Scratching Pads and Boards
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There's no escaping it: cats just love to scratch. And they'll get to work on anything in their path if they're bored enough - your antique chair, your brand new sofa (that you'll be paying off for the next ten years) or even your favourite pair of shoes. They're not choosy, they've just gotta scrape stuff!
So save your sanity and check out the various scratching toy options. Most people have heard of scratching posts but let's face it; they're not the most attractive things to have in your living room.
Instead, you should explore the world of pads and boards. They're usually low to the ground or flush to the wall - therefore less dominant - and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, patterns and colours.
Corner boards are a particularly great invention: they still allow your cat to stretch his or her limbs out to great heights but can be neatly tacked to a corner so that you can save your poor wallpaper. Plus it'll cover any damage that's already been done...
Corner boards usually come with a couple of screws at the top so you can attach it wherever you see fit. You may find you need additional security at the bottom if your pet prefers the board to stay firmly in place while they scratch.
Boards that lie on the floor come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A particularly popular scratch board comes in a curved shape so your cat can wind itself over the board while they have a good old play. It's made from sisal which is naturally an incredibly strong fibre so it'll take a lot of punishment.
If you have an exceedingly elegant feline who loves to recline, why not invest in a chaise- or bench-shaped scratching board? So very glamorous!
Scratching pads are great for cats who like to scratch on the flat. If you have a new kitten and don't want a great big scratching post taking up living space, you can find portable scratching pads that can be placed wherever your new friend happens to be hanging out.
Most designs come with a rope or screws so that, as your cat grows, you can hang their pad up on the wall or door.
The great thing about scratching pads and boards is that they're so easy to move around the house. Cats like to mark out various areas of territory around the home and, with a few pads and boards in your collection, you can be ready to protect whichever wall, carpet or piece of furniture to which they've taken a shine.
With all new boards and pads, you cat may tread cautiously around them at first. If you really want to encourage use, try lacing it with a touch of catnip. Some scratchers come with a little bag but if not, it's easy to get hold of.
With a touch of catnip, your kitty will soon be getting stuck right in!