Monday 14 June 2021

**NEW SERIES** Top Tips For Cat Pawrents Part 3 ~ Let's Talk About Scratch Posts & Cat Trees And Help, My Cat Won't Use The Scratch Post Plus Cat Proofing Your Furniture

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Welcome to 

Top Tips For Cat Pawrents

 A Brand New Series at BBHQ 

Today we're sharing part 3 of our new series, so we do hope mew enjoy it.

If mew're new to being cat staff, then maybe there are a few things mew haven't thought about, and we're here to point mew in the right direction, so mew get the lowdown on top tips which we've gathered from over 25 years experience. And whether mew're a single cat pawrent or multi-cat pawrent, there's bound to be something that applies to mew.

At BBHQ, there have always been 6 cats living here, so we've got quite a bit of knowledge on living in a multi-cat household, and before that, when the P.A. lived in the city she only had one kitty, so we have insight into that too.

And for those seasoned and veteran cat staff, our friends and regular readers, do feel free to add more tips and suggestions on today's subject in the comments as mew can never have too many things and ideas to try.

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We're cats helping cats!

This week's 
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 is all about

Scratch Posts & Cat Trees

If mew're a new cat pawrent, mew may have been looking for cat-specific furniture after realising that your gorgeous sofa or designer armchair have now become the focus of some sharp claws.

Let us tell mew like it is; cats scratch and they scratch and scratch. If mew don't provide a suitable cat-centric piece of furniture designed for your kitty to express his or her claws fully, then he or she will just use anything available, even the carpets or rugs and curtains. They're not picky or fussy and won't care if it cost £5 or £5000, the only thing they're interested in is giving it a damn good clawing, and once they've found something they like, that will be their go-to place to claw.

Humphrey used to adore scratching the spindles on the staircase; the top two were his favourite. I Basil loved the sofa arms, and most of the other B Team loved the sofa arms and sides too.

Top Tips For Cat Pawrents ©BionicBasil® Scratch Posts a

The P.A. has always provided us with a wide variety of scratch posts and cat trees; small, medium and ceiling height, plus oodles of funky beds that purrobably cost a small fortune, though we have always preferred to sleep on the sofas, in a nest of cushions on the back of the sofa, windowsills, the bed or even on the dining chairs, and that's why she decided to make us our very own snuggle mats. 

©KwerkyKatBoutique  Snuggle Mat and Toys - sample

The very furst snuggle mat was designed to be placed in our extra-wide windowsills at BBHQ, and then she made more for everywhere else. If mew'd like to see more snuggle mats, mew can order your very own snuggle mat if mew'd like one direct from us, although we can only ship within the U.K. Just email us at: deardrbasil @ gmail . com

Top Tips For Cat Pawrents ©BionicBasil® Scratch Posts
Safety tip: make sure mew secure very tall cat trees; 
just to the right of Melvyn mew'll see that this one is secured 
to the ceiling beam, we used two screw-in hooks and a strong plastic cable tie.

Anyhoo, after that brief digression, what we're trying to say is this; even though we have always had a great variety of scratch posts and cat trees here, we have still scratched the furniture, although the P.A. thinks that's purrobably because we were all rescues and didn't get our forever home until we were way past kittenhood. Some of us had already had multiple homes before arriving at BBHQ, so we purrobably had already developed bad habits as far as the furniture was concerned. And purrhaps those bad habits may have been some of the reason for us ending up in a rescue shelter in the furst place.

As a cat pawrent mew need to understand that cats are extremely independent thinkers and make up their own minds about what they like and what they don't, so it's reasonable to suggest that everything in your home is possible fair game for scratching, climbing, clawing and biting.

And also while we're on the subject of claws, do not ever declaw your cat. It is completely inhumane, barbaric and unnecessary, which causes a lot more problems than it actually solves. If mew imagine having your fingertips removed to the furst knuckle on your hands, declawing is the equivalent, so put in terms like that, mew wouldn't cut your own fingertips off, so purrlease don't ever think it is a solution to do the same to your cat. If mew are really struggling with excessive clawing and scratching, we would suggest mew seek help with your purrsonal vet in the furst instance to ensure that no medical issue or anxiety/stress condition is present, which may be triggering a heightened response.

There are many behavioural experts available around the wurld to help wurk through any issues that mew may be having or experiencing, and we have previously wurked with a supurr kitty psychiatrist here in the UK with Smooch regarding his widdling issues, which we'll talk about in another post. But suffice to say, there are many options to explore in keeping your cat happy and healthy. Just remember that bad habits are not cured overnight; there's no miracle pill or solution; it takes time, patience, purrseverance and oodles of love.

Also, if mew have a multicat household like ours, it's a good idea to have more than one cat tree if mew can, and possibly consider having them spaced in different locations/rooms around the home, as then everyone gets a bit of space to relax and call their own. We have one in the summer house in the garden plus four decent sized ones in the house. 

Mew don't have to spend a fortune on them. Your cat won't care if they cost a few pounds or a few hundred, and there are lots available now at a very reasonable price. If mew have older ones and they start to become wobbly and unsafe, sometimes the screws can be retightened with an allen key, but if not, then dispose of responsibly and replace.

Or if mew have one that's still got oodles of life in it but is looking a tad shabby, mew could do a bit of glow-up like we did on our Valentine's Crafting with Cats, that way mew can really purrsonalise it.

Valentine's Special Crafting with Cat ©BionicBasil® Cat Tree Glow Up - The Best Cat Tree Makeover In The World

Help, My Cat Won't Use The Scratch Post

Cats are naturally curious, and one of the best ways to get kitty to use a scratch post is to rub or spray catnip on it. Mew could also try catmint or silvervine; we grow our own organic catnip and catmint at BBHQ. Check out our Definitive Guide To Growing Catnip here, but our point is a few fresh leaves rubbed and sprinkled on the rope usually gets a good response. 

  If that doesn't wurk because your kitty is one of the few cats completely immune to the effects of catnip and catmint, we would suggest mew actually show your kitty how to use it, and the P.A. has done this on numerous occasions to demonstrate to us that this is the new scratching thing in the house.  

It's a very simple method; mew need to wait until kitty is in view, and then use your fingernails to gently scratch up and down the post, being careful of course not to wreck your nails, especially if mew've just had a manicure. 

And from the P.A.'s experience, it doesn't take long for a curious kitty to come and join in, and after that initial session, the chances are they will go back again and again automatically. If not, repeat the furst step until your kitty learns to use it, and remember some cats take longer to learn than others, just like people, so be patient, encouraging and kind. Mew can even use treats as a reward once they flexed their claws on it, but not too many, though if mew can avoid this, do.

A kitty that mew regularly interact with will be far easier to teach and more cooperative than one who gets little or no interaction.

Also, we would suggest that a single taller scratch post is a great addition to the home.

Obviously, mew've seen the bigger cat trees we have, but this type is fabulous as it facilitates a really good stretch and clawing without anything being in the way. We have had to re-rope it twice in the last few years, though it's still going strong and if mew'd like to know how to re-rope a scratch post, let us know in the comments.

If mew have any questions, purrlease ask, and we'll do our best to answer.


Saving Your Furniture or Cat Proofing Your Furniture

Remember the sofa's I said The B Team and I were really fond of scratching? Well, a couple of years ago the P.A. couldn't stand to look at them any longer, the front and sidearms were decimated, and it didn't matter how she tried to use throws and things to cover the areas, we'd still find a way as we loved how that fabric felt under our claws.

Anyhoo, she and dad bought two new sofas, and they were determined that these new ones wouldn't end up like the old ones. So the P.A. began to search for sofa savers, and after a lot of research, she found this tape from Amazon - see pic below.   
It's a transparent, wide double-sided tape, obviously sticky on both sides which is easy to apply to your furniture. The P.A. used it on our fabric sofas, up the front of the arms and the side edge, plus a little along the bottom of the front to start with as we liked to lay on the floor and drag ourselves along the bottom of the sofas #oops. In the two years since the P.A. has been using it, the sofa's still look like new and there is now only one strip up the front of each arm, so we have been suitably repelled and trained by the stickiness of the tape! MOL
Top Tips For Cat Pawrents ©BionicBasil® Anti-Scratch Tape for Cats
It gets changed about 2 or 3 times a year; therefore it is a very cost-effective way to save your sofas.

So if mew're looking for ways to save your furniture, the P.A. recommends this. However, she would advise mew to test a piece in an inconspicuous area furst, especially if mew're applying to more delicate items or even painted items as it is very sticky.

To catch up on previous posts in this series, visit our dedicated Top Tips page.

Well, that's us done for Monday, we do hope mew enjoyed today's post, and we'd love to hear your thoughts and feel free to share on your social media.

We'll be back on Wednesday with a brand new catnip we've been trying, which is grown in South Africa, happy times! MOL (see link above for Just Catnip).

Until next time...

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Wing Commander Basil and The B Team

Disclaimer: We are not vets, animal medical professionals or have any formal qualifications in animal health. If mew are worried or concerned about anything at all, purrlease take your feline furiend to your purrsonal veterinarian or other health care provider and seek expert advice and assistance immediately.

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  1. Those were great tips! We're pretty lucky here lately, everyone loves the cat trees and scratchers and nobody bothers the furniture any more!

  2. Never had too much inappropriate scratching here, though the three kitties that were here long before petcretary did, well, they scratched and tore up everything! All 6 of us meezers must have been polite, LOL!

  3. Looks like good scratching options there! Thank you for the tips!

  4. I don't bother the furniture but I absolutely must claw the carpet even though I have multiple scratching pads and posts. They are shredded too and replaced now and again but the carpet...somehow I must.

  5. I was lucky my kitties never destroyed the furniture. You're right you have to make sure they have what they need to do the things cats need to do.

    Thank you for joining the Awww Mondays Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Awww Monday and week. Scritches to the kitties and a hug to mom. ♥

  6. Those are good tips. Both boys used the scratchers but very often I would hear scratch scratch on the recliner in the early hours of the morning. I knew it was never Flynn because he was always between us on the bed. I would quietly so as not to wake Ivor but sternly say, "Eric" and he would come in, jump on the bed and start making biscuits on Ivor's tummy so woke him up anyway.

  7. Great post friends. When we were younger we destroyed Dads couch but now that we are older it is different. That is because we each have a favorite scratching spot because Dad has 2 cat trees with spots to scratch and multiple smaller scratchers. I even use one and I have no claws! Purrs friends

  8. Thanks for joining our Thankful Thursday Blog Hop, it's never too late to hop in!

  9. guyz...OH EM COD.....ewe haz DE KEWLEST catio....ever.....can we pleez moove in !! ☺☺♥♥

    and hay, thanx for de tipz.....sad lee, sinz sum one whooz name we willna menshunz mackerull mooved in, noe cloth haz gone unscathed ~~~~~~ ♥♥♥☺☺☺

  10. I think this new series is a great idea. You take great care of your kitties and have lots of information to share. I would never declaw either. One of mine is declawed, but the people who had him before us had it done. XO

  11. There is no way that Manny will stay off the counters; he'll even jump up with the stove is lit! Eeeks!

  12. Awesome tips, gang! We are lucky in that Ava does not mess with the furniture. She DOES love the snuggle mat you sent her, though. :)

  13. Hi there you guys! What a nice and informative post! Gosh, scratching is my favorite hobby in this household. I don't climb curtains, but the sofas are my ultimate favorite. I share my house with 3 other felines and strangely enough, I'm the only one who loves scratching so much! Mommy says she will buy me one of those little castles after reading your post. I'm a princess after all and I'm sure I deserve it for sure!

    Thanks for all the info!

    Elza Reads

  14. Your cat tree is spectacular. And you're so lucky your human is so creative!


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