The best cat scratching posts of 2023
The best cat scratching posts let your feisty feline have a paw-ty that doesn’t cost you your upholstery.
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›
Is your sectional actually a no-loveseat because your cat keeps tearing it up? Cats need to scratch, so the secret to keeping your stuff safe is to give them some cat furniture that they’ll want to sink their claws into even more. Felines are notoriously finicky animals, though, so it can be a little tough figuring out what they’ll want to scratch at. But have no fear, PopSci is here to recommend the best cat scratching post for you and your whiskered friend(s). There are designs for every cat and every décor, and some are so cool that you might end up liking them as much as your cat.
- Best cat scratching post: SmartCat Pioneer Pet Ultimate Scratching Post
- Best cactus scratching post: PetnPurr Cactus Cat Scratching Post With Teaser Ball
- Best cat tree with post: Vesper Cat Tree
- Best combination post and bed: ScratchMe Cat Scratcher Post & Board
- Best budget: Catit Cat Scratcher Boards with Catnip
The best cat scratching post: Reviews & Recommendations
Best overall: SmartCat Pioneer Pet Ultimate Scratching Post
If you’re looking for a great sisal scratching post that you won’t have to replace anytime soon, the SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post is the one for you. Its handsome design is backed up by strong, durable material and, as an added bonus, your cat will look very elegant perched on top of it!
Best cactus: PetnPurr Cactus Cat Scratching Post With Teaser Ball
This cactus cat scratching post will blend in purrfectly (sorry) with your houseplants while giving your cat a place to play, scratch, and relax. The built-in teaser ball is a nice little addition, and the base of the platform is sturdy enough to let your cat climb the cactus and channel that inner jungle cat.
Best cat tree with post: Vesper Cat Tree
Available in a variety of sizes and colors, this well-constructed cat tree sets itself apart with its modern design. Memory foam cushions offer the ultimate in cat comfort, and multiple perches make it ideal if you have more than one cat. As a bonus, every model (except the Catit Vesper Double) comes with a fun dangling sisal toy.
Best post and bed combo: ScratchMe Cat Scratcher Post & Board
Made with 100-percent recycled cardboard, this is a great pet product for the eco-conscious cat owner. Although cardboard doesn’t last as long as sisal, this cat product is well-made and won’t get torn to pieces overnight. Its circular design is perfect for cats that love to curl up while they nap, and it’s big enough to accommodate one large cat or two smaller ones.
Best budget: Catit Cat Scratcher Boards with Catnip
This no-frills cat scratcher board is a great option if you’re trying to save money. It’s big enough for even a large cat to lounge on and inexpensive enough that you won’t break the bank when you inevitably have to replace it. Another plus: it’s recyclable, too!
Things to consider when shopping for the best cat scratching posts
You know all those cute little things your cat does that make them so special and unique? Well, not only is destroying your furniture probably not one of them, but neither is how picky they can be when you’re trying to find them the best cat scratching post. Just as it can take trying a few different brands of food to find something they’ll eat, finding a scratching post can require a little trial and error.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be), you may already have the most important piece of information you’ll need to help guide your search for these cat supplies. After all, If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance your cat already went to town on something they weren’t supposed to. Luckily, the material and the texture of your (formally) beautiful sofa can tell you a lot about what your cat likes to scratch at. So, if you can find something that’s similar, you and your cat will be very happy.
But just remember, the best cat scratching post is the one your cat loves using. And if you can’t find something that matches their go-to scratching material, you may be able to tempt them away with something they like even better!
Related: Get the best vacuum for pet hair and you’ll tear out less of your own.
Finding a cat scratching post with as many lives as your cat
The marks of a great scratching post (besides the ones your cat makes!) are durability and design. Most cats love to scratch at sisal, and a high-quality cat scratching post will be made of sisal fabric as opposed to sisal rope. Sisal fabric lasts longer than rope and will become softer the more your cat uses it. Conversely, when sisal rope breaks down, the fibers become sharp and dislodged, creating a texture your cat will turn its nose up at. Sisal scratching posts need to withstand aggressive pawing, so look for ones with sturdy bases. For obvious reasons, you don’t want your cat to be able to knock it down, so look for one that’s a little on the heavier side, especially if you have a big cat that loves to scratch.
