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Best cat scratching post 2023: Keep your furniture safe from cat claws

Our guide to the best cat scratching posts to help keep your cat’s claws in trim

The best cat scratching posts are a godsend for those of us who share our home with cats. A sturdy post gives your cat a safe place to sharpen their claws and avoids your furniture and carpets being shredded.

While a lot of cats are happy to sharpen their claws on tree trunks outside (if they’re outdoor cats), it still pays to have a scratching post at home. Having a scratcher inside gives your cat a safe place to scratch, without the need to keep an eye out for any neighbourhood cats or other perceived threats.

We’ve reviewed a great range of scratchers that will appeal to cats of every shape and size, so you’re bound to find one to suit. We’ve also put together a buying guide to answer your questions about cat scratching posts – but if you already know what you’re looking for, scroll down to view our recommendations.

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Best cat scratching posts: At a glance

How to choose the best cat scratching post for you

Why do cats need a scratching post?

Scratching is very much part of a cat’s natural routine. It’s pretty much the only way that a cat can wear down their claws and make sure that they remain sharp (although we do sometimes trim our domestic cats’ claws). In addition to this, it also gives them the chance to stretch their muscles and spread their scent. Scent marking is vital for cats – it helps them mark an area as safe, as well as advertising their presence to any visiting mogs. If you don’t give your cat a suitable post to scratch, the chances are that they’ll look for something else to scratch – and that’s how furniture and carpets get ruined.

What materials should my cat scratcher be made from?

Cat scratchers are made from a variety of materials, but we’d recommend steering clear of any made from fabrics similar to those used in your furniture and carpets – that’s just going to confuse your cat. The vast majority are made from jute or sisal, but you’ll also find some made from cardboard.

Jute – Jute is a long, shiny vegetable fibre that’s mostly grown in tropical countries such as India and Bangladesh. It’s easy to produce, sturdy and biodegradable, and is the second most versatile fabric after cotton. Jute is spun into coarse, strong threads that are ideal for use in cat scratchers as they’re so tough.

Sisal – Sisal is made from the fibres of the sisal plant, a type of agave plant primarily grown in Brazil. It is one of the most durable options for scratchers, with the fibres being incredibly tough and strong (it’s stronger than jute). Sisal is woven into a natural-looking fabric and is also biodegradable, making it another eco-friendly choice.

Cardboard – Budget scratchers are often made from cardboard. Cardboard is made from paper pulp and is recyclable, renewable and biodegradable, but it’s not as tough as jute or sisal, so a scratcher made from it wont last as long.

How do we test cat scratchers?

We assembled a team of crack feline testers to try out our different scratching posts and pads. Although written feedback was somewhat lacking, our testers were able to show us how durable and tough these scratching posts are and, indeed, whether they were appealing to cats.

How we test cat scratching posts

What better way to test out scratching posts than to give them to a furry friend? We assemble a team of feline testers of different shapes and sizes to try out our various scratching posts, while human counterparts watch on. As well as noting how popular each scratching post is with the cats and how easy they are to use, we also consider durability – how well it stands up to repeated scratching.

Another important element to consider is stability, particularly for upright posts. Our tests ensure they aren’t easy to knock down, even if your cat is on the larger side. Finally, we look at the quality of the materials – some cat scratchers can be on the expensive side, which is why we make sure you’re getting the most for your money, whether you’re looking to spend £10 or £100.

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The best cat scratching posts you can buy in 2023

1. Smart Cat Ultimate Scratching Post: Best for big cats

Price when reviewed: £47 | Check price at Amazon

Do you live with a big cat, such as a Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest? Or is your cat a bit larger than average? Then this is the scratching post for you. This 80cm post is tall enough for big cats to stretch up fully while scratching and the solid, 40 x 40cm circumference means that there’s no chance of the post being knocked over. Made from sturdy woven sisal, the post is strong, tough and should give many years of happy scratching.

As this scratching post is on the larger side, it might be a little overwhelming for some spaces but it’s a nice, neutral beige colour that should blend seamlessly into a room. It’s also a little more expensive than other options on the market but with some reviewers saying theirs is still going strong after five years, the durability of this post makes it worth the initial outlay.

