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 with them to a hotel where she scratched up the wall and caused damage that 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.
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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, as well as infusing 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. If your cat likes to play with sisal mice, for example, 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
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 height/size and weight of the scratcher compared to your cat’s size. If you have a Maine Coon, for example, you need a much larger/longer scratching post than a tiny Cornish Rex will need.
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 styles of scratchers that were available.
And that all resulted in this list of the thirteen best scratching posts available.
Reviews of the Best Cat Scratching Posts
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 that makes products 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.
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.
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 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 as well as providing 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 most of the time you won’t even notice them.
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.
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 might be a bit of a tight fit for the biggest breeds like Maine Coons and Savannah Cats.
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.
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.
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.