Best Cat Scratching Posts and Pads to Keep Your Cat Fit and Your Furniture Safe

There’s a kitten I know who loves the corners of walls that poke out into a room. These are his favorite places to scratch.

This was only mildly annoying for his people until they brought him to a hotel where he scratched up the wall and caused damage they had to pay for.

Other cats love scratching at beds, couches, door jams, window sills, bookcases… The list is unending for some Fluffballs.

And if your cat is anything like ours, then you know exactly what we’re talking about.

Our review process is unbiased and based on extensive research. If you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a commission.

Quick Find Top 5 List

Editor’s Choice

Frisco 20-Inch Cat Tree

  • Convenient size
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Comfortable and cozy

Petstages Easy Life Scratching Hammock

  • Gorgeous design
  • Intriguing shape for kitty
  • Perfect for relaxing and scratching
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PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge

  • Incredibly comfy for kitties
  • Very attractive design
  • Gives kitty hiding spots
smalls cat food in bowl

PetFusion Branch-Out

  • Perfect for climbers and leapers
  • Tall and intriguing
  • Sturdy and secure
tiki cat after dark

Fat Cat Big Mama’s Scratch ‘N Play Ramp

  • Adorable and cozy
  • Perfect for kittens or as a small cat scratching post
  • Inexpensive

Our review process is unbiased and based on extensive research. If you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a commission.

Why Do Cats Scratch So Much?

Cats, by nature, are predators with claws. And that means they’re going to use these claws to do many things that predators do – some for predatory reasons, but some for comfort reasons.

  • They mark territory by scratching surfaces like couch corners and bedposts
  • They sharpen their claws by scratching on a variety of rough, snaggy surfaces – there’s a reason they go after carpet and fabric
  • Scratching can help them shed layers of uncomfortable dead claw

Solutions to Stop Kitty From Scratching Your Furniture

When I’ve mentioned that my balls of fluff love to scratch things, people have instantly asked why I haven’t had them declawed. My answer? Declawing a cat is dangerous, unhealthy, and completely 100% not okay!

Declawing a cat is like chopping off a person’s fingers at the first knuckle. It’s painful for kitty after surgery – often for a long time to come – causes aggression and can have a crippling effect on your cat.

Never, ever declaw your cat!

Instead, invest in some tools that will help kitty make the right choices. The main tool that will help is a scratching post or pad. A new scratching post will not only save your furniture but help your cat feel better.

But not just any option will do. You need to consider your cat’s behavior and preferences to find a scratching post that will work for him.

For example, Louis loves those corners. This is an upward scratching action. And when we purchased an upright scratcher instead of the pad that we already had, he stopped scratching the corner. Instantly.

If you must, you can check out our review of the best claw caps, but even those are no substitute for allowing your cat to scratch a post freely.

How to Get Your Cat to Use a Scratching Post

There are a couple of things you can do to get your cat to use her new scratchers.

Placement is Key

Personally, the most effective way I’ve found in convincing the furballs to use their scratching posts instead of my couch is by placing the scratching post – the style they like – by the object of their destruction.

One kitty that shall go unnamed was scratching up the legs of my desk.

Since this was a vertical scratching action, I placed a tall cat scratching post next to the desk leg said kitty always went after.

Instantly, this cat left the leg alone and began scratching the post instead.

Use Some Attractors

Your cat’s own scent will attract her to the post.

So, when you first introduce it into your home, you can bring Kitty over to the scratcher and gently place her paws on the post.

Rub her tail – if she’s amenable to that sort of touch! On the post, place her on top of it, etc., just to introduce her to it as her own object and infuse her scent into the post.

You can also use things like catnip and mint to attract her to the cat scratchpad. If it’s made of cardboard, you can rub the catnip in your hands to activate the oils and then sprinkle the catnip into the holes of the cardboard.

Types of Cat Scratching Posts

There are loads and loads of options out there, so think through your cat’s behavior before choosing.

Scratching Post Materials

Cat scratchers are made from a variety of materials that will appeal to different kitties. For example, if your cat likes to play with sisal mice, she’s likely to want a sisal post. If she claws at the carpet, a carpeted option could be a great choice.

