# Emery Cat Scratching Board

by Ivan Seeking
Tags: board, emery, scratching
P: 380
 Quote by Evo My cat didn't care if the object to scratch was lying on the floor. People think cats prefer something upright because, let's face it, most of the objects they can scratch are upright.

I don't think that "people think" that cats prefer something upright. It's my understanding that cats do prefer something upright, although they will scratch flat surfaces too. They have their own cat reasons for doing what they do. This isn't a peer reviewed journal but, it's certainly not the first I've read about cat behaviour from PH.Ds and other cat specialists.

Daniel Q. Estep, Ph.D. & Suzanne Hetts, Ph.D., Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists, Animal Behavior Associates, Inc. 4994 S. Independence Way, Littleton, CO 80123

Our neighbor has a female cat named Peaches who frequently scratches the bark on a cherry tree in their front yard. In fact, the tree has been scratched so much that there are noticeable gouges in it and small pieces of bark have accumulated on the ground underneath. Why does Peaches scratch this tree so much?

It has long been assumed that when cats scratch objects with their front paws that they are sharpening their claws. It turns out that this is only a secondary reason. Research on cat behavior suggests that the major reason for this behavior is communication. By roughing up the bark of a tree (or the leg of your favorite chair) the cat is letting other cats or people know where she is and what she is up to.

Cats tend to pick a small number of conspicuous objects in their environments to scratch such as trees, fence posts, the corner of the couch, etc., and return to them repeatedly. This is why the tree next door looks so scratched up and why your cat may find it difficult to leave your couch alone. The scratched surface leaves a highly visible mark that can be easily seen by other cats. In addition, cats have scent glands in their paws so that when they make scratching movements they leave odor cues that the cats can smell. The fact that cats leave scent marks by making scratching movements may be the reason that cats will continue to try to scratch objects even after they have been declawed. Declawed cats may still be leaving scent marks on objects they scratch.

We don’t know exactly what cats are communicating with their scratching. Both males and females do it, it is done inside and outside the home and even by cats living with no other cats around. It could be a territorial warning or just a marker that announces "Peaches lives here and is alive and well!

Cat Scratch Stuff

That's why I was curious if Ivan could experiment a bit and see if the thing curried more favour being upright.

