Thursday, January 5, 2012

Favorite Pet Product

This month's favorite pet product is for cats. Cats need different forms of entertainment to keep them happy and active. Toys are great but cats like to climb and scratch too. Scratching is a natural behavior they do to shed the outer sheaths of their claws and leave their scent. Cats like different kinds of surfaces to claw on such as carpet, cardboard, sisal, upholstery and wood. They like to scratch on things horizontally and vertically. They like to climb to high places too. I have several different kinds of scratchers strategically placed throughout the house especially in spots where they tend to want to scratch like the corners of the sofa or chairs. My favorite cat trees are made by Armarkat. They have lots of sizes, colors and types of cat trees. I have a large one like pictured here. I've had it for several years and the cats climb, scratch, play on and run up it all the time. I bought it through an Ebay auction and got a very reasonable price (most of it was in shipping cost). It was very easy to assemble and can be taken apart easily too. Some of their cat trees like the one pictured here use faux fur instead of carpet which I like better. (Carpet puts off chemical fumes.)

Another scratcher my cats love is the "S" shaped horizontal one pictured here. They really like the sisal pad to scratch on and they also like to lay inside the other side or crawl underneath. I have a client who has one that is a double-wide. I've tried to find where I can purchase a double-wide but haven't had any luck. (If you know where to get it, let me know!)
The all time favorite horizontal scratcher is the corrugated cardboard box. After they have shredded the top you can turn it over and use the other side. I think they like the double-wide ones (as shown) better because they can lay on top of it while they scratch. They can't do that so well with the narrow ones. Be sure to apply some catnip for added pleasure!

There are all kinds of cat scratchers so try a variety to see which ones your cat  likes best. Place them in their favorite scratching areas (like the corners of the furniture). Cats can be trained to scratch on appropriate things it just takes some training and patience. When you see them scratching on something they are not supposed to, you can tell them "no" and gently remove them from scratching on that item and then place them on the item they are supposed to scratch on. (I've even demonstrated what to do for them!) You've got to give them an alternative to scratch on if it's not going to be your furniture. And most important: When they do scratch where they're supposed to, be sure to praise them, a lot, every time you see them do it. This will reinforce their good behavior! My cats have come to expect praise when they scratch on their cat scratchers and it's very rare for them to scratch on anything else.

Note: The Emerycat board (as seen on TV) which has emery board as the surface was not a hit at my house or many of my cat clients either. Although the idea is good, most cats don't like the feel of the emery board and shy away from scratching on it.