People who have been to my apartment have noticed that there are scratching posts (and other things meant for cat scratching) in every room. I feel that this is they key to keeping G&T happy and keeping my furniture free from kitty claw marks! This post will share some tips for finding your cats the kinds of scratchers they prefer as well as some specific product recommendations (bottom of the post) based on my years of cat product testing!
The first thing you’ll want to figure out is whether your cat prefers horizontal or vertical scratchers! Tycho has zero interest in scratching things on the floor. He thinks those horizontal cardboard scratchers are only good for sitting on. When he exercises his claws, he wants a good vertical stretch!
You will also need to experiment with different materials for the scratchers. Gus likes both horizontal and vertical scratching, but he is mostly interested in carpeted scratchers. He will scratch cardboard pads, but he loves to attack the carpeted bases of the scratching posts. For his vertical scratching, he won’t touch the sisal rope covered posts that Tycho likes (I think they are too rough for his sensitive paws!). He only wants carpeted posts. I figured this out by looking at the base of our cat tree, which was only worn in a few (carpeted) places. Once I bought a soft, fully carpet covered tall post, he was a happy kitty!
It can take a little trial and error to sort out a cat’s preferences. Before I bought Gus the carpeted post pictured above, I had purchased a post covered in a more industrial type of carpet (think those carpet squares they use in office buildings). That was a bust and he never touched it. But I had to keep it for several months to be sure! When I first bought Tycho a tall scratching post, he ignored it for at least 2 or 3 months before it became his favorite thing ever. It’s worth spending the time and money to figure it out though, because finding a favorite scratching apparatus will (hopefully!) save you and your furniture from harm! During the search, it is handy to have other cat owning friends to trade with. While sorting out Gus’s preferences, I was able to trade with BobTheBlob of @ObservatoryCats fame, giving him that industrial carpeted scratcher Gus hated in exchange for a cardboard one that Bob ignored.
Specific Products I Like
I’ve purchased a lot of scratchers over the years. These are some products currently available on Amazon that I recommend based on quality and price. (Post and links edited 11-18-17 to add: All links are to Amazon pages. If you use these links to purchase these items, I might earn a small fee, see post here.)
Tall scratching posts: Classy Kitty 32″ Sisal Post and Classy Kitty 32″ Carpet Post posts. I have 5 of these, including the ones pictured above. They cost about $20-$35 each (price fluctuates), which is likely way cheaper than what you’ll find at your local pet store. They are nice and tall, and the bases are sufficiently heavy for my ~11 pound cats to go nuts without fear that the posts will tip over. If you have a ~20 pound cat, I’m not 100% sure they would be stable enough, but you can always stick a concrete paver block on the base to stabilize it, which is what I had to do with my cat tree. My only complaint is that the carpeted posts shed little carpet fibers that I have to vacuum up. I suspect that also means they won’t last years and years without needing to be replaced, but that’s a small price to pay for Gus to have his fun. The sisal posts are super durable and barely show wear after almost two years of Tycho’s best efforts to shred them.
Leaning scratcher: This 25″ lean-it scratching post is the one Gus didn’t like (because it was the wrong kind of carpet). But I liked the quality for the $20 price tag, and it works well as a horizontal or vertical scratcher (it leans against the wall very nicely with the grippy rubber ends). If your cat is into that more industrial type carpet, I think they would like this!
Cardboard scratchers: The PetFusion brand scratchers are hands down the best in this category. I won’t purchase anything else. The basic one is $20 and lasts nearly forever. The cardboard is much denser than other brands and doesn’t shed off that super annoying cardboard confetti when the cats scratch it. The one pictured below is almost 2 years old.
If you have any favorite scratching products, let me know in the comments!