And yes, Ivan, given the proliferation of absurd commercials, one can only extrapolate out from that and assume that the commercials are convincing someone and making someone else money. Unfortunately, or fortunately as far as I'm concerned, I know where to find China on a map.
 Emeritus Sci Advisor PF Gold P: 12,501 I'll try leaning one against the wall down here in my office and see if I can coax Little Tyke into using it. I almost forgot that we have two of them. Isaac seems to use it many times a day. I'll give it a few weeks but we should be able to tell if the thing does any good.
 Emeritus Sci Advisor PF Gold P: 12,501 The jury is in. Isaac spends a lot of time on Tsu's [my wife] lap. As a result, Tsu knows exactly how deeply into her chest his claws should sink when he's happy. She says there is no doubt that his claws are both shorter and duller than ever before. I hadn't even asked her about it yet, but today she called me in the office to tell me. So it seems the product works if a cat can be coaxed to use it. I'll mount one vertically and see how it goes. Already this is great news as Isaac is not a cooperative cat. This alone makes it worth the purchase.
 Emeritus Sci Advisor PF Gold P: 12,270 Ember doesn't care if her scratchers are flat on the floor or upright. When she has a choice, she actually seems to go for the flat ones more often. Then again, I got her a new one, and apparently the catnip that came with it is MUCH more potent than any other catnip she's ever experienced, because she was going bonkers rubbing all over it (I've never seen her actually react to catnip before...so of course I then had fun dipping all her toys in the catnip too. ) As far as I can tell, the clawing is to help shed the outer layers of claw as they grow. They seem to grow in layers with each layer shedding as ones below grow longer. If I look around the scratchers, I see lots of bits and pieces of shed claw parts. Trimming Ember's claws seems to have no effect on her scratching, just on how sharp and pointy they are when she grabs my hands when we are playing. She always prefers really rough surfaces (cardboard, sisal mats or sisal rope) rather than softer surfaces like carpet, and I think that's because she needs to really get those claws to catch on something to pluck what I imagine might be an itchy or annoying loose bit off. So, I could imagine her preferring an emery surface too. So, now the thing to wait for is how long they last with regular use and whether it's long enough to be worth the cost.
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P: 12,501
 Quote by Moonbear So, now the thing to wait for is how long they last with regular use and whether it's long enough to be worth the cost.
I was checking for damage this morning. After seven days, so far, so good. Already it is doing better than that stupid cardboard scratching post thingy. I think they are made using the same material, but the abrasive coating adds strength to the cardboard.
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P: 12,270
 Quote by Ivan Seeking I was checking for damage this morning. After seven days, so far, so good. Already it is doing better than that stupid cardboard scratching post thingy. I think they are made using the same material, but the abrasive coating adds strength to the cardboard.
Ember is usually happy with the cardboard scratchers that cost about $5...just a box about 6" by 18" holding corrugated cardboard. They look ragged quickly, but really last months to a year (I flip them over and use the other side when she wears out one side). The other scratchers are more expensive...about$9 each made of a plastic frame with some sort of fibrous stuff that looks a little like the wrong side of a carpet, but in multi-colors. I have three of those. Two of them she uses like a normal scratcher, and the third she likes to pluck the strings out of.
P: 380
 Quote by Ivan Seeking The jury is in. Isaac spends a lot of time on Tsu's [my wife] lap. As a result, Tsu knows exactly how deeply into her chest his claws should sink when he's happy. She says there is no doubt that his claws are both shorter and duller than ever before.
Very nifty! Even though Bean doesn't fuss getting her claws clipped, if she had something to keep the tips smooth, I'd be very happy. Bean wakes me every morning by lying on my tummy and chest and poking my face with her paw. Sharp claws catch sometimes, jarring me from a dead sleep, and I'm not overly friendly about it. Not that getting hollered at or sworn at deters my cat at all. She just pokes me again.
 Emeritus Sci Advisor PF Gold P: 12,501 One caveat: Isaac's claws barely even exist anymore! They are just stubs. I wonder if his claws broke off and were then honed smooth. They are so short that this actually concerns me a bit. I guess we'll just have to see how this averages out over time. Still waiting to see if I can coax Tyke by placing the one upright. I have so much inventory in my office right now that I don't have a place for it!
P: 589
 Quote by Ivan Seeking One caveat: Isaac's claws barely even exist anymore! They are just stubs. I wonder if his claws broke off and were then honed smooth. They are so short that this actually concerns me a bit. I guess we'll just have to see how this averages out over time.
If there is no bleeding, and the cat isn't limping or showing signs of pain, I wouldn't be concerned.
 Sci Advisor P: 5,095 My cat loves the one we have.
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P: 12,501
 Quote by FredGarvin My cat loves the one we have.
What is the ball designed to do; torture them with something they can never catch! Do you recall approx. how much you paid for that one? That kitty is almost a spittin image of my Little Tyke, btw, except that Tyke is much better looking.

I have the second scratcher in my office now. I was able to coax Tyke to play with the feather thingy with the board mounted upright, but she hasn't used it to scratch yet. She did knock it over and sit on it.

 Quote by pantaz If there is no bleeding, and the cat isn't limping or showing signs of pain, I wouldn't be concerned.
Tsu is thrilled with the results with Isaac. Already the wounds on her chest are beginning to heal. I see or hear Isaac using the scratcher frequently; even now when his claws are well trimmed. So far, as near as I can tell, Jack hasn't even looked at the thing since the first day. So the tally at our house so far: One cat took to the scratcher instantly and four showed no interest at all. If they use it, it does seem to work surprising well.
 Sci Advisor P: 5,095 Sorry I didn't get back to you Ivan. I forgot about this thread. IIRC, the whole thing was about $17 or so. The only drawback is they want about$6 for replacement inserts of the scratch pad. My cat loves the ball and got good enough to learn how to pop it out of the track.
P: 9,575
 Quote by FredGarvin My cat loves the one we have.
I have this exact model for my cat and he plays with it daily! The cardboard middle for scratching is holding up quite well too.
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