For many cat owners, the main concern they have for their home (besides an unpleasant litter odor) is that their little lions will tear up everything in sight, scratching away at couches, arm chairs, door frames and even wallpaper. The best thing you can do to combat their apparent desire to destroy is to give them a designated scratching space—in other words, you definitely need a scratching post. Because cats can be incredibly picky about their surroundings, the best cat scratching post for Brownie might not be the best one for Snowflake. Luckily, there are options out there. Below are 10 of the highest-rated, best-reviewed and most affordable cat scratching posts.
First, however, let’s discuss some things to keep in mind when picking out the best option for your home.
Why do cats need a scratching post?
Cats have a natural urge to scratch. It helps keep their claws in tip top shape and mark their territory with scent glands in their paws. If you don’t provide a scratching post, you can expect your cat to start tearing into other fabric pieces like your couch, rugs or even your bedding.
What are scratching posts made of?
There are typically three types of material used for scratching posts: sisal, cardboard and carpeting.
Sisal (a stiff fiber sometimes referred to as hemp which is often used to make rope or twine) can last a few years before needing to be replaced. Most often sisal options feature a rope that’s been looped around an inner column, meaning even if the rope comes loose thanks to some aggressive clawing, you can repair them very easily.
Cardboard posts tend to be the least expensive, however they’re also the least durable.
If you’re looking for a scratcher that can double as a lounger, carpeting might be your best option given that it’s softer than the other materials. On the other hand, most cats can’t distinguish between a carpeted scratching post and your regular living room carpet and so may continue to tear up other soft surfaces in your home.
Many posts will include surfaces of all three varieties so you can easily test out which type of material your feline prefers. The most important things to keep in mind are size and sturdiness. The post should be long enough that your cat can really stretch out their arms and legs (anywhere between 24 and 35 inches should work) and stable enough that they can go to town without fear of the whole thing tipping over.
How often should I replace my cat’s scratching post?
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an invincible or ever-lasting cat scratcher. You’ll eventually have to replace the one you have, although the specifics on exactly how often vary greatly depending on the materials and your cat’s personal habits. Cats that go outdoors tend to use trees or wooden fences in lieu of a manufactured post, so whatever indoor options you provide them will likely last longer than if your cat stays inside. If you have multiple cats or even just one very aggressive feline, you might have to replace their post more regularly. The best thing to do is to keep an eye on your cat’s scratching habits and check their posts for wear and tear so you can replace as needed.
Which cat scratching option is right for me?
Scroll through our faves below.
1. Best Overall: Frisco 33.5-in Sisal Cat Scratching Post
This simple tower is the top seller at Chewy, PetCo and PetSmart, with glowing reviews across the board. It features a carpeted base and top perch while the main body of the post is made of a double layer of sisal. Reviewers loved the simple assembly process, the stability of the post and its minimalist aesthetic (it also comes in an entirely beige style as well as one with a brown base/top). Unlike some of the other models on this list, this particular scratcher does not come with catnip built in. Although most reviewers didn’t seem to need it in order to attract their cats to the post, if you’ve got a picky kitty at home it might be worth buying a catnip spray as well.
2. Best Refillable Model: Scratch Lounge, The Original Scratch Lounge
A lot of cats prefer cardboard over sisal or carpet because it’s a bit easier to dig their claws in deep and makes a satisfying noise as they comb through it. That said, it’s not nearly as durable as the other two. This is why a refillable cardboard option is often a good idea, making it easy and inexpensive to refresh the scratching surface frequently. The Scratch Lounge model is a bit pricier than many other refillable options, however the innovative box-like design, eco-friendly and recyclable materials and the impressive durability have won over a pretty large fan base. The initial pad is also reversible so you won’t have to refill for a while (maybe even for a full year, based on some reviews).
3. Best-Looking Vertical Scratcher: Frisco Cactus Cat Scratching Post
Perfect for the cat lady who is also a plant lady. Whether you’re the type of person who leans into quirky, kitschy decor or someone looking for an option that doesn’t immediately look like a scratching post, this tower should fit the bill. It comes in two different sizes, 22 inches and 31 inches, so you can tailor the height to your kitty’s needs, and is made of a combination of sisal wrapped around the middle and carpet on the base and at the top. Reviewers were also super happy about the incredibly easy three-step assembly.
