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Many cat owners fear their little lions will tear up everything in sight, scratching away at couches, armchairs, door frames and even wallpaper. The best thing you can do to combat your cat’s desire to destroy your home is to give them a designated scratching space—in other words, you definitely need a scratching post. Cats can be incredibly picky about their surroundings, so the best cat scratching post for Brownie might not be the best one for Snowflake. Luckily, there are hordes of options out there. Below are the highest-rated, best-reviewed and most affordable cat scratching posts we could find.

The Best Cat Scratching Posts at a Glance

Why do cats need scratching posts?

Cats have a natural urge to scratch. Like dogs chew, cats scratch. It keeps their claws in tip-top shape and marks their territory through the scent glands in their paws. Plus, it feels good to stretch as they do it, giving them a little exercise. All of these motivations relieve stress in felines—whether they are indoor, outdoor, wild or domesticated cats. If you don’t provide your kitties with scratching posts, expect your cat to start tearing into other fabric pieces like your couch, rugs and even your bedding.

What are scratching posts made of?

There are typically three types of material used for scratching posts.

  • 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 replacement. Most often, sisal options feature rope looped around an inner column, meaning even if the rope comes loose thanks to some aggressive clawing, you can repair it very easily.

  • Cardboard

Cardboard posts and pads tend to be the least expensive, however, they’re also the least durable. They provide deeper pockets for cats who really love sinking their claws into something.

  • Carpeting

Carpeting is the best option if your cat enjoys lounging after scratching. It’s softer than sisal and cardboard. On the other hand, most cats can’t distinguish between a carpeted scratching post and your regular living room carpet, so they may continue to tear up other soft surfaces in your home.

Many posts and mats will include surfaces featuring 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.

Where should I place scratching posts?

Place scratching posts strategically around your home. First, take note of where your cat likes to scratch. If they go to town in the living room, place a couple scratchers in there. This isn’t a private activity, so hiding a scratch mat in a closet won’t do much good (unless this is your kitty’s favorite spot!).

Second, offer scratching posts and mats as alternatives to furniture. Cats who love to destroy couch arms are doing so because they enjoy that space and are marking their territory. Placing a post directly in front of the couch arm or covering the arm with a protective scratch cover keeps your furniture safe and your cat happy.

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?

Always defer to your cat’s preferences. If they ignore sisal, try carpet. If they ignore carpet, try sisal. It’s not about you, it’s about them!

RELATED: 20 Unique Cat Trees That Will Actually Go with Your Home Décor

Chewy

1. FRISCO SISAL CAT SCRATCHING POST

Best Overall

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 33.5 inches tall and 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 gray 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.

Buy it ($35)

Chewy

2. THE ORIGINAL SCRATCH LOUNGE

Best Refillable Model

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).

Buy the base ($35)

Buy the refill ($21)

Chewy

3. FRISCO CACTUS CAT SCRATCHING POST

Best-Looking Vertical Scratcher

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.

Buy it (From $20)

PetSmart

4. WHISKER CITY WAVE CAT SCRATCHER

Best-Looking Floor 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. It comes in multiple colors and patterns like Navy Terrazzo, Orange Wavy Lines and Blue Diamonds.

Buy it ($13)

Amazon

5. PETFUSION ULTIMATE CAT SCRATCHER LOUNGE TOY WITH CATNIP

Best-Looking Scratcher, Period

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. It measures a whopping 34 inches long, 10.5 inches deep and 10.5 inches tall. 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.

From $50 at Amazon

Chewy

6. TRIXIE TOPI SISAL CAT SCRATCHER & CONDO

Best Condo-Scratcher Combo

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 Brownie 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. It comes in brown and cream colors.

Buy it ($41)

Chewy

7. FRISCO FAUX FUR CAT TREE & CONDO

Best Tower-Scratcher Combo

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 cheetah print, 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 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 7,900 on Chewy with a whopping 88 percent giving this tree all five stars.

