Step 7: If...

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If this is your cat's first cardboard scratcher, put it near where she likes to sleep, and occasionally place the cat on the scratcher just as she's waking up. Cats like to stretch and scratch right at waking, and it doesn't take them long to learn that the cardboard "tree bark" is the ideal place to do that. Our cat naps right on the thing to save time commuting. We've found scooping the cat up out of her nap, and pouring her onto the scratcher (front feet first) seems to give her a pre-stretch that leads to scratching every time.

If the cat really, truly does not seem to know what to do with it, scratch on it with your own fingernails while he watches. The motion and sound are both useful because cats learn easily by imitating us. You can also gently rub his front paws on it, to further provide the idea. Try not to freak him out, or he'll never go near the thing again.

Most adult cats won't actually climb the thing, since it is only about as long as their body, but it's better if it's not attached to something unstable or very light. For instance, a mop handle is a poor choice. You can also just lean it up against things (walls, the end of the couch where she used to scratch...). Our cat learned the exact technique for getting better scratch without knocking the thing down.

If the top surface of the scratcher gets all used up and ratty looking, just cut the tape, flip the accordion over, and re-tape it.

If your cat dispenses bodily substances onto it or something spills on it, or it gets rained on, remember that cardboard is absorbent, not washable, and free. Cats who get a lot of hairballs like to stand on the scratcher to vomit, because it gives good traction, but usually they puke over the side.

If your cat is a sheep, like our cat, you may want to get the shed hairs off it with the cat's brush, or even vacuum it occasionally. This will be somewhat traumatic to the cat if he is on it at the time.
grannyjones3 years ago
long, skinny carpet scraps can usually be picked up free the night before trash day behind the high-turnover apartments.
tbeatty5 years ago
thanks for the laugh on the hairball comment. =)

We will be moving in about 10 days, and I have a ton of boxes. I am looking at what I can do with them besides throw them out after we are done unpacking.  With 2 kitties, this should work nicely. Add in some nip, and they will be very happy.  
deofthedead6 years ago
sfasdgfbbg. God, I laughed so hard I started coughing. I hope you're happy! XD In all actuality, this is awesome. Our precious little girl loves to scratch, tears scratchers up in only a day or two, it's amazing if it lasts a week... And considering we just moved, I think I'll add this to my mounting list of things to do with our overabundance of cardboard... *peers around her apartment* x.x Thank you!
lflythe6 years ago
Loved the laugh. However, I've purchased one of "those cardboard scrachers" and my cats didn't like them, even with cat nip! But they do like the carpet one! Go figure!
c.d.boe lflythe6 years ago
try some honeysuckle spray. One of my cats doesn't like catnip but they both go nuts for honeysuckle. You can also get old carpet samples from flooring stores for free it you don't want to pay for the carpet scratchers. My cats tear them apart so fast I would spend a fortune replacing them all the time.
HvW (author)  lflythe6 years ago
Yeah, some cats don't get into the cardboard thing. Just like some cats don't get into catnip (mine doesn't). The little buggers do take pride in defying expectation... :) Thanks for reading!
BonzoGal6 years ago
Funny and useful and funny.
tswain46 years ago
I got caught web-surfing because I was laughing so hard....
linda16 years ago
This was hilarious... I think it is far cheaper to go and buy a cat scratcher but your lessons were great. Love the cat too!
HvW (author)  linda16 years ago
It's only cheaper if you are counting the cost of my furniture... the cardboard came with it for free. It's certainly FASTER and EASIER to buy one.
linda1 HvW6 years ago
I think I was laughing too much to pay attention to what I wrote... I'm pretty sure I meant easier! and faster!
HvW (author)  linda16 years ago
tyalangan6 years ago
I am literally laughing out loud reading this. You are a hilarious writer! Thanks for the laughs.
HvW (author)  tyalangan6 years ago
Glad you liked it! Thanks for reading.