If there is one thing that your pet cat shares with their larger wild counterparts, it is the drive to scratch things. Lions, leopards, and tigers will claw trees or other structures in their native habitats. Your kitty is closer to their wild roots than most other domesticated animals. It makes sense that they will do the same thing in their home.
Getting a cat scratching post is an excellent way to divert your pet’s attention from your sofa to something more appropriate. Your kitty will do what comes naturally to them, and you won’t have to worry about them ruining your furniture. A cat’s claws are formidable weapons, so it behooves you to buy a post that can handle the task.
Our guide includes the features that you should look for in these products. We discuss the types of scratching posts available and what signifies a quality item. We also include a roundup of detailed reviews that will give you an idea of the range of products. Finally, we offer advice to make the transition from couch to scratching post easier.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
1. MidWest Feline Scratching Post — Best Overall
The MidWest Feline Scratching Post is an excellent product if you’re looking for a basic item that can fit in with any décor. The interior is engineered wood, meaning either particleboard or plywood. The base is 19 inches L x 19 inches W, which provides a sturdy platform to support the weight of the post and your cat using it. The covering is sisal twine and faux fur.
The overall design is attractive for a cat post. You have to assemble the base with the tools that the manufacturer provides. It’s hard to find anything to ding the product other than that it’s a bit pricey for what it is. We also have concerns about a cat damaging the faux fur and making a mess of it. But at 41 inches H, it’s tall enough to satisfy most cats.
2. Frisco Sisal Cat Scratching Post — Best Value
The Frisco Sisal Cat Scratching Post is the best cat scratching post for the money. It is a free-standing product that requires assembly with the included tools. The base measures 16 inches L x 16 inches W. While it’s heavy, we have concerns about a playful kitty bringing it down. The underside is bare, which can be problematic if you put it on non-carpeted floors.
The platform is particleboard, which provides durability in its two layers. The covering is faux fur, which may make a mess after being scratched. Also, the post has sisal fiber instead of twine, which may affect its long-term durability.
3. Hepper 5-Angle Hi-Lo Scratching Post — Premium Choice
The Hepper 5-Angle Hi-Lo Scratching Post is a fantastic option if you have a kitty that’s getting bored with the same ol’ cardboard scratcher. This arc-shaped scratcher is made from 3 inches of thick, sturdy cardboard. It features metal legs that allow you to set the scratcher to five different positions, including upward and downward facing arcs, creating excitement and interest for your cat. The legs are capped with anti-slip grips, keeping the scratcher stable while your kitty plays.
Whether your cat enjoys being low to the ground or stretching out fully while scratching, this scratching post has a setting your cat will love. The attractive, modern appearance of the scratching post means it will fit in in your home, without standing out immediately as a cat toy. Providing your cat with an interesting scratcher will help reduce scratching of furniture, rugs, and clothing.
Disclaimer: PetKeen.com has a controlling interest in the Hepper brand. Therefore, we will benefit from any Hepper purchase you make as a result of this review.
4. Dimaka Cat Scratching Post
The Dimaka Cat Scratching Post is a sleeker version of the free-standing product that stands 29 inches H on a 14 inch L x 14 inch W base. The 3-inch diameter is thinner too. The covering is sisal twine, which offers durability. The manufacturer also sells replacements. The top has an attached toy to encourage your pet to use it. It comes in five color choices to match the décor of your room.
The design and assembly mirror similar products. However, this one is lightweight at less than 5 lbs., so it could fall over easily. This also raised questions about its long-term durability. Fortunately, the cat post is affordably priced if it doesn’t work out for you and your cat.
5. 4CLAWS Wall Mounted Sisal Scratching Post
The 4CLAWS Wall Mounted Sisal Scratching Post deals with the toppling problem with a mounting assembly to attach it to a wall. Granted, it’s not a solution for renters or homeowners who don’t want to put holes in their walls. The manufacturer includes the hardware with an anchor for a sturdy attachment. The frame is aluminum but unfortunately, it isn’t that attractive.
On the positive side, the post is covered in sisal twine that is sure to last. If not, the manufacturer sells replacement mats, albeit at a cost that is nearly that of the entire product. It has a small footprint at only 18 inches H with a 2.9-inch diameter. We didn’t have a problem with the smaller size because you can mount it higher to serve its purpose.
