Scratching is an important outlet for cats when they feel bored, stressed, or excited. It can also be prompted by their innate territorial instinct, or as part of a grooming habit. To make sure your feline does not harm any of your furniture or carpets, it is a good idea to provide him with a suitable alternative to sharpen his nails and keep him stimulated.
Cardboard cat scratchers come in many shapes and sizes, and the material they are made from, along with several other factors, will dictate their longevity. If you are concerned about how long your cat scratcher will last or when you should change it, you are on the right page. Below, we will discuss some of the factors that affect the life service of your cardboard scratcher and how to maintain it to last longer.
Why your cat loves scratching
Cats love to scratch; it is part of their natural daily routine. Many cat owners feel frustrated when they see their household items getting torn, frayed or otherwise damaged, and it can be difficult to stop this behavior because it is innate to felines.
While you are feeling bad about your kitty shredding your favorite carpet, let us take a look at some of the reasons behind this annoying scratching behavior.
- Felines scratch on objects to let the others know that this is their territory. The paws, as you may know, house scent glands that allow cats to mark an area or object with their unique scent.
- Cats need to scratch when they feel stressed or excited. A nearby post or furniture can become an outlet for your furry friend’s emotions.
- Our four-legged companions have odd behaviors that we sometimes cannot comprehend. That includes scratching a carpet when they want to say hello to you or to the other pets in your household.
- Have you ever wondered how cats (both wild and domesticated) clean and maintain their sharp claws? Yep, exactly! They scratch. Cats do this instinctively to remove dirt and older layers off their nails in preparation for the next hunt.
- For most cat owners, it is common to see their cats stretching their legs in a yoga pose while gripping the carpet or any sturdy material their claws can hold onto. Yes, cats do love to stretch their muscles from time to time, but they enjoy it even more if they can scratch while doing so.
How long does a cat’s cardboard scratcher last?
With daily use, an average cardboard scratcher should last three to four months. If you get a high-quality, durable scratcher, you can expect a life service of up to six months. Keep in mind that this can vary depending on several other factors, such as the frequency of your cat’s scratching and the number of cats sharing the same scratching post.
You will need to observe your cat’s scratching behavior to assess whether you need to replace the cardboard scratcher. Sometimes, he could stop using it even if it does not look completely worn out. Maybe he has just become bored or tired of using the scratching post, and instead is now eyeing your new carpet or furniture. If this is the case, then getting a new cardboard scratcher should keep your furry companion busy and save your household goods.
Do cat scratching posts wear out easily?
Yes, scratching posts can wear out, like any other material objects, especially when used frequently. Purchasing a high-quality cardboard scratcher does influence its longevity. However, you may need to consider other factors as well to estimate how long a scratching post will last. These are the following:
1. Type of cardboard scratcher
Cardboard scratchers come in two types – the firm type and the soft version. Scratchers made of firm cardboard generally last longer and can withstand your feline’s sharp claws better than the soft type.
On the other hand, the soft cardboard may offer some advantage as it mimics the texture of trees with soft bark. At times, cats may feel the need to sink their sharp claws deeper into a soft surface to massage the skin and muscles between their claws. However, soft cardboard scratchers do not last very long and you may need to replace these quite often.
2. Number of scratching posts available
Cats typically scratch at least once a day, so if you only have one scratching post at home, then expect it to wear out quickly as your cat focuses all his boredom or excitement on that single scratcher.
3. Size of the cardboard scratcher
If your cat likes to scratch frequently, then a small cardboard scratcher is unlikely to satisfy him. If you want a cardboard scratcher to last longer, give him a bigger one. The larger the scratcher, the more work your cat can do before it becomes useless.
4. Reversibility of the cardboard
Most cardboard scratchers on the market are reversible for the purpose of extending their lifetime. These scratchers are designed to be double-sided so that when one side is ruined, you can flip it over to the unused side, which is still brand new.
5. Number of cats sharing the scratching posts
If you have multiple cats living under your roof, then you need to consider how many scratching posts will be sufficient for your felines to share. The more cats share a single post, the faster it will wear out.
6. Cat’s temperament
Your cat’s personality also matters when it comes to the longevity of your cardboard scratcher. Does your cat regularly feel anxious or stressed? Then expect more damage to the scratching post. Give your feline a sturdy outlet for his emotions by investing in a high-quality, nail resistant cardboard scratcher.
7. Clipped or unclipped nails
If you regularly groom your kitty and clip his nails, then good news! Your cardboard scratcher will likely survive your cat’s regular scratching for longer.
8. Relationship among your cats
Felines are naturally territorial animals. As mentioned, scent marking is their primary means of claiming ownership and making other cats aware of their territory. If you have several cats at home that do not all get along well, then you might see them scratching more frequently to mark their territories.
Increasing the life service of your cat’s cardboard scratcher
So, you want to keep your cat scratchers longer and avoid buying new ones quite so often. Do not worry; there are ways you can extend the service of your cat’s cardboard scratcher. This is how:
1. Provide extra scratchers and toys
The more scratchers and toys, the happier your furry companions will be. And you do not even need to spend tons of money for this. Simply place multiple scratchers strategically around your house to ensure your pets have an outlet when they get bored or stressed.
Adding smaller toys in the play area can also help support your cat’s hunting instincts and keep him away from your precious furniture. Some owners even set up a cat playhouse to keep their felines entertained and stimulated. This is also a great way to play with your kitty while keeping an eye on him.
Offering such variety will keep your cats from focusing on the scratching posts alone. These are also great ideas to easily manage any health and behavioral issues.
2. Keep the scratching posts dry and clean
Keeping the cardboard cat scratcher clean and dry plays a vital role in its longevity. Yes, the material might be more durable than ordinary paper, but it still requires some upkeep to last longer.
One thing you must remember is to keep your cat scratcher away from wet or damp areas. This will prevent it from getting moldy and breaking down. Make sure your cat has access to it in well-ventilated areas.
If the scratcher gets wet for some reason (perhaps your unhappy cat peed on it), then you can clean the surface with a stiff brush and let it dry under the sun. You can also vacuum the post to remove cat fur and debris. If your cat vomits on the scratcher, use a damp washcloth and disinfectant to clean up the mess. Odor neutralizers can also help remove foul odors from vomit or urine.
3. Try making a DIY cardboard scratcher
If you are the creative and resourceful type, then why not make a DIY cardboard scratcher? You can choose your own materials and manage how durable you want the scratcher to be. Plus, you can also save money by recycling some used items. The internet is flooded with great ideas on how to do this, so be sure to mark this as your next weekend project!
Cats scratch for a variety of reasons. They do it to keep their claws sharp and clean, or they could simply be feeling happy or bored. Whatever the reasons may be, it is important to provide your felines with an outlet to keep your carpets and furniture safe from tears and scratches. A durable, high-quality cardboard cat scratcher offers a suitable outlet to keep your furry friends satisfied.
Cat owners are often concerned about the longevity of cardboard scratchers and when they need to be replaced. With daily use and proper maintenance, scratching posts should last a few months before they need to be replaced. As discussed in this post, there are also ways you can extend the life service of cat scratchers to save you hassle and extra costs.
Image: istockphoto.com / Oksana Kalinina