Cats don’t usually scratch with destruction in mind. They have instinctual needs to mark their territory, relieve stress, and keep their claws clean and healthy. Unfortunately, if you don’t have enough cat scratchers available in your home, your furniture, window sills, walls, and carpet could become your cat’s next target. Cat scratchers strategically placed throughout your home can fulfill your cat’s need to scratch and protect your possessions from damage. They create a win-win situation for all felines and humans who share a living space.
We’ve researched and reviewed dozens of cat scratchers in search of the best the market has to offer. While scouring through the options, we looked into the features that will make the most difference to you and your cat. It meant taking a close look at how features like size balanced out the important issues of durability and stability. We’ve narrowed down the choices to those that will destress your cat so you both can rest easy.
We love the PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge because who loves to lounge more than a cat? This scratcher combines a fun, interesting shape with the quality to withstand heavy use from more than one cat. The modern design and choice of muted colors allow this model to blend into your home but still be an effective way for your cat to maintain his health. Finally, a dense cardboard construction not only applies resistance to your cat’s claws but prevents catnip from falling through the cardboard to the floor.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Cat Scratchers
|PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge
|Bergan Turbo Cat Scratcher Toy
|Best Budget Buy
|Catit Style Scratcher
|Best Cat Scratching Post
|AmazonBasics Cat Activity Tree
|Best Cardboard Cat Scratcher
|PetFusion Jumbo Cat Scratcher Lounge
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge
The PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge has the best all-around combination of durability and design. The unique infinity shape definitely gives it a modern vibe with any of the three color/pattern choices. The infinity shape gives your cat a place to hide, crawl through, bat toys, or lounge. This cat scratcher isn’t an eyesore. You can leave it on the floor as an easy access lounge or hang one or two on the wall to create a perch with a shelf-like appearance.
Dense, recycled cardboard covers every surface and provides hours of scratch time. It holds up to heavy use, which means you won’t be replacing it anytime soon. And, it’s reversible. Once one side starts to wear out, you can flip it over and use the other side. Many people like to spread a little catnip over their cat’s toys but that can lead to catnip on the carpet or furniture. The dense cardboard structure of this scratcher prevents catnip from falling through, preserving your flooring and giving your cat the best chance to adjust to his new scratcher.
PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge Key Features:
- Three color choices
- Thick, dense cardboard
- Reversible design
- 6-month warranty
- Dimensions: 34 x 10.5 x 10.5 inches
Our Runner Up Pick: Bergan Turbo Cat Scratcher Toy
The Bergan Turbo Cat Scratcher Toy combines two favorite feline pastimes—scratching and play. This scratcher features a circular corrugated scratchpad surrounded by a track with a plastic ball that your cat can chase, nudge, or pounce on at any time. The ball stays in the track whether your cat uses his nose or claws to nudge and attack. Hunting instincts are strong even in domesticated cats and this toy appeals and feeds those instincts so you’re cat can fulfill his natural needs.
Many cat scratchers have to be thrown away once the cardboard wears out, but not with this model. It’s truly designed to last with a removable center scratchpad. Replacement scratchpads are available separately from the manufacturer. You can order more than one so you have several scratchpads on hand. The permanent plastic base is sturdy and durable enough to take on frequent, heavy use. Because it’s designed for floor use, this model will appeal more readily to cats who are natural floor scratchers. If you’ve got a wall climber, you might need to add a little catnip to get the ball rolling … literally.
Bergan Turbo Cat Scratcher Toy Key Features:
- Permanent plastic base
- Replaceable scratchpad
- Removable ball
- Dimensions: 16-inch diameter plastic base
Best Budget Pick: Catit Style Scratcher
Though it’s simple in shape and function, cats love the Catit Style Scratcher. The rounded ends provide enough resistance for comfortable lounging. Add to that the durable cardboard and you’ve got a cat scratcher that can fit in the corner, next to the couch, or in a bedroom without taking up too much space. This cat scratcher comes in three different configurations, though each has the same corrugated surface, you may find that your cat prefers one shape over the other. The S-chaise tends to appeal to the playful can that likes to hide while the urban bench is meant for those cats with a superior bearing that prefer to look down on their subjects and, of course, scratch when the urge hits them. Your cat may need time to adjust to a new scratcher, which is why the manufacturer also includes a bonus bag of catnip that can be spread over its surface. The catnip draws the cat in and before you know it, it becomes one of their favorite locations in the house.
