Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Why Do Cats Need Scratching Posts? 7 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

orange cats playing on scratching post

Vet approved

Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

A scratching post may not seem like a priority item to purchase when bringing home a new kitty, but this seemingly unnecessary piece of equipment may just be the best thing you invest in.

Purchasing a scratching post for your kitty can potentially save you from developing resentment toward your furry friend for a destroyed couch or keeping you up at night by clawing at the bottom of the bed. Not only that, but they are also beneficial for your feline’s health.

There are also many reasons why your kitty is inclined to claw and scratch, and understanding those reasons will provide patience and compassion.

The 7 Reasons Cats Need Scratching Posts

1. Scratching Releases Energy

When your cat is still a kitten, you will notice they have a high amount of energy. Having a scratching post is a great tool to help them release that energy by making them reach and scratch. If your cat is bored, a scratching post can help release energy that has built up and help calm them down.


2. They Help Groom Your Cat’s Claws

Scratching is a normal behavior for cats. They do it to prepare their claws for hunting while maintaining the condition of their claws. A scratching post will help keep your cats’ nails in good health by removing the dead outer layer of the nail and exposing new growth.

Overgrown nails can cause all kinds of problems for your cat's paws. Our Hepper Cat Nail Clipper Set includes everything you need to keep your cat's nails safely trimmed. It includes two sizes of stainless steel clippers complete with ergonomic handles and built-in safety guards. This set is perfect for all ages, sizes, and breeds of cats!

Hepper Cat Nail Clipper Kit - Small and Large...
4 Reviews
Hepper Cat Nail Clipper Kit - Small and Large...
  • Complete Set - These cat nail clippers include both a large and small pair, meaning it works well as...
  • Razor Sharp Stainless Steel - The most comfortable cat nail clippers for indoor cats provide a fast...


3. They Help Cats Socialize

If you have more than one feline friend in your home, you should have at least one scratching post they can share. They will use this post as a meeting place where they can socialize and bond. It is also a means to invite and entice their friend to come and play. If you are thinking of bringing home an additional cat, a scratching post is a great way to bring the cats together.


4. A Scratching Post Is Great for Exercise

A scratching post can encourage a lot of stretching, jumping, and balancing, which is ideal for an active feline. Your kitty may want to stretch out after a long nap, and a scratching post encourages them to reach, extending their front legs. A scratcher with toys promotes play, causing your kitty to jump and pounce, which is excellent exercise.

Some cats need a little encouragement when it comes to physical activity. Our Hepper Hi-Lo Cat Scratcher offers a versatile three-position design that fosters climbing, stretching, and scratching. Its B flute cardboard texture will entice your cat’s natural instincts, and enhance their circulatory health and muscle tone, all while providing an enjoyable outlet for active play and well-being.

Hepper Hi-Lo Cardboard Cat Scratcher with Real...
22 Reviews
Hepper Hi-Lo Cardboard Cat Scratcher with Real...
  • Premium Materials - Hepper's cardboard scratcher is made with dense, B-flute cardboard, and a metal...
  • High, Low and Lower - A single cat scratch pad won't keep your cat engaged. 3 unique positions keeps...

5. It Will Save Your Furniture

Scratching is instinctive to cats, and if you own a cat or have owned one before, then you understand the damage their claws can inflict on your furniture. Having a scratching post gives a cat a designated scratching area, so they are not tempted to sink their claws into your cabinets or couches.


6. It Releases Feel-Good Hormones

Scratching can be a method of self-soothing for cats and helps them reduce stress. When your cat scratches, feel-good hormones are released that help your cat feel happy. Having a scratching post will encourage scratching, and your cat will release hormones more frequently and will be a happier cat overall.

cat scratching on scratching post
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

7. Fulfills Your Cats Need for Territory Marking

Cats are naturally territorial over their space and may want to mark their territory using scratching. The pads of a cat’s feet have glands that release a scent as they scratch. The scent will remain on the area they strike so they can claim it as their own.

Tips for Getting a Scratching Post

Now that you know the importance of providing your kitty with a scratching post, you need to find one that is suitable to your cat’s needs. Consider these factors when purchasing your kitty’s scratching post.

Knowing Your Cat’s Scratching Style:

Knowing your cat’s scratching style and which position they prefer; will help you pick out scratching posts that they will actually use.

  • Horizontal Cat Scratchers: Your kitty is likely to enjoy a flat surface if they are scratching floors, rugs, and carpets, and a mat scratcher may be ideal for them.
  • Scratching Post: If your cat is scratching curtains, the backs of chairs, or the arms of the sofa, then it most likely enjoys standing on its back legs and scratching with its front claws, so a vertical post is more suitable.
  • Cube Scratchers: This scratcher is the best of both worlds if your kitty enjoys both positions or if you have more than one cat with different preferences. They have both vertical and horizontal sides and double as sleeping spots too.
  • Material: You will need to establish what material your pet prefers. It could be cardboard, carpet, or rope if the cat prefers a rougher surface.
  • You can use catnip to attract your pet to a new post, and if you notice they are still scratching furniture, you can gently carry them over to the scratcher and mimic the scratching motion with their paws. Use positive reinforcement, like treats and praise, so they associate positive things with their scratcher.

The Danger of Declawing

Declawing is a drastic procedure that is illegal in most cities. It is essentially the amputation of part of the cat’s toes, which takes away their natural ability to climb and protect themselves. It can cause behavioral changes and chronic pain, so the decision to follow through with this procedure should never be taken lightly. There are safer, alternative options, and you can speak to your vet to assist you in finding a more humane solution.

vet checking up a cat
Photo Credit: brodtcast, Shutterstock

Conclusion

Having a scratching post in your home will benefit your furry friend. They will be able to nurture their natural scratching instincts, which ultimately means a happier, healthy, and fit kitty. While your cats’ needs are being fulfilled, your home and furniture will be safe from destruction, and you will bond more deeply with your feline friend when there is no compounding resentment.


Featured Image Credit: MarinaTr, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database