Many people believe that your cat is partial to which surfaces it prefers to scratch. I read lots of ads where people state their felines won't use their scratching post, cat tower or cat condo furniture. I suppose this is true for the most part as many cats are purchased, adopted or inherited once they have already become accustomed to using their nails on various surfaces for scratching and developing a preference.
I have three cats of different breeds which have been used to either clawing carpet on the ground or a carpet wrapped homemade post. I threw out one of my cats shredded carpet covered cat scratching posts and replaced it with a cat tree that has sisal rope wrapped posts. My Tigra would enter the bedroom, approach the new tree where his old one used to be and not do any scratching. He would only enter the towers condo on the bottom and sit there. I thought I had emotionally damaged him at first.
We also recently inherited our third feline that was accustomed to floor carpeting. He would simply go to various lying carpets throughout the house and claw them to condition her nails.
I was initially worried that I would have a difficult time retraining the cats so they would take to the new cat towers and cat condo furniture I have placed throughout the house. I am here to tell you that the cats can be convinced to scratch on the sisal rope. We initially tried spraying the posts with a catnip solution. This method did bring the cats to the cat tree and they were quite interested, but, it did not cause them to start clawing and scratching it.
The method I used to get my cats to start scratching their cat tower was to start playing with them on the posts with a piece of yarn. The yarn has characteristics in it that make it want to stick or intertwine with the sisal rope. I would wrap the yarn around the posts and pull it slowly to get the cats' attention and intrigue. After a few seconds, the cat attempted to capture the moving yarn. Once the cats claws started catching on the sisal rope wrapped posts it was like they figured out themselves this would be a good scratching surface.
I did need to keep playing with the cats at the cat tower with yarn for a few days before they developed the habit of returning to the cat tree for scratching purposes. I also gave the cats rewards in the form of cat treats when they initially started using their cat scratching posts. Now I no longer worry if they will use their cat condo furniture. I still play with the cats using yarn periodically, but, now it is for entertainment only instead of trying to get them to use the cat towers.
In Summary, cats can be trained to scratch on different surfaces. Catnip sprays and toys can be used to bring the cats to the scratching post. I found playing with a piece of yarn is best to get the cats to start scratching.
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