6. Catry Cat Scratching Post
The Catry Cat Scratching Post has a wide base compared to the height of the tower. Unfortunately, the latter is far too short for adult cats. It’s composed of both felt and sisal, and the former raises concerns about the mess that scratching will cause.
On the positive side, this cat scratching post is affordably priced. The color combination is good-looking. However, we questioned its durability, given the choice of materials. Even the toy attached on the top had a thin string. Given its light weight, we would worry about it toppling over too easily.
7. Kitty City Premium Cat Scratching Post
The Kitty City Premium Cat Scratching Post is a sturdy product, weighing in at nearly 10 lbs. It stands 32 inches tall on a 15.75-inch base. The platform is varnished particleboard. The post is covered with sisal fiber. You can add an optional perch to the top, in addition to the toy attachment. However, given its small size, we didn’t see much value in getting this.
The post is well-made and built to last. While it requires assembly, the manufacturer thoughtfully included pads to cover the screw heads so they won’t scratch the floor. There are the occasional quality-control issues, but the customer service is top-notch in case of any problems.
8. Amazon Basics Cat Scratching Post
The Amazon Basics Cat Scratching Post is one of two multi-post products on our list. This one has a 15-inch base with three posts holding up a platform for a cat bed. It stands 31.5 inches tall. Carpeting covers the platform and perch, while sisal twine is on the towers. As you might surmise, it has a larger footprint, which may turn off some pet owners who don’t want something that big in their living room.
The assembly is a piece of cake using the included hardware. The overall design is stable, weighing over 15 lbs. The top is relatively small, with a 12-inch diameter. It would work well for kittens, but probably not for an adult cat. The cat scratching post is value-priced, given what you get for the cost. It is durable and can take a great deal of punishment.
9. Amazon Basics Medium Cat Scratching Post
The Amazon Basics Medium Cat Scratching Post is a single free-standing tower. The 32 inch-height is tall enough for most cats. It sits on a 16-inch base that provides decent stability. Unfortunately, it’s not heavy at less than 5 lbs. Given its small 4-inch diameter and tall size, we worry that it could topple easily. However, it is easy to assemble and comes with a ball to attach to the top.
The price is affordable. Unfortunately, the quality is lacking with certain pieces, particularly the base. The holes for the screws are not recessed, meaning it’s likely to scratch hardwood floors. The pillar comes in two pieces, so there’s a weak point in the design where it may break. That’s too bad, given its otherwise pleasing look.
10. PETMAKER Cat Scratching Post
The PETMAKER Cat Scratching Post is a multi-tower product. It doesn’t have a bed at the top, providing a flat perch instead. The pillars are covered in sisal twine for long-lasting durability. Both the base and top are carpeted. The platform measures 15.75 inches, while the tower is 19.25 inches tall. Unfortunately, that makes it too short for most adult cats.
Having three towers makes it an excellent choice if you have more than one cat. The scratching post includes three toys, but the strings are thin and flimsy. We could see a cat biting them off without any problem. The price is also relatively steep, given the height of the product and features that some cats won’t use.
The essential thing to understand about cat scratching is that it is instinctive behavior. Cats do it for a variety of reasons, ranging from marking their territory to stretching. Your pet probably also finds it enjoyable because it feels good to them. That’s why experts warn against disciplining your cat when they scratch, even where they’re not supposed to. It’s also worth noting that the American Veterinary Medical Association and Cat Fanciers Association are against declawing cats.
A scratch post is an effective way to solve the dilemma in a positive manner. You are offering a suitable alternative that will spare your furniture and carpet.
Things to consider when shopping for a cat scratching post include:
Construction and Design
Quality construction is a must-have feature when buying a cat scratching post. While prices have come down quite a bit in recent years, it still doesn’t make sense to get something that won’t last. You’ll find several types of products, from horizontal slabs to lounger styles. The classic design is a wooden platform with a vertical tower covered with material.
But posts can run the gamut from simple designs to elaborate towers with hiding places and toys. We suggest considering where you’d like to place the scratching post and let that determine how big a product you can buy.
