The Best Scratching Posts for Your Cat
Kitties love to scratch; there’s no doubt about that. Unfortunately, what they sometimes choose to scratch is your new leather sofa.
Scratching or nail sharpening is a very normal and common behavior of cats. To let your cat be a cat, and still protect your furniture, getting a scratching post would be a good idea. Here is a list of some of the best cat scratching posts you can find.
1. Best Overall: Smart Cat Pioneer Pet Ultimate Scratching Post
For those kitties that love a good stretch, the Smart Cat Pioneer Pet Ultimate Scratching Post will meet their needs. It’s 32″ tall, allowing for a full extension stretch and muscle toning. It comes with a wide wooden base and a 16-pound weight that will keep this scratching post planted even with rough scratching from your cat. It is also covered in woven sisal to provide a more durable scratching surface that won’t fray or drop small pieces all over your floor.
This scratching post has an easy assembly and a neutral coloring to match any décor. Since this product is durable and won’t fray, it will look good no matter where you put it and how much your cat uses it.
Even though this scratching post is sturdy, it may still be a tipping hazard when your cats jump on it. Also, some cats don’t take to the woven sisal right away as it has a texture that may not feel as natural as other scratching post materials. Finally, the assembly may be easy with only two screws to secure, but those screws require an Allen wrench to tighten it with, something that the average cat parent might not have.
- Tall enough for a full stretch
- Wide base and heavyweight to prevent tipping
- Durable woven sisal to decrease wear and tear
- Cats may need some time to get used to the woven sisal material
- May requires an Allen wrench for assembly
2. Best Combination Post: Amazon Basics Cat Scratching Post and Hammock- Best Combination
For cats that like to scratch and then lounge, this combination cat scratching post and hammock from Amazon Basics might be just what they’re looking for. This product features two 15″ tall scratching posts with a hammock draped between to allow multiple cats to scratch at once or for your single kitty to choose. This may also be a good choice for cat parents that have limited space and need multi-functional furniture.
The scratching posts are covered with a sturdy jute fiber that will withstand many scratchings without littering your carpet with tiny bits of fiber. The hammock is made from plush and comfortable fabric, and the base is covered with soft carpeting to provide another area to satisfy your cat’s scratching desires. It also comes with an attached toy for your kitty to bat around.
This scratching post isn’t as tall as some of the others out there. So, if your cat wants to enjoy a full stretch while they scratch, they won’t be able to with this product. Also, as with any dangling toy, it won’t last forever. If your cat plays with the attached toy often, it probably won’t stay attached for long.
- Two scratching posts to choose from
- Elevated hammock for lounging
- Durable jute covering
- Fairly short in height
- Toy breaks off easily
3. Best Cardboard Scratching Post: PetFusion 3-Sided Vertical Cat Scratching Post
For those kitties that prefer cardboard scratching posts, the PetFusion 3-Sided Vertical Scratching Post may fit the bill. Its unique design allows for scratching on both vertical and horizontal surfaces. The sides are wide to give your kitty enough room to get the job done, and the cardboard is soft, yet effective at sharpening those claws.
Additionally, this scratching post’s shape makes it an excellent playhouse for your cat to hide and crawl through. You can also rotate it so that there are six different sides to use, making it longer lasting than some other cardboard cat scratching posts. And it comes in two different sizes to accommodate those larger scratchers.
This product is made from cardboard, so it is lightweight and easily pushed around and tipped over by kitties. This may contribute to some cats not liking this product or needing some encouragement to use it. The cardboard isn’t replaceable, so once it’s scratched up, you have to buy a whole new unit rather than just the cardboard refills.
- Unique design provides many scratching surfaces
- Doubles as a toy
- Made from 100% recycled cardboard
- Lightweight and easily pushed
- Cardboard is non-replaceable
4. Best Mounted Scratching Post: Ruby Road Cat Scratching Post for Floor or Wall
This scratching post works either vertically or horizontally, depending on your cat’s needs. It has a sturdy wooden frame surrounding a durable sisal scratching surface that won’t leave flakes or chunks on your floor. This scratching post has rubber feet on the bottom to help keep it from moving and to decrease banging when hung on the wall.
This scratching post is more compact than tower type scratching posts, so it may be better for space-saving areas. This also might make it a good choice for those traveling cats. Everything is included with this product to use it in any way that you or your cat prefers.
Since this is a simple, compact scratching post, it is also easily moved or pushed around by your cat when used on the floor. This may deter some cats from using it if they don’t like dealing with moving objects. The wooden frame can also come unglued from the scratching surface, especially when hung and used by aggressive scratchers.
- Very versatile
- Everything included for assembly
- Lightweight and easily pushed
- The frame may come unglued when hung on the wall
5. Best Carpeted Scratching Post: North American Pet Classy Kitty Carpet Scratching Post
For cats that prefer a softer touch, the North American Pet Classy Kitty Scratching Post features a soft carpet covering a shorter pile than you would likely find on your floor. This shorter length makes it more durable and less likely to shred. This scratching post is tall, for all kitties who like a good stretch. It reaches 32″ tall, yet is thin in diameter and lightweight enough to be easily moved from room to room.
