Finding a good cat scratching post is important. Since cats are naturally inclined to scratch, if you don’t have an area for them to do it, your furniture inevitably suffers. Of course, if you’re like most cat parents, you’ve already been through the struggle of a scratching post they won’t use. In this ultimate guide to cat scratching, we’ll explain everything you need to know and show you our favorite posts.

Figuring Out Cat Scratching

Why do cats scratch?

Scratching is one of the most natural, instinctive things cats do. But why do they scratch rather than do something else?

The first reason, as you’ve likely assumed, is for maintaining their claws. Scratching keeps claws more manageable, and sharper. Next, cats scratch to mark territory in nature, and even indoors, it’s still an instinct. The other reason cats scratch is allowing their body to stretch, which also gives them something of a workout. All in all, a cat with a place to scratch is happier and healthier.

What should I look for in a good cat scratching post?

Not sure where to start? This guide will help you find the scratching post your cat needs, and will actually use!

1. Stability

This is the first, and most important thing to look for. You don’t want your precious fur baby getting hurt if a post tips over! Look for a post with a sturdy base. Whenever possible, test the stability of the post yourself. While you’re a lot stronger than your cat, the post shouldn’t wobble or tip with a light push.

2. Carpet, Cardboard, and Sisal

Of all the materials cat scratchers come in, carpet, cardboard, and sisal (either rope or fabric) are the most common. Cardboard does make a great surface for scratching, but it isn’t very sturdy. While it’s also very budget-friendly, it doesn’t last long.

Carpet is another option, as you’ll often see on scratching posts in cat trees or condos. Cats seem to enjoy scratching carpet (which you may have noticed in your home), although it can snag on their claws. Unless you have mostly hardwood or tile floors, you should probably avoid carpet so your cat doesn’t start clawing the living room floor.

Sisal is one of the best options you’ll find. It comes as rope that’s wound around a post, or a fabric. Either does wonders for claws, and cats love trying to shred it. Another benefit of sisal is the noise it makes, which cats love.

3. Vertical or Horizontal

You’ll notice that some cat scratchers come as a post or vertical slab, while others lay flat. Many cats like vertical scratching surfaces, but giving them a horizontal space to scratch is important too. If you’ve seen your cat scratching at the carpet, you know what we mean.

Some scratching posts actually incorporate both elements, which is ideal. There’s a flat scratching surface on the bottom, which connects to a scratching post. If your cat is one that needs both surfaces, you can also use separate pieces, whether you place them together, or in separate areas to add some fun.

Ultimately, the overall layout of the post you choose should be determined by your cat’s preferences. You may not love the look of it, but if your cat’s happy, your furniture is protected.

Top 5 Best Cat Scratchers

Best Budget Buy: Roller Toy

Roller Toy

The Roller Toy is a great scratcher for an energetic cat. While cats love the entertainment value, we love the price. Simply put, it’s hard to find a scratching toy that combines this level of quality, with this love of a price. As your cat scratches, the toy rolls and gives them a good chase. Add two balls inside for extra fun, and you have a winning combo.

Innovative Design: Crescent Moon Scratcher

Crescent Moon Scratcher

If you want to keep your cat happy and busy, get a scratching toy with a design they have plenty of room to figure out. This Crescent Moon Scratcher gives cats the best of both worlds. It’s a perfect scratching surface, with plenty of places to climb onto and peek out through. If they’re tired from all the scratching, cats love it for a cozy nap spot too.

Best Scratchable Playhouse: A-Frame Playhouse

A-Frame Playhouse

We all know cats love a place to sneak away to. In fact, they just might like it as much as they do scratching. For cats that can’t decide, and cat parents that want versatility, we chose this playhouse. There are plenty of different surfaces to scratch on, and it even comes with a plushy mat for cats that like to doze off in their playhouse. Setup is quick and hassle-free, which is a huge bonus in our book.

For Extreme Entertainment: Scratch Ramp & Groom

Scratch Ramp & Groom

While we recommend this for any cat that needs something to keep them extra busy, kittens and younger cats especially love this scratching ramp. It’s more than just a ramp they can scratch, however. It’s pretty much a full-on cat entertainment center. Cats can scratch and climb the ramp, try and set loose the balls on the bottom, or get a good brushing going through the tunnel. Kittens may love the toys, but cats of any age love getting brushed when they use the tunnel.

Best Cardboard Scratcher: Tippy Cardboard Scratcher

Tippy Cardboard Scratcher

This is another affordable option we had to include. It’s not like the regular cardboard scratchers you may have seen before. Set it on the floor and let your cat get to work. Cats love the somewhat wobbly bottom, and the challenge it gives them! Rolling balls surrounding the scratcher in the middle give extra entertainment value, even when they’re not scratching away.

Which is the Best Scratcher Toy?

When it comes to scratch toys, cats certainly have their own preferences. What works best in your home ultimately comes down to your cat, and how they prefer to exercise and play. We noticed the Scratch Ramp & Groom turned into a nearly all-day activity, although each of those in our top five gets glowing recommendations from us.

What Next?

Cat Cave

After your cat is all tuckered out from scratching, make sure they have a cozy Cat Cave to rest in! Cat Cave Co. designs soft, merino wool caves that are handmade and chemical-free. They have tons of color and design options so you can find the cave that fits your cat’s personality the best!

A special thank you to the team at Cat Cave Co. for writing this blog. Cat Cave Co. is a family-owned, environmentally-friendly company that is changing the way we look at how your cat sleeps and rests. Learn more about their story HERE!