10 Best Cat Scratching Posts to File Nails in 2023 — Reviews & Top Picks
Cats are like toddlers in that they spend all day thinking about destroying things. You can’t get them to change their nature, so your best bet is to try to get them to destroy something like a scratching post rather than your expensive furniture.
The best way to redirect their destructive energy is with a high-quality scratching post. Remember, though, your cat doesn’t just scratch because they enjoy wreaking havoc; scratching also serves as a way to keep their nails neat and trim.
It’s surprisingly hard to find a scratching post that’s capable of keeping your cat’s claws in fine working order while also being attractive to the cat, but as you’ll see in these reviews, it’s not impossible.
Who knows? You might even convince your kitty to leave the new couch alone.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2023
|Best Overall||Hepper Hi-Lo Cat Scratcher||
|Best Value||Frisco Cat Scratcher Catnip Toy||
|Premium Choice||PetFusion Cat Scratcher Catnip Toy||
|Frisco Scratch & Roll Catnip Cat Toy||
|Catit Lounge Scratcher with Catnip||
The 10 Best Cat Scratching Posts to File Nails
1. Hepper Hi-Lo Scratcher — Best Overall
One of the most unique and versatile scratchers on the market, your cat isn’t likely to have seen anything like the Hepper Hi-Lo, which is why we feel that it’s the best overall cat scratching post for filing nails.
This attractive post can be set up in five different positions, ensuring that your kitty always has an interesting new surface to attack, and the metal legs have an anti-slip grip coating on them. This prevents the thing from sliding around as your cat claws into it, enabling them to get a nice, deep filing of their nails.
It’s a bit pricier than some other models, but it provides plenty of long-term value, as it boasts extra-thick cardboard. Unless you’re buying it for a tiger, you shouldn’t need to replace it anytime soon. The fact that it can be put in multiple positions also enables you to vary the surface that your cat uses, extending its lifespan.
The Hepper Hi-Lo might cost more than you ever thought you’d spend on a scratcher, but it’s worth every penny (and then some).
Disclaimer: This product is our own, but we love it, so we bring it up in the hope that you get to own one too.
- Can be set up in five different positions
- Anti-slip coating on legs
- Made of extra-thick cardboard
- Easy to alternate surface that your cat uses
- Attractive for a scratching post
- On the pricey side
You might have guessed, this is our own product – but we love it so much we just have to share it, and hope you get to own one too!
2. Frisco Double Cat Scratcher Toy with Catnip — Best Value
It certainly doesn’t have any bells and whistles to speak of, but the Frisco Double Cat Scratcher gets the job done at a bargain-basement price, making it an easy choice for the best cat scratching post for filing nails for the money.
It’s a simple, double-sided cardboard box with decorative trim on the edges — no more, no less. It comes with a packet of catnip, so you can rub the herbs into the scratcher to encourage your cat to use it.
The cardboard is corrugated, which means it will be effective at filing down your cat’s nails. It’s also inexpensive enough that you can buy several and stash one in every room of the house if you like.
It’s a little narrow, so if you have a large cat, they may have trouble fitting on it. All other cats should love it, though.
The Frisco Double Cat Scratcher won’t win any beauty contests, but it’s a cheap and effective way to keep your cat’s paws neat and trim.
- Great value for the price
- Includes bag of catnip
- Corrugated cardboard works well on claws
- Great for stashing in every room of the house
- Not that attractive
- May be too narrow for large cats
3. PetFusion Jumbo Lounger Cat Scratcher Toy with Catnip — Premium Choice
It may look more like a modern art piece than a scratching post, but don’t let appearances fool you — the PetFusion Jumbo Lounger will do an excellent job of filing your cat’s nails down.
It’s not just a scratching post, though. It’s also a great place for your cat to lie down and relax as they can kick back on top or inside the thing. Of course, as your cat takes a toll on the cardboard, it will become less comfortable, but most cats will still love to hide out in it all the same.
