Some golden rules about buying a scratching post:
1 – They must be sturdy. A cat will not scratch on anything that is unstable, that’s why they love our walls/sofas/door-frames. Would you stretch up against something if you thought it was going to fall on top of you?!
2 – Buy the biggest you can get. Most cats will either prefer stretching up or forward to stretch, so a post must be big enough to allow your cat to fully stretch to the almost-upright position.
3 – Material matters. Sisal material is only found on higher quality products, whereas most scratching posts employ only sisal rope wrapped around a round pole. The woven sisal material is much tighter packed and provides a thicker more resistant surface for your cat’s claws, and will almost certainly be the material your cats will prefer over anything else (your sofa hopes!)
4 – Contrary to popular belief, it is actually possible to get a scratching post that looks stylish, rather than being an eyesore!
5 – Lots of people assume that a scratching post that becomes frayed and scruffy has reached the end of its life. Not so! Cats gain pleasure from really shredding things when they scratch them, because this mimics their natural territory-marking behaviour. It can be quite upsetting for a cat to have a scratching post that is so obviously THEIRS (i.e. scratched to an inch of its life!) suddenly taken away from them and replaced with a stark new one. Don’t remove the old post until the new one has been ‘broken in’.
6 – Location, location, location. You will need to find the place that your cat most wants to have the post – some locations don’t seem good enough! Once cats have used a post a few times, they will enjoy using it more and more as it becomes more familiar and a better mark of their territory. So have patience even if you cats don’t seem to go for it initially.
Now, you’re ready to chose from our specially selected scratching posts…
Trixie Parla Scratching Post, 62 cm
The Parla Post is an appropriate ‘basic’ sisal scratching post. Unlike many scratching posts, this one is a decent height, which allows most ‘average-sized’ cats the opportunity to stretch out fully while having a good scratch. This is important – cats LOVE a ‘stretch & scratch’! Scratching posts that are smaller than this are effectively inadequate for the average cat. For its height, this scratching post is plenty sturdy enough to resist toppling over.
The added bonus is that this scratching post is pretty tough and will withstand quite a thrashing of claws! Whilst all scratching posts need replacement eventually, this one lasts better than many less well-made varieties. In this respect, it offers excellent value for money, see prices here.
Ancol Acticat Fat Boy Scratch Post, 70cm
Bigger, better, and boy is the Ancol Fat Boy chunky piece of scratching bliss! This has surely been designed with a tiger in mind, and must been seen as a challenge to even the most violent, energetic, strong scratching cat in the land! Where smaller flimsy scratching posts tumble and become threadbare, this monster will not succumb. Do not be fooled by the picture which makes it look smaller than it is – measure 70cm and that’s the height, but more to the point it’s a whopping 24cm diameter, which gives your cat more to get their claws into and really relish the experience. We suspect this scratching post has been designed by cats themselves!! Although smaller posts are available at 1/3rd the cost of this, they are nowhere near as sturdy and enjoyable, and will probably only have 1/3rd the lifespan.
The only downside to the Ancol Fat Boy’s design is that the top cushion is rather pointless and much less sturdy than the rest of the post. It also misses the point that cats like to sit upon things, which leads us nicely onto one of our favourites….Still, amazing value – see prices here.
The Smart Cat Ultimate Scratching Post
Oooh, look at it! We love the Smart Cat!! It looks like a trendy speaker made of sisal! Finally, someone noticed that scratching posts are generally ugly, and thought to make a handsome one with a wooden base and top. Not only this, but it’s made of the beloved woven sisal, so is irresistible to cats. What’s more, the top doubles up as a seat or watching post. It’s large, approximately 80cm tall, so plenty large enough for most cats at full stretch. What’s not to love?! And check out the price on Amazon, amazing value.
We have included this in the scratching post review section rather than the cat tree review section, but it serves both purposes to some degree. This is a small piece of cat furniture and well suited to very small cats and kittens. It isn’t large enough to replace a ‘proper’ cat tree or cat tower, but it is often well received by kittens in particular, including those who may be too small or shy to enjoy a larger piece of cat furniture. For the size and the fact that kittens will probably grow out of it, it’s relatively expensive but most kittens will say it’s worth it! See prices here.