To train your cat to scratch on a scratching post, try to relocate the post to an area your cat likes to scratch.
Look at the scratching fabric used in the post. Commonly available materials include carpet, sisal/rope and cardboard. Cats usually have a preference for one over the others.
It's important to check that you are providing the pole at a suitable angle for your cat’s scratching behaviour. Cats can scratch on a vertical surface, a horizontal one, at an angle or all of the above. Go with your cat’s individual preference and try to provide a variety of angles for scratching.
If your cat is an indoor pet or you have a multi-cat household (the scent of one cat may deter the others from using the same post), so provide several scratching posts around your home, especially if your home is large.
Creating a scratching post
The simplest form of do-it-yourself scratching post is to bring a section of tree trunk into your home. While your cat may enjoy this (often the case with cats who have been used to scratching outdoors), it can be very messy in your home, not to mention what bugs it may harbour!
You can also create a scratching post by using a stable object and wrapping your cat’s favourite scratching fabric around it – cardboard, sisal or carpet.
The key to any scratching post is that it's stable, try attaching it to the floor or wall for stability. Keep in mind that the fabric may need to be replaced as your cat wears it down with use.
About Dr Joanne Righetti
Dr Joanne Righetti is an animal behaviourist, educating the public and professionals in all aspects of the human–animal relationship. Her background is in zoology, with a PhD in animal behaviour and a counselling diploma – qualifications which enable her to work with all sorts of animals – including the human variety! Joanne likes to help pet owners understand their pet's behaviour and solve any pet behaviour problems. She also consults to a variety of organisations including non-profit organisations, commercial companies and councils and is involved in a variety of media including regular spots on radio. Joanne is an honorary associate of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Sydney. Find out more about Joanne at www.petproblemsolved.com.au