There’s no assembly required, as it comes fully put together right out of the box. It’s good-looking too, so you won’t have to hide it every time company comes over.
It’s made of eco-friendly recycled cardboard, so it’s as gentle on the planet as it is on your cat’s feet. As you might expect, though, that also means it’s not cheap, so expect to have to dig deep into your pockets for this piece.
The PetFusion Jumbo Lounger isn’t for everyone, but your cat will definitely feel like they’re living in the lap of luxury as they curl up on it.
- Doubles as a lounger
- Stylish and attractive
- Ships fully assembled
- Made of eco-friendly recycled cardboard
- On the pricey side
- Gets less comfy with use
4. Frisco Scratch & Roll Scratcher Cat Toy with Catnip — Best for Kittens
If you have a little one in the house (or a cat that’s simply young at heart), the Frisco Scratch & Roll Toy is an excellent option. It has a toy ball on a track that surrounds the scratching surface, so your cat will have plenty of entertainment to go with their nail maintenance.
The scratching area is a small circle of corrugated cardboard right in the middle of the toy, so once your kitten gets tired of batting the ball around, they’ll likely want to fine-tune their claws a bit. It’s big for young cats, but it’s likely that your kitty will outgrow it before too long.
The same goes for the ball inside. It’s likely to provide a kitten with hours of entertainment, but as they grow, their paws may not fit inside the track as well, and you may start to worry about their paws getting caught.
If your cat tears up the cardboard, you can buy replacement discs. The whole thing is affordably priced, especially for a dual-function toy, but it’s not the most durable option, so you may need to replace it if your cat doesn’t want to let it go.
The Frisco Scratch & Roll Toy is a fun dual-purpose toy, but it’s not quite good enough as a dedicated scratcher to earn top marks here.
- Includes a ball toy
- Excellent size for kittens
- Cardboard pad can be replaced
- Affordably priced
- Scratching surface too small for adult cats
- Track may be tight for bigger paws
- Not that durable
5. Catit Lounge Scratcher with Catnip
The Catit Lounge Scratcher has a unique design that separates it from similarly priced scratchers. It’s elevated on both sides, making it a great place for your cat to relax and exercise.
It has an elongated shape without borders, which means that your cat will have plenty of room to stretch out and scratch. The corrugated cardboard does a good job of filing down the cat’s claws, and there’s plenty of it here (nearly 20 inches’ worth), so it shouldn’t need to get tossed that quickly.
The elevated sides make it a good choice for older cats with back problems, as they can prop themselves up and take pressure off their spines. However, it’s a bit narrow, so large cats may dangle off the edges.
It comes with a bag of catnip, but the cardboard has an open design, so anything that you sprinkle on it will fall right through. The cardboard also tears easily, so one way or another, you’re going to have a mess to clean up.
The Catit Lounge Scratcher is an excellent choice for certain cats, but it has a few design flaws that will make it less than universally ideal.
- Elevated sides are great for lounging
- Long enough to let cats stretch out
- Good for older cats with back problems
- May be too narrow for bigger felines
- Catnip falls right through
- Cardboard rips up easily
6. KONG Naturals Cat Scratcher
The KONG Naturals is an inclined scratcher that lets your kitty achieve a full stretch, then put a ton of pressure on their claws on the backstroke. This is an efficient way to file down their claws.
However, the thing is so lightweight that if your cat stands on it while they scratch, they’re liable to flip over. You’ll need to supervise them while using it or try to prop it up on something. There’s also a hole on the side that your cat can peek through, but large cats may get their heads stuck in it.
The hole has a crinkle toy inside it for them to play with, but it will likely only stay attached for a matter of minutes, not days. The hole can also sabotage the ramp’s structural integrity, and it might collapse if a large cat stands on it.
The scratch pads are reversible, so if your cat tears one up, you can just flip it over and give them a fresh palette to work with. The incline structure means it can also double as a ramp for senior cats, with or without flipping it over first.
