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One of cats’ greatest talents has always been their ability to find and shred high-value items.
From your new sofa, the Persian rug in your bedroom, the silk drape, or… wait for it.. your precious skin.
They would claw at these things as if their life depends on them.
Lucky for you, getting your cat to stop shredding valuable stuff is not that difficult. All you need is to redirect your cat’s inner Freddy Krueger towards a durable material.
And, that’s where a quality cat scratching post comes in. Whether yours is a kitten with needle-sharp claws, an obsessive scratcher, a senior cat, or a spontaneous manicurist, we found the best options for your home.
First, let us understand the 3 reasons cats need scratching posts.
Skip to scratching post.
3 Reasons Cats Need Scratching Posts.
1. Scratching is normal behavior.
Cats enjoy scratching, it is a natural behavior for them. If you do not provide something for your cat to scratch on, she will scratch on walls, furniture, door frames, or your skin.
You cannot train a cat to stop scratching!
The best you can do is provide a quality scratching post. And, the worst you can do is declaw your cat, which will open the door for numerous behavioral issues.
2. It helps dull their nails.
Cats have very sharp nails! Those that have been on the receiving end of a cat scratch know this – and the fact that it can easily get infected.
You can try blunting them with a nail file or dog nail grinder, but except you have the most patient cat, then filing cat nails that way will be tedious.
That’s why you need the best cat scratching post to keep those nails dull, encourage their natural behavior, and offer them something to lash out on when your cat is in aggressive mode.
3. They need to stretch.
Stretching is fun – I’m sure you stretched at least once today.
Stretching feels good and cats do so because it improves blood flow, especially after hours of sleep.
Now that you know why cats need to scratch, what is the best cat scratcher that will keep those claws dull and save your furniture from Freddy the Kitty?
Let’s take a look at 9 of the best cat scratchers for filing sharp claws.
9 of The Best Cat Scratchers That Help in Dulling Claws.
1. SmartCat Pioneer Pet Ultimate Scratching Post
Although it is more on the expensive end, it is super-durable and easy to put together with Phillips screwdriver.
The wide wooden base will allow your cat to fully extend her body and claw at this heavy-duty cat scratching post to her heart’s content without losing balance.
The sisal fabric (not to be confused with sisal rope) wrapped around this scratching post enables it to take a beating from your cat’s claws without it leaving a mess everywhere.
You just have to place this in a high traffic area (we will talk about this more) and your cat can go to town on it whenever she is feeling vindictive instead of attacking other furniture.
The best part?
It does not have any chemical smell or small parts that can be swallowed. Plus, you can choose between grey and beige depending on your décor.
If you are looking for a scratching post to file cat nails, then this is it!
2. Catit Cat Scratcher Boards with Catnip.
If I were a cat, I would lay my head on one end of this scratcher whenever I’m tired of clawing at it.
Well, that’s exactly what the Catit Cat Scratcher Board is about – your cat can use it both for scratching and for lounging on.
Although this cat scratching pad is not abrasive enough to file nails, it will give your cat something satisfying to scratch on.
If you simply want a cat scratching pad that will reduce the cat attacks on your furniture, then this is it!
The beautiful thing about this cat scratcher is that you can flip it over to extend its life when one side wears out. And, it comes with a small bag of catnip, instead of being pre-applied on the scratcher. So, if your cat is not fond of catnip then you don’t have to use it.
Unfortunately, this cat scratcher is just cardboard and it produces tiny bits that can go all over the place. But, they are easy to sweep off a hard floor or vacuum from a carpet or rug.
So it really is up to you, would you rather clean these tiny bits if it makes your cat happy for a month or two. Or, watch your couch suffer?
3. Sofa-Scratcher’ Cat Scratching Post & Couch-Corner/Furniture Protector
Maybe you have tried out different cat scratching posts, but none has held your cat’s attention long enough to get her to leave the sofa alone.
It comes with a stand that you can attach to the scratching post to make it stand alone (which I don’t recommend because it wobbles) or slip the stand under the foot of your furniture for added stability.
