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How Important Are Scratching Posts For Good Care Of Savannah Cats?

Cats need to scratch and they need a GREAT scratching post. They scratch to smooth the frayed rings of their claws and also to stretch their spines and muscles.

This is why many adoption contracts insist that new owners agree not to declaw their new Savannah kittens.

Cats stay fit and healthy with the scratching and stretching activity that is so natural to them.

Scratching is also an instinctive method of marking territory. Each scratch leaves secretions from the glands in a cat's feet.

If cats don't have an adequate surface to scratch... they will create one. So it is important to provide a great scratching post both for your cat's well-being and the protection of your furniture.

Placement

Generally, the rule about scratching posts is... the more the better. But the most important post will be the one that is placed 2-3 feet from the food and the next important is the one near its bed.

Most cats scratch immediately after waking and go through several stretching exercises before resuming their day.

Other great spots are near a sunny window or draft-free corner where your cat likes to spend time... or in front of a frequently scratched piece of furniture.

Materials

Many owners argue that carpeted posts are rather pointless since they are similar to the carpets and furniture that are off-limits. How is a poor kitten supposed to know one carpet from another?!

Sisal rope posts work well because they provide a challenging but different texture than other home furnishings... unless you have sisal rugs, of course.

Natural bark and stripped tree trunks are also good choices but be sure the bark is bug-free and the trunks are not chemically treated.

Size

Cats like solid posts that don't move around when they are stretching and scratching. If your cat feels insecure or unsteady on the post, it will find a more solid surface.

And it is especially important to have a tall post that allows the long Savannah to get a really good stretch even when it has matured to its full 15-30 pounds as an adult.

Many families buy a climbing and perching place for their Savannah that allows a good stretch as well as a nice viewing and hiding spot that is all their own.

Posts range from basic boards to "luxury lounges" to suit every taste and budget.

How To Train Your Cat?

Even when you have placed the perfect scratching post in the ideal location, your Savannah may need encouragement to choose the post rather than your furniture. There are four key steps to help your new kitten learn:

  1. Begin scratch-post training before a problem arises. It is easier to establish good habits than to correct problem behavior.
  2. Show your kitten how to scratch. Actually go through the scratching motion while your kitten is watching... but don't force it to scratch by holding its paws. This may cause it to actually dislike the post.
  3. Attract your cat to the post with lures and rewards. Place toys on or around the scratching post and rub it with catnip.
  4. Spray your cat with water when it scratches the wrong place.
  5. Don't replace the surface when it becomes badly shredded. After all... that is what your cat is trying to achieve. It's a scratching post!

For more information about caring for your Savannah cat, please see these related pages: Health Tips, Diet Guide, Food Tips and Toy Tips.