Typical materials for scratching posts include:

  • Sisal rope
  • Cardboard
  • Carpet

Styles of Cat Scratch Pads and Posts

Scratchers also come in a variety of styles and types, which will appeal to different cats. To find the right one, think through your cat’s scratching behavior.

Is she scratching furniture, walls, frames, or just anything she can get her paws on?

The direction of her scratching is likely the indicator of the style of scratching post she needs.

  • Tall cat scratching post
  • Couch corner cat scratcher
  • Cat scratch toys
  • Flat scratching pads
  • Angled scratchers
  • Vertical scratching pads

Other Things to Consider

Beyond style and materials, you also need to think about the scratcher’s height/size and weight compared to your cat’s size. For example, if you have a Maine Coon, you need a much larger/longer scratching post than a tiny Cornish Rex will need. In fact, if you want, you can check out our review of cat trees for larger cats, some of which have scratching posts included.

You also want to consider the longevity of the scratching post. Is the material solid enough to last a couple of years, or is it going to pop out in a month or so?

How We Picked the Top Cat Scratch Pads and Posts

I wanted to find the best in each of the most useful categories of scratching posts and pads, so I dug around for a few hours, looking into reviews by others and comparing them to my own experience going through a load of scratchers at home.

I pulled up about fifty options – many of which were practically the same – and dug deeper by reading tons of reviews from real pet parents and professional reviewers alike.

This narrowed my list of 50 down to about 25 that immediately looked like good possible options.

And from here, I looked individually at each option to see what real users said about them, the types of materials being used, and the available scratchers styles.

And that all resulted in this list of the thirteen best scratching posts available.

Reviews of the Best Cat Scratching Posts


The Frisco 20-Inch Cat Tree

Frisco 20-in Cat Tree
  • Rest and Play
  • Comfortable hammock top for napping
  • Durable
  • Built in pom pom toys for additional play

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What makes this a winner for me is a couple of factors.

First off, it’s got a soft, cozy bed for Kitty on top, but it’s held up by two sisal-covered posts that are going to keep Fluffy happily scratching for a while, even if she’s as weird as Gus, who likes to hang upside while scratching at things.

The Frisco Cat Tree is also only 20-inches high, which means it’s a highly versatile cat scratching post/tree that young cats, middle-aged cats, and many elderly cats are going to be able to use easily and comfortably.

And Frisco is a well-trusted brand whose products are built to last, so this is going to be around for a while. It’s inexpensive, so it’s affordable for just about anyone.

And bonus: It’s small enough to fit in any home, even ones that regular cat trees are too much for.

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Best Cat Scratching Post That Doubles As A Bed

The Petstages Easy Life Hammock

  • Your cat can sleep, wake, and then stretcth and scratch
  • Includes catnip
  • “X” design makes it simple to fold and store or transport

Overall Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars

The Easy Life Hammock from Petstages is one of my absolute favorite picks for the best cat scratchers, partially, I admit, due to the unique aesthetic and design.

It’s way more attractive than most scratchers that scream out, “My cat wants to destroy your leather purse!” Plus, the design is going to be enticing for most cats.

The Hammock is made in an X-shaped design that opens out to a lounging bed made of wood with corrugated cardboard panels on one side of the bed. If you’ve ever watched a cat get up from napping, this is a perfectly thought-through design that caters to Fluffy’s stretching/scratching habits.

The Easy Life Hammock also has catnip, so if your kitty is a little less than open to intruders, she’ll likely be willing to investigate and start napping sooner.

Finally, the Petstages Hammock is made by a company I trust for longevity, safe design, and quality materials. You really can’t beat the combination in this cat scratcher bed.

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Best Cat Scratcher Lounge

PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge

  • Curved design gives your cat many angles to scracth
  • Open spaces provide little hideaways
  • Made from dense recycled cardboard

Overall Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

The PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge was a strong contender for best overall scratcher. This thing is kind of amazing and is really attractive.

These cool scratching posts for cats are really more a piece of furniture for cats than a post; though, of course, it’s perfect for that need as well.

The PetFusion Ultimate is uniquely shaped into a near-figure-eight design that makes for a great lounging space and provides kitty with some hidey-holes. If placed properly in the home, this could become Garfield’s new favorite spot to relax, hide, and sleep.