Catit Style Scratcher Key Features:
- Three colored, patterned designs
- Three configurations—lounge, S-chaise, urban bench
- Dimensions: 8.7 x 19.3 x 1.2 inches
Best Cat Scratching Post: AmazonBasics Cat Activity Tree
The AmazonBasics Cat Activity Tree does far more than provide an area for scratching. It’s an all-inclusive cat scratcher, cat tree, and perch rolled into one tall piece of cat furniture. Luckily, it comes in two different sizes. One model has two-tiers while this one has three, including seven scratching posts covered in jute. However, the jute surfaces aren’t the only place your cat can scratch. Does your cat like to dig in the carpet? This scratching post has three carpeted surfaces that can take your cats claws a lot better than the carpet in your living room.
To top it all off, the third level has a walled perch that’s perfect for preparing for a pounce or for lounging and sleeping. The sheer size and height of this model make it especially nice for those who have more than one cat slinking through their home. Scratch, climb, or rest—this activity tree fulfills a cat’s most basic of instincts and needs. And, while it’s tall, the nearly 18-inch base doesn’t eat up all your floor space.
AmazonBasics Cat Activity Tree Key Features:
- Triple platform
- Seven scratching posts
- Top platform doubles as a cat bed
- Dimensions: 17.7 x 17.7 x 45.9 inches
Best Cardboard Cat Scratcher: PetFusion Jumbo Cat Scratcher Lounge
The PetFusion Jumbo Cat Scratcher Lounge isn’t for the faint of heart or those short of space. This behemoth scratcher looks amazing on the floor or hung on the wall as a shelf-like cat perch. Recycled, corrugated cardboard covers the exterior on both sides, creating a reversible surface and doubling the scratchable surface area.
A sleek oval shape lets it blend into modern home designs while still providing ample space for your cat to lounge, scratch, and watch his people from afar. The sheer size and available scratching surface create an ideal situation for homes with multiple cats. It’s large enough that one cat can be lounging inside while another scratches on the top and, as long as their not hostile towards one another, they won’t be disturbing their scratching partner. When hung as a cat perch, several animals can enjoy a view, giving them full reign over their feline kingdom. That also frees up floor space for all the humans who happen to share the house.
PetFusion Jumbo Cat Scratcher Lounge Key Features:
- Curved lounging surface
- Reversible for twice the scratching area
- Large enough for multiple cats
- Dimensions: 39 x 11 x 13 inches
Who Should Buy a Cat Scratcher
If you own a cat and you like your furniture, you’ll probably need a cat scratcher. A cat scratcher allows your cat to follow his instincts without destroying the home of those with whom he happens to share a living space. Cats scratch for a number of different reasons, none of which are to annoy their human. Scratching helps remove the outer layer of the claw to reveal the new growth underneath. Have you ever noticed nail sheaths near your couch? Your cat has been performing important work while tearing up your furniture.
Cats also need a scratcher to keep up their strength and dexterity. The pull and tug of scratching stretches and strengthens muscles. Each scratch reaches into the back and shoulder muscles with different angles targeting slightly different muscle groups. The whole process loosens knots and prevents stiffness.
The emotional benefits of scratching are as important as the physical ones. Cat scratchers can be beneficial if your cat seems unusually stressed or tense. Frustration, anxiety, or even irritation with you or another pet can push your cat to reach for a rug, wall, or curtain for a good scratch. But if you strategically place your cat scratchers, your cat can destress without pushing you over the edge and destroying your shared home.
If your cat is a chewer, check out our review of the best cat chew toys to give your favorite feline an outlet to satisfy her need to chew. Investing in a few good cat toys is always recommended to keep your cat engaged and entertained, so she’s less likely to turn to destructive activities.
Important Features to Consider
A cat scratcher not only needs to be functional for your cat but it needs to seamlessly fit into your home. Here are some of the features you’ll need to think about before making your selection:
- Size. You’ll have to think about the height, width, and depth as cat scratchers vary in size by type and model. Take a good look at your available floor or wall space and remember that your cat will spend time lounging near the scratcher too. For stand-alone models, which most cat scratchers are, the base needs to be wide enough that it won’t tip over. Once a cat has been toppled over enough times, he’s not likely to use the scratcher very often.
- Mounted or stand alone. Some cat scratchers can be mounted on the wall or floor while others are stand alone. Mounted models take more time to set up but it might be worth it to know your cat can’t knock it over. If you go the mounted route, you may need to decide between models that can be mounted on the wall, along the floorboards, or to the floor.