Buy it ($65)

Chewy

8. SMARTCAT BOOTSIE'S COMBINATION SCRATCHER

Most Versatile Scratcher

Whether you’re hoping to deter your kitten from tearing up your door frames or you’ve got no room for another cat thing on the floor, this versatile scratcher is an excellent alternative to the traditional post. Bootsie’s design can actually be wall-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 reversible and the scratching panel isn’t replaceable, reviewers mention going years without having to swap out their SmartCat Bootsie.

Buy it ($23)

Amazon

9. PETFUSION 3-SIDED VERTICAL CAT SCRATCHING POST

Best for Multiple Cat Households

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.

$120 at Amazon

Amazon

10. PETS RULE ROYAL CAT COUCH

Most Instagram Worthy

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 million photos and share them with your friends. In addition to just looking cute, this scratcher is made from 100 percent recycled materials with nontoxic glue holding it together. The frame is high-quality cardboard and has multiple scratching surfaces for your cat to go to town on. One reviewer noted this royal cat couch is a “definite need for spoiled kitties.” A few reviewers wish it was bigger to accommodate larger breeds or more than one cat.

$45 at Amazon

Amazon

11. JOPOY SCRATCHER MAT

Best Hanging Scratcher

Cats who hang out by the front door (or the closet door) scratching to be let out may be interested in this funky cactus hanging scratch mat. Manufactured with durable sisal and non-toxic dyes, the bright green color adds some pizzazz to your decor while also functioning as a cat scratcher. The mat is backed with non-slip latex so you can place it on the floor if need be without worrying it’ll move. Had enough of the cactus theme? This also comes in a pineapple shape!

$17 at Amazon

Amazon

12. FUKUMARU CAT SELF GROOMER

Best Groomer-Scratcher Combo

More than half of the 1,975 reviews of the Fukumaru cat self-groomer on Amazon are five stars. This product is ideal for cats who cannot stop rubbing their faces against chairs, boxes and your ankle. The brush has long bristles (2.5 inches) for easy self-grooming and the cardboard base can be reversed if needed. This product was upgraded from a previous version to be more stable.

$24 at Amazon

Amazon

13. WAY BASICS ECO-FRIENDLY WALL MOUNT SCRATCH PAD

Best Wall-Mounted Scratcher

It’s hard to beat the price point on this space-saving cat scratcher. Crafted with non-toxic materials, this pad mounts directly to the wall with adhesive velcro strips. This is the only grievance reviewers have with the product: The velcro adhesive can leave marks on walls. An alternative is a hanging doorknob scratcher or using nails to mount the pad instead. Other than that, it seems to be a huge hit among cats of all ages and breeds.

$8 at Amazon

Amazon

14. NAVARIS CAT SCRATCH SOFA PROTECTOR

Best Furniture Protector

Like we said, if your cat goes after your couch arm over and over, give them an alternative. If that fails, try covering the arm with a sofa protector. Designed for both left and right arms, this protector covers the top, side and part of the front of the armrest. Application is easy and doesn’t damage your furniture. One user recommends ironing it before putting it on the couch, as “it arrives folded up and stiff—an indication of thick, high-quality materials, but inconvenient for setting up.” This product is an Amazon’s Choice pick.

$29 at Amazon

Amazon

15. COMSAF CAT SCRATCHING LOUNGE BED

Best Bed-Scratcher Combo

Talk about a cute bed! The concave angle is thought to be better on feline joints and they claw and scratch. Ideal for cats who love chilling in cardboard boxes or squirming around on scratch pads, this product provides a spot for both. Durable corrugated cardboard with a thick exterior provides security for your cat while they sleep. At just over 17 inches long and 13 inches wide, this is large enough to accommodate most cats. Plus, 85 percent of reviewers gave it five stars.

$30 at Amazon

Amazon

16. FUKUMARU CAT SCRATCHER MAT

Best Scratching Mat

Sometimes, less is more. Plop this mat, made with non-toxic, natural and untreated sisal, anywhere your kitty likes to be. Anti-skid latex coats the bottom so you don’t have to worry about it sliding around. Oh, did we mention it’s biodegradable? People - and cats - love this mat!

$15 at Amazon

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