Cats use posts to stretch, so it makes sense to get one that’s as long as your pet’s body so they get the most out of the product. That advice applies whether you’re getting a horizontal or vertical scratching post. The essential thing is that it’s well-weighted on the bottom. That will ensure that it doesn’t topple over and hurt your kitty or break something.
Related Read: 4 Types of Cat Scratchers: Which is Better?
The most popular materials for posts are cardboard, particleboard, plywood, carpeting, and sisal. Cardboard is an excellent choice because it’s inexpensive, and cats readily take to it. The sound of their claws going through it gives them an added incentive to use it. On the downside, it’s messy, especially if your kitty is overzealous when they scratch it.
Particleboard and plywood are inexpensive base materials that are heavy enough to keep the post balanced and properly weighted. The former is typically made from pieces of scrap lumber that are glued together. It is lightweight and smooth, which lends itself well to these uses. On the other hand, plywood is composed of layers of veneer. It is stronger yet heavier and often more expensive.
Manufacturers usually cover their posts with either carpeting or sisal. You may find that the former is more aesthetically pleasing, especially if you want to put it in the living room. Unfortunately, it has the same disadvantage as cardboard with the mess. It’s also not a great idea to give your cat something to scratch that is similar to what you want them to avoid using.
Sisal comes from a plant native to Mexico. Its use for fiber goes back to the Aztecs. It offers many advantages: It’s strong and durable to last the ravages of a cat scratching away. While it will fray, it doesn’t leave the mess that cardboard and carpeting often do. It also offers a satisfying sound when used that cats seem to enjoy.
While sisal has a decidedly rustic look to it, manufacturers can dye it to offer more pleasing color choices and designs. You’ll likely find that it holds up the best of all the materials available.
Size and Aesthetics
The selection of scratching posts covers just about anything that you can imagine, from cutesy designs to climbing gyms and luxurious lounge chairs and everything in between! Of course, many of these features aren’t geared toward your cat at all. Their purpose is to hook you.
We suggest thinking about how your cat would use the scratching post based on their behavior. If your pet likes to climb on furniture to observe their world, they’ll likely gravitate to something tall and elaborate.
You’ll see barebone products that are simply a rectangle of tightly woven cardboard. Other ones include sleeping berths or covered tunnels for your cat to take a nap. Many posts have toys, whether a dangling feather on the top or something attached on the platform for your cat to bat. Our experience is that these don’t usually add to the value of the scratch post.
For our money, the best features of a cat scratching post are being well made and having a durable covering that can take the punishment that your pet will likely give it.
You’ll find cardboard and simple sisal scratching posts for under $10. Products are this price point aren’t necessarily made to last. If you’re looking to stop inappropriate scratching in its tracks, we suggest getting a quality product. Remember that felines use this behavior to mark their territory.
Our research found that cat scratching posts can cost up to four figures for the pet parent who wants to lavish their feline companion with the most indulgent things. Rest assured that you can find a suitable product for well under $100 that your pet will appreciate just as much.
Getting Your Cat to Use the Scratching Post
Going from bringing it home to your cat actually using the scratching post is the trick. Your kitty’s natural curiosity will probably lead them to it — or at least, the bag or box. We suggest initially placing the post near the problem spot if you’re trying to break a bad habit. Of course, catnip is a powerful influencer too. The essential thing is to make the post part of a positive experience.
If your pet scratches on the post, praise them for making the right choice. If your kitty turns to the couch, move the post in their path to encourage them to use it instead. Some cat owners find that double-sided tape on the furniture works well, especially if you use it along with the introduction of the new cat post. We strongly urge you to avoid using squirt guns or other physical deterrents. After all, your cat is merely acting out of instinct.
After going through our reviews, the MidWest Feline Scratching Post has come out on top as the best product on our list. It stands out for its pleasing design and durable construction. The sisal twine and heavy base are an excellent match. While it’s a bit pricey, we can justify the cost with a post that will last for the long haul.
The Frisco Sisal Cat Scratching Post is a simple design that works well for most cats. The pillar is tall enough for most pets. The sisal is durable and sure to please your kitty for the long term. The price is also right, making it an excellent value.
Featured Image Credit: Catry Cat Scratching Post, Amazon
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.