The lounger is made of ultra-dense recycled cardboard and is put together with non-toxic corn starch glue for lasting durability and ultimate safety for Furball.

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Best Sisal Scratching Post

PetFusion Branch-Out Cat Scratching Post

  • Mimics a tree
  • Allows your cat to perch and strectch
  • The branch can be attached at an upward or downward angle

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The PetFusion Branch-Out Cat Scratching Post was another contender for the best overall cat scratching post. It’s a really unique and versatile vertical scratcher with a twist.

The PetFusion Branch-Out is meant to mimic a basic tree since trees are a natural part of a cat’s wild environment. The Branch-Out is a standard vertical scratching post with a single “branch” that can be attached with either an upward or a downward angle.

Kitties can perch on the “branch” or scratch and stretch up into the curve.

Many cats will even hang from the “branch” and explore their natural hunting instincts through the use of this uniquely shaped tree.

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Best Scratching Post for Kittens

Fat Cat Big Mama’s Scratch ‘N Play Ramp

  • Good for angle scratching – perfect for kittens
  • Reversible – (doubles the product life)
  • Comes with toy and catnip

Overall Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

This awesome little scratching post is perfect for kittens – and full-grown cats – because of the angle and shape of the pad.

It’s a ramp, which is super easy for kittens to lean up and scratch. This gives them the support they need while they’re still a bit unsteady on their feet and finding their balance.

The Big Mama’s Scratch ‘N Play ramp is made of corrugated cardboard and is reversible to help it last longer.

You can drop in some of the included catnip to help entice your kitten to play and scratch on the pad.

Plus, this scratcher is actually super cute, and you won’t mind having it around the house with your adorable ball of fluff rolling around with it.

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Best Tall Scratching Post

SmartCat The Ultimate Scratching Post

SmartCat The Ultimate Scratching Post
  • 32″ Tall post allow for a great stretch and scratch
  • Wide base for support
  • Comes in beige and gray colrs

Overall Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars

For your basic, vertical, or tall cat scratcher, the SmartCat Ultimate is the best option. This has a large base for stability, with a tall post at 32-inches tall – nearly 3-feet.

The scratching surface is covered in durable woven sisal rope material, which many cats prefer to cardboard or carpet. The material has just the right “catch” to it without snagging Kitty’s claws and hurting him.

This is the taller version of the sisal scratching post I use by my desk, and my kitties love it.

The square design, versus the typical circular tube, adds the intrigue of corners as well, which these cats adore.

Plus, they love perching on top of the wooden platform to watch me as I work.

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Best Wall-Mounted Scratcher

4Claws Wall Mounted Scratching Post

  • Tall surface for stretching and scratching
  • Space-saving
  • Dense and durable pressed recycled cardboard

Overall Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars

For the cat who loves tall scratching poses and the cat owner who doesn’t have a lot of space, the 4Claws Wall-Mounted Scratching Post is the ideal option, in my opinion.

The post provides that vertical angle, and it mounts with sturdy stainless-steel hooks so that you don’t have to worry about whether or not it can handle your cat’s aggression or excitement.

The installation is easy and won’t damage surfaces.

The cardboard scratching surface is made of 100% recycled material and provides nooks and crannies for Kitty’s claws to catch and scratch out as needed.

These are another option in great cat scratching posts for large cats because of the stability the wall adds.

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Most Unique Scratcher

K&H Pet Products EZ Mount Window Scratcher Kitty Sill Cradle

  • For cats that love windows
  • Dual purpose surface – Scratch or lie in the sun
  • Great for homes with cats and dogs as it can be placed out of reach of your dog
  • Can get refills when scratch pad is used up.

Overall Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars

Now, this one is a particular winner with little gray furballs I know. Any kitty who loves the window – and heights – will love this one.

The K&H EZ Mount Window Scratcher Kitty Sill Cradle is awesome – seriously.

You secure this to the window with the really sturdy, proven-safe suction cups – so no permanent fixtures – at the right level for your cat to get up there for squirrel and bird watching, or even some sunshine naps.

And since it’s made of corrugated cardboard, Tyson can scratch as much as he likes while hanging out, safely out of reach of little kids and other pets who might bug him otherwise.

And instead of having to purchase the entire system again – which is reasonably priced anyway – you can just get a refill pad to secure with the mounting system.

