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Cats scratching your furniture is annoying at best, destructive at worst. But there are various good reasons why they do this. First, as they have scent glands within their paws, it’s a way of marking their territory. Second, it’s beneficial because doing it allows them to stretch out their muscles and flex and strengthen their feet and claws. And third, scratching helps by removing the dead ‘skin’ from their claws.
So while you might want to discourage them from marking your precious leather sofa, it’s still a good idea for them to have something to scratch at. That’s where the best cat scratching pads come in.
Here, we look at 15 of our top picks from the best cat scratching pads out there on the market place.
This cardboard cat scratcher is large enough to double up as a place for your feline to lounge around on and play with. In fact, its dimensions mean that more than one cat can lie on it and scratch at the same time. It’s entirely safe and environmentally friendly, as it’s made from recycled cardboard and fixed together with corn-starch glue, which is non-toxic. In fact, it won an Eco-Excellence Award in 2015 for its design and construction.
The corrugated cardboard surfaces are appealing to a cat looking for somewhere to sharpen those claws. For added lure, the lounger includes organic catnip, sourced from the USA, which helps attract the cat’s attention towards the scratcher and away from your furniture.
Not only is it well-constructed to provide hours of scratching fun, it’s also reversible, so you will get twice the use for your money. More than that, the cat scratcher carries a six month warranty against manufacturing defects or if you as the consumer aren’t satisfied with your purchase.
A great cat toy and a scratch pad in one, Bergan’s Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy consists of a circular plastic base with a scratch pad center, made of corrugated cardboard. The outer rim of the base includes a channel into which a ping-pong ball or similar can be placed, giving your cat hours of fun and exercise as he nudges it round the track.
While the cardboard scratcher is designed to last well, it can also be flipped over to present a fresh side once the first side is heavily worn. The unit comes with one scratch pad and one ball included. Replacement discs and balls are also widely available online and from pet stores.
The Catit Style Scratcher is an all-in-one unit of corrugated cardboard, raised at either end. It’s 19.5” in length by 9” in width overall, providing a comfortably large surface for your cat to lie on or scratch. It’s affordable enough to be replaced when the surface becomes too battered to be any use, or can be turned over to provide a fresh scratching pad!
A bag of catnip comes included in the price. Simply sprinkle this onto the corrugated surface to encourage your cats to use it for stretching, lounging and scratching, to keep those claws away from your furniture!
An S-Chaise in animal print and a bench shaped scratcher with an urban design are also available from the same manufacturer.
Certified safe for pets, Kitty City’s XL wide corrugated scratchers come in a pack of three so they can be distributed around your house, wherever you’re trying to discourage your cat from scratching your stuff! They’re made of heavy duty, corrugated recycled cardboard, so will last for ages. The glue used in the making is non-toxic corn starch glue, so no worries about kitty ingesting anything she shouldn’t. Each one is 18” by 10” x 1.5”, providing a good, useable surface for play, stretching and clawing.
They can also be turned over when needed to provide a brand new scratching surface for your pet. What’s more, the cat scratchers are even more enticing to your pet if you sprinkle a little of the catnip included to the corrugated surface.
Affordable and cheerful, most cats love these scratch pads – as do their owners
These circular discs of corrugated cardboard can be used as replacement inserts for Turbo Scratchers like the Bergan one above, or used independently at home, wherever you need to divert attention from your furniture or drapes.
They come in a pack of five and are made of a durable, heavy weight cardboard that guarantees hours of happy scratching and stretching. Both sides are useable, ensuring they will last for ages.
In short, an effective yet affordable way to keep your pets off the furniture and drapes!
The PetFusion Jumbo Cat Scratcher Lounge is a three dimensional single unit offering two surfaces, top and bottom, for lounging and scratching. At 39” x 11” x 14.3”, it is large enough for multiple cats to play on it, while being sturdy enough that even a human can stand on the top without the product collapsing.
It’s made of heavy duty corrugated and recycled cardboard, so is strong enough to resist even the sharpest claws for a good long while. It’s also safe and non-toxic. Even the glue used in the construction is corn-starch. It can be turned upside down for whole new scratching surfaces once the original ones start to become shredded.
It comes with a sachet of dried organic catnip, grown in the USA, to encourage even the most timid of cats to give it a try. It may cost more than alternatives on the market, but customer reviews suggest this is more than made up for by its durability and long life. The product also comes with a six month warranty, which offers protection against manufacturing defects or if you are disappointed with it when it arrives. It’s also award winning, having been selected as Hauspanther’s Top Pick in a recent poll.
This Catit Scratcher has a simple design and comes in two sizes, narrow and wide. Each provides an elongated surface for cats to knead or sharpen their claws on. They’re even long enough for your pet to have a good stretch while doing so! The units are made from tough cardboard, so mess from shredding is minimal.
Each is also reversible, so once one side is heavily worn, you can turn it over for a brand-new scratching surface. The scratcher comes with a sachet of catnip too, which can help familiarize your cat with the product and encourage use, which will protect your furniture from punishment!
Dimensions: 5” x 19” x 2” (narrow); 10” x 18.5” x 2” (wide)
These are the manufacturer’s own replacement cardboard discs for the Bergan Turbo Cat Scratcher toy above. They come in a pack of two and each is reversible for double the use. They could also be used independently, if desired.
The cardboard is corrugated, providing cats with a highly satisfying surface to claw at – and one that’s not your favorite armchair!
The Fat Cat Big Mama’s Scratch’n’Play Ramp features a scratch pad mounted on an angle, allowing cats to reach and stretch as they claw it. There is also a crinkly toy bee attached to a spring on the upper end of the ramp, which your pet can reach up and play with, again allowing them to stretch their muscles.
The cardboard ramp is made from recyclable cardboard and the corrugations are close-packed to provide a satisfying scratching experience for your cat. The pad can be reversed when worn for a whole new scratching surface. Organic catnip is also included in the package to entice your cat to give it a go while it’s still new and unfamiliar.
The sides feature a cheerful flower design, and the whole toy is highly rated by owners for stimulating and happy play and exercise for your feline friend.
The Petstages Cat Scratcher Cat Hammock is an X-shaped lounger with a cardboard corrugated surface. This makes it a great place for your cat to snooze and lounge, as well as an ideal scratching surface for burning off that energy and exercising claws and muscles.
It’s easy to fit together by simply sliding the two pieces into position. It’s also easy to fold down when not in use for storage or for travel. However, it’s sturdy enough when set up to take your cat’s entire weight if they relax on the hammock-like surface. Reviews from pet owners suggest that if your cat doesn’t like the unit in the X-shape, the two parts can even be used separately as individual scratching pads!
The surface itself is also infused with catnip, so will hopefully distract your cat’s attention away from your furniture and towards this scratching pad while they get used to the idea. All in all, a highly rated product for the money.
Dimensions: 21.25” x 14” x 3.25”
Color: Neutral with grass and wood design on edges
This triangular shaped PetFusion 3-Sided Vertical Cat Scratcher and Post is not only good for diverting your pet’s claws from soft furnishings, it’s also a great play toy. The shape allows her to hide inside and play peekaboo, while there are plenty of curved corrugated cardboard surfaces for scratching and stretching. The top edge is just wide enough for your cat to stand on and practice her balance! It’s one, contained unit, so there’s no self-assembly required.
The cat scratcher can be rotated to be used at any angle and to ensure the unit is long lasting and durable.
The unit also comes with a sachet of dried catnip leaf, premium quality and USA grown, for maximum appeal and the recycled cardboard and corn starch glue which holds it together are non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
There’s a six month warranty against manufacturing faults and in case you’re not completely satisfied with the product when it arrives.
The Catit Style Scratcher is a single-piece cardboard lounger which allows your pet to scratch horizontally or stretch out their muscles and relax on the elongated surface. It can also be flipped over to provide a whole new scratching surface once the top side is wrecked. The cardboard is high quality and heavy duty, so the toy should last a good, long while.
The lounger comes with a sachet of dried catnip, which can be sprinkled onto the corrugated cardboard to impregnate it with a smell that will attract your kitties to use it over and over.
