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Scratching Your Way To Sales

Stacy Mantle//August 1, 2013//

Scratching Your Way To Sales

Stacy Mantle //August 1, 2013//

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Scratching posts are a necessary item for any cat-loving home, but they haven’t always been the most glamorous of household additions.

Thanks to the creative genius of imaginative manufacturers, we can now replace those clichéd, carpet-wrapped posts with functional, yet trendy, contemporary cat scratching posts that fit any home décor.

Scratching is a physical and instinctual need for any feline.  Ignore that need at your peril, as doing so will inevitably lead to behavioral problems. Like human fingernails, a cat’s claws continue to grow throughout their life. They must “shed” their outer nail in order to expose a sharper nail from beneath, which can lead to the rapid destruction of furniture if the necessary equipment is not provided.

If a customer currently has a problem with such behavior, there is still hope.

Redirection is retraining a cat to use appropriate scratch posts by utilizing “markers,” such as Quaker Pet Group’s microencapsulated catnip scent in the form of stickers or sprays. Placing these stickers on appropriate scratch areas help to attract them to the new location.

“A few mists of SuperCat Catnip Spray on a cat scratcher will help entice cats to use it,” Cristen Underwood, marketing director of Quaker Pet Group, said. “Fresh catnip scent is released every time a cat scratches or rubs areas where it has been sprayed, helping it last for up to six weeks.”

For redirection to be effective, it’s very important to select the right post for your cat. Today’s scratching poles are elegant, functional, lightweight and constructed to provide longer life.

Scratching posts now come in thousands of designs, like the award-winning CurvyNest from Catswall. From modular cat climbing walls to curvy tunnel-like spaces, their innovative designs encourage exploration, scratching and comfort.

The Refined Feline offers scratch posts for even the most discerning of cat owners. An example is the Lotus Cat Tower which combines climbing and scratching into an elegant display fit for any living room.

“It’s stylish and functional, and anything that wears is easily replaceable,” Josh Feinkind, owner of The Refined Feline, said.

Selecting a Post

When coaching customers on how to choose the best scratch post for their cat, there are a few rules of thumb that you should follow.

The first is height. Experts recommend that a vertical post should be at least eight inches taller than the cat when it is standing on its hind legs at full stretch. Generally, you can estimate that length by measuring the cat’s body length and doubling the result. Taller is better, but make certain the furniture is stable enough for heavy scratchers.

Scratching posts can range from horizontal floor units to entire tree-like structures. Cats naturally seek the security of high places and so it is important to provide both vertical and horizontal scratching areas.

Natural Materials Are Favorites

Companies like Ware Manufacturing, Imperial Cat and Mountain Cat Trees understand the need for new materials that stimulate the cat’s natural need to scratch.

Sisal, sea grass, recycled paper, cardboard and raw wood are taking the place of traditional carpet-covered posts, which can be difficult to clean and even more difficult to replace. In addition, many cats may have difficulty understanding why it’s acceptable to scratch a carpet-covered post and not a carpet.

Mountain Cat Trees provides eco-friendly solutions designed to enrich the life of your feline companion. Their artistic trees are beautiful, artistic designs that range from simple to complex.

“Natural materials are best when it comes to scratching posts,” Rebecca Mountain, owner of Mountain Cat Trees, said. “Products made with chemicals can be ingested when cats groom themselves, so it’s best to stay with natural materials Also, cats tend to prefer sisal and natural wood because of their earthy smell and appealing texture.”

Recycled, corrugated cardboard remains a feline fan favorite and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Made in the USA from 100 percent post consumer recycled materials, Imperial Cat’s Scratch ‘n Shapes scratchers are fun for cats and available in a large variety of sizes and shapes.

The honeycomb texture of corrugated cardboard imitates natural tree bark, so cats instinctively want to sink their claws into the scratchers. For the feline with fastidious taste, each Scratch ‘n Shapes includes a bag of certified organic catnip to encourage an easy transition.

“Our animal themed Scratch ‘n Shapes were designed to make cats feel at home with their (not so) furry friends,” Kristie Hamilton, Imperial Cat’s director of sales, said. “These fun scratchers make a big statement, while providing hours of fun and a safe space for kitty to scratch and play. Plus, we love the idea of allowing animal lovers to bring the diversity of the animal kingdom right into their very own homes!”

If your customers need some additional assistance in selecting the right equipment, Worldwise places the instinctual needs of cats directly onto their packaging by utilizing their PetLinks system.

“All of our furniture and toys fall under one of nine categories that meet a cat’s basic needs,” Shannon McWilliams, vice president of innovation, said. “For example, we clearly package our products listing the instinctual need that the toy or scratcher meets. This may include the need for stimulation, hunt, privacy, hygiene, rest, independence, scratch or exercise. Not only does this educate the consumer, it encourages them to purchase additional supplies in order to meet all of their cats’ needs.”

Whichever shape, style or texture you select, it’s important to make sure the cats approve of any decision. Take advantage of a stylish, designer display in your store to open the discussion about the varying needs of cats.