Cats are essentially little lions, and they both like to scratch. To make sure your little beast doesn't tear up everything in sight, from couches and armchairs to door frames and even wallpaper, the best thing you can do is to give them a designated scratching space. In other words? You need a cat scratching post. Cats can be incredibly picky about their furniture, and each one is different, so the best cat scratching post for Brownie might not be the best one for Snowflake. Luckily, there are hordes of options out there, and we've found the highest-rated, best-reviewed and most affordable cat scratching posts on the web.
The 16 Best Cat Scratching Posts for Every Type of Kitty and Home
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Why Do Cats Need Scratching Posts?
Cats have a natural urge to 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, you can expect them to start tearing into other fabric pieces like your couch, rugs and even your bedding.
What Are Cat Scratching Posts Made Of?
There are typically three types of material used for scratching posts.
- Sisal: This stiff fiber, sometimes referred to as hemp, is often used to make rope or twine, and 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 softer than sisal and cardboard. On the other hand, most cats can’t distinguish between a carpeted scratching post and your regular living room floor, so you may be teaching them 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. If it's an upright post, it 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 Cat Scratching Posts?
Place scratching posts strategically around your home. First, take note of where your cat likes to scratch. If they tend to 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 specifics on exactly when can 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 manufactured posts, 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 it 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!
The Best Cat Scratching Posts at a Glance
- Best Overall: Frisco Sisal Cat Scratching Post
- Best Refillable Option: Scratch Lounge The Original Scratch Lounge
- Most Stylish Upright Scratching Post: Frisco Cactus Cat Scratching Post
- Most Stylish Floor Scratching Post: Whisker City Wave Cat Scratcher
- Most Stylish Cat Scratching Post, Period: PetFusion Cat Scratcher Lounge
- Best Cat Scratching Condo Post: Trixie Topi Cat Scratcher Condo
- Best Cat Tower Scratching Post: Frisco Cat Scratching Post Condo
- Most Versatile: SmartCat Bootsie’s Combination Scratcher
- Best for Multiple Cats: PetFusion 3-Sided Cat Scratching Post
- Most Instagram-Worthy: Songway Cat Bed Scratching Post
- Best Hanging Cat Scratcher: Jopoy Cat Scratching Mat
- Best Cat Scratcher for Grooming: Fukumaru Cat Scratcher Groomer
- Best Wall-Mounted Scratching Post: Way Basics Cat Scratching Pad
- Best Furniture Protector: Navaris Cat Scratching Mat
- Best Cat Bed Scratching Pad: ComSaf Cat Scratcher Bed
- Best Cat Scratching Mat: Fukumaru Cat Scratching Mat
1. Frisco Sisal Cat Scratching Post
This simple tower is the top seller at Chewy, with glowing reviews across the board. It features a carpeted base and top perch. The main body of the post is 33.5 inches tall and it's made of a double layer of sisal, so you'll be able to keep it around a little longer. Reviewers loved the simple assembly process, the stability of the post and its minimalist aesthetic. Unlike some of the other models on this list, this particular scratcher is not infused with catnip. 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.
Best Refillable Option
2. 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 a good idea, making it easy and inexpensive to refresh the scratching surface frequently. This Scratch Lounge model is a bit pricier than many other refillable options, however the innovative box-like design, eco-friendly, recyclable materials and impressive durability have won over a pretty large fan base. The initial pad is also reversible, so you won’t have to refill it for a while (maybe even for a full year, based on some reviews).
Most Stylish Upright Scratching Post
3. Frisco Cactus Cat Scratching Post
Perfect for the cat lady who is also a plant lady. This doubles as a bit of quirky, kitschy decor. It comes in two different sizes (22 inches and 31 inches), so you can tailor the height to your kitty’s needs, and it's 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.
Most Stylish Floor Scratching Post
4. 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. It comes in multiple colors and patterns, too.
Most Stylish Cat Scratching Post, Period
5. PetFusion Cat Scratcher Lounge
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, increasing the odds that your cat will start scratching right out of the box. The reversible design comes in three neutral colors to match your existing decor, and it 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.
Best Cat Scratching Condo Post
6. Trixie Topi Cat Scratcher Condo
Give kitty a place to get some solo time to climb, scratch and play to her heart’s content. The majority of the Trixie condo’s surface is made of plush carpeting, but there is a significant stretch of sisal along the outer ramp. There are also toys hanging inside the hideaway for your four-legged friend to bat at and, best of all, there's 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.
Best Cat Tower Scratching Post
7. Frisco Cat Scratching Post 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 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 will be 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 nearly 8,000 on Chewy with a whopping 88 percent giving this tree all five stars.
8. SmartCat Bootsie’s Combination 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 or left out 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.
Best for Multiple Cats
9. PetFusion 3-Sided 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. Songway Cat Bed Scratching Post
You don't actually have to be an Instagram cat mom to enjoy this cardboard couch: You’ll still 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 a nice big scratching surface for your cat to go to town on. Many reviewers also noted that their cats took to it right away—it's also big enough for full-grown cats.
Best Hanging Cat Scratcher
11. Jopoy Cat Scratching Mat
Cats who hang out by the front 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 will add some pizzazz to your room 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. Not feeling the cactus theme? This also comes in a pineapple shape!
Best Cat Scratcher for Grooming
12. Fukumaru Cat Scratcher Groomer
More than half of the more than 2,000 reviews of the Fukumaru cat self-groomer on Amazon are 5-star. This product is ideal for cats who can't 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 also upgraded from a previous version to be more stable.
Best Wall-Mounted Scratching Post
13. Way Basics Cat Scratching Pad
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. The only grievance reviewers have with the product is that the velcro adhesive can leave marks on walls. (An alternative would be to use a hanging doorknob scratcher, though it likely wouldn't be as stable for your furry pal, or to use nails to mount the pad instead.) Other than that, it seems to be a huge hit among cats of all ages and breeds.
Best Furniture Protector
14. Navaris Cat Scratching Mat
Like we said, if your cat goes after your couch arm over and over, give them an alternative. An easy one? Try covering the arm with a sofa protector. Available for both left and right arms, this one 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, too.
Best Cat Bed Scratching Pad
15. ComSaf Cat Scratcher Bed
Talk about well-designed! This one's concave angle is thought to be better on feline joints as they claw and scratch as it fits their grip better, according to the company. Ideal for cats who love chilling in cardboard boxes or squirming around on scratch pads, this product provides a comfy spot for both. Durable, corrugated cardboard with a thick exterior provides security for your cat, and at just over 17 inches long and 13 inches wide, this is large enough to accommodate most cats. Plus, 84 percent of reviewers gave it 5 stars.
Best Cat Scratching Mat
16. Fukumaru Cat 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!
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Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance writer and journalist. Her work has appeared on PureWow, Reductress and Culture Trip. More often than not, Sarah covers pets, dogs, cats and anything related to wildlife. She is currently working towards her master's in journalism at NYU.