Indoor scratching

A natural behavior in cats is to periodically hook their front claws into suitable surfaces and pull backwards. This marks their territory and exercises their legs, in addition to cleaning and sharpening their claws.[38] Indoor cats benefit from being provided with a scratching post so that they are less likely to use carpet or furniture which they can easily ruin.[39] Commercial scratching posts typically are covered in carpeting or upholstery, but some authorities[who?] advise against this practice, as not making it clear to the cat which surfaces are permissible and which are not; they suggest using a plain wooden surface, or reversing the carpeting on the posts so that the rougher texture of the carpet backing is a more attractive alternative to the cat than the floor covering. Scratching posts made of sisal rope or corrugated cardboard are also common. Close-up of a cat's claw, with the quick clearly visible Although scratching can serve cats to keep their claws from growing excessively long, their nails can be trimmed if necessary. Another response to indoor scratching is onychectomy, commonly known as declawing. This is a surgical procedure to remove the claw and first bone of each digit of a cat's paws. Declawing is most commonly only performed on the front feet. A related procedure is tendonectomy, which involves cutting a tendon needed for cats to extend their claws.[40] Declawing is a major surgical procedure and can produce pain, infections and permanent lameness.[40] Since this surgery is almost always performed for the benefit of owners, it is controversial and remains uncommon outside of North America.[41] In many countries, declawing is prohibited by animal welfare laws and it is ethically controversial within the veterinary community.[42] While both the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals strongly discourage or condemn the procedure,[43] the American Veterinary Medical Association supports the procedure under certain guidelines and finds "no scientific evidence that declawing leads to behavioral abnormalities when the behavior of declawed cats is compared with that of cats in control groups."[44] They urther argue that many cats would be given up and euthanized were declawing not performed.[41] Nevertheless, many veterinarians refuse to perform the procedure. A scratching post is a wooden post covered in rough material that cat owners provide so their pets have an acceptable place to scratch. Cats have a natural urge to scratch: the action helps them remove old material from their claws, and they mark territory with scent glands in their paws. Indoor cats may be prevented from exercising this urge on furniture if they are provided with an acceptable scratching post. The most common type of post consists of a wooden post, roughly 60 - 90 cm (24-36 inches) tall, covered in rough fabric or sisal. The post is mounted vertically in a wide base, which allows the cat to stretch upward on its rear legs and scratch freely without tipping it over. A post that is unstable or does not allow a cat to fully extend its body might put off the cat from using it. Surfaces vary: the post may be covered in sisal rope, upholstery fabric, or the jute backing of a piece of carpet. Many pet owners find they have to experiment with different surfaces to find one that their cats will scratch reliably. Experts say that cats generally prefer sisal or corrugated cardboard surfaces.[1] Other kinds of scratching posts are more elaborate, with several levels of horizontal platforms for climbing and cozy cave-like areas where cats may hide. Very tall ones are often called "cat trees." These may have a vertical tension rod that extends to the ceiling to provide extra stability. Smaller scratching surfaces may consist of something as simple as a piece of carpet turned upside down, or a flat pad of woven sisal with a loop to allow it to hang from a doorknob. Others are made from corrugated fiberboard. Scratching posts may be purchased at most stores that carry pet supplies and online, but many people build their own. In many cases, however, what is more important than the scratching post is the knowledge feline companions have about how to train cats. Training a cat to claw an approved surface and nothing else requires understanding simple behavior modification techniques and finding a reward the cat will perform for.