While this product might be lightweight, much of that weight is in the base making it more resistant to tipping and falling. The carpet seems to hold up well to frequent scratching, and this post is easily rotated if one side should wear more quickly than the rest.
Like any carpet scratching post, this one will shed as it gets used. This is especially true for vigorous scratchers. Another concern with carpeted scratching posts is cats getting their claws stuck in the plastic grid that makes up the carpet’s back. This might result in injuries to claws or toes if they stuck in the carpeting.
- Tall enough for a full stretch
- Lightweight and easily moved
- Sturdy and hard to tip over
- Carpet pills and sheds onto the floor
- Cat’s claws can get stuck when scratching
Cat Scratching Post Buying Guide
If you have an indoor cat, you’ve probably noticed a cat’s affinity for a good stretch and scratch. While it might not always be their intention to be destructive, scratching can easily lead to frayed curtains and shredded furniture. Providing them with a proper scratching post is one great way to protect your household possessions while still letting your cat do what comes naturally.
Why Do Cats Need to Scratch?
Scratching is a natural behavior in cats that serves many purposes. First of all, scratching helps to sharpen their claws. Since cat claws are retractable, they don’t wear down when they walk like dogs. Scratching on hard surfaces is one way of filing down those nails so that they don’t become too long and cumbersome.
Scratching also sharpens those claws. Cats in the wild use their claws for hunting and defense, so it is to their benefit to always have those claws sharp and ready. When a cat scratches, it removes the rough outer layers, similar to shucking corn, and leaves a sharper, more fierce weapon underneath.
Finally, cats scratch to mark their territory. Nothing says “Attack Cat on Duty” like some freshly shredded tree bark or a newly torn shower curtain in your housecat’s case. Scratch marks help warn other cats that they better beware, they’re on someone else’s turf.
The Different Types of Cat Scratching Posts
You may be surprised at the number of options there are for cat scratching posts on the market. And with good reason; our kitties can be very particular with their tastes, and some scratching post styles will be favored over others. You may have to use some trial and error until you find the perfect scratching post to satisfy your kitty’s needs. Some things to consider in cat scratching posts are:
Cat scratching posts can be made from or covered in almost anything. Corrugated cardboard, sisal rope, and fabric are standard materials. Cardboard, when placed on its side, allowing the honeycomb structure of the material to face up, makes a great rough, yet easily torn surface to polish and file those kitty claws. They don’t last long, though, so you may find yourself constantly picking up cardboard bits and frequently replacing the scratching surface.
Sisal rope is another rough surface that’s great for scratching. This rope is often coiled around scratching posts to provide an uneven surface that’s great for working those nails. It’s a little more durable as well.
Different fabrics can be used to cover scratchers for a little different feel. Carpet and other durable fabrics work best as they are better able to stand up to multiple scratchings.
Wood is also an option. Wood works best if it’s roughed up a little bit to better catch and smooth claws.
You’ll find cat scratching posts that are vertical, horizontal, round, lounge-shaped, donut-shaped, that hang, or that attach to walls.
3. The Bells and Whistles
Once you have the shape and material figured out, now’s the time to start looking at the little additional details. Some cat scratching posts come with attached toys, and some will come smothered in catnip. These bells and whistles are added to help attract your cat to using the scratching post, so it will probably work better for those cats that need a little extra encouragement.
How to Choose the Best Cat Scratching Post
Your best bet to choosing the right scratching post is to observe your cat’s natural scratching behavior. Some cats prefer the long vertical stretch with a claw-screeching slide back down, while others like to scratch with all four feet at a time on the ground. You’ll be able to tell which kind of scratching your cat prefers by what they have scratched.
If the carpet is shredded, they probably prefer a horizontal scratching post. If the curtains are their target, a vertical post will probably be best.
A little observation will also tell you what kind of material your cat prefers to scratch. Some might like a harder challenge, like wood, while others want the softer touch of carpet. And some kitties might want something different based on their mood. So, having multiple options for them to choose from never hurts.
Getting Your Cat to Use a Scratching Post
While scratching is natural to a cat, using a scratching post might take a little getting used to. You will first want to let them get acquainted with their new scratcher without any direction from you. You can then show them how to use it by scratching your hand on it or by gently scratching their paws on it. Place it in an area where they usually scratch, such as the corner of the couch, to be convenient.
If your kitty still needs a little encouragement, you can consider a post with toys or catnip to pique their interest. Anytime they start to scratch on another surface, quickly move them over to the scratching post and praise them for a job well done.
Getting a scratching post for your cat should be just as important as providing them with a litter box. Scratching is a normal behavior in cats that you don’t want to discourage. Instead, you want to encourage scratching where it’s safe and well away from any household valuables. Having a proper scratching post can do that. Just make sure to observe your cat’s natural scratching preferences when choosing that scratching post to ensure that they will use it and then reward them often for when they do.
Dr. Chyrle Bonk has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2010. She lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons, where they spend their free time exploring the great outdoors that is right in their backyard.