Answer: Cats and dogs are usually creatures of habit. Once you've discouraged a neighborhood cat from using a tree trunk as a scratching post, it will generally find another place to sharpen its claws. I've tried wrapping the bottom 24" of tree trunk with hardware cloth (1/4" openings) and had good success with it. If you'd rather purchase one of the white vinyl "tree wraps" from your local garden center and place that on the trunk, it will work just as well. The important thing to remember is that you'll want to encourage air circulation around the trunk - anything you wrap around it, unless it has ventilation holes, will hold too much moisture against the bark, which could cause rotting.
As soon as your tree matures a bit and the bark hardens on the trunk, the cat won't be very interested in it.
Best wishes with your new tree!
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