Perfect choice for protecting a couch corner from a vindictive cat – especially a new couch.
Do I think it is pricey?
Yes, but unlike many cheaply made cat scratching posts, this one is solid and worth the cost!
Another lovely thing about this product is that it is a heavy-duty, sisal fabric scratching post that can easily be moved around.
So no particles to clean up and it is a cat scratcher that can help dull a cat’s claw nails. Plus, you no longer have to be so watchful of your kitty or scream at her when she ventures towards the corner of the sofa.
4. PetFusion Jumbo Cat Scratcher Lounge.
Are you looking for a cat scratching post that is not an eyesore and can be mounted onto the wall?
Then you (and your cat) will love the PetFusion Jumbo Cat Scratcher Lounge.
She can scratch on it, sleep on it, or if you have two cats they can lounge on each level and play with themselves.
It is made of densely packed, lightweight cardboard that is rock-solid and can take everything a cat throws at it.
However, after a while, even the best cardboard cat scratching pad starts to shed cardboard bits. But with this one, there is nothing offensive or stressful to clean up with a vacuum cleaner.
Considering that this cardboard cat scratcher is densely packed with the help of glue, it gives off very little smell.
And, I like how you can flip the cat scratching pad over when one side gets worn down. When the second side is worn down too, you can cut it in half to use the insides.
If you ask me, that is a pretty impressive value for your money – aside from saving your couch.
If you choose to keep this cat scratching post on a wooden or tiled floor, place a rubber foot mat underneath it to prevent it from sliding around. Although that too can be fun if your cat enjoys it.
5. AmazonBasics Large Premium Cat Scratching Post.
Wondering how to keep cat claws dull, especially those of a new kitten who can’t help but scratch everything? Then the AmazonBasic Large Premium Tall Cat Scratching Post is here to help!
It arrives in 5 pieces that are easy to assemble. The frame is sturdy and the overall structure is pretty solid for growing kittens to stretch out and scratch on with their needle-sharp claws.
You don’t even need to introduce your kitty to the scratching post. The fuzzy ball will attract her to the scratching post and once she stretches out to grab it, it won’t take long for her to figure out the purpose of the product.
However, the fuzzy ball and attachment string is far from durable. It is good to wrestle and play with, but a determined cat can chew through both in a matter of days or hours.
6. PetFusion 3-Sided Vertical Cat Scratching Post. [Multiple Scratching Angles to Match Your Cat’s Preference]
Rarely does one come across a heavy-duty cat scratching post that looks modern and is abrasive enough to dull a cat’s claws.
With the PetFusion 3-Sided Vertical Cat Scratching Post (available on Amazon|Chewy), that’s exactly what you are getting – a modern-looking and heavy-duty abrasive cat scratcher that your cat can scratch on, perch on, and run through or lounge in the middle.
It is made of densely packed cardboards held together with a non-toxic and odor-free corn starch glue.
I like how you can switch the cat scratcher post over so your cat has a fresher side to scratch on. And, when you’ve run out of fresh, unscratched side you can cut it at the edges and get 3 more.
The height of the cat scratcher is perfect for cats that like to stretch out and scratch on furniture or curtains.
Like most quality cat scratching posts that are made of cardboard, the PetFusion 3-Sided Vertical Cat Scratching Post (available on Amazon|Chewy) gives off a fair amount of cardboard flakes. But, that’s something you can easily sweep off.
And as much as I would have loved it to be stationary, this scratching post slides a lot on hardwood or tiled floor.
Some cats would love it for that and might push it around to entertain themselves. Others won’t, for these you can place a cheap rubber mat under the cat scratcher, which will even help you collect the cardboard flakes – win, win!
7. FUKUMARU Cat Activity Tree with Scratching Posts Jute Scratcher Hammock.
Do you have a cat that loves stretching out to scratch on vertical furniture or doors? Does she climb and hang onto curtains?
Then you need a scratching post like the FUKUMARU Cat Activity Tree with Scratching Posts that can be mounted on the wall.
