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When my neighbours rather boisterous Labrador decided to physically pick up my cats' scratching post and tear it to pieces I decided a new one was needed. I actually had my eye on a more 'interesting' looking cat activity centre but said neighbour was mortified at the actions of her (extremely spoilt and undisciplined) dog and presented me with this Sisal Scratching Post made by Trixie.
The scratching post stands at 50cm when measured from floor level, this should be adequate for most cats - although my rather large tabby/Persian cross (yes, he is as bizarre looking as he sounds) does have to almost fold himself in half so that he is scratching at the post, as opposed to grabbing at the air immediately above it.
When I first opened the packaging containing this scratching post I was quite surprised at how lightweight it was, the base does feel slightly weighted but overall this is certainly not as heavy as other sisal-type posts. This is a problem for me as with three very energetic cats (well, two very energetic and one lazy but spiteful moggy who has to spoil the enjoyment of the other two) the post can often be seen flying across my living room floor, only clattering to a stop when the largest of the three rugby tackles it into submission.
This has actually proved to be irrelevant, due to the fact that my cats more or less destroyed this scratching post within three weeks of owning it. The main issue is that the sisal is attached to the post with just a thin layer of glue, this meant that as soon as one of the cats noticed the sisal at the very top of the post coming unglued they worried at it so intently that just an hour or so later they had (between them) managed to unravel the sisal cord almost a third of the way down the post. After spending an hour trying to re-glue it back together I gave up and replaced it with another brand of scratching post.
Likewise, the ball which is attached to the top of the post is fastened with what looks to be a small blob of glue - the ball was actually the first thing to fail on this post and had been pulled off within roughly three hours of me first presenting the scratching post to my cats. The ball was on too short a string anyway and I found my smaller cat (part feral, and another strange looking moggy of mine) had to stretch too far upwards for her to be able to play properly with it.
I cannot recommend this Trixie Scratching Post. My cats tend to scratch for 'fun' and do not destroy my furniture (much!) but they looked increasingly frustrated in the short length of time we owned this post. The fact that the sisal did not last overly long is neither here nor there as the overall item was unstable, far too lightweight and not as much fun for them - after all, if the three cats decided they wanted to play together that day then within moments one of them would knock the post over and then the game is over.
One aspect of the scratching post that I did like was the fact that the base is also covered in sisal, rather than carpet as many of these cheaper scratching posts are. This meant that when one of my cats felt the urge to scratch they could simply stand next to the post and scratch away to their hearts content on the actual base rather than using the pole itself. Cats are incredibly intelligent animals and it was rather delightful watching the three of them realise that this was the case, and the aforementioned larger cat would begin using the base as standard once he had realised this would be far less likely to cause the scratching post to topple over.
Throwing caution to the wind, I would say perhaps this scratching post may be more suitable if you have a kitten as opposed to a stronger adult or juvenile cat. You would still eventually have the problem with the unravelling sisal, but a younger cat would possibly be able to ignore it for longer and would certainly lack the strength needed to cart it around the room - as my cats began taking an interest in just before I replaced it. Indeed, one day I watched two of my cats joining forces to knock the post over before the smaller one stepped back to allow the bigger bruiser to drag it a good distance across the living room floor - shaking his head and looking very Jack Russell like!
Cat's love scratching things - it's a fact. The problem is, our furry friends aren't too picky about what items they choose to shred. This can result in tatty sofa's, curtains with holes, and the general destruction of any other object which looks like a decent method of claw-sharpening!
Actually, the sharpening and conditioning of claws may not be the sole purpose of scratching. Until an hour ago, I assumed it was - however, I've just read an interesting article which suggests that scratching serves a number of purposes including communication, and the maintenance of the tendons in the paws - with sharpening only being a secondary function. Anyway, whatever the reasons, it's important to provide your pet with a something decent to claw at, and that's where a Sisal scratching post comes into play.
Sisal isn't a make - it's the material which the post is made of - a stiff fibre traditionally used in making twine and rope. You can get posts covered in other materials, but they generally aren't as long lasting and can be more expensive.
A decent scratching post can be purchased for under £10 - in fact, the one that our cat owns (made by 'Trixie') cost only £6.63 from Amazon. If you don't fancy buying one online, there are a good selection in Pets at Home, and your local high street pet shop should stock them too.
Unless you have a huge cat, a traditional style sisal post like the Trixie version will be acceptable (shown in the picture) - most are constructed to a standardized height (roughly 40cms) and all generally look the same. They feature a circular base (around 30cms in diameter) which keeps the post stable when in use. This type of model generally features a piece of string with a ball attached coming from the top of the product - designed as a toy for the cat. To be honest, the cats I have known haven't been interested in the object which makes the post look like a mini game of swing-ball, and apart from a couple of isolated taps, have generally ignored it.
In my own personal experience, cats will either take to a scratching post like a duck to water, or never ever use them - insistent on finding any other piece of fabric in sight instead. The latter was certainly true with our first cat Spike - who couldn't be tempted to use a scratching post even though he was bribed with copious amounts of catnip powder rubbed into the base. Our current cat Saffron used her Trixie scratching post straight away - in fact, the moment it was placed on the floor, she was on it like a flash, instinctively knowing what to do even though she had never seen one before - I guess it's down to your cats individual personality.
The Trixie product is very solid, and the sisal cord is neatly wrapped around the whole of the item. Although the one we have is green, there is also a red one available - although i'm not sure if your cat will mind too much about the colour!
A standard size scratching post like this one is easy to move around as it only weighs roughly 1kg, and can be easily popped behind the sofa should you not want it sat in the middle of the room. In terms of its appearance, the post isn't really that ugly, but it's not an object of beauty either. It's for that reason that many people choose to house them in a cats feeding area rather than in a main living area. Wherever it's placed, a cat intent on using the post will happily continue to do so.
So why do some people not own scratching posts?
Well, In America, it is common practice to 'de-claw' cats in order to protect furniture. Although it sounds easy enough, many vets say it's actually a barbaric act - and it involves the amputation of each of the cat's toes at the first joint. It is incredibly painful for the poor animal - many of who have severe medical and psychological complications afterwards - thank goodness it's illegal in the UK.
In conclusion, the Trixie Sisal Scratching post is an excellent product to keep your feline friends happy and healthy - the problem is, not all cats may share that sentiment. If you've got a furry furniture shredder, you should try one of these... you probably have already - and hopefully it has done the trick. Highly recommended.