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Best Couch Corner Cat Scratcher

Furniture and Couch Protectors from Caileni

  • Attach directly to sofa or bed
  • Self-adhesive with twist pins
  • Flexible and durable

Overall Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars

If you’ve got a cat with a penchant for couches and beds, these are a must-have.

The Caileni Furniture Protectors come in an 8-pack of protectors that you can attach to bed corners, couch corners, chairs, and just about anything else.

The packs come with four extra-large protectors – ideal for couches and larger furniture – and four large protectors that work great for beds, chairs, and ottomans.

You can cut the protectors down to better fit oddly-shaped furniture or smaller pieces that Kitty has a liking for as well.

They’re super easy to install. You just peel them off and stick them to the piece of furniture – or suitcase in your Fluffy’s favorite closet – and secure them with the twist pins provided.

And bonus: The protectors are transparent, so you won’t even notice them most of the time.

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Best for Large Cats

Midwest Feline Nuvo Forte Scratching Post

Midwest Feline Nuvo Forte Scratching Post
  • Over 3 feet tall for optimal stretch and scratch
  • Very strong and sturdy
  • Base and top covered in faux fur

Overall Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars

The Midwest Feline Nuvo Forte is the tallest cat sisal scratching post I’ve come across in my searching.

It’s a whopping 41-inches tall, which means it’s ideal for large cat breeds, especially if they like the vertical scratch.

The Nuvo Forte is sturdily built to handle the weight and momentum of a large cat and is covered in sisal rope for just the right texture to make most cats happy as they claw and scratch away the old claws.

The base and top are covered in plush, easy-to-clean fabric, and the base is oversized for stability and comfort for cats of just about any size.

I’d like to note that though this is my recommendation for large cats, it’s also a great option for small cats who like to climb and hang onto things.

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Best Modern Scratcher

The Catit Style Scratcher with Catnip

  • Corrugated scratching surface
  • Includes catnip
  • White tiger and Jungle stripes prints
  • Great value

Overall Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars

If you’re looking for something a little snazzier, the Catit Style Scratcher is an attractive lounging pad scratcher made of corrugated cardboard.

It’s designed with a nice white tiger print on the sides and is small enough that it will tuck in nicely anywhere.

The design is specifically made to contour to your cat’s flexibility and stretch, and since it’s infused with catnip, Kitty’s even more interested in it.

It’s long enough for most cats to stretch out, though it might be a bit of a tight fit for the biggest breeds like Maine Coons and Savannah Cats.

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Best Scratch Toy

Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy

  • Cardboard scratcher
  • Racetrack and rolling ball
  • Anti-slip bottom
  • Popular with great reviews across the board

Overall Rating: 3.4 out of 5 stars

One of the most popular toys on the entire planet is the Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy.

This thing is fun for loads of kitties who love chasing things. The center of the toy is a circular cardboard scratching surface, while the edge is a ball track.

The Bergan Turbo has non-skid feet to keep the toy in place and stable while Kitty plays and scratches, so you can safely put it on wood, tile, or carpeted flooring.

And, since it comes with catnip, you can sprinkle some of that into the cardboard section and Kitty will stay engaged and entertained for hours.

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Best Cardboard Scratching Post

Fat Cat Big Mama’s Scratcher Double Wide

Fat Cat Big Mama’s Scratcher Double Wide
  • Angle as you wish to suit your cat
  • Reversible for double scratching life
  • Comes with catnip and a toy

Overall Rating: 3.2 out of 5 stars

Lots of the options we’ve looked at are made from cardboard, but the best straight-up, simple design scratching pad made from cardboard is the Fat Cat Big Mama’s Scratcher.

The pad lies flat – or can be angled against a wall if needed – and offers Kitty an easy-to-use, simple surface for cleaning his claws.

The scratcher comes with catnip and a toy that you can toss in for extra enticement.

Just sprinkle the catnip into the cardboard nooks and voila! Kitty comes running.

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cat lying on a log scratching bark in the garden outside

If you don’t have the right style of scratching post or don’t have one at all, you’re really missing out on saving your furniture, exercising your cat, and helping keep your cat’s claws healthy.

Just think through your cat’s behavior and habits and look through the list I’ve offered of the best scratching posts and choose the right style to meet your kitty’s needs.

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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