Unlike the previous cat scratchers that were made of sisal fabric or cardboard, this one is made of tightly-wound sisal rope. When done correctly, sisal rope is as abrasive as any cat scratcher and is perfect for keeping cat claws dull.
When it is properly installed this thing is rock-solid and sturdy, you can even arrange two or more to form a ladder. However, the wood on the stairs (the thing in the middle) is really smooth and can be slippery. A little rug and some glue should do.
You can install 3 or 4 of these (without the climber) on different walls or corners in the house. This way, whenever your cat feels like filing her nails she’ll have a scratching post close by and ready to go – better this than your sofa.
8. PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge.
The PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge is the 3rd cat scratching post on our list that is made by PetFusion. That’s a testament to the high-quality, heavy-duty cat scratching post that they produce.
You can hang this on the wall with some L-brackets and it will fit in with your décor as if it belongs there. Or place it on the floor for your cat to lounge on, scratch, and slide her cat toys through the center whenever she is feeling bored.
Like the previous two cardboard cat scratching posts by PetFusion, this one has no chemical smell and it barely gives off any flakes.
And when both sides of the cat scratcher are worn, you can cut it down the middle so your cat has 2 more sides to scratch on.
What’s there not to like?
9. HIPIPET 3-in-1 Cardboard Cat Scratcher Pad for Large Cats and Little Kitten.
Last but not least is the HIPIPET 3-in-1 Cardboard Cat Scratcher Pad. This is another heavy-duty cat scratching post your cat can use to file her nails – whether she’s an adult or a kitten.
What I admire about this product is that it comes with 3 different scratching pads that can be used as a lounge, for play, or combined as steps for an arthritic senior cat.
There is no way your cat will lounge on the smallest cat scratching pad without trying to knock the tiny balls out. The longer it keeps her occupied, the longer your couch enjoys not being scratched.
But, it is made of cardboard. Expect to clean some cardboard flakes after intensive use!
7 Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Cat Scratcher.
Now that you have a list of 9 heavy-duty and quality cat scratching posts to choose from, what should you consider when making your choice? What should you look for, so you don’t waste money and space on an artifact that is rarely used?
The size of a scratching post needs to match the size of your cat. Too big or small and she’ll ignore it while giving you the “what the hell?” stare.
Imagine trying to ride a toddler’s bicycle. Or a toddler trying to ride a mountain bike.
However, if your cat is still a kitten it is inevitable that you will have to purchase a cat scratcher twice – one kitten-sized scratcher and an adult-sized one when she is older.
And, since cats love to stretch on their cat scratcher, it is best to find one that is 1.5 to 2 times the length of your cat.
We are the ones that care about dulling a cat’s claws, they don’t. What they enjoy about scratching is how the material responds under their paws.
Unfortunately, your cat cannot vocalize why she loves scratching a certain piece of furniture. So, you just have to be observant.
Choose a scratcher that is rough, gives off an impressive sound when scratched, and wears out without totally unraveling.
The best materials that fit this description are tough cardboard, sisal fabric, and sisal rope scratchers. These 3 are popular amongst cats and are great at dulling cat claws.
Other good options are carpet and wood, which can both be good materials depending on your situation.
You also need to understand that cats scratch mostly when they are bored. Boredom is not fun and we humans actively avoid it. So get your cat enough cat toys for a home alone or bored cat to keep her occupied.
A durable cat scratcher matters, especially for high-energy cats.
You should always choose a heavy-duty cat scratching post that will put up a good fight against your cat’s claws. This is so that the cat has something challenging to come back to.
If it budge after a couple of weeks your cat will soon realize that she has defeated the scratcher – game over! Up next, the couch.
You know how your muscles become tense when you are on a ladder, stool, or ledge and it starts shaking. That is how cats feel about climbing or stretching out on an unstable scratcher.
This is why cats love to scratch chairs, door frames, and couches – they are rock-solid. Wild cats climb and scratch on trees because they are immovable.
And, the annoying yet funny thing about cats is that they quickly form an impression about new objects: if it is shaky or scares them the first time, they will likely not go near it anymore.
