of high quality materials, looks purrfect in any interior and, at the same time, is big, sturdy and cat-friendly. Those are the values that we put into every myKotty scratcher project. And as you showed us on many photos of your fluffy companions on social media, in our comments on Facebook or in Direct Messages - it works!
Horizontal scratchers: the pros
An important feature of horizontal scratchers is, or rather should be, their stability. A cat scratching the typical vertical scratching post rests their back legs on the floor, a carpet or on the base of the scratcher, pulling the post towards them. Because of that, it’s important for the vertical posts to have a heavy base that doesn’t allow a cat to tilt and drop the scratcher onto themself. But when we look at a horizontal scratcher, a cat sits on its surface with their entire body weight. It’s important for them to have enough space to sit on it!
A horizontal scratcher shouldn’t be tilting back under the cat’s weight. It shouldn’t be too narrow, like it was sized for a kitten. And it should be sturdy enough to allow a cat to jump on it and not slide out from under their paws. Finally, the shape of the scratcher should be ergonomic and make it comfortable for a cat to scratch in a most natural way. Some might say those are just details, but both we and the cats pay a lot of attention to them.
When is a scratcher attractive for a cat?
Cats choose their scratching space according to the 4 main criteria: the location, the material, the type of the scratcher and their stability. The topics of the position cats take during scratching and the stability of the cat furniture are already behind us - a cat won’t like a scratcher if every scratch is a risk of the scratcher falling over or sliding out from under them. A couch would never do that, right? Cats can also have their preferences and choose mostly horizontal or vertical scratchers or a healthy mix of both. But what about the rest of the criteria?
A scratcher for a cat is, like we mentioned, a scent-soaking sign post. It has to stand in spots that are socially significant or it doesn’t work as intended. Hidden in the hallway or behind the couch, it will never have as much significance as the sofa’s sides have when you’re spending your entire evening on it. An elegant horizontal cat scratcher set up right by the side of the sofa is a great cat furniture option - we can teach our cats not to scratch the couch (e.g. by placing some sticky tape on it) and at the same time we can give them an attractive alternative, the choice of which is a profitable compromise.
The material the scratcher is made out of is also a very important part of the decision process. Horizontal scratchers are most often made with corrugated cardboard and in our case, we made sure it’s of the highest quality. We didn’t just want to eliminate the issue of a cardboard confetti around the scratcher (though we successfully managed to do so) - we also thought about the cat experience and how they can have their preferences towards surfaces they scratch on. Most of the time, they choose a surface that is easy to dig the claws into and one that’s not hard on their delicate paws! We were the first to design a manufacturing process that makes the surface resemble soft suede. Also, the smell of the cardboard works like a cat magnet and it was also the reason we chose this and not any other material. In our unique manufacturing process, the scratchers let out even more of the natural, cardboard scent - you often suspect us of adding catnip to it by looking at how your cats are drawn to the scratchers right out of the cardboard :) Meanwhile, by choosing the right type of corrugated cardboard and processing it the right way, we don’t have to add any artificial scent enhancers.
Which scratcher to choose?
Our attitute, as cat Carers, has always stayed the same - taking a cat under our roof, we don’t know which form of scratching they will like best. It’s good to give them both vertical and horizontal options so they can choose their favourites on their own. And if your cat has only had experiences with vertical scratchers so far or used the small horizontal scratchers of questionable quality, buying them a bigger and more sturdy horizontal scratcher can be a breakthrough discovery for a cat. There’s no harm in trying and the benefits of bringing new cat furniture into the home can be positively surprising. And every fabCat that buys our scratcher from the mykotty.eu or mykotty.com website has 100 days to return it - though we can assure you that cats won’t allow for that :)
And how is it for you, fabCats? Do your fluffy friends choose vertical or horizontal scratchers, or maybe they love having a wide variety of all the types at home? We’re waiting for your comments.