If you want your cat to really be able to stretch out while scratching, the KONG Naturals is the way to go. Just be careful while they’re using it, though, as it may be a bit of a hazard for large cats.
- Allows for full extension on a scratch
- Pads are reversible
- Can be used as a ramp for senior cats
- Lightweight and prone to flipping over
- Cat can get head stuck in hole on side
- Attached crinkly toy comes apart easily
- May collapse if stood on by a heavy cat
7. Necoichi Cozy Scratcher Cat Bed
The Necoichi Cozy is a round bed that’s filled with corrugated cardboard, so your cat can choose between sleeping on it or tearing it up (or both).
It’s a nice idea, but it doesn’t work quite as well in practice as it does in theory. For one thing, every time your cat files their nails on it, they’re making it a little less comfy to lie on, so eventually, it will just turn into a scratching post.
There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but given that this thing is considerably more expensive than the average cardboard post, you may not want to drop that kind of cash on a one-dimensional item. You can replace the scratching pad, but that’s just adding to the expense.
Given the price, you may also be disappointed to find out that it’s basically held together with glue and prayers. It’s not a durable option, and you shouldn’t be surprised if your cat absolutely demolishes it. It’s not sturdy enough for large cats either.
It’s an attractive post, though, and the kitty silhouette on the side is adorable. Is that enough to justify buying the Necoichi Cozy? That’s up to you.
- Can be used as both bed and scratching post
- Scratching pad is replaceable
- Adorable kitty silhouette on side
- Gets less comfy the more that it’s used
- Fairly expensive
- Not a durable choice
- Lacks sturdiness
8. SmartCat Bootsie’s Combination Scratcher
The SmartCat Bootsie uses woven sisal instead of cardboard, so it’s a more durable option than many of the other posts. The sisal does a great job of filing down your cat’s nails and building muscle, as it provides more resistance than cardboard does. It’s also constructed in such a way that you can use it in various positions, including lying flat, leaned against a wall, or mounted to a door.
There are rubber feet on the bottom to keep it in place, but they don’t help much. If you lay it flat, expect your cat to slide all over the place.
The sisal is quite rough too, and some cats may find the texture off-putting. It’s also more likely to snag a claw, so be sure to watch them while they use it. It may be especially hard for them to use in the beginning because it’s so tightly woven, they may not be able to find any purchase on it.
The SmartCat Bootsie is a nice alternative to cardboard scratchers, but it comes with a few drawbacks that you should think about before you decide to purchase it.
- Made of durable sisal
- Can be used in various positions
- Tends to slide around
- Texture may be off-putting to some cats
- May snag claws
- Hard to use at first due to tightness of weave
9. Catit Bench Scratcher with Catnip
The Catit Bench Scratcher is similar in design to a few other models out there, as it has a flat surface that’s perfect for scratching and elevated ends for lounging.
There’s a big difference between this model and some others, though: This one has a raised design and sits on two small pillars. This means it’s inherently less stable, and your cat may flip it while using it.
It’s also small, so your cat won’t have much room to scratch. That means they’re likely to focus on one or two spots, which will wear out quickly.
The bench comes with catnip, but it will likely fall right through. When combined with how quickly the cardboard comes flying off, you’ll have a mess on your hands with this thing.
That said, the Catit Bench Scratcher does an excellent job of filing down nails, and it seems to offer a comfy perch for most cats, so it’s not a bad investment. You can probably find a better model if you look hard enough, though.
- Does a good job of filing nails
- Offers a comfy perch
- Base isn’t stable
- Not much scratching room
- Tends to wear out quickly
- Catnip falls right through
- Cardboard tends to shred and make a mess
10. Omega Paw Ripple Board Scratch Massage Cat Bed
The Omega Paw Ripple Board is more than just a scratcher — it’s also a bed and a massage board. That gives it quite a bit of versatility, but it’s a jack of all trades and a master of none.
