Wondering how to keep cats from scratching deck posts? A lot of homeowners with a front porch have probably wondered the same thing. Imagine this scenario. You come home tired from work, when you decided to stay and relax on the front porch just to be by yourself. And then, to your surprise, some deck posts have been scratched notoriously by your cat. What a headache, isn’t it? As much as you love your cat, you know there are certain habits and behavioral problems that could exhaust every bit of patience you have. While it can be infuriating, please don’t yell at nor hurt your cat. As a cat parent, it’s important that you solve this problem and the burden of teaching your cat to be a good girl lies in you.
Why Do Cats Love To Scratch?
Unbeknownst to many, scratching is a natural instinct for cats. It is something you will never get rid of, unless you do something drastic, such as declawing. But why do cats love to scratch on various surfaces, anyway? Here are the reasons.
- Scratching for cats is an upper body workout for them. When they scratch, they stretch their upper body which feels good to them. This is the reason why a lot of objects they scratch on are usually tall sturdy and vertical things such as a leg of a table deck post and even chairs.
- Cats like to keep their nails sharp and in good condition. When they scratch they get to remove the outer sheath while maintaining the sharpness of their nails. This is also why as a cat parent you should trim your cat’s nails not only to have some time for them but also to keep their nails sharp.
- Cats like to mark their territory especially when they live in a multi-cat home. Cats release their scent which are uniquely theirs when they scratch to tell other cats they have been there before.
- Cats scratch on furniture carpets or even on tall vertical objects because they’re bored. When they have so much energy waiting to be released they could resort to certain behavior which could be problematic for you. This is why she spend some time with your cat so she wouldn’t get bored herself.
How To Keep Cats From Scratching Deck Posts
As mentioned scratching is a natural instinct for cats. You cannot get rid of this completely unless you decide to have her declawed. It is a cruel practice by the way. What you should do is redirect that behavior to objects where she’s going to scratch to her heart’s content. Buy cat posts and cat trees for your cat so she could scratch there instead. Cat posts and trees are available in various height and materials, such as redwood. Since there are many to choose from as a cat parent you only want what’s best for your baby. Sisal is one of the best materials for your cat because it’s sturdy enough and will not hurt your cat’s nails. Moreover it gives your cat feel good satisfaction whenever she scratches.
Put the cat post or tree near the place where your cat likes to frequent so in this case it’s the front porch. Whenever you see your cat scratching on the deck post bring her over to the cat post and encourage her to do her thing there. It will help if you put a lot of catnip all over the cat post so she could be motivated enough to scratch. Never forget to praise and pet her once she’s done so she could be motivated to scratch there.
To further avoid your cat from going to the deck posts clean the area with the solution that eliminates the scent coming from your cat’s nails. Next time your cat will not smell her scent there anymore.
You can also put on socks or soft cats on your cat’s paws she wouldn’t be able to scratch.
Make sure you have enough time together with your cat so she wouldn’t be bored enough to resort to destructive scratching.
Watch Out For Scratch Sprays
Cat repellent sprays are often advised to cat parents to make their pet go away from the furniture of their choice. The cat repellent spray is often mixed with some essential oils and water. Certain essential oils acts as a deterrent to cats because of their smell. However according to Spruce Pets, there are essential oils that are not safe for cats at all because of their chemical makeup.
Essential oils contain phenol a plant based compound. Cats don’t have the enzyme needed to break it down wants to essential oil gets into contact with a cat is taken orally is ingested or is licked to on their paws. When they accumulate overtime cats will software these health problems as consequences:
Low heart rate
Therefore it is advisable not to use this essential oils as they may be too dangerous for cats.
Tea tree oil
In addition you should not be using vinegar spray on your cat. Vinegar is acidic and an irritant. Your cat might suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, oral irritation and pain.
A good alternative to citrus-based cat repellent spray is rosemary oil. Just apply 10 drops of rosemary oil to water in a spray bottle, then add a dishwashing liquid. Spray the solution on deck posts so your cat will no longer hang out over there, and present the cat posts or tree to her so she could scratch there all she wants.
Cover your deck toast with aluminum foil or sand paper or even double-sided sticky tape. Cats don’t like the feel of this objects so your cat will not have other choice but to walk away and lose her interests.
Do’s and Don’ts
Do’s 1. Be patient and loving during this whole process of training her. After all the result will be your deck posts and even your other furniture scratch-free. But if you yell at her or even scold her in other ways your cat will be turned off and will be too terrified to even be ordered by you. Therefore, be patient and more loving to your cat because every second of the training will be worth it.
- Say no at the moment your cat is scratching. You should reprimand your cat at the very moment she’s scratching your deck posts with a firm no and bring her over to the cat post or tree for her. That way she would know exactly what it is that she did which made you upset. If you catch her too late, save your reprimand next time but at least take her to her cat tree or post.
- Make sure the cents you use are safe for your cat. There are many ways your cat good ingest the essential oil available in your home. Diffusers, sprays, sticks and cotton balls are some of the ways essential oils can be used to spread its scent. Your cat could inhale, lick the oil on her paw, even on her fur to make contact with the essential oil. If you are doubtful about essential oil you use, better discontinue its use. Likewise, make sure the windows are open so your cat will not feel intimidated.
Don’ts 1. Don’t hurt your cat nor yell at her. The least you can do when catching her in the act is saying no in a fair manner and immediately bring her over to the cat post or tree. Reward her after she’s done so she could get the idea that she should scratch over there instead.
- Don’t spray directly at your cat. Any chemical might be too toxic for your cat whose side effects we may never know. So to be on the safe side, don’t apply or spray anything directly at your cat.