Your furry feline needs a new scratching post, but that’s an easy buy, right? You may assume you can quickly pick a style online and be done with it, but your cat may have other ideas. Selecting a proper scratching post for your cat is a little more involved as it should involve some research. The Refined Feline has got your back with some tips and tricks on how to choose the right cat scratching post.
Horizontal vs Vertical
One key factor is the positioning of the scratching post. How the cat post is positioned can be a big deal for cats, as it’s all about their preferences. Some cats love stretching more, thus a vertically shaped post would be preferred over a horizontal. Horizontal scratchers are typically cardboard-based objects that come in different shapes. Sometimes cats will end up scratching on table legs or carpets and rugs which is a good indicator that they may need a horizontal scratcher.
Vertical scratchers typically have a tall scratcher attached to a large, wooden base. The length can vary on a vertical post, as well as the material used to coat it. There are some vertical scratchers that are under a foot tall, while most models will be a few feet tall. Some companies make scratchers that can hang off of doorknobs! All cats love to stretch fully out, so having a vertical scratching post tall enough for them to do that is ideal.
For most households, it’s ideal to provide at least one of each style, so your cat can have choices. They may only go for one style exclusively, or may switch it up depending on their mood. But then they’ll keep their claws to themselves for the most part!
Materials & Coverings
The coverings on most scratching posts are going to be sisal, carpet, or cardboard. Carpet can be fairly durable but can also cover the entire scratching surface and base itself, which you may or may not want. Some cats can get confused by having a post with carpet they can scratch but getting scolded when they scratch the living room carpet. A cat won’t know the difference between their toys and posts and your household carpet, which can still lead to them scratching on your home’s items. Selecting a material separate from carpet can help your cat differentiate and avoid confusion.
Sisal is a go-to for most posts and cat owners as it’s durable against a cat’s claws for years. Cats will typically gravitate towards this strong and sturdy material on their own, without much coaxing. Sisal rope and sisal fabric are the two types of sisal for cat trees and posts. Sisal rope is a super long length of sisal wrapped from the bottom to the top of a cat post. Over time though, the sisal can start to loosen and a cat’s claws may get caught in-between the ropes. This may make it more difficult for your cat to use as they consistently get their nails caught in it. Sisal fabric is less rough than the rope and covers the entire post, eliminating the potential for nail snags.
Cardboard is a favorite scratching surface for cats, but can be less sturdy than other materials. It will crumble relatively easily, making a mess and leaving less for your cat to scratch. Different styles can have more layers and be a little more sturdy, though, so you can always shop around. If you’re looking for something less conventional, there are scratchers available in bamboo, seagrass, and rattan, among other materials. Again, your best option may be purchasing a few styles and materials to give your cat choices.
A big factor in your cat’s willingness to use a scratching post relies heavily on its sturdiness. The base should be extra wide and weighted to decrease the potential of it falling over. Cats can be intense, using a lot of force when jumping onto or off of scratching posts. And if a scratching post happens to fall over in the process, your cat will most likely not use it again. If you’re in the market for something super sturdy that you can also use, check out The Refined Feline’s A-Frame Cat Bed. It’s got a side of sisal fabric, an area for your cat to sleep, and a place for your items on top too!
Moving your pre-existing cat scratchers every few months or years can prolong their life. Cats will even think they got a new post every time! You may run into trouble keeping the scratching post stable as some posts aren’t built with a weighted base. Make sure that during your research of different models, you’re also checking out their weight and base. You could end up paying more, but your cat will definitely use it more since it will be able to withstand their zoomies.
Maintaining The Scratching Post
With a long-lasting scratching post, you’ll also want it to be easy in maintaining its cleanliness. If you get a carpeted scratching post, this will most likely be trickier in keeping clean. A carpet or cardboard scratcher is going to be more difficult to clean as opposed to a wooden base and thinner material like sisal. Hair, dust, old nails, dirt, and of course vomit may end up on the scratching post everyday. If your cat is using it a lot, it can be a good thing but that can mean there’s more piles of cardboard or sisal bits around the base. To make sure your cat keeps going to the post day after day, check on it often to maintain its cleanliness. A style that is attached to the wall can help to keep your home cleaner and less cluttered too.
Just because the scratching post is designed for your cat doesn’t mean you can’t find a beautiful one! There are at least a hundred different types and designs of scratching posts on the market today. Some varieties are quirky and unique in their shape or appearance, like a cactus or flower. Other posts are so elegant you wouldn’t even know it is a cat scratcher. The Calypso Everlasting Cat Scratcher is a great example of a scratching post that’s both functional and sophisticated. There are many options available if you’re searching for a scratching post that will blend more easily into your home.
What may have seemed like a quick, no-nonsense shopping trip has definitely changed, huh? But doing more research in selecting the right scratching post will save you time and money in the long run. Finding one that works for both your cat’s playfulness and your home’s aesthetics can make a world of difference. With proper maintenance, cats can use these posts for years so choosing the right style and type can help you and your feline friend stay happy.