The Original Scratch Lounge is a lot like a cardboard box only with tough corrugated insides. Your cat will love it not only as a place to scratch, but also to snuggle down for a nap. As it’s surrounded by four low sides, it’s a cozy place to nest and feel safe for a chilling cat.
The corrugated inserts are made of heavy duty cardboard with a honeycomb construction, so as well as attracting those cats’ claws, they’re also able to resist a good deal of scratching before they shred down. The pads are also reversible to extend their life further.
Replacement pads are available for the sides and bottom, so the whole unit doesn’t need to be replaced if it receives uneven wear and tear. A small bag of catnip is also included to help familiarize your cat with this lounge as a place to nap, play, scratch and stretch.
The unit is 100% recyclable and non-toxic, making it safe for your pet.
This dense, claw resistant scratching mat from Diversity World is made of 100% natural sisal woven tightly for scratching satisfaction and to reduce wear and tear. The mat is edged with a tough cotton weave to prevent fraying. It’s light and portable, also thin, so could be easily positioned on carpet or vinyl where your cat is scratching to discourage them from destroying your flooring! It’s also good for napping and stretching on.
The backing is epoxy latex, which is designed to prevent the mat slipping underfoot if placed on non-carpeted surfaces. This makes it safer for humans and also more satisfying for your cat, as it won’t slide away while she’s trying to scratch at it.
All materials are natural and safe for your home and your cat. The mat can even be used just inside external doorways to prevent dirt and grime treading in!
Dimensions: 20” x 20”
Materials: Sisal (top), non-woven fabric with epoxy latex
The 4CLAWS Curve Scratching Pad features a convex curve on the top side and is long enough for your cat to be able to stretch out her forelegs and shoulder muscles while she scratches. It’s also big and wide enough for lounging on for cats of all sizes.
The unit is reversible, creating a concave curve, which doubles the lifespan and also allows for a gentle rocking motion while your cat scratches at it or relaxes along its length.
It’s made from 100% recycled cardboard, which is also recyclable once the pad has outlived its usefulness. However, the construction – from premium pressed, dense cardboard – means it will last a fair while with even the most destructive of cats!
These pads are also available in packs of two, in case you want to place them in different areas around your home to prevent damage to your soft furnishings.
Of course, every cat is an individual, so we can’t say with certainty which of the products listed above will suit your cat best. But if you’re having difficulty choosing the right scratching pad, or just want to know why kitty insists on ripping the stuffing out of your furniture, then the answers to the questions below may help!
Things to Consider When Buying Cats Scratching Pads
Cats are picky, we all know that! They have definite opinions, likes and dislikes about virtually everything, and of course, that includes cats’ scratching pads.
Cat scratching pads come in all shapes and sizes, and are made from various materials with differing surfaces. You may have to try a variety of different types before you hit on one that becomes her very favorite.
Types available include cardboard, ones that are made from or covered in carpet, sisal ones, upholstered ones, wooden ones and upholstered varieties. You’ll find they can also be angled differently, and again, you’ll have to find one that suits your cat’s preference. If she typically scratches wallpaper or the legs and arms of your sofa, then a vertical one may be the type she likes best. If she scratches at rugs and carpet, then try a horizontal one.
Then there’s the grain along which the cardboard or sisal, for instance, runs. Some like that horizontal, others vertical. And because part of the purpose of this scratching is to stretch out muscles, you’ll probably find that your cat wants one that’s big enough for her to stretch out virtually full length while she’s doing it.
Finally, although cats will scratch and pull at drapes, they’ll usually prefer a fairly solid, sturdy cat post that also stays put while she’s using it.
Once you’ve found a type your cat seems particularly attached to, it’s a good furniture saving idea to buy several similar ones and dot them around the house.
Benefits of Using Cats Scratching Pads
The main benefit to humans is that cat scratching pads divert your cat’s attention away from shredding and destroying your furniture and soft furnishings. Many also double up as a bed too, keeping pet hairs off your own seating places!
For cats, these scratchers allow for harmless claw sharpening that they won’t get into trouble for. Felines of all types love to scratch to keep their claws in good condition; to help stretch out their muscles; and to relieve stress or other extremes of emotion. Providing playthings such as the scratching pads in this article will keep your cat stimulated and her claws in tip-top condition too.