There’s plenty of scratching room inside, and your cat can climb inside and really get after it. The raised sides enable them to stretch out too. However, the cardboard is rather smooth, so it’s hard for their nails to find purchase. When they do, the paper shreds like any other kind of paper.
The manufacturer provides several replacement liners to extend the lifespan of the product, but even so, you won’t get a ton of use out of it. The liners are also overly forgiving, so your cat will sink in quite far if they sit or lie in it. The thin construction means it will also be uncomfortable if left on a hard surface.
There’s a chin scratcher that seems like a good idea in theory, but it’s often ignored, and it can get quite sharp if your cat decides to shred it.
You’ll get several cat accessories in one with the Omega Paw Ripple Board, but you might be better off buying each one individually.
- Plenty of scratching room inside
- Includes replacement pads
- Nails don’t really “catch” on cardboard
- Cats will sink if they enter the bed
- Short lifespan
- Chin scratcher can get sharp
- Uncomfortable if placed on hard surfaces
While buying a scratching post for your cat likely won’t be the most momentous purchase that you’ll ever make, you still don’t want to get it wrong. After all, a bad post could mean that your cat won’t be able to properly take care of their claws or that they’ll take care of their claws on something that you really don’t want them to.
In this guide, we show you what to look for when you make a purchase.
Does My Cat Really Need a Scratching Post?
Yes. The urge to scratch is ingrained in every cat, and they’ll do it whether you want them to or not. It’s only a matter of what they choose to scratch and whether what they choose to scratch will do a good job of filing their nails down.
A cat with nothing to scratch will take their urges out on undesirable surfaces, like furniture, curtains, or carpet. If they can’t find anything to scratch, they may become depressed and unhealthy; in addition to being an important part of their daily maintenance, scratching is also an important form of exercise and helps keep their bodies lithe and lean.
If your cat ends up scratching an unsuitable surface, it may cause their nails to become cracked or broken, or it may not file them down at all. Both of these could lead to expensive health issues down the line, so a cheap scratching post could potentially save you a lot of money.
What Features Should I Look For in a Scratching Post?
You may see other ancillary features included, such as toys, places for the cat to lie on, chin scratchers, and more. While these can be nice, they’re a distraction from the post’s primary purpose. This should fundamentally be something that your cat uses to file their nails, not to lie on or play with.
What Types of Scratching Posts Are There?
There are several different types, including mats, posts, hanging pads, and more.
A mat is a simple box that is designed to lie flat on the ground. Your cat can walk on it and then scratch it if they like. Mats are usually made of cardboard, and they tend to be fairly inexpensive (but not as durable as other types). If you want a scratching post in every room, buying mats in bulk is a good idea; you should also have a few mats on hand even if you buy a different type of post.
A scratching post usually stands vertically and is made of sisal or other rope-like material. They’re usually quite durable and enable your cat to fully stretch out and engage all their muscles, but they can also be dangerous because they can hurt your cat if they tip over. Posts are usually on the pricier side, so you may only want to buy one or two.
You may also see hanging pads; these are mat-like scratching surfaces that are designed to hang from doorknobs or walls. They’re supposed to be the best of both worlds, as they give you the inexpensive design of a mat with the vertical scratching area of a post. Unless you really nail them down, though, they tend to move around, and many cats don’t trust them.
There are many options that are also scratching posts. These include cat trees covered in carpet or sisal, beds made of cardboard, and all sorts of houses and loungers. We like most of these options because they provide versatility and will keep your cat engaged, but we discourage you from making any of them your cat’s primary scratching surface. Stick to something that’s only a scratching post.
The Hepper Hi-Lo is the best scratching post that we’ve found. It boasts a unique design that keeps cats entertained while being durable enough to last for quite a while. If you’re looking for the least expensive solution possible, the Frisco Double Cat Scratcher is a budget-friendly model that works as well as many pricier options.
Anyone who owns a cat should also own a reliable scratching post, and hopefully, these reviews have made it easier for you to find one that your cat will use. If not, though, remember that cats will always sharpen their nails on the brand-new carpet.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay