Top Pick: Smart Cat Pioneer Pet Ultimate Scratching Post | $50 | Amazon
As a first-time pet owner, I’m learning new things about my cat every day. That was especially evident when I asked our readers what scratching posts they use for their cats. I mentioned that my tiny angel likes to scratch anything except the things that I bought for her to scratch and got a lot of responses detailing why that is. I wasn’t expecting a full education, but our readers came through with some important facts.
Cats scratch things to mark them, it’s a territorial thing. So the first thing you want to do is to figure out where the cat is scratching, and then figure out what will fit there, because a cat will scratch up something in the right place. - Grimmtooth
If that’s the case, then I guess my cat has determined that every square inch of my once bedroom apartment is her territory. Frankly, she’s not wrong. Luckily, our readers had a lot of excellent recommendations for scratching solutions. The comments offered a wide array of picks that show that no two cats are alike. While some were won over by big, catnip-infused towers, others just simply wanted to sit on some cardboard.
In general, the consensus seems to be that this is the kind of thing that offers a multi-product solution. Our readers noted that different scratching posts tackle specific issues. For example, a floor mat helps with cats who love to pick at rugs, but it might not be effective for one who’s captivated by the couch. A plastic cover might keep them from tearing up furniture, but they’re going to need something to scratch in its place. It’s a process that requires a little extra attention to behavior and good problem-solving skills. With all that in mind, here are just a few of the options that our readers swear by.
In the “giant obelisk” category, I swear by the SmartCat Pioneer Pet Ultimate Scratching Post. My 7-year-old cat is just about to need a replacement for the first one I bought her. It’s tall enough for a full stretch and sturdy enough that it doesn’t wiggle under her full weight. Only drawback is that it’s not reversible—I could get another seven years out of it if only I could flip the post upside down. Maybe I’ll try to get clever with some power tools. - Bishbah
I also decided to become a first time pet owner at the end of December because, why not do that in addition to starting grad school in the middle of a pandemic? I got 2 beautiful furry babies (they are perfect) and they love these two scratching post options. I also have a cat tower that has a perch and vertical scratching post on it, but even after physically putting their paws on it, they want nothing to do with it. They like to sleep in the box in addition to scratching on it. - stooce
SmartyKat Scratch Scroll | $21
This scratcher is my cat’s favorite thing. He’s had it for years and still isn’t tired of it. I like that it doesn’t tip over when he’s really going at it, plus he likes to bat around at the toy that hangs in the little tunnel formed by the curve. - M. Will
After trying the usual scratching posts, cardboard cat furniture, and scratch pads attached to doors and stair posts, our moggy really took to a scratching sphere he got as a Christmas present this year. It stands about a foot high and he loves to scratch it from all different angles, as well as sitting on it. As a bonus, it isn’t as hideous looking as the ones that come trimmed with fake fur. - tweakness
What was easiest for me to wean my cat from scratching furniture was swapping the post-style scratcher for a plain corrugated cardboard “slab” scratcher[?] They make cardboard scratchers in different shapes and form factors, but cats seem to prefer the simple stuff, and she took to it right away—it was the “double wide” (actually the right size for laying on as well as scratching). Also, unlike a bench or other shape, this allows for flipping so they can use both sides, giving you a good couple of months before you have to replace (look for refills instead, they pop into the box frame and are cheaper). - Rockin Mel