Why does my cat use the scratching post when I get home?

Cat uses the scratching post when I get home.
Image: MikeB
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

This is a short post because the answer to the question is, I believe, obvious. Although my reason might not be the correct one every time but it’ll be the most common reason.

When a cat’s owner is away from their home it is often for quite a long time from the cat’s perspective, perhaps several hours or not-infrequently all day long. Your cat will often wait for your turn if there is a close relationship.

They will snooze and anticipate your arrival. They may even wait behind the front door. They do so patiently. On your arrival they will greet you with the tail-up, friendly signal and rub their flanks against your legs. You will both engage in your usual homecoming routine.

Sometime during this routine your cat will possibly scratch the tall and solid scratching post which is big and solid enough for your cat to do her aerobic scratches. This means that your cat will be stretching her back in a form of exercise which she needs after that long snooze waiting for your arrival. She is waking up. It is the kind of stretch humans do when getting up.

Cat scratching has several functions as you might know:

  • to deposit scent onto the post from their paw pads, as a form of marking territory,
  • to scratch the post as another form of marking territory,
  • to slough off the outer cuticle of the claw to sharpen it,
  • to exercise the retractile (actually protrusible) mechanism of their claws,
  • and finally, as mentioned, to stretch their backs: aerobic scratching exercise.
Marvin at scratching post
Marvin at scratching post. Marvin lives with DW, a regular contributor. The photo is by her. She won the post as a prize in a PoC competition!

They will then be ready for the next instalment of their interaction with you; probably food.

All cat scratching posts should be as big as you can get them. There is one available on Amazon which I have and which I recommend. It is in the photograph above. It’s ideal for aerobic exercise because they can stretch up. It replicates the kind of vertical object that a cat would normally scratch namely a tree trunk.

That said, domestic cats also like to scratch horizontally for that purpose you can by scratching boards made of corrugated cardboard. This replicates territory marking by scratching trails.

Cat scratching board
Cat scratching board. Photo: MikeB.

The vertical post that I’ve mentioned is very solid. When scratched it does resist sufficiently so that your cat doesn’t destroy it too quickly! When a scratching post has been well used it should be kept even if it looks well shredded. This is because it is exactly how your cat wants it and it’s covered in fragrant paw perfume.

Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo