Cats have an instinctual need to scratch. It helps them remove the dead outer layer of their claws and stretch their bodies. When a cat doesn’t have a proper place to scratch, your furniture and carpets are likely to suffer the consequences. Providing the right scratching solutions is essential for protecting your home and keeping kitty content. This guide covers the best cat scratching posts and scratchers to satisfy your cat’s scratching urges in a constructive way.
Why Do Cats Need to Scratch?
Scratching is completely normal behavior for cats. Here are some of the key reasons why cats scratch:
- Shed old claw sheaths: The outer layer of a cat’s claws sheds periodically. Scratching helps them remove the dead sheaths to reveal sharp new claws underneath.
- Stretch and exercise: Scratching is a good stretch for cats. It allows them to fully extend their bodies and get exercise.
- Mark territory: Cats have scent glands in their paws. Scratching leaves both a visual and scent mark of their territory.
- Relieve stress: Scratching can help cats relieve stress and anxiety. It’s a rewarding behavior.
Providing acceptable scratching solutions is crucial for protecting your home from damage. It also gives your cat suitable outlets to satisfy their innate desire to scratch.
Types of Cat Scratchers
There are a few main types of cat scratching posts and scratchers:
- Vertical scratching posts – Freestanding vertical posts covered in sisal, carpet, or other scratchable material. These allow for full body stretching.
- Horizontal scratch pads – Flat scratch pads, usually made of corrugated cardboard. They can be laid flat or angled.
- Scratching mats – Woven mats made of fabric, sisal, or rope that lay flat on the floor.
- Scratching boxes/houses – Enclosed cardboard boxes or houses with scratchable surfaces inside and out.
- Scratching furniture – Cat furniture and cat trees with scratchable posts.
Vertical scratching posts and horizontal scratch pads tend to be the most popular options. The best choice depends on your cat’s preferences and scratching patterns. Providing different styles can help satisfy every scratching whim!
Cat Scratching Post vs. Scratching Pad
So should you get a scratching post or scratching pad? Here’s how to decide:
- Allow full body stretching
- Are more durable for rougher scratchers
- Offer different scratchable materials like sisal, carpet, wood
- Provide mental stimulation and exercise
- Tend to be more affordable
- Easier to fit in small spaces
- Disposable cardboard pads can be replaced frequently
- Allow cats to scratch while lying down
Many cat owners provide both scratching posts and pads to give their cats options. The upright posts are great for a good full body scratching session, while pads are perfect for a quick scratch. Providing a combination of styles is ideal for keeping cats content.
Top 5 Cat Scratching Posts and Pads
Now let’s look at some of the best cat scratching posts and scratchers on the market. These are excellent options that are sure to please even the pickiest of felines.
1. Max and Marlow Sisal Scratching Post
- Material: Natural sisal fiber rope
- Style: Floor-to-ceiling post
- Key Features: Very durable, excellent for stretching, neutral color hides scratches
This super sturdy sisal post from Max and Marlow is made to last. It has a thick natural fiber rope wrap that cats love to dig their claws into. The tallpost gives cats a full vertical stretch. It’s also freestanding so it can be placed anywhere without wall installation. Reviewers consistently praise the high quality, durability, and scratch appeal of this post. It’s an investment that prevents furniture destruction.
2. Frisco Cat Scratcher with Catnip
- Material: Corrugated cardboard
- Style: Horizontal scratcher
- Key Features: Contains catnip, inexpensive, replaceable
Frisco makes an affordable corrugated cardboard scratcher pad that cats adore. It contains enticing catnip to initially attract cats to the scratcher. The surface is reversible with grooves on both sides for scratching. Since it’s made of cardboard, it’s very inexpensive. The pads can easily be replaced every few months to keep it fresh and attractive. For the price, it’s a great option.
3. PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge
- Material: Recycled corrugated cardboard
- Style: Multi-surface lounge bed
- Key Features: Modern look, scratch and lounge area
For cats that like options, the PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher offers a scratchable lounger with three areas to scratch and lounge. There are vertical scratching grooves, a flat scratch pad, and a comfortable lounging area. It has a sleek, contemporary look that compliments modern decor. The scratch surfaces are made with recycled cardboard and contain catnip. Pets find it very inviting and owners love the durability.
4. Youthink Cat Scratching Post
- Material: Soft plush and sisal
- Style: Floor post with platforms
- Key Features: Very tall, interactive platforms, soft and scratchy surfaces
Youthink makes an innovative tall cat tree with both plush and sisal scratchable surfaces. It has a tall main sisal-covered post with platforms and beds for playing and lounging. There are dangling toys on top for interactive fun. The multi-textured surfaces provide a full scratching experience. Plus, the plush beds are comfortable napping spots. With a small footprint, it’s great for small spaces.
5. Purrfect Arch Cat Scratching Post
- Material: Natural sisal fiber
- Style: Wall-mounted arch
- Key Features: Saves floor space, easy to install, appeals to cats’ natural scratching motion
For a unique wall-mounted scratching solution, the Purrfect Arch has a curved shape cats love. The arched sisal surface mimics a natural scratching motion for cats. It attaches securely to the wall with included hardware. With its small footprint, it’s ideal for saving floor space in tight quarters. Cats are drawn to scratch both sides of the arch. It’s innovative, affordable, and ideal for homes with little open ground space.
Scratching Post vs Cardboard Scratcher: What’s Better For Cats?
When looking at scratching posts vs cardboard scratchers, both have advantages that appeal to different cats. Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of each:
- Allow full body stretching
- Durable for rough scratchers
- Come in various materials like sisal, carpet
- Can be tall, free-standing structures
- Tend to be more expensive
- Take up more space than pads
- Not as disposable/replaceable as cardboard
- Very affordable option
- Disposable and easily replaced
- Fit into small areas
- Appeal to cats who like horizontal scratching
- Less durable than posts
- Don’t facilitate full body stretches
- May need to be replaced frequently
- Can look messy with shredded cardboard
Many cats enjoy having both scratching posts and cardboard pads to satisfy different scratching needs. Ultimately it comes down to your cat’s scratching preferences and tendencies. Offering a variety is the best way to cover all feline scratching bases!
Key Features of Quality Cat Scratching Solutions
When evaluating cat scratching posts and pads, here are some key features to look for:
- Sturdy construction – Built stable and tall enough for full body scratching
- Scratchable materials – Sisal, carpet, cardboard, wood
- Catnip – Entice cats to use the scratcher
- Interactive elements – Toys, platforms, and multiple scratchable surfaces
- Neutral colors – Hide scratch marks better than light colors
- Stable base – Won’t tip over during energetic scratching
- Easy cleaning – Spot clean debris and dust off scratchable surfaces
High quality scratchers last longer and are more satisfying for cats to use. Look for scratchers made with feline-approved materials, interactive features, and sturdy construction. These will get repeated use for years of effective claw sharpening.
Scratcher Location Tips
Where you place cat scratching solutions can impact how often your cat uses them. Here are some tips for optimal scratcher placement:
- Put near sleeping, playing, or feeding areas where they spend time
- Make sure cats can fully stretch and scratch vertically
- Place on a stable, non-slip surface
- Avoid noisy areas that could scare cats away
- Use catnip or treats to entice cats to try new scratchers
- Avoid positioning near appliances, drapes, or valuables
Try placing different scratcher styles in various areas your cat frequents so they always have access. Don’t tuck them away in forgotten corners! Proper placement is key for encouraging cats to scratch approved surfaces.
Should I Trim My Cat’s Claws?
While trimming the sharp tips of your cat’s claws can protect humans and furniture, it’s not necessarily recommended. Here are some things to consider:
- Blunts sharp edges that can damage skin or fabric
- May temporarily redirect scratching off limits areas
- Very stressful for most cats, risks traumatic experiences
- Can injure cats if done incorrectly by hitting the quick
- Doesn’t reduce innate need and desire to scratch
Instead of claw trims, the best solution is providing enticing approved scratchers. Trimmed claws will still scratch and damage, just slightly less. Redirection instead of declawing is the humane approach.
Satisfy Your Cat’s Scratching Urges
Cats need to scratch—it’s not optional! By offering sturdy, feline-approved scratching solutions, you can protect your home while keeping your cat happy and healthy. Invest in quality cat scratching posts and scratchers suited to your pet’s preferences. Combine different materials, styles, vertical vs. horizontal options, and interactive features to keep them coming back for more. Place scratchers thoughtfully and use treats or catnip to encourage use. Scratching is a rewarding behavior for cats, so be sure to provide appropriate outlets for this important ritual. Your furniture will thank you!