Some cats prefer to stretch out lengthwise rather than reaching up above themselves in order to scratch. In this case a cardboard scratching pad/board is preferred. You get these pads in many shapes and with added toys in the supermarkets or pet shops. Spray or sprinkle catnip on them (sparingly!) to encourage the cat to use the pad.
A common rough doormat is also a popular scratch surface.
For the cat that prefers the vertical stretch, a pole screwed on a board does the trick. These poles are available at the pet shop and come with balls on elastic string to encourage playful usage. A scratching pole needs to be rough to the touch: sisal rope covering is optimal.
Especially indoor cats desperately need mental and physical stimulation and things to tickle their curiosity. A cat tree helps to fulfil this need by providing different climbing levels, hidden spaces and scratching opportunities. It serves not only as climbing and playing tower, but also as sleeping station. Furthermore if you have an overweight cat, the stimulation of the tree will help her shed some pounds.
Some cats aren’t so quick to try out something new and strange. Use catnip spray on the tree or sprinkle it on landings and perches. Your cat might not going to rush to use a tree that is tucked away in a dark corner or in an unused room. Put the tree close by the household activity and/or near a window, so your cat can look out from all the new perches. Do not put a litter box anywhere near the tree – and do not put food or water bowls near it, either. Cats are “programmed” by nature to keep separate areas for playing, eating and eliminating; if you put all of them in one place, at the very least you will have a cat who goes outside her litter box.
Never throw away an old scratch post. A cat loves the marks and smells and would prefer it over a new replacement.