Enrichment – Scratch Post


If you work at a desk, and move a bit around the workspace, you know working adjustment and swivels, and good steering in the wheels are hallmarks of a good work-chair.

A scratchpost is your cats’ version of the work-chair. It needs to be sturdy enough to provide solid resistance when they scratch. Because the scratch post often double up as a play station and nap post, it must also be able to withstand abuse since the kitties are are going to be utilising club facilities to the max and beyond, using the post as a launching pad, snuggling on the highest platform, playing hide-and-swipe.

If you have a cat who is largish, it’s doubly important that the scratch post is tall enough to accommodate her when she gets lost in the reverie of scratching and stretches herself to her length’s limit.

How to choose a scratch post? Short of bringing along the kits along to pick it out themselves, and you’d be a brave soul to attempt that expedition, you’d have to decide for them.

Here’s a few rules we’ve arrived at, what with having watched some of ours grow up and in having an eclectic mix of LARGE and dainties, playful and restful, placid and violent scratchers.

  • Wobble – if it can’t even keep steady with a few tentative shakes from you, it’s out.
    • Mimic your cat’s launch-off: try a few violent shakes on the post.
  • Build – multi-platforms are great in catering to playful moods or energetic kittens. However, try imagining your cats navigating up and down the post. Does the design make sense. Function matters, it takes precedence over form.
    • Can it take being used as a launching pad? (Ref wobble test)
    • Can it take being climbed (for tall condo-style posts)?
    • Can it bear being pummelled as a wrestling dummy?
  • Accommodation – can you imagine your cat(s) sitting or sleeping on the platform(s)? Is there enough space for them to rest their butts?
  • Quality – especially if you have 2 or more cats, can you see your cats enjoying doing all that they would want to do on/around the scratch post comfortably and happily?

A large base helps in stability. Bulk helps too. It may boil down to a trade off between cost and function. But you don’t have to get the biggest scratch post you can find, like this mother-of-scratchposts, unless you have LARGE or ACTIVE cats.

Here’s ours for reference

Philly_scratchpost_20070828_x
Main post. Model: Philly (featuring Sharky Shark the soft-toy. Dumbells, basket and Sharky Shark not included)

The hammock is wasted on our lot, too small for them and they never got the hang of it. But I’ve seen cats who love hammocks, so it’s not a dud design feature in general. The hanging tub where Sharky Shark is hanging out is wasted for the same reasons.

Even though it’s large and stable – we minions can sit on it, and have lounged at length – it can still topple if severe violence was inflicted. But that’s nothing to be alarmed at. Short of nailing a post to the ground, accidents will happen… hopefully not too often.

It’s really quite sturdy and we’ve had it since July 2004.

Philly_tunnel_20070828_-2x
Secondary post sans loft. model: Philly

This is how the secondary originally looked. You can see why we removed the loft… tower decommissioning inevitable.

Compare the condition of the main post and the decapitated loft. This secondary post was bought a year later than the main one.

Cats, especially large ones, do prefer taller posts. Our problem is that we’ve not found one that’s tall and sturdy for the cats and yet is economical and compact enough to fit into our home safely without inducing snubbed toes. (The mother-of-scratchposts I covet… but will need to wait til the jobless half of the minion pair, me, get a job and we can buy it.)

As of  late October 07, we’ve added a new scratchpost/condo

Additional ref on scratching, scratch posts and getting kitty to use da POST

(Created: 15 Oct 06. Updated: 12 Nov 07)

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3 responses to “Enrichment – Scratch Post

  1. Thanks for the advice!

    I feel much more prepared to choose a better scratching post now.

  2. That’s good to hear. Glad to be of help.

  3. Pingback: Lotus Cat Tower « Tipped Ear Clan

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