grey and white cat on corrugated cardboard cat scratcher pad in living room on cowhide rug

The Ultimate Guide to Cat Scratch Pads

For cat owners, watching their beloved furry friend scratch away at furniture can be quite distressing. Just as breathing is instinctual and crucial for us, scratching is a natural behavior for cats. It's something they simply have to do to feel good. That's why finding a good scratching solution is really important and there are a lot of options to choose from, but one of the most convenient ones is cat scratcher pads and this takes a deeper look at why this type of cat scratcher is often a household favorite.


What is a cat scratch pad? 

A cat scratch pad is a simple yet effective surface designed for cats to scratch on similar to a board and are often laid horizontal or installed for verticality. They're typically made from corrugated cardboard, carpet or sisal to provide a satisfying texture for cats to dig their claws into. These pads help fulfill a cat's instinctual need to scratch while also offering an alternative to furniture and carpets, ultimately promoting healthy claw maintenance and reducing unwanted scratching behavior.



Do cat scratch pads work?

Yes! Cat scratch pads work very well to addressing a cat's natural scratching instincts, diverts their behavior to protect furniture and has health benefits. These scratcher pads offer enticing materials and designs that cater to cats' preferences while providing environmental enrichment, mental stimulation and helping cats keep their claws maintained. With various options available in size, style, and budget, scratch pads ensure versatility and accessibility for different living spaces and cat personalities.



    Why do cats like a scratch pad?

    1. It's In Their Instinct: Scratching is an instinctual behavior for cats, essential for maintaining claw health, stretching muscles, and marking territory. Scratch pads are designed with textures that replicate outdoor surfaces, tapping into their ancestral instincts and providing a satisfying outlet for their scratching needs.

    2. For Scent Marking Their Territory: Scent marking is a crucial aspect of a cat's scratching behavior, as they have scent glands in their paw pads. Scratching allows them to leave their scent behind, which helps them establish their territory and feel more secure in their environment. Corrugated cardboard cat scratchers are particularly effective at absorbing these scents, which might explain why your cat sometimes chooses to simply lounge on the scratcher pad.

    3. Mental Health Benefits: Scratching pads offer more than just a surface for cats to scratch on; they can also provide valuable mental stimulation and entertainment to encourage play and relieve from boredom. Additionally, scratching serves as a natural stress relief mechanism for cats, offering an outlet for pent-up energy and frustration, thereby promoting overall well-being and reducing anxiety.

    4. Physical Health Benefits: By engaging in this natural behavior, cats effectively remove the outer sheath of their claws, which can become dull or overgrown over time. This process not only helps maintain the sharpness and shape of their claws but also facilitates proper nail growth. As a result, cats are less likely to experience discomfort or complications associated with overgrown claws, promoting overall paw health and mobility.


    Is a scratch pad good for cats?

    Yes, scratch pads have both physical and mental health benefits! They provide an appropriate surface for cats to scratch, helping to satisfy their natural instinct to scratch and keeping their claws healthy. Additionally, scratch pads can help protect furniture and other household items from damage caused by scratching. Cat scratch pads are also an outlet for cats to reduce stress and promoting relaxation through scratching, which can positively impact the mental health of both cats and their owners.


    Are cat scratcher pads worth it?

    Absolutely! Investing in a cat scratcher pad has physical as well as mental benefits to your cat. They're often a disposable and affordable option that prevents your cat from scratching furniture and a great tool to train young cats and kittens as well.

    1. Maintaining long-term claw health: Regular use of cat scratchers helps maintain healthy claws by promoting natural shedding of the outer sheath and preventing overgrowth.

    2. Saving money and protecting your furniture: Providing designated scratchers helps redirect your cat's scratching behavior away from furniture, curtains, and other household items.

    3. Territory marking with their scent: Scratchers enable cats to leave their scent from paw gland markings, fostering a sense of security in their environment through marked territory.

    4. Mental stimulation & stress reduction: Scratching pads provide mental stimulation, entertainment, and stress relief for cats as scratching is a stress-reduction mechanism.

    5. A tool to train your kitten: Introducing scratchers early and consistently teaches kittens to use appropriate scratching surfaces, minimizing destructive behavior in the long run.



    What is the best material for cats to scratch on?

    Choosing the ideal scratching surface for your cat depends on their unique preferences. While some cats may enjoy sisal rope scratchers, others might prefer the texture of cardboard or carpet. It's recommended to offer a diverse range of textures and materials to enable your cat to satisfy their natural scratching instincts.

    Most people find themselves caught between wondering if sisal or cardboard is better. Sisal and cardboard scratcher pads are two popular options among cat owners. It is recommended to provide a variety of options for your cat in your household as each material has their pros and cons which we've listed below:


    Sisal Cat Scratcher Pads

    Pros Cons
    • Lasts longer.
    • Natural that mimics tree bark.
    • Provides good grip.
    • Environmentally friendly.
    • Limited availability.
    • Higher cost.
    • Less variety in design.


    Cardboard Cat Scratcher Pas

    Pros Cons
    • Affordable.
    • Wide variety of design.
    • Catnip-friendly.
    • Easily disposable.
    • Often eco-friendly or recyclable.
    • Absorbs scents very well for your cat to scent mark
    • Less durable.
    • Less natural texture.
    • Weaker grip.




    How do I get my cat to use the cat scratcher pad?

    1. Place the scratch pad near your cat's favorite scratching spots initially.

    2. Gradually relocate the scratch pad to a more desirable location over time.

    3. Use treats or catnip to entice your cat to explore and interact with the scratch pad.

    4. Be consistent in placing the scratch pad in the designated area.

    5. Provide positive reinforcement, such as praise or treats, when your cat uses the scratch pad.

    6. Patience and encouragement are essential throughout the process of introducing your cat to the scratch pad.



    Where is the best place to put a cat scratch pad?

    The best location for a cat scratcher depends on your cat's behavior and your home layout. Ideally, place the scratcher in an area where your cat spends a lot of time, such as near their favorite lounging spots or by a window with a view. Avoid placing the scratcher in isolated or high-traffic areas, as cats prefer to scratch in areas where they feel safe and comfortable.



    Cat scratch pads are invaluable tools for maintaining harmony between you and your feline companion. By understanding why cats like scratch pads, exploring different materials, and employing strategic placement techniques, you can ensure a happy and scratch-free home for both you and your cat!

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