4. Best-Looking Floor Scratcher: Whisker City Wave Cat Scratcher
Sure, you could get a plain rectangular scratcher, but we’re partial to the elegant wave design of this cardboard option. It’s also double sided so you can just flip it over if you see the top looking a bit worse for the wear. Some reviewers did mention larger cats have difficulty keeping this scratcher steady while they dig in, so if your pet is more than 10 pounds, you might want to opt for a style that can be mounted or with more stability.
5. Best-Looking Scratcher, Period: PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge Toy with Catnip
For those who place aesthetics over just about anything else (and who aren’t looking to hide their scratcher away in some dark corner), we suggest this geometric lounger. It’s made from eco-friendly cardboard and comes with catnip included, increasing the odds that your cat will start scratching right out of the box. The reversible design is available in white, gray or walnut brown to match your existing decor, and can even be mounted on the wall to create a high perch for your pet. While smaller cats will also enjoy playing in the side loops, PetFusion also makes a larger style ($80) with a more open middle for bigger kitties and even more scratching surface.
6. Best Condo-Scratcher Combo: Trixie Topi Sisal Cat Scratcher & Condo
Give kitty a place to get some solo time as well as a toy on which she can climb, scratch and play to her heart’s content. The majority of the Trixie condo’s surface is plush carpeting, but there is a significant stretch of sisal along the outer ramp. There are also toys hanging inside the hideaway for Toulouse to bat at and, best of all, no assembly required. Reviewers did note that while two kittens might be able to hang out inside the condo simultaneously, only one full-grown cat can fit in there at a time.
7. Best Tower-Scratcher Combo: Frisco 52-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo
For those who want the full climbing/scratching/perching experience, this Frisco tower is the way to go. It comes in six different colors, including a sassy leopard print ($55), and is made with a combination of sisal rope and carpeting. There are five full sisal-wrapped posts, as well as a wide ramp at the front which is great for both scratching and for climbing into the second-story hideaway. Although assembly is required, most reviewers said it was incredibly easy to do and took about 15 minutes. Speaking of reviews, there are more than 6,600 on Chewy with a whopping 88 percent giving this tree five stars.
8. Best Wall-Mounted Option: SmartCat Bootsie's Three-in-One Cat Scratcher
Whether you’re hoping to deter your kitten from tearing up your door frames or just don’t have the floor space for a traditional scratching post, a wall-mounted scratcher is an excellent alternative. This particular design can actually be mounted, leaned against a wall to create a ramp of sorts or left on the floor. But no matter which way you position it, the durable sisal scratching surface is sure to be a hit with your pet. In fact, its impressive durability is one of the main reasons this minimalist design is so popular with cat owners. Although it is not reversable and the scratching panel isn’t replaceable, reviewers mention going years without having to swap out their SmartCat Bootsie.
9. Best For Multiple Cats: PetFusion 3-Sided Vertical Cat Scratching Post
While many of the options on this list would work well in multi-cat homes, this particular design stood out for two reasons: an impressive number of scratching surfaces and space for playing. There are two sizes available for this PetFusion design (the 24-inch and the 18-inch), however, unless you’re buying one specifically for kittens you’re better off buying the larger one. With six scratching surfaces made from long-lasting recycled cardboard and multiple ways to rotate and position this pyramid, it’s bound to out-last other designs, even if your kitties are aggressive scratchers.
10. Best for Instagram Cats: You & Me Couch Cardboard Cat Scratcher, 11"
OK, so you don’t actually have to be an Instagram cat mom to enjoy this cardboard couch, but you’ll likely want to take a multitude of photos and share them with your friends. In addition to just looking cute, this scratcher is made from recycled materials and has multiple scratching surfaces for your cat to go to town on. It also comes with catnip just in case Tigger isn’t an immediate fan. And while many reviewers were surprised at how well the cardboard held up over time given the low price tag, some wished it were just a bit larger so their pet could really lounge in style.
PureWow may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from PureWow's editorial and sales departments.