First, letting you know that I get no kickbacks or commission if you purchase the scratching posts I recommend here. Oh, wait. I DO get a kickback. My kickback is knowing that your cat has an awesome scratching post. And in this case, that’s enough for me!
Like many of you, my cats have enjoyed many types of scratching posts over the years. Cheap ones, not-so-cheap ones, high quality, poor quality, homemade, purchased, cardboard, carpet, sisal, horizontal, vertical and incline.
One of my favorite scratching posts of all time was a homemade one that my husband and I made years ago when I was a poor vet student. It was basically a foot board for our bed, with two horizontal beams flanked by a vertical post on each end (all wrapped in sisal of course). We kept that post for YEARS until it was falling apart. I shed a tear the day it finally went to scratching post Heaven.
The benefits and purposes of scratching include:
- Shredding the sheaths of their nails
- Scent marking with the pads of their feet
- Stretching their muscles
Scratching is innate feline behavior. Cats HAVE to scratch!
So how do we humans gently encourage cats to scratch where we want them to scratch? We have to provide them with what they NEED! What are YOUR cats’ scratching needs?
Cats need both horizontal and vertical places to scratch, each of which serves different purposes.
Qualities of a Good Scratching Post
- Tall (for vertical posts) – a cat should be able to stretch her body from her toes ALL the way up to her front paws.
- Long (for horizontal posts) – cats like to bend down and attack the post and get that good scratch in. You know what I mean!
- Heavy – if a scratching post is wimpy it may fall over and that’s no good.
- Location, Location, Location – I can’t emphasize this one enough. Don’t expect to buy the “best” scratching post, stick it in a corner and have your cats go to town on it. Strategically place areas to scratch in multiple locations throughout the home to encourage good use.
I have a great, very sturdy post that was next to the front door in an attractive (to my eyes) location. But it didn’t get much use. Why? Location!
I moved the post to a higher traffic location and it was like the cats had a brand new post. They were suddenly all over it!
My Favorite Scratching Post
The Balance Beam Scratching Post by Fundamentally Feline
Fundamentally Feline is the company (and website) owned and operated by the well-known Cat Behaviorist Ingrid Johnson. Her entire life is devoted to the well being of cats. She offers behavioral consultations, free videos / handouts / cat advice on her website as well as a shop featuring handmade scratching posts. It’s truly a labor of love for cats.
The company offers six different scratching options. I recently purchased the Balance Beam Scratching Post. It shipped quickly and was easy to put together.
Fun Fact – If you have human children (like I do) you must warn them that only cats are allowed on it or I can bet you cash that they will test it out themselves. No human kids allowed!
My cats took to this post immediately. Best part? IT FITS PERFECTLY AT THE END OF THE HALLWAY! What?!? I never even expected that? Someone is always just hanging out on it!
The Balance Beam is also attractive. Yes, what the cats prefer trumps what I prefer, but I’d still like to have scratching posts that compliment my decor.
For example, products from Catenary are gorgeous yet functional. Same with this Balance Beam! I chose gray wood with gray sisal (a sisal color you don’t usually see).
Other scratching options by Fundamentally Feline include a traditional tall scratching post, the same post with a carpeted bed, a ramp, some 16” x 16” pads that you could sneak into all kinds of places, and a gorgeous, super heavy scratch easel.
In the end, a quality scratching post is not a “want” (well, OK it is for me because I like nice things), but it’s a “need” in order to meet your cats’ innate scratching requirements. Listen to your cat.
What are your cats’ favorite scratching posts?