Key details – Size (cm): 80 x 40 x 40; Material: Sisal and Wood; Our recommended cat weight limit: Any (Up to Maine Coons)

2. Pets at Home Pizarro Play and Scratch Cat Post: Best traditional cat scratching post

Price when reviewed: £15 | Check price at Pets at HomeThis scratching post from Pets at Home is made from sisal, with a faux fur base and a small play toy attached at the top. Traditional in design, the post itself is solidly made and the sisal is very resistant to cat claws, meaning you should get a good lifespan from it.

There’s good height on the post, meaning that most domestic moggies will find there’s plenty of room to reach upwards for a good scratch. Width-wise, the post is small and discreet, meaning it doesn’t take up a lot of room.

Like a lot of scratching posts, the cat toy attached to the top doesn’t have quite a long enough string for most cats to show any interest in it. And we wouldn’t recommend this post to cats weighing much more than 5.5kg, as a larger cat could pull it over. However, this is a really nicely designed and simple scratching post that the average cat should enjoy immensely.

Key details – Size (cm): 58 x 34 x 34; Material: Sisal post and faux fur/plush base; Our recommended cat weight limit: 5.5kg

Check price at Pets at Home

3. Catit Giraffe Zoo Scratcher: Best for those on a budget

Price when reviewed: £25 | Check price at CatitThis fun scratcher is a purse-friendly option that’s our top recommendation for those on a budget. Made from layers of thick, corrugated cardboard, the scratcher provides a great surface for cats to strop their claws on.

Despite being made from cardboard, the scratcher is actually remarkably strong and should stand up to repeated use. However, you should be aware that cardboard will shred more than sisal and jute, so you will have to clear up bits of cardboard from time to time. It’s also worth noting this is a horizontal scratcher, which some cats might not enjoy (although some don’t like vertical posts either). However, it has lots of ridges and bumps to make it more interesting and even comes with a little bag of catnip to encourage your cat to use it. Catit also sells nine other animal-shaped scratchers in various sizes and prices.

Key details – Size (cm): 44 x 18.5 x 9.5; Material: Cardboard; Our recommended cat weight limit: Any

Check price at Catit

4. Pawhut Cat Condo Cat Activity Centre: Best budget scratching post/bed combo

Price when reviewed: £25 | Check price at AosomCat bed/scratching post combos are generally pretty expensive, so this Pawhut offering is a welcome exception for those on a budget. There are two scratching posts of different heights, wrapped with durable sisal ropes and joined together by a plush bed for your cat to lounge in. Our largest cat tester (around 6.5kg) was able to scratch vigorously on these posts without them showing any sign of strain.

This is because both scratching posts are sensibly joined to a sturdy base, with the cat bed adding further stability. While the cat toy balls on this bed have a sensible length of string attached to them, we did feel they were quite fragile and probably wouldn’t stand up to much of a pummelling.

Although this is obviously larger than a standalone scratching post, it’s still a great option for those in smaller houses, as it combines a cat bed and scratching post into one.

Key details – Size (cm): 72 x 40 x 40; Material: Sisal and plush; Our recommended cat weight limit: 7kg

Check price at Aosom

5. Trixie Scratching Post for Wall Mounting: Best for small spaces

Price when reviewed: £17 | Check price at Amazon

As wonderful as our feline friends are, their belongings can take up a lot of space. If you live in a small house, you probably don’t have the room to be tripping over countless cat beds and scratching posts. So if you want to free your floor, Trixie’s wall-mounted scratching post is an excellent option. Made of natural sisal with plush ends, it attaches to the wall with a simple wall bracket, which is also hidden from view once the post is attached. Trixie also sell replacement posts, meaning you don’t have to bin the wall brackets once the sisal on the post gets tired. You simply unscrew the post, replace it with a new one and fit the ends back on.

As the Trixie scratching post is attached to the wall, you can choose what height to put it at, which is ideal if you have a particularly long or short-bodied cat. It’s also extremely sturdy due to being drilled in. Do be aware, however, that the post doesn’t come with screws or plugs – you’ll need to buy the appropriate ones for the wall you’re drilling into. Apart from that, this is an extremely well-priced cat scratching post that has much to recommend it.

Key details – Size (cm): 81.3×12.7×12.7; Material: Sisal and plush; Our recommended cat weight limit: N/A

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