How To Choose A Scratching Post

A scratching post for your cat is a must. If you realized this after your couch, or drapes got shredded, I’m sorry.

Before you make your purchase there are a few things you should know about scratching posts and your cat.

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How To Choose A Scratching Post

First, cats have a natural urge to scratch. When a cat scratches she is doing one of three things – marking her territory, stretching and exercising or sharpening her claws. Read also: Tips For Introducing A New Cat To Your Home.

Cats pull down with their front claws to remove the sheaths on their claws.

To find out more about why cats scratch and why scratching posts are important: 5 Reasons Your Cat Needs A Scratching Post.

How do you choose a scratching post? What do you look for?

Vertical or Horizontal

First, find out if your cat scratches vertically or horizontally. Watch when and what your cat scratches.

For example,Karma, one of my cats likes to scratch vertically.  She is the one, at least before I got a scratching post, that tore my sofa’s arm to shreds.

Ichabod, my other cat went for the carpet. Ichabod, Bobby, is a horizontal scratcher.

Vertical scratcher’s are free standing posts, made of sisal. While a horizontal scratching post lies on the floor and most are made of corrugated cardboard or carpet.

Most cats prefer either to scratch horizontally or vertically. If your cat prefers both then get a vertical and horizontal scratching post.

If you have two cats, like I do, make sure you provide for both.


There are three textures or materials that scratching posts are made from – carpet, sisal and cardboard.

Carpet scratching posts are the cheapest. Not as durable as the other two choices and carpet posts will lose fibers over time, This will require more maintenance on your part cleaning up loose carpet threads. But they come in more appealing designs and colors. If your cat just likes carpet, then you may not have a choice. Read also: The Rudeness of Claw Elimination.

Sisal is a species of Agave used to make rope, twine, carpet and scratching posts. Sisal posts are more expensive. A sisal scratching post will last longer than one made from carpet. Cats seem to like the soft texture and it allows them to get a good pull. If you are handy, you can even make a scratching post with sisal rope. I wrapped rope around the leg of my desk and that is my cats favorite spot. Sisal serves the same purpose as tree bark, allowing a cat to pull down releasing the sheath.

Cardboard is cheaper than Sisal. Cardboard scratchers lie horizontally on the floor.

Sturdy and Tall

When choosing a vertical post, make sure that the scratching post is sturdy and tall enough for your cat. Cats like to stretch, pull and exercise their muscles. If it isn’t tall enough for her to get a good stretch your cat may not like it. This will most likely not be good for the health of your sofa or you.

Make sure the base is sturdy. It will do your cat no good if she goes to stretch and the post tips over.


Once you purchase your scratching post and bring it home there is one more important thing to do. Location. Cats are territorial and will want to mark that territory. So place one where she hangs out. In addition, cats love to stretch after they wake from a nap. So, placement near her favorite napping spots is a good idea.

Extra features

Some posts, called cat trees have perches and places for cats to lay and sleep. Cats love to climb and hang out high up.

Good luck with your purchase and keeping your cat or cat’s from shredding your treasured possessions.

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