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Cat Training - scratching behaviour

Updated: Aug 9, 2020

I’m starting off a series of posts on cat training. This behaviour in the video below was surprisingly easy for Indi to learn (which is why my friend called her a PhD Kitty).

I’ve been really busy, and had been working on new behaviours for Indi. But thought that this is my favourite, brag-worthy behaviour that she does. When I tell owners that my cat scratches her post on command, they don’t think their cats will ever be able to do this. My goal, is for cat owners to learn that they can teach their cats as well. Anyway, I rarely ask for this behaviour so it’s been months and chances are she was prompted a bit because I moved the post to better lighting for the video. The video here is first take, I just got home, set up my phone to record and voila!

So, Indi knows how to scratch her post on command. She will use this one or her cat tower when I ask her, and never scratches the furniture or the carpet.

I was thinking about some of my kitten patients this week. A common concern is that new kittens are scratching furniture. Part of the problem is they don’t know human rules, the other problem is that the owners don’t know cats - scratching is a natural behaviour. New cat owners need to provide their cats with appropriate scratching material and it needs to be located where the cat wants to scratch.

I find towers and the posts like the one in the video with rope or carpet are the best. Most cats will take to these well. Some will use the cardboard scratchers, some the wicker, but you have to find out which ones your cat likes. I would start with a cheap rope style one (I bought this one at Walmart).

There are things to encourage your cat to scratch the appropriate items. As well, owners try to discourage their cat from scratching the furniture by spraying them with water, but I can almost guarantee that the cat scratches it when the owner isn’t there.

So first step in this lesson, is learning what your cat needs for appropriate scratching, and buying that. I’ll be going into the details of how, but not until you have the tools first!

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