We were finally able to catch Floki last week to bring him to the groomer to get his nails trimmed. Our last two attempts ended in Failure. With Floki, if you try to catch him and fail, his guard is up for the rest of the day, or longer.
After the second failed attempt we decided to order a new cat scratcher to help keep his nails from getting too long between groomer visits. The sisal scratchers seem to be more useful in directing scratching activity away from furniture but I have always questioned their ability to actually keep nails short.
About five years ago, maybe more, I read about an all wood scratcher that interested me. I knew it might work because several years earlier, our cat Vinny would get on top of my son’s guinea pig cage and scratch the wood. There was one spot with large gouges in the wood from Vinny’s scratching.
At the time I thought I would just save money and build it myself. It seemed simple enough. I thought I might even try angling it or making it horizontal since Vinny used a horizontal piece of wood to scratch on. Unfortunately, I ran into a problem I didn’t anticipate.
I didn’t want to use chemically treated wood, which could be bad for the cats if they ingest any of it. I also wanted a soft wood like cedar that would allow them to dig into it a little. My feeling was that a wood that was too hard would interest them as much as a steel scratching post. The problem I ran into was that you can’t go into a local hardware store and buy a 4×4 piece of wood that is soft or untreated. I did find a place online but I would have had to buy an entire pallet which I didn’t want to do. So instead of just buying the scratcher at the time, I just forgot about the whole thing until Floki reminded me that we needed something for him since getting his nails trimmed is way too much trouble.
I found the same product on Amazon that I saw years before. The price went up five dollars but considering the time that has passed I would say that is less than inflation. The product is a Natural Scratch 32″ Scratching Post. It should be noted that this is an affiliate link so if you buy a scratcher I will get a little over two dollars and will be able to retire early. Thanks in advance.
When it arrived, our cats were more interested in the box then they were anything else.
Putting it together is pretty simple. The two base pieces have cutouts that allow them to fit together like an “X.” All the pieces have predrilled holes so you just use the included screws and screw the base to the post.
There were two minor things that I didn’t like about it. First, there should have been a recess in the base so the screws would not stick out and scratch the floor. I compensated by screwing them in tight so they dug into the wood far enough to not be an issue but some people might not think about that. I suppose that could have been in the instructions but I’m sure I am not the only one who doesn’t read those things.
The other issue was that I thought two screws were not enough to hold the pieces together properly. I considered drilling two more holes and putting in two additional screws but decided to see how it held up with two screws. So far it seems fine.
The scratcher comes with a “mouse hole” at the top where you can put treats, catnip or toys. I chose to put catnip in the hole for the introduction.
It also comes with a cord that they call an antenna. It is something to encourage your cats to reach up and play.
Of our three cats, only Frankie used the scratcher as a scratcher. He seemed to understand what it was for right away while Chris, and to a lesser degree Floki, were more interested in the catnip that fell on the floor.
It has been a week since I put it together and Frankie continues to use it on a regular basis. I must admit that the instructions had advice for getting your cats to use it but that accidently ended up in the trash before I could read it. I have seen Floki use it a couple of times but not regularly. I have not seen Chris use it at all.
So far I would only rate this as a partial success but I think it takes time for the cats to get used to it and learn what it is for. I blame myself for not putting in the time to train our cats, or at least show them that they have an alternative to their other scratching posts. I also think that even though we bought this mostly for Floki, Frankie’s use of it has had unexpected benefits. Frankie is our resident sofa scratcher and I have not seen him scratch the sofa since I introduced the new scratching post. Hopefully that behavior will continue.
What do you think? Does anyone have a natural wood scratcher? Does it work for you?