- Replaceable cardboard. Eventually, your cat will wear through the cardboard on the cat scratcher. Models with replaceable scratchpads will prevent you from needing to buy an entirely new cat scratcher every time your cat makes his way through another pad.
- Reversible surface. Some cat scratchers have cardboard on the top and bottom so you can flip it once one side gets worn out. It’s basically twice the scratching surface with a single cat scratcher.
- Perching surface. Cats have a natural hunting instinct. Cat scratchers with one or more surfaces on which to perch let your cat do what their feline nature demands. Posts, lounges, and cat scratch trees offer the best perching options.
- Vertical vs. horizontal scratching surfaces. Cats like to scratch on both vertical and horizontal surfaces as it allows them to reach different muscle groups. Some cat scratchers are designed for both while others may only have one or the other. Vertical scratching usually involves a post, but be sure the post is tall enough that your cat can fully extend and stretch his body for the full benefit.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get my cat to use a new cat scratcher?
Cats are notorious for their lack of trainability, but these highly intelligent creatures can learn as well as any other animal. You just have to think like a cat. Start by placing the cat scratcher in an area your cat already scratches. If he’s been eyeing your couch, put it next to the couch. If a windowsill or door frame catches his eye, place it there.
Even when the cat scratcher is perfectly placed, your cat may ignore it at first. Make it a more tempting target by placing a few treats on or next to it. Some cat scratchers come with a bag of catnip to help attract your cat but if your cat has a favorite toy or cat treat, that might work too.
How do I know what kind of cat scratcher my cat will like?
You can’t really know until you’ve bought and tried a cat scratcher, but your cat can give you a few clues before you’ve invested too much money. Take a look at the surfaces he’s already scratching and try to find something that’s similar. If he’s digging at your carpet, a carpet covered scratcher might be perfect. A cat who scratches the side of your couch may prefer a sisal covered post that more closely matches the fabric of the couch. Usually, you’ll have more success if you follow your cat’s lead.
How do I decide between an upright, incline, or flat cat scratcher?
You’re really looking at the differences between a post scratcher, angled scratcher, or scratch pad. It really depends on your cat’s preferences. Take a look at the angle of the surfaces he already likes to scratch. To give your cat the best options, offer a couple of scratchers that have different angles so your cat can decide for himself. He needs to target different muscle groups at different times so giving him a few options lets him decide when and how to stretch himself out.
What difference does the texture of the cat scratcher make?
To you, it may mean nothing, but to your cat, it means the difference between a scratcher he can’t resist and one he’ll completely ignore. Generally, cats like a surface that lets them really dig their claws in. They need resistance so they can stretch their muscles and pull on their claws.
Cats also tend to prefer a little noise. Two of the most popular options are sisal and corrugated cardboard. Cardboard makes an excellent tearing sound, and sisal, especially when it’s on a hollow post, provides a satisfying scratching noise.
Carpet-covered cat scratchers aren’t as popular as either cardboard or sisal and some people believe it can encourage your cat to scratch at your carpet. However, some cats prefer it over any other surface and it certainly provides good resistance and sound.
Other Cat Scratchers We Reviewed
In our search for the best of the best, we looked at 20 other cat scratchers. They may not have made our list of the top five, but there are some great options that could be the perfect cat scratcher for your favorite feline. We’ve included the information you’ll need to compare until you find the right model for your cat.
Cat Scratch Posts
This post brings a touch of whimsy into your lives. The sisal wrapped post is topped by a butterfly toy while the butterfly patterned base has a decidedly feminine flair.
- Non-toxic fibers and materials
- Small size for homes with limited space
- Dimensions: 11.8 x 11.8 x 19 inches
Tall and sturdy, even the largest of cats will get a good stretch with this post. The flat surface puts more of the cardboard within reach of your cat’s claws.
- Wall mounted for improved sturdiness
- Includes stainless steel hooks for mounting
- Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.7 x 26 inches
The tripod design of this scratching posts appeals to those cats who can’t help but climb. It also offers several jute-covered surfaces at various angles for varied scratching options.
- Aluminum joint piece requires no tools for assembly
- Covered in eco-friendly natural jute
- Dimensions: 21 x 21 x 30 inches
If you’re tight on floor space, this wall-mounted post takes care of your cat’s scratching needs while leaving your floor clear. It can be mounted at any height, which allows you to adjust the reach according to your cat’s size.
- Aluminum frame with stainless steel mounting screws
- Sisal rope covering
- Dimensions: 3.6 x 3.6 x 17.8 inches
A wide base and an impressive 41 inches of post make this model one that works for large cats and multi-cat homes. The durable sisal wrap proves to be tempting and satisfying for most felines.
