How to Train My Cat to Use the Scratching Post?

Cats, their idiosyncrasy is legendary and that is why we love them. They have their own heads and if we want to give them something new, please do so with disregard. The newly purchased cat scratching post is no exception. A new scratching post will not be accepted. Cat owners are therefore often perplexed to surprised. You only had good things in mind. No matter how great the new purchase may be,  the cat ignores the scratching post. But how can you teach the skeptical house tiger to accept and use the cat tree? 

Most cats are not so enthusiastic about “new” and it often takes a long time to accept new things in their environment. This also applies to the new, pretty, incredibly great climbing tree. But what do they do to scratch it and not on the furniture?

Why does the cat reject the new cat tree?

Cats classify all new items and circumstances into categories such as:

  • belongs here or belongs to the family (good)
  • doesn’t belong here or doesn’t belong to the family (not good).

The new cat tree falls after setting up for them in the category belongs not here ago. It is forbidden for them to accept the new cat tree straight away. Sniff curiously, yes, but accept, no. The reason for this is their sense of smell and their category thinking. Every object, every animal and every person has its own smell. For cats, new, unfamiliar smells do not belong in their environment or in their home. All objects and people or animals in a household form a menu of smells for the cat.

After a few days, the cat has got used to the smell of the new scratching post and automatically includes it in its scent menu. If it is on their olfactory menu card, the cat accepts the cat tree as belonging to the family, to their home.

This long way can be shortened with various everyday means.

Put the cat’s favorite toy in the new scratching post

Each cat has at least one of her treasured toy . This special toy can be used for faster acceptance of the new scratching post. Its various houses, caves and berths are ideal for hiding this special toy.

Popular toy favorites like:

  • a little play mouse,
  • a particular ball
  • a play mouse with catnip or valerian or
  • an old sock of the owner,

can all be hidden.

Sooner or later the cat looking for them and their sense of smell leads them directly to the new scratching post . Finding the individual toys gives the cat each a positive experience and this automatically linked to the new scratching post.

By searching for the favorite toys and the glands on her paws, she automatically marks the new scratching post, making it easy to accept her scent. The more intensely the cat searches on the scratching post and scratches it, the more it takes it in through its glands. In this way, she accepts this new item faster and accepts it as belonging to the family.

The cat blanket as an odor transmitter

If a cat prefers a certain blanket or loves the clothes of its owner or mistress, this fact can also be used. An old, worn T-shirt, dirty old jeans and similar clothes connect the cat to its holder. She recognizes his smell from a great distance and enjoys it. The worn garment can be placed in caves and beds, which encourages the cat to examine them. The smell of the loved one is irresistible to many cats and the stronger the clothes smell, the more likely the cat will jump on them.

The blanket or the clothes worn on the new cat tree transmit their smell to it. With these aids, the pet owner uses the odor transfer of clothing to hide the unusual smell of the new scratching post. Rubbing the blanket and / or clothing on the trunks of the scratching post, its caves and lying areas also covers its own smell. Due to this rubbing in, the cat perceives the family smell more strongly than the own smell of the cat tree and classifies it faster than it belongs to the family.

Herbs for the scratching post


Cats love real Catnip. Many toys contain them and cats don’t just love their smell. Cats like to nibble on the fresh plant and do them no harm. In order to make the cat tree more interesting for the cat, the dried, ground herb can be distributed in the lying areas, houses and on the stems. For the brew, pour about 500 tablespoons of catnip with about 500 milliliters of hot water and let it cool. After cooling, the herb parts are removed from the brew using a sieve. The brew can then be placed in a spray bottle and sprayed onto the houses and / or onto the tree trunks.

The smell of catnip attracts the cat to the scratching post and she accepts the new scratching post faster due to the stimulating smell. Larger groups of cats do not stand in the way of using catnip. Catnip has a positive effect on many cats and gives the velvet paws a feeling of well-being, which they enjoy.


Valerian can be used as catnip similar. Small bottles containing valerian extracts are available in health food stores, drug stores and pharmacies. Applied drop by drop to various parts of the cat tree, valerian has the same effect as catnip; not all cats react positively to valerian, which limits its use. Living in the household more than one cat, the use of valerian does not always prove positive. There are cats that react aggressively to valerian and attack the other cats under his influence.

Valerian can only be used sparingly, since it has a strong smell of its own and can lead to allergic reactions in the pet owner.

Feliway the attractant preparation to feel good

The modeled sex hormones of cats , can this, by means of a spray bottle on the cat tree, spray its caves and tribes. This preparation does not lead to success in all cats, it is worth a try if nothing else helps.

Conclusion: How do I get my cat used to the cat tree?

A look at the small examples shows that cats rely heavily on their sense of smell and that it can be used for our purposes. With just a few tools, the smell of the new scratching post can be manipulated and the cat’s nose misled. In this way, an accepted playground is developed from a new scratching post.

The strong sense of smell of the cats helps us to change their opinion about the new cat tree and to make it more attractive for them. Taking advantage of their strengths and weaknesses helps us to understand our cats better in everyday life and to make life together more friendly for everyone.

In the course of living together with the cat or cats it becomes clear what they love and what they reject. Specially worn clothes, catnip and / or valerian make it easier for our cats to accept a new scratching post, a new cave or a new food bowl.

It is up to us to make new things appealing to them, and the simplest means are the most effective. But these small aids can not only be used for new things, but also for “scratched” or used cat trees ( cat no longer uses cat tree) . In the sense of good luck 🙂

If you are now well prepared …

… You will find the current cat tree bestseller here

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