Best Cat Scratching Posts, Condos, and Homes: Reviews & Ratings Of Everything Your Kitten Needs To Play And Scratch

Cat scratchers and cat furniture are more than accessories for your spoiled feline.

They address destructive scratching in a fun, humane way. (And “destructive” is only from your human point of view, remember! Cats NEED to scratch.)

This is your guide to finding the best cat scratching posts, towers, kitty condos, homes and more.

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Why Purchase A Cat Scratcher?

A cat scratcher is a necessary accessory for cats that have not been declawed (and don’t even think about declawing your cat).

But why do cats scratch? 

Scratching is a natural activity. It removes the dead outer layer of their nails which is important for keeping nails sharp and ready for action.

Scratching is also a way to mark territory. Scratches are a visual and olfactory mark. Scratching releases the scent glands in their pads as a warning to would-be feline intruders.

The act of scratching is also a great stretch for keeping limbs and paws limber.

Basically, cats need to (and love to) scratch for a lot of reasons.

Destructive scratching occurs when kitties do not have an appropriate outlet for their scratching.

Your couch, curtains, carpets, and walls are all convenient alternatives. Don’t let claws take over your house.

Instead, provide a places to scratch that is not destructive to your home.

There are many options available from simple cardboard scratchers to elaborate kitty condos. These toys offer stimulation and enticing surfaces to scratch.

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How To Train Your Cat To Scratch

Buying a scratching post, box or furniture with scratching surfaces for your cat when she is a kitten saves you the trouble of training an older, more stubborn pet.

Encourage your kitten to play on the box. Sprinkle catnip around the toy and allow your kitten to explore.

Place several scratchers or scratching posts around your home and your kitten’s play area to encourage proper scratching.

Patience and observation are all you need to correct destructive scratching in kittens and older felines.

Kittens learn quickly. Older guys and gals take a little longer to persuade to scratch where you want them to scratch.

Observe where your cat prefers to scratch. Some like the carpet. Others prefer the side of your sofa. These preferences help you determine the kind of scratcher that appeals to your pet.

Cats that prefer to stand on their hind legs to scratch enjoy a tree or a post. Those that like to scratch your carpet prefer a flatter surface like a cardboard scratcher.

Reviews Of The Best Scratchers, Posts, and More

Choose a post that you think your cat will enjoy (obviously). Purchase the appropriate post or box and place it near where your cat prefers to scratch.

This might require sacrificing a corner of the living room for thee new tree. Don’t worry. You can move it into the corner once your cat has fallen in love with her new toy.

Scratchers and posts come in a variety of styles and sizes. They also serve multiple purposes.

Cats enjoy lofty perches like the top of refrigerators or the back of the couch, and so trees, tunnels, and condos give your kitty a place to play, explore and nap that is entirely her own.

Best Cardboard Scratcher by Catit

catit scratcher bench

A cardboard scratcher is a cheap and effective way to stimulate your cat’s natural scratching urges.

They’re usually pretty basic, but are incredibly useful.

Some come with catnip. Some use special glue that is organic and not bad if ingested.

Others are angled for an incline scratcher. Most are not very expensive, making them the most affordable scratch accessory available.

One of the most popular, basic, and affordable is this “bench” style scratcher from Catit. 

It includes catnip to get Kitty interested, and at 19 inches across, doubles as a place for him to lie down and lounge, rather than jumping up on the couch all the time (not that snuggling your precious kitty is a bad thing!).

You’ll get decent wear out of this, and you could potentially even turn it over when the top is destroyed and see if your cat will use the bottom to scratch and lie between as well.

Our top pick for value and reliability.

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Best Cat Scratching Posts

smartcat ultimate scratching post

Cats scratch to keep their nails “trimmed”, to mark their territory, to exercise, to stretch, and a variety of other reasons. It’s not usually a “bad” or “troubled” behavior, so even though Kitty might be ripping your table legs or sofa to shreds, try not to get too upset!

What your cat needs is somewhere to scratch safely, and the best option if she prefers the upright scratching surfaces, is a scratching post.

It’s your responsibility to give your cat somewhere safe she can scratch without having to worry about you chasing her away and telling her no. She doesn’t know that you don’t want your furniture mauled, she just literally biologically NEEDS to do it, so give her somewhere good!

Our top pick here is the sturdy, durable, and neutral looking SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post.

It’s really a quality option and worth the price.

At 32 inches tall (plus a 16″ by 16″ base), it’ll suit even larger cat breeds, such as the Maine Coon, without tipping over or wearing down too quickly.

It’s actually made from woven sisal, which is like a ropey, carpety like texture that cats just seem to go crazy over. It gives them the perfect amount of resistance they need while not breaking down as quickly as something like cardboard.