- Thick, tall scratching post
- Easy assembly with all necessary tools included
- Dimensions: 19 x 19 x 41 inches
A paw-shaped carpeted base makes this is a fun, sturdy scratching post. The durable sisal-wrapped post has a toy mouse on top that lets your cat burn through their energy without damaging your furniture.
- Base covered in faux fur
- Includes attached mouse toy
- Dimensions: 13 x 11.25 x 19 inches
This scratching post has impressive stability with a classy wood base. At 32 inches high, it’s just tall enough for your cat to climb before leaping back to the floor.
- Wood base and top
- Sisal-covered post
- Dimensions: 16 x 16 x 32 inch base
A natural sisal post with a plush carpeted base creates a basic but effective place for cats to work out muscles and rid themselves of stress. This sturdy post can take heavy scratching and easily blends with most home decor.
- Two carpet color options
- Sisal-wrapped post
- Dimensions: 15.75 x 15.75 inch base; 3.5 x 24.25 inch post
Cardboard Cat Scratchers
This angled cardboard ramp comes with a springy toy that lets your cat stretch and play to his heart’s content. The dense cardboard holds up well to heavy use even in homes that have more than one cat.
- Reversible cardboard scratchpad
- Includes a detachable toy and catnip
- Dimensions: 2.5 x 10 x 18.5 inches
A reversible cardboard surface sits at the perfect angle for stretching the feline back and shoulder muscles. Add on two cubby holes to sneak through and you’ve created a fun, recreational corner for your cat.
- Reversible cardboard pad
- Two cutouts for additional play options
- Dimensions: 15.5 x 8.5 x 8 inches
Six scratchable and rotatable sides provide plenty of scratching surface. Cats can crawl, play, hide, and scratch on the interior triangle for a simple play/scratcher combo.
- Recycled cardboard
- Non-toxic corn starch glue
- Dimensions: 18 x 10.5 x 16 inches
Cat Scratch Lounges
The concave design of this scratcher makes it the perfect place to scratch or relax. A removable insert significantly increases the amount of scratching surface so your furniture and possessions stay safe from happy claws.
- Reversible design with insert provides extra scratching space
- Recycled cardboard
- Dimensions: 16.9 x 7.8 x 4.3 inches
The unique X-design creates the perfect place for perching or lounging. Multiple scratching areas let cats stretch in various angles to reach all the major muscle groups.
- Easy to store folding X-design
- Several corrugated scratching surfaces
- Dimensions: 21.21 x 14 x 3.25 inches
A colorful, fun shape sets this scratcher/hammock apart. If you’ve got a cat that loves to lounge, it’s hard to pass by this bowl-shaped scratcher.
- Corrugated cardboard bowl for lounging
- Includes catnip
- Dimensions: 13.5 x 4 x 13.5 inches
The Coching scratcher has a slight wave to the design that cats love for impromptu lounging. But, it’s hard to beat the multi-directional cardboard so your cat can dig in from any angle.
- Recycled cardboard
- Reversible design
- Dimensions: 15.7 x 7.8 x 2.1 inches
If you’ve got a carpet scratcher, this is the scratching mat for you. It almost looks like a rug so it can blend seamlessly into your home, but the sisal is perfect for your cat to claw and scratch without damaging your carpet.
- Natural, woven sisal
- Anti-slip backing
- Dimensions: 19.7 x 19.7 x .5 inches
Though the design is basic and simple, this set of three provides plenty of area for cats to dig in their claws. They can easily be placed anywhere in the home without drawing attention, except for your cat’s, of course.
- Includes catnip
- Made of recycled, heavy duty cardboard
- Dimensions: 18 x 10 x 1.5 inches
While it doesn’t look like a traditional scratchpad, this unique design has a good scratching surface and fun toys. With both a normal and bell ball, your cat will be happy for hours.
- Two balls; normal and bell
- Angled design for maximum stretch
- Dimensions: 11 x 9.4 x 7 inches
The inclined surface of this scratchers lets cats reach high to stretch shoulder and back muscles. A sisal surface offers a durable way to keep claws healthy and strong.
- Wooden frame covered in sisal
- Organic catnip included
- Dimensions: 15.2 x 7 x 7 inches
A unique shape and snap-on toy make this scratcher hard for cats to resist. It has multiple surface types with carpet and sisal for a textural variety that cats love.
- Carpet and sisal surface
- Attachable feather toy
- Dimensions: 17.8 x 11 x 6.5 inches