Cat Scratching Boards and Mats
Cat scratching mats and boards come in all shapes and sizes. They’re designed to give your cat something to scratch other than your furniture, carpets or wallpaper.
Why do cats scratch?
- It’s territorial - Cats want to mark their territory and by scratching they can leave their scent.
- It’s healthy - Scratching helps a cat to keep its claws sharp and in good condition.
- It’s enjoyable - Cats find the process of scratching and stretching is good fun. It also helps to exercise the muscles in their paws, legs and shoulders.
Scratching is natural whether a cat has access to the outdoors or not. For an indoor cat, it’s important that you provide something suitable that they can scratch to their heart’s content.
What to choose?
There are lots of different options to choose from, including:
What you choose will depend on factors including:
- The amount of space you have available
- Your budget
- Your colour scheme
- The type of scratching material your cat prefers
How to introduce a scratching mat/board
Put the scratching mat/board near the area you want them to stop scratching. If your cat is new, think about what they are most likely to want to scratch and place the mat/board close by.
Some ways to encourage your cat to use the new scratching mat/board:
- Put your cat gently in front of the new mat/board and stroke him while you wait for him to explore it
- Attaching a toy helps them discover the joy of scratching and makes it fun
- Rub some catnip on the mat/board
- Show your cat what to do by using your own fingernails
- Praise your cat when they use the mat/board. You can give them a treat too
- If your cat isn’t paying much attention to the mat/board, move it somewhere else. It may just be that the location isn’t right. Or it may be that they prefer a different type of surface
- If your cat is continuing to scratch where you don’t want them to, use a quick ‘No’, pick them up and put them where you do want them to scratch but don’t scold them when they are scratching the item you want them to use
- Cover the area you don’t want them to scratch with something that your cat doesn’t like such as double-sided sticky tape