Most cats enjoy scratching, there's no question about it.
And indoor cats are no different. Just because a tree is not
available, it does not decrease their desire to "leave a mark on the
world" by scratching. From a cat's point of view, chairs, sofas, and even
the woodwork can serve as a good substitute. But cat owners often take a
different view. They see scratching as a destructive behavior, and seek to
redirect or stop it. In many cases, a scratching post can be a good compromise.
But even better, why not help your feline pal create original
pieces of art you will be proud to display in your home or office?
Ever since he was a kitten, my cat Henry has always loved to
scratch. He soon grew tired of the scratching post I bought him and went on
to create interesting textures on the living room sofa and chair. I was
determined not to have him declawed. So what was the answer?
I remembered hearing that a friend's cat liked to scratch a
piece of carpet she had nailed onto the wall. So I went to the surplus store
and bought a few pieces of carpet remnants.
It did not take Henry long to catch on. Almost as soon as I
nailed the carpet up on the wall, he discovered that he really enjoyed
scratching it. He was very pleased that it didn't turn over with him like his
old scratching post sometimes did, and he enjoyed working with the
A few months later, when Henry had nearly scratched the carpet
remnant to pieces, I decided to replace it with another strip of carpet. But
instead of throwing the scratched carpet away, I decided to put a hanger on it
and display it. After all, it looked like a modern piece of fiber art. It had
long, fluffy loops of all lengths, and it looked like someone had spent a great
deal of time creating it. (Actually they did -- only the "someone"
happened to be feline!)
Last summer when I was exhibiting some of my own fiber art at
the Bangor Public Library in Bangor, Maine, I decided to include a few pieces
of Henry's work. The library patrons enjoyed viewing it, and were surprised to
learn that a cat had created it! Within a few
months, Henry and his work were also featured in the Bangor
If you would like to help your feline friend express their
creativity, all you need are a few nails or screws and a strip of carpet that's
at least 5-6 inches across and at least a foot long. Make sure that the carpet
does not have loops that are cut, or your cat will only be able
to pull out clumps of fiber, and cannot make the beautiful
loop-covered wall hangings he or she would like to create. Nail it securely to
the wall, and watch what happens! If your cat needs a little encouragement, you
can always rub the carpet remnant with catnip, or spray it with catnip spray.
Who knows what wonderful masterpiece your cat might create!
Anita Louise McCormick is a writer, editor, artist, and Reiki
Master. She is also the agent and personal assistant of a very creative cat,
Henry the Feline Fiber Artist! You can visit the website Anita created for