How do I choose a cat scratching post?

Cat scratching posts provide an alternative to furniture and belongings that your cat regularly abuses or uses for entertainment. Do cats instinctively know how to use a scratching post? The need to climb, scratch, and conserve energy are products of feline evolution, and thus cats are naturally attracted towards climbable objects, safe spaces, and surfaces they can use to sharpen their claws. When choosing a scratching post, you must take all these factors into consideration. 

Getting your cat to use a scratching post requires proper placement, bait placement, and a reward system. One must also discourage furniture scratching. 

The question is, how do I choose a cat scratching post? Below is everything you need to know.

Find the perfect cat scratching post here. 

Are cat scratching posts good for cats?

Cat scratching posts or towers are not novelty items. Investing in one or many -is beneficial in that (1) your cat will have a comfortable position to sit and play -that is -away from furniture or items that cat hair sticks to. (2) cat scratching posts strengthen your cat’s muscles, making it a better climber and improving the cat’s ability to navigate complex environments. (3) for energetic cats, scratching posts and towers are an avenue to spend built-up energy, reducing the risk of damaging items. 

Healthwise, scratching posts help cats relieve anxiety, and posts and towers can be a great congregation point for your cats if you have multiple.

What type of cat scratching post is best for cats?

It depends on your intention. If the purpose is to provide an alternative to furniture your cat loves to scratch, you may invest in a standard scratching post. It provides your cat with the necessities. That is a place to scratch, play, climb, or perch.

We recommend multi-level or cat-scratching trees because they provide much more than standard posts. Cat towers and multi-level scratching posts have tiny condos your cat will spend hours in. The multiple levels are perfect for climbing, and the minimalist designs mean cat towers do not take up too much unnecessary space. 

Do indoor cats need scratching posts?

Indoor and outdoor cats require scratching posts. Why?

As mentioned, scratching posts are great avenues for stress and anxiety relief in felines. Another benefit of scratching and why cats do it so often is that the action removes the outer layer of the cat’s claws. That makes it easier for the cat to climb and hunt. 

Why do indoor and outdoor cats need scratching posts?

  • Territorial behavior/instinct. When introduced to a new environment, animals, including cats, carve out their territory. Scratching leaves the cat’s scent on the surface of items to act as a warning for other cats, and the cat can use its own scent to find its way home.  Because of that, if you do not provide a scratching post, your cat will likely find other items to scratch. 
  • Stretching and better health. Stretching, according to research, cause the release of feel-good hormones and can thus improve your cat’s mood. If you have an anxious cat, a cat tower or scratching tower can be a good place for the feline to hide and play.
  • Grooming. Once fed, cats spend a significant amount of time grooming themselves. Scratching helps remove dirt, debris, and the outer layer of the claws.
  • Muscle building. Climbing walls, trees, or other surfaces requires strength and endurance. Cat towers and scratching posts help the cat build muscle.

Why do cats scratch scratching posts so aggressively?

Play, excitement, and to mark their territory. Just like us, cats are emotional beings, and thus their mood changes often. Consequently, it is normal for cats to scratch and bite scratching posts or your favorite sofa.  

How do I choose a cat scratching post?

According to research and observation, your cat’s preferred scratching surfaces include (1) a post covered with rough sisal or material of similar qualities. (2) corrugated cardboard -which could be attached to a cat tower or placed horizontally on the floor. (3) wooden surfaces and carpeting -providing the reason cats love scratching furniture.

It is worth noting that cats consider natural or synthetic leather as great fun because their clause can easily sink into the material.

That raises the question:

Why does my cat scratch everything but the scratching post?

The reason your cat may not be using a scratching post is you are yet to provide an incentive or make the item attractive to the cat. Like us, cats build patterns and preferences, meaning when you introduce a new item to the home, one must build up the cat’s curiosity and interest in the item. 

In short. If your cat has a preferred scratching sofa or item, you must start by discouraging the behavior. The question is how?

Place the scratching post in your cat’s preferred location/highway.

Does your cat love sitting or resting by the window? Does it have a favorite chair or preferred route around the home? 

Cats usually use scratching polls before or after a nap. Consequently, it is recommended that you locate a scratching surface near a position the cat loves sleeping or napping in. It could be by the window or another prominent location that the cat can see and has access to. 

How many scratching posts should a cat have?

If you have multiple cats, you may avoid confrontations by investing in one scratching post per cat.  

Where is the best place to put a cat scratching post?

Away from furniture, items of value, or delicate items. Why?

When excited, playing, or using scratching posts, cats may cause collateral damage to nearby items. Consequently, you want to position a scratching post away from the TV, and glassware. 