Best Cats Scratching Pads FAQ:
Q: What is a cat scratching pad?
A: A cat scratching pad is a textured mat, post or lounger that has a surface designed to attract your feline and its natural instincts to scratch and play. As well as keeping those urges satisfied, it also helps maintain healthy claws and muscles, and will divert your pet from destroying your own soft furnishings.
Q: Why does my cat scratch?
A: The first point to note is that this isn’t willful behavior designed to punish you (or your furniture!) for not letting your cat have her own way. In fact, it’s a natural urge and one that your cat can’t ignore completely, no matter how good she is in other respects. She’ll scratch when she’s just woken up from a nap, when she is excited about something, when she wishes to mark her territory – or when she just feels in need of a good stretch!
As mentioned in the introduction, this behavior, while annoying, is essential to her health and well-being:
It helps shed the outer, dead layer of nail (the sheath) to reveal the new, healthy growth underneath, so it’s good for conditioning the claws.
It also helps stretch out the muscles in the back and shoulder, essential in an animal that can sleep up to 18 hours a day.
Next, it is a typical behavior exhibited by your pet marking her territory. The signs are twofold; first, there’s the visual cue of scratch marks that warns other cats they’re entering into another cat’s patch. This can deter the chances of a physical battle between two felines. Secondly, tiny scent glands in the paws release pheromones as they press against the surface they’re scratching. From these chemicals, other cats can identify yours.
Lastly, it provides an emotional release for a cat. Whenever they’re overwhelmed by any kind of emotion – happiness, excitement, anxiety or frustration – they have a tendency to cat scratch to calm themselves down.
So you can see, it’s cruel to try and stop a cat from scratching…all you need to do now is learn how to divert it from your sofa to a more appropriate place, like a large scratching post!
A: If you’ve bought a new scratching tower, scratching pad or other type of object to distract her from the other fabric coverings in your home, how do you encourage her to become familiar with it? What you absolutely should not do is to try and force your cat to scratch in a particular place, by physically holding her by it and trying to drag her claws along it. This is only likely to scare her and make her avoid it in future.
Our top three tips are these:
You’ll have noticed that many of the scratching pads featured on our list above come with catnip or a catnip scent. This is a plant belonging to the mint family which has a highly attractive smell to cats. You can also buy it separately in packets from your pet store. Using this to scent a new toy will encourage her to explore it.
You can also improve the likelihood of her using a new post by positioning it close to her favorite sleeping or eating places, or in front of something she usually scratches.
Try buying a scratching pad that comes with toys attached, or affix ones of your own to dangle from the post. This will help draw her attention.
Obviously over time, the scratching pad will become worn and torn. However, don’t be too hasty to throw it away. She’ll have marked it with her scent as well as her claws, and besides, the more worn it becomes, the more there is for her to get her claws into. So even though it looks tatty, she may still love it all the same. When it’s time to buy a new one, keep both side by side while she gets used to the replacement, then remove the old one if you think it’s a danger to her.
Q: Does nail trimming stop a cat from scratching?
A: As we mentioned above, a cat doesn’t only scratch to keep its claws healthy and short; there are other reasons. So while trimming their nails may reduce some of the urge to rake their claws down your new armchairs, it’s not going to eradicate it entirely!
That’s not to say, though, that there aren’t other good reasons for having your cat’s claws clipped. For one thing, there will be less pain when kitty kneads your legs in preparation for a nap. For her own benefit, it stops the claws growing so long that they snag and get caught in the carpet, which can be painful. And worst of all, there’s a chance that if they have no opportunity to wear the them down with a cat scratching post or similar, claws can grow so long that they curl back around into the pads, which causes open wounds.
And of course, they’ll be less able to make mincemeat of your sofa…
Our Top Pick
The best cat scratching post to our minds is the PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge, which takes top place in our list. It has won the 2015 Eco-Excellence Award and been featured on TV, not surprising as it’s a big favorite with cats everywhere. The unit is an attractive design, not only for cats but to have around the home; and it’s large enough for more than one cat to scratch, play peek a boo or lounge on. It’s even reversible for double the life expectancy!