Definitely worth of being our most recommended post!

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There are a few things you need to keep in mind when selecting a scratching post if this one isn’t right for you.

The most important is stability. A post that easily topples over will not get used. Height is important too – make sure the post is tall enough to satisfy the needs of your pet. Measure the height of the surface she already scratches on and add a few inches for optimal scratching. 

Also go for a more durable material that won’t snag the nails, like the one above.

Best Cat Towerrefined_feline_cat_towe

You treat your furball like a princess. Give her a tower to survey her kingdom and scratch away to her heart’s content.

Towers offer a total recreational experience. She can climb, scratch and snooze atop her tower. They’re also a very important item for cats to have around to maximize their feeling of safety, especially if your house has another pet like a dog, or children.

As you know, cats love to find high places to climb, but if you don’t have a tower handy, she’ll probably make her way up a bookshelf or cabinet that you’d really prefer she didn’t get on top of.

Something like our top pick below will help keep her calm when she feels a little threatened or stressed, as she’ll be able to drastically increase her line of sight and survey the situation.

Towers come in all sizes and price ranges. Sometimes they are called cat trees as well. The difference between a tower, climber, and tree is complexity.

Climbers focus on the climbing experience. Trees offer a variety of landings for exploration. Towers offer a perch for your kitty.

For our top pick, we’re going to spare no expense here, since it really is just the best.

From The Refined Lotus, comes this lovely wooden tower, complete with a concave “bowl” at the top for Kitty to relax on top of, 2 floating perches part way up, each with enough room to lie down or continue climbing upwards, and a box at the bottom for your cat to hide in.

The side includes a scratching material for maximum versatility, and to ensure the elegant finish isn’t clawed to bits.

It really is a lovely, complete bit of feline furniture, and is perfect whether you’ve got one cat or three.

There are certainly cheaper options out there, and you can find some of those here, but if you’re looking for the absolute best, and don’t mind spending a few hundred dollars, this is easily our favorite.

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Best Cat Tree

trixie altea cat tree

Cat trees offer the fun of real trees without the dead birds and health risks associated with the great outdoors. Cat trees are usually covered with a carpet-like fiber for scratching and rolling.

Trees come in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles, but we think our pick is a nice middle ground that will make most cats happy. 

We’ve decided to go with this one because while it’s not the fanciest, it is well-priced, provides great value, and works both as a climber and scratcher. Oh, and it’s perfect for multiple cats.

At nearly 4 feet tall, it offers a wonderful, high perch for your kitty to get a perfect view of his surroundings, which can help him feel safe and in control.

The scratching elements are made of sisal, which is what our top rated scratching post is made out of, so we know it’s a durable fiber that does not snag nails, and it is of course much more durable than cardboard.

For such a tall, stable, and multi-leveled tree, I was surprised to see it’s only $30-something. Pick the “Grey” color scheme if you’d like a more neutral look, or the Beige/Black, which is actually a really fun fabric, that’s sure to pop out amongst your other furniture.

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Best Cat Climber

smartcat climber

Cat climbers are a stimulating toy for those who love to jump and climb. Some climbers attach to the back of a door, like our top pick, the SmartCat Climber. 

With the SmartCat, it’s basically a 3-in-1, offering your kitty a place to scratch, climb, and sleep.

Since it goes on a door, this is perhaps the safest way to give your cat human eye-level perspective. Cat trees aren’t as tall, and cabinets and bookshelves aren’t as safe.

That was one of the biggest reasons I loved this, other than the fact that I could move it around on different doors if I was going to be in one part of the house for a long bit of the day.

It’s really durable, actually, and will definitely hold a couple of cats – each shelf can hold up to 24 pounds!

Some people decide to mount it on the wall, as it doesn’t always work on every door, and it can be a bit of a pain to put together.

But, if you can put up with that, please treat your kitty to this climbing paradise!

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Best Cat Standtrixie_pet_products_cat_stand

Cat stands are pieces of furniture that provide cats with a place to relax off of the ground. Sometimes labeled as hammocks or trees, stands are simple pieces of furniture that usually lack the multiple levels and accessories of more elaborate set ups like the ones we’ve covered above.

The company Molly and Friends makes an excellent example of a cat stand that includes a scratching post. I love products like this that have multiple uses. If things weren’t multi-functional, I’d have like 30 different pieces of furniture around my house and that would of course be crazy.

This is US-made, really sturdy, almost 3 feet tall, and has a 1.5 foot x 1.5 foot base, which keeps it from tipping over, even when the cats take a big run at it.

I also like that the scratching part is sisal rope, which I have always found to be the best for scratching since it lasts the longest, and just seems to be the perfect consistency for scratching without getting a nail caught.