Tame your cat’s claws with a funky cactus cat scratching post
Looking for a cat scratching post that also doubles as a conversation piece? Who can say why, but there’s something particularly adorable about a cat going to war with a cactus. In addition to providing your cat all the benefits of a regular scratching post (exercise, relaxation, territory-marking), cactus scratching posts add a touch of green to any living space that can be relaxing for humans, too. Cactus scratching posts are all the rage right now, so watch out for inferior pet products that have been rushed to market to keep up with demand. Look for models with a durable base that are made with high-quality sisal fabric. Cactus scratching posts may be a bit of a novelty, but the best ones will work and hold up just as well as any standard model.
A tree your cat will love (no fire department necessary)
Cat trees (also known as cat condos) are designed to satisfy a variety of your cat’s needs in one place. Amenities include scratching posts, perching areas, built-in toys, and boxes for your cat to hide in when you have to use the vacuum cleaner. Like that of their human counterparts, cat real estate runs the gamut from modest one-bedrooms to enormous mansions. Factors to consider when shopping for a cat tree include size (seriously, some cat trees are huge), durability, and style. After all, cat trees are usually much bigger than standard scratching posts, so you’re going to want your cat’s new home-within-a-home to match your own décor.
Scratch, nap, repeat
Scratching and napping are among a cat’s greatest pleasures, but if you live in a small apartment, you might not have room for a towering cat condo. Not to worry, though! Almost every home has space for a combination cat scratching post and bed. These are an excellent choice if you’ve noticed that your cat tends to scratch where they sleep, or you’re just trying to reclaim your bed as your own. The cat scratching material will attract your cat like a magnet, and once they realize they can curl up and nap there, it will likely become their new favorite hangout.
Save your furniture and some cash at the same time
Budget cat scratching posts are usually made out of low-grade cardboard or sisal rope as opposed to compressed cardboard or sisal fabric. Inexpensive designs are a great option when you’re low on cash (perhaps because you just paid to have the couch reupholstered), but they probably won’t last as long as a more expensive version. They will almost certainly lack the bells and whistles of a cat condo, but they may suit your cat just fine if they aren’t picky about where they scratch. Keep an eye out for cheap material that looks like it might dislodge and pose a hazard to your cat. And if you’re buying a cheap vertical cat scratching post, make sure the base is heavy enough that your cat can’t knock it down.
Q: Do cat scratching posts really work?
Cat scratching posts really work, but it may take some trial and error to find the one your feline friend likes. Scratching is essential for a cat’s mental and physical well-being, and if you don’t give the cat supplies they need for scratching, they’ll find something on their own that you might wish they hadn’t. Some cats like to scratch either vertically or horizontally, and some cats like to do both. Once you find one that they like, you’ll have a very happy cat.
Q: How do I get my cat to scratch on a new post?
You can get your cat to scratch on a new post by sprinkling some catnip on it and then placing it somewhere accessible. Cats often like to scratch after they wake up, so putting it near where they sleep is a good way to get them to use it. You can also reward your cat with a treat when they use their new post to reinforce the idea that it’s a good place to scratch. And if you see them scratching at something you don’t want them to, you can spray them with water or make a loud noise to get them out of the habit.
Q: When should I replace my cat scratching post?
You should replace your cat scratching post when it’s been physically clawed to pieces or you notice that your cat isn’t using it as much as they used to. Most last between 6 months and 2 years depending on the quality of the material and how frequently your cat uses it. Sometimes a cat can dislodge pieces that may be hazardous to them, so if you see yours looking worse for the wear, it may be best to err on the side of caution and replace it.
Related: Here are some purrfect presents for a playful cat.
The final word on the best cat scratching posts
The best cat scratching post is the one your cat loves to scratch at, whether it’s the $50 SmartCat Ultimate scratching post or a $6.99 piece of cardboard. Different cats like to scratch at different surfaces and in different directions, so keep an eye out for how your cat is already scratching to get an idea of what to buy for them. More expensive sisal scratching posts will last longer than cheaper ones, but none of them will last forever. Extra features like built-in toys and cubes for them to climb in are fun, but not essential. Scratching is a basic need for cats, and a basic but well-made post will often do the trick for them.