You can avoid this by choosing a scratching post that has a stable and heavy base so they don’t fall off of the scratcher or the scratcher falling on them. The taller the scratching post, the more stable base it needs.
5. Ease of Use.
Look, cats have different personalities.
Your cat may prefer the standard cat scratcher without all the bells and whistles, whereas another cat might love complicated posts that are a bit challenging.
One thing is certain, they do not like jumping through hoops just to scratch when they could easily roll over to the edge of the couch, waltz to the door frame or curtain, and scratch to their heart’s delight.
So, just as with your cat litter box, make sure the scratcher is easy to use and is located somewhere obvious.
6. How likely is it to be used?
Cats are funny creatures (I’ve now said this twice!).
You could buy a hundred water bowls and they’ll still drink from the kitchen faucet – BTW, you should consider getting a cat water fountain to keep your cat hydrated.
There is no telling if your cat will use a scratcher or not!
However, you can encourage your cat to use a scratching pad by rubbing catnip on it. After assembling the scratcher, mock scratch it with your fingernails when your cat is around so she can hear the sound it makes.
If your cat isn’t the shy type you can gently lift her up and let her front paws land on the scratcher. Gently drag her body backward so her nails scratch the product.
Most cats will take it from here. But, if yours is still hesitant, let her be for a couple of days. She will come around!
A cat scratching post is an important piece of furniture just like your couch, TV, or curtain. You should choose one that fits in with your décor or one that stands out because of its modern look, not because it is an eyesore.
Horizontal vs Vertical Scratching Posts?
Cats love stretching, but not all of them do so vertically or horizontally. Some cats enjoy scratching vertical surfaces more than they do horizontal ones. Therefore, when looking for the best scratcher for your kitty, it is good to incorporate both horizontal and vertical scratchers.
One Last Thing.
Avoid cat scratchers covered in carpet if you can.
Many cats like scratching posts that are covered with a variety of carpeting. It is important, however, to choose a scratcher that is covered in a different material from the furniture in your home which you don’t want the cat to scratch.
This is because your cat cannot wrap her head around why she can scratch the carpeted scratcher, but not the carpet in your room or study.
Besides that, carpet is not abrasive enough to dull cat claws. Plus, your cat risks snagging her claws on loops, which can cause injury.
What is the Best Choice Here?
First off, you need to understand that one cat scratcher won’t do. And, that is because when a cat feels like scratching, she wants to do so NOW!
She would rather shred important papers, your foot, or the bedpost than go about finding her scratcher. Here’s cat logic in two sentences.
Cat wants to scratch. => cat scratch what she sees.
That is why you need more than 1 – and they should not be of the same type. Here’s what I mean:
You can get the SmartCat Pioneer Pet Ultimate Scratching Post (available on Amazon|Chewy) or AmazonBasic Cat Scratching Post for your living room or any high (cat) traffic area – both would be ideal since they are made of slightly different materials and the scratching experience is different.
Then complement it (or them) with something cheap and different like the Catit Cat Scratcher Board or the HIPIPET 3-in-1 Cardboard Cat Scratcher Pad. Especially, if your cat occasionally attacks the carpet or is lazy most times and would rather lounge on the scratcher.
However, if your cat has a curtain or drape-fetish, you can mount the FUKUMARU Cat Activity Tree with Scratching Posts vertically for her to scratch and climb on. But, make sure it is stable.
You can also install the FUKUMARU Scratching Posts close to a window hammock bed. This way she can use it as a ladder to the hammock bed and scratch on it when she is mad at the squirrel or bird outside the window for absolutely no reason.
PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge is a nice option for cats that love to scratch a little then lounge.
However, if you have more than one cat, then you should consider getting thePetFusion Jumbo Cat Scratcher Lounge or the PetFusion 3-Sided Vertical Cat Scratching Post (available on Amazon|Chewy) so they can scratch at it while play fighting with each other.
Remember, cats do not scratch because they are punishing you or want to destroy furniture in your home.
Sure, they will scratch more when they are upset, stressed, or bored, but scratching helps them relieve stress, stretch, and play, as well as mark their territory.
Don’t blame them, it is a need not a hobby!