Scratching barrels for cats
Does your cat scratch furniture, carpets or doorframes? This behaviour is normal, but of course irritating for you. Scratching barrels offer a solution to the problem that meets a cat's needs. These are barrels with two or three entrance holes and corresponding levels, which may be connected or separated. Whilst the interior provides a place to play and hide, the exterior offers cats a large surface to scratch and sharpen their claws to their heart's content.
What makes a good scratching barrel?
Good scratching barrels have to be the right size. Cats love stretching out properly when scratching. The height is sufficient if cats can't touch the upper edge of the barrel from the ground without jumping. The texture of the scratching surface is also important and is made of sisal on many scratching barrels. These are resistant natural fibres made from agave leaves. The barrel should feel soft and fluffy on the inside. Plush-lined barrels meet this quality criterium. Cat barrels can be fitted with removable cushions, which is beneficial in terms of hygiene. If play mice or balls are included in the delivery, cats have an additional incentive to engage with the scratching barrel.
The right choice: Scratching barrel or cat tree?
Scratching barrels and trees should prevent cats from scratching furniture and walls. Cat trees are generally more expensive and give cats more opportunities to climb, although there often isn't enough space for one in smaller apartments. Here more compactly built barrels with a typical diameter of 35 to 40cm are advantageous. You can also put a cat tree in a bigger room and a scratching barrel in the kitchen or a smaller room. In this way, you can combine the benefits of both products in your home.
What is the difference between scratching barrels, boards and posts?
Scratching barrels give cats the chance to scratch and a hiding place at the same time. Some models also have an upper platform so that cats can also use it as an elevated resting place with a good view of their surroundings. There isn't an option to stay inside scratching boards or posts – they are solely for sharpening the claws. There are scratching boards and posts with baseplates as well as versions for hanging on the wall, which require very little space.
What makes a scratching barrel stable?
Ideally, scratching barrels are stable simply from their own weight. Stability depends primarily on the material and strength of the baseplate. Many reach between 9kg and 13kg in weight, although there are also heavier models weighing more than 30kg. If scratching barrels prove to be too light in practice, they can be fixed to a baseplate, which should be both heavy and much wider than the barrel. Although it's possible in principle to attach scratching barrels directly to the wall, this then blocks part of the barrel.