Even between 2 cats, this held up really well, and I’ve talked to people who have kept theirs for years. I’d say maybe replace it once the scratching post becomes totally shredded, as it’s not as nice or useful for your pet to use at that point, but it’s certainly nice to have to worry about that kind of longevity.

It’s a bit pricey for such a basic unit, but I think that’s because it’s really well made and you’ll get your money’s worth out of it, for sure.

For a basic “stand” or “perch” type unit, this is our top pick.

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Best Cat Tunnel

smartykat crackle chute

Cats love dark hiding places…they’re found in the strangest locations, like your laundry hamper, in-between the couch cushions or up a sweater sleeve. A tunnel is the perfect accessory for your feline!

They are typically made of flexible material and are a very affordable toy.

I love this one from SmartyKat. At only $8 or $9 (typically), it’s really well made, and the crackling noises it makes as Kitty explores the depths of the tunnel makes for an exciting, sensory experience that seems to really hold their attention.

There’s a hole part way through so they don’t feel trapped when they’re in the middle. Try throwing some toys down the tunnel and watch as your furry friend tries to chase them out – you’ll both be entertained for awhile!

I love the quality of this and the simple, yet useful structure of it, so it’s easy to recommend at such a modest price point. I highly recommend that if you’ve got the room, you get a tunnel for your home! It’s such a fun thing that’s totally unlike any of the other toys you’ve got lying about for your kitten.

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Best Cat Perch

oster sunny seat

Cat perches are similar to cat stands in that they provide a place for your cat to relax and get a little higher up to both feel safe and keep a watchful eye on things.

Some hook onto windows, like my favorite of the bunch, but there are also wall options, too. 

Perches that mount on the window give your cat a place to relax in the sunshine while also watching the great outdoors. Place the window perch near a bird feeder so that she can observe your flighty visitors from a safe distance.

You’ll notice all sorts of chirping and chattering coming from Kitty if she gets to spot “prey” outside the window.

Just make sure you spend extra time giving her prey-like toys after she’s finished at the perch. It’s a biological need for our furry friends to chase, catch, and kill prey animals, and they can become quite frustrated if they’re watching out the window all day with no way to expel any of that energy that’s built up.

A mouse toy, a feather wand, anything that helps get some of that killer instinct out.

Other than the potential for pent up energy, they’re wonderful spots to help your cat see more than just the walls of your house, which can also be a bit of a buzzkill for such a predatory animal.

Go with our top pick, from Oster. Great value, simple to use, and can hold up to 50 pounds, so even you Maine Coon owners can use it!

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Best Cat Condo

frisco cat condo

Cat condos are elaborate trees that incorporate perches, houses, scratching posts and climbers. 

These jungle gyms are perfect for households with multiple cats. Each gets her own perch and place to scratch. Affectionate cats can cuddle up together while the more solitary among us enjoy the luxury of ignoring their housemates.

After a lot of digging around, we’ve finally chosen the Frisco 72-inch cat condo as our #1 overall pick.

It’s a really nice mix between value (great price for such a huge tower), quality, versatility (scratching, climbing, perches, house/box areas, etc.), and fun features (like the dangling mice for Fluffy to play with).

If you’re going all-out for your four legged family members, it’s hard to beat this one!

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Best Cat House

KH outdoor kitty house

Cat houses offer your kitty a private retreat. Many are designed for outdoor cats, and we’ve gone with our favorite (heated) option.

Now, although this one from K&H Pet Products is heated, it does come in a non-heated version.

This really is a fantastic product if you’ve got outdoor cats, live on a barn, or are caring for a feral cat/kittens around your home.

It’s 16.5 inches x 13 inches x 16 inches inside, so it’s a good enough size for most cats to fit in comfortably, while still being small enough to feel comfortable and keep the heat in.

Speaking of heat, it’s generated by a floor pad, which is very safe, and matches the heat to your cat’s body temperature.

The idea isn’t to cook your cat and have a super hot sleep, it’s just to make it less like sleeping on the freezing cold ground, whether that’s dirt or concrete. It’s a nice, gentle warmth that will allow a cat to have a safe sleep that will rejuvenate it for the day to come.

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Furniture Accessories

Now you have the perfect cat scratching post, tree, stand, condo, and/or house. It’s easy to get carried away while shopping for your pet. 

You can even accessorize the condo with cat beds and toys. There are so many options to choose from.

You can select colored beds to match your cat condo or to compliment your wall trim.

The number of cat toys on the market is astounding. Dangle a few from your cat post or leave them in your cat house for some quiet play time. The limit to your cat’s toy collection is your imagination – and your wallet.

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Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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Kittie - February 2, 2017

A cat scratcher is a very important accessory for cats who’s claws have not been removed, So informative!


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