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Does your cat get that wild look just before they suddenly launch themselves at the arm of your couch in a scratching frenzy? Quick, before your cat forms a long-term destructive relationship with your furniture, divert their attention with a great scratching post.
After observing my cats with several types of scratching posts, I’ve discovered some styles are far more appealing than others. And that certain cats prefer particular angles for their scratching surface—from horizontal to vertical. Plus, while a few cats are just wild over sisal, others prefer to sink their claws into a carpet-type texture. Such connoisseurs! So we’re here to give you a look at the full range of cat scratching posts out there and give you some ideas for matching the post to your particular kitty.
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, scratching is normal, healthy feline behavior. In addition to helping keep your cat’s claws in top condition, scratching is a way for cats to mark their territory. In short, you just need to direct this healthy cat behavior somewhere other than your carpets and furniture.
In this detailed guide, the folks at PetMD have a few tips for redirecting your cat’s claws. Their first recommendation? Get multiple scratching posts. Experts like the veterinarians at VCA recommend placing posts in prominent areas around the house. I’ve found the cats like to scratch as they enter a room, so I set a scratching post in the middle of our dining room. Sure enough, this post gets lots of attention, while the sisal on their cat tree in the far corner goes mostly ignored.
Your cat’s size is another factor to consider when choosing a scratching post. The right scratching post will be tall enough for your cat to stretch up and scratch while standing on their hind legs, and sturdy enough to stand up to a good clawing. I cannot believe how long my cat Mr. Tippy turns out to be when he reaches up to scratch! We had to give away two scratching posts before I found the one that lets him get in a good scratching session without bumping his furry little head!
If there’s an overall rule for scratching posts, it seems to be that taller is better. A cat Mr. Tippy’s size needs about 30 inches of clearance. If you have a Maine Coon or other long breed, you might require something even taller.
The Best Cat Scratching Posts
With all that in mind, here are our suggestions for some of the best cat scratching posts available (including cat trees that incorporate scratching posts.) On the floor, on the wall, under the table—let ‘er rip!
This compact but heavy convertible cat scratcher toy offers a variety of configurations to drive your kitty to destruction. You’ll pay a premium price for the celebrity cat behaviorist name, though.
This basic, sturdy cat scratcher is tall enough for your ultra-long kitty to get in a full stretch in—but it won’t take up too much space in smaller homes. The 16-by-16-inch base is engineered wood, and the scratching material is ultra-tough woven sisal.
Here’s a clever scratching post solution for a home short on floor space: Attach the scratching post to the wall. And, just like with a paper towel holder, you can order refills!
Another space- and furniture-saving solution: This scratching post with a dangling toy that fits under your desk or table. Twist to expand and attach where needed; non-slip tension pads hold it in place.
On the other hand, if you have some floor space, this 31-inch high modern cat tree has a wide, sturdy base and a long scratching post—plus some hanging toys to encourage play.
We’re going out on a limb to recommend this scratching post. It’s plenty tall, at 27.6 inches, and at 9.6 pounds it’s stable enough for a small-to-mid-size cat. Climb it, kick it, scratch it, love it! Did we mention you can reposition the angle of the branch?
Here’s another solution for homes short on space—a cat scratcher/cat tree that hangs on any standard door. This is an ideal tree that combines lots of scratching surface with multiple platforms for cats rocking the studio apartment or catio life. Be aware: This one of those cat products that cats either adore or ignore. However, as one purchaser noted: “It saved my apartment”—it might save yours.
Does your cat like it flat? The Bergan Star Chaser is a favorite at our house—my ginger gal Perdita likes to scratch it, then sit on it. Go figure. This is a very affordable solution if you want to provide multiple scratching surfaces around the house.
With several sisal-wrapped posts and fleece-covered surfaces, this 56-inch-tall cat tree offers many scratching and snuggling possibilities.
What is totally cool about this A-shaped scratching structure is that you can put in it three different configurations. If your cat doesn’t take to the steep upright A-frame, place it on its side for a less-challenging angle. Or, take it apart to create two side-by-side, even shallower, ramps.
Here’s something a little different. These sturdy, scratch-friendly boxes with soft, plush beds make the perfect playground for your cats, whether they’re tearing it up or napping in it.
This is a whole new take on the scratcher: An entire cat tree (49.8 inches) made of scratchable surfaces. Your cat can choose from sisal or carpeted posts, or dig into the many flat corrugated surfaces.
PetFusion makes tough, durable products—even when it comes to a scratching surface that’s meant to be destroyed! This 20-inch long pad is paws-down the favorite scratching surface in our household. Our Japanese Bobtail Tinkerbell would not dream of going to her food dish without working up an appetite with an enthusiastic scratching session on the Flip Pad. When she’s destroyed one side, we just flip it over.
Whether your kitty likes to shred sisal or sink their claws into carpet, the three posts on this 59.8-inch cat tree will satisfy the itch to scratch. This is an ideal scratching post solution for the multi-cat household.
Kick it up a notch with a cat tree with four built-in sisal scratching posts. We like the way the 16-by-16-inch base fits snugly in any corner. Want more? It comes in two sizes.
Last, but not least: The cat scratcher that looks like it could scratch your back! If your decor incorporates this shade of green—or if you are looking for the most outrageous gift possible for a cat-loving household, do not pass up this Saguaro cactus made of sisal and “moppy plush”! While the 22-inch version of the cactus is cute, the 31-inch scratching cactus is ideal. Cats should love it. They are, after all, desert creatures.
Featured image by Daga Roszkowska/Pixabay
Karen Anderson is a writer at Rover. Before joining Rover, she was a writer and editor at Apple and a freelancer for companies including Cardiac Science, Houzz, the Home Owners Club, and the Seattle Times. Her hobbies are dancing, gardening, science fiction, and pet-sitting for friends and neighbors. She shares her house with a delightful clowder of quirky rescue cats.
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