  • Place cat scratchers or towers near entrances, windows, or the cat’s preferred route through the home.
  • You may place a scratching post against your cat’s favorite scratching area. This forces the cat to use the item instead of furniture or another item. 
  • Multilevel cat scratching posts or towers offer multiple scratching locations. If your cat is territorial or does not like to share, consider purchasing scratching posts for all of them.
  • If you use food bait, make sure that there is enough for everyone, that way you can avoid fighting.

The surface should be even.

Cat towers take a lot of abuse. Consequently, if you place one on uneven or slopping surface, the possibility of injury or damage increases. Ideally, you want to invest in a cat tower that has a solid foundation, is sturdy, and is easy to move.

If the item wobbles or is a hazard, you may find it difficult to get the cat to use it.

What kind of scratching post should I get my cat?

When choosing a scratching post, experts recommend that you go for the following features:

  • Variety of surfaces and materials. Your cat’s preferred scratching material or surface can change at any time. Consequently, you should consider investing in cat scratchers that feature attractive surfaces or materials. A combination of sisal rope, sisal fabric, carpet, corrugated cardboard, and wood is adequate. 
  • Height and sturdiness. Cats prefer elevated locations because it makes them feel safe from predators, and it brings them closer to birds and or other small animals. Because of that, go for cat scratchers that have height, and sturdiness. You want a scratching post or surface that (1) has enough room for the cat to stretch its body. (2) does not require crouching. Meaning as your cat grows, it may require larger scratching posts. You also have the option of buying adult scratching posts for kittens.  
  • Surfaces. Vertical and horizontal surfaces may provide resting areas for the cat, and they can make stretching and scratching easier. 

How to make a cat use a scratching post.

To build interest in scratching posts, experts recommend that you do the following.

Bait the cat

Does your cat have a favorite towel, bedding item, or an item that has its scent? You may position the item near or on the scratching post.

 Alternative methods include:

  • Use catnip. Research suggests that catnip does not present any danger to adult cats and kittens. You may thus use it as bait. Catnip may not work on kittens. 
  • Smelly food/feed your cat near the scratching post. Fishes including sardine, tuna, and mackerel work best. 
  • Kittens. Placing kittens near the tower baits or lures the mother to the area. 

Use a toy or encourage play in the area.

Do you have a hangout point in your home for you and your cat? If so, use play as a training tool for the cat. To that end, one must:

  • Provide toys that the felines like. Some scratching posts feature mouse-like toys. You may rub the toy with your cat’s scent. You may also play with it to create curiosity. We recommend playing with the cat daily.
  • Avoid the use of force. Training takes time, and it can be frustrating if the cat takes too much time to learn. So be patient and avoid punishing the cat.

Tip: cats love suspended or rotating toys, such as the ones featured in this item.

What if baiting does not work?

If play and bait do not work, you may consider using cat pheromones. Pheromone diffusers, wipes, or sprays help lure and calm cats. You may apply a pheromone of choice on a cat tower or scratcher.

What to remember:

  • Cat pheromones work on kittens and adult cats.
  • You may use cat pheromones with other medications.
  • Pheromones may help cats manage fear and anxiety.
Make your furniture less attractive

Kittens and adult cats dislike aluminum foil, sticky tape, sand paper, or surfaces that are difficult to stick their claws in. 

To discourage a cat from using your furniture or other items as a scratching post, you may cover the item in said items.

You may also cover the items with smells that cats dislike. Examples include mint, citrus, lavender, pepper, and so on.  

Are cat scratchers with condos and perches worth it?

Cats dislike open spaces because they feel more vulnerable to predators. Cat condos and cat scratchers that feature condos mimic cats’ preferred resting areas in the wild. That is a defendable small space. 

Items, including your TV, vacuum cleaner, and so on, can scare cats, and having a go-to safe space in the house can discourage the cat from seeking safety outdoors. 

What is the best angle for cat scratchers?

Cats have different stretching needs at different times of the day.  Consequently, your cat may require vertical, horizontal, or sloping angles. The best option is to invest in multilevel scratchers that offer all options. 

Summary: how do I choose a scratching post?

Summed up. Choosing the right scratching post for your cat entails:

  • Choosing the right scratching surface or material.
  • The item should provide vertical, angled, and horizontal scratching options, depending on the cat’s preference.
  • Cat scratchers should be sturdy and tall, and may feature safe spaces for the cat to sleep or rest. 

There is a wide selection of cat scratchers that have all the mentioned features. Get your loyal Companion one here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email