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For cats, clawing is a need—not a hobby. They scratch not because they’re malicious and want to destroy the furniture in your home, but because it helps them keep their claws manicured, mark their territory, and stretch and play, according to the ASPCA.
So while you don’t want to discourage cats from scratching and clawing, for the sake of your furniture, you want to make sure this behavior is directed at a durable material—as opposed to, say, your couch. That’s where scratching posts can be incredibly helpful. Whether you've got a kitten, a senior cat, a super-scratcher, or a casual manicurist, we found the best options for your home.
Here, the best cat scratching posts available.
Best Overall: SmartCat The Ultimate Scratching Post
Your cat will love this simple and incredibly sturdy scratching post. It’s tall enough that cats can really stretch themselves out and claw away at the sisal fabric. This post is quite durable and well designed too; expect for it to last for several years.
You’ll have to do a small bit of assembly when it first arrives, inserting dowels into holes and also attaching the base to the scratch post, but no power tools are required.
The base of this scratching post is fairly wide (it’s 16 x16 inches)—that’s key, since it helps to keep the post in place, preventing it from slip-sliding across the floor or toppling over when your cat starts to use it.
"This 3-foot tall post is stable enough that my cat can jump on and off of the top of it and it never wobbles or shakes. I also appreciate that it comes in a monochome grey option, which matches my couch and her cat tree, so it's not such an eyesore in my small apartment." — Kate Geraghty, Editorial Director, Commerce Home Group
Best Budget: Catit Cat Scratcher Board with Catnip
Some cats don't love stretching up to scratch at a post—they'd rather just knead and claw while they stand or lay down. For those cats, this budget-friendly scratcher is ideal. It even comes with a packet of catnip, which helps get cats interested in and interacting with the new piece of furniture.
This scratcher has a corrugated cardboard surface for your cat to dig into with their claws. Since it’s on the lightweight side, it may slide around a bit on the floor as cats claw away, but it’s sturdy enough to support the weight of larger cats. Note that once your cat has scratched one side through, you can flip it over so your cat can scratch away at the other side, too. (That’s also a good moment to add more catnip!)
Best Splurge: Archie & Oscar Venita Cat Scratching Post
Your cat’s accoutrements—the loungers and trees, not to mention the toys—aren’t always very attractive, nor do they always blend with your overall decor choices. But this design-forward Venita cat scratching post offers a modern look, while still serving function first.
This cat scratcher has a wire frame that's been wrapped in poly rattan, which is strong enough to stand up to lots of clawing. It’s quite sturdy, and in fact, some cats may use the top as a seating area.
This scratcher is freestanding and doubles as an accent piece. Minor assembly—attaching the base to the post—is required, but won't take long at all.
Best Wall-Mounted: Frisco Wall Sisal Cat Scratcher
Looking to limit the amount of floor space your scratching post takes up? Or, just eager to keep the cat away from the corner of the couch? You can do that with the Frisco wall cat scratcher—this piece is easy to disguise against a couch or next to a piece of furniture and is ideal for cats who love to scratch on couch arms or chairs.
The wall scratcher is made from sisal, a sturdy material that’s great for keeping you cat's claws trimmed, and can be hung on either walls or furniture easily with hook-and-loop or screw-in mounting, which are included. You could also set it on or near a windowsill your cat likes to sit by to encouraging scratching where they like to spend most of their time.
Best for Kittens: Frisco Scratch & Roll Scratcher Cat Toy with Catnip
Kittens can be a force of destruction in your home. Anything (headphone cords, yesterday’s mail, and so on) becomes a toy. Save you possessions with this Frisco scratcher, which doubles as a cat toy.
Kittens can scratch away at the corrugated cardboard surface, and also play with the ball-and-track toy. The combo will encourage kittens to interact with this scratcher toy, instead of clawing at furniture or looking for toys elsewhere—like your beside table or bathroom trash can.
Best for Multiple Cats: Animaze Triple Post Scratch Center for Cats
This cat scratcher offers not one, not two, but three posts for scratching, all in different textures and heights. That makes this scratching device ideal for households with multiple cats, since several cats can scratch at the same time without getting in each other’s ways.
Rope-lined posts are ideal for clawing. Since the scratch center is heavy and quite sturdy, there’s no risk of it tipping over when your cat starts clawing away at it.
Best for Older Cats: Trixie Pet Products Elsa Senior Cat Playground
For senior cats, this plush and comfortable scratcher doubles as a playground—cats can climb, relax, or lounge about. And yes, there are clawing opportunities too, thanks to jute- and sisal-wrapped posts.
This playground's stairs are key, since as cats get older, jumping may no longer be possible. But climbing up the stairs is a doable task, even for cats with tender joints. This pick will require a bit of assembly—for the best, and easiest results, try building from the top (aka the captain’s perch) downward.
Best for Furniture: Sofa-Scratcher Cat Scratching Post
There’s nothing like getting a new piece of furniture. But when you have cats, you don’t just have to worry about spilling wine on the couch or other wear-and-tear. Often, cats see the legs of couches, chairs, and other furniture as a prime opportunity to use their claws. Attaching this scratching post can ensure that your furniture stays protected.
Getting it on your couch is easy: You’ll just need to ensure that the base, which is very thin, is placed under the leg of your furniture to keep it stable. The cat scratcher is made from sisal, which your cat will enjoy scratching even more than sofa and furniture legs.
For the best basic cat scratcher, SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post (available at Amazon) is a solid choice that should last a one-cat household for years. If you'd prefer something a bit more stylish, consider the Archie & Oscar Venita Cat Scratching Post (available at Wayfair), which can withstand sharp claws, but doesn't look like a cat toy to guests.
What to Look for in a Cat Scratching Post
Cat scratching posts come in many shapes and sizes. The perfect build for you will depend on your space constraints as well as the size of your feline friend. If you have more than one cat, you may want a bigger one (with more options for scratching and playing), but if space is tight, there are smaller models that may be a good fit.
While some cat scratching posts offer just that, some are equipped with much more, like places to lounge and climb or attached toys for entertainment. Consider your cat’s personality and the size of the post to determine if you want a basic version, a maxed-out model, or something in between.
Since the cat scratching post will be part of your home, you want it to match your style — or, at the very least, you don’t want it to stand out in a garish way. Scratching posts come in a wide variety of styles, though, so with a little searching, you’re sure to find one that fits both you and your cat.