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Helping Your Cat Express Its Creativity Through Scratching

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 tocreate 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 Daily News.

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 Henry at to read his story, see a few of the wall hangings he created, and view a short video documentary about his work. Anita also has a website about her writing at

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