At least he's not scratching the couch....
May 12, 2011 7:00 AM   Subscribe

My cat Trilby has nearly destroyed the cat scratcher I bought for him when I adopted him a year and a half ago, and it’s time for a new scratching post. Can anyone recommend a good, reasonably priced, durable, modest-sized cat scratcher? Those “emery board” scratchers sound great in theory because I wouldn’t have to cut Trilby’s claws anymore. But they’ve gotten so many negative reviews online and most of the positive reviews smell like spam. Do any of you use them, or failing that, does your cat?
posted by orange swan to Pets & Animals (25 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
To be honest with you, the thing that Cosette likes the best is Scratch Lounge.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:10 AM on May 12, 2011

Every cat is different, so unfortunately there's no one perfect answer. Some of my cats like the cardboard scratchers that you put on the ground, especially when sprinkled with catnip. Just keep trying different things. Or treat claw-clipping sessions as bonding with your kitty. No matter how much he squirms!

posted by babbageboole at 7:22 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I got my cat a sisal & fleece cat scratcher , and she loves it. We've only had it a month, so I don't know how it'll hold up, but it seems sturdy and durable.
posted by Pineapplicious at 7:36 AM on May 12, 2011

Whats you're definition of reasonably priced? Over the years I've found that the best cat scratchers, in general, are the ones made of sisal rope, as opposed to cardboard or carpet. Something like this (or smaller). The base is also important with these; they need to be sturdy and not wobble. Also, the pole types seem to be better, because my cats at least like to "hug" them, anything too wide prevents this. But maybe my cats are weird; I bought one of these over to my parents cat and she completely ignored it.
posted by cgg at 7:39 AM on May 12, 2011

My catsitter tells me she didn't have any luck attracting her cats to the emery board-type scratcher.

Is your current cat scratcher the post and rope type? You could go to a hardware store for a roll or two of sisal rope, and repair it yourself. If you're handy, you could even build a scratching post yourself.
posted by dywypi at 7:51 AM on May 12, 2011

There are probably as many answers as there are cats. The Best Cat Ever likes the cheap cardboard ones, though he expends most of his scratching enthusiasm outside on the bark of pine trees.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:58 AM on May 12, 2011

One of my cats loves the cardboard scratcher that you put on the ground that babbageboole mentioned ($12, lasts a few months, but can be messy), and the other cat loves the arm of my chair, regardless of what I give her. She also loves a carpeted round tower, but only to lie in the sun on, and sometimes spin on like a crazy thing.

My Mom has one of the emery board ones, and her cat ignores it. She loves the cardboard one, however.

I'd say if your cat destroyed one already, go with something similar. Better to replace a cat scratcher every year and half than replace furniture.
posted by clone boulevard at 7:59 AM on May 12, 2011

Both my mom and I's cats are devotees of the Cosmic Catnip Alpine Scratcher. It's a miracle product. I had no luck getting my cat to use to Emery Cat scratcher, either; the texture bothered her. She also enjoys sleeping in an scratching on a small rug-covered cat tree (look in a local discount lots store... these can be expensive, but my mom picked 2 up on a 2-for-1!)
posted by Sayuri. at 8:00 AM on May 12, 2011

One cat likes cardboard scratchers. One cat likes sisal. Neither of them liked the Emery Cat thing.
posted by getawaysticks at 8:07 AM on May 12, 2011

dywypi: Is your current cat scratcher the post and rope type? You could go to a hardware store for a roll or two of sisal rope, and repair it yourself. If you're handy, you could even build a scratching post yourself.

As mentioned in this cat scratching post repair AskMe, most sisal rope purchased at hardware stores is treated with chemicals that may not be kitty-friendly. That thread has suggestions on where to buy such stuff, if that's what you choose.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:07 AM on May 12, 2011

If your cat responds well to cardboard scratchers, here's an easy DIY option. A free project, if you use discarded cardboard.
posted by illenion at 8:10 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

I can't be any help with the scratching post question because our cat Pipkin thinks that's what furniture's for, but since he looks like Trilby's long-lost twin, I wanted to say HI!!
posted by FormerMermaid at 8:38 AM on May 12, 2011

My cats like scratchers in that shape, and they like both sisal and carpet, but I can't get them to use the Emery Cat, even if I rub home-grown catnip all over it.
posted by Addlepated at 8:47 AM on May 12, 2011

My cat has two of these SmartCat Ultimate scratching posts and they have been great. Not the cheapest option, but the base is very sturdy so our cat isn't afraid to really go to town scratching it. She even climbs up the sides, just like in the picture! We actually keep one on each side of the couch, in front of the arms, to keep her from scratching the furniture. Another one we've had good luck with is a cat bed with one sisal-covered side, something like this.

Our cat has never shown any interest in the flat corrugated cardboard box scratchers, even with catnip--they slide around the floor whenever she tries to use them, and she doesn't seem to like that.
posted by Jemstar at 9:13 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

I made a scratching post from some scrap formica (sink cutout from countertop) and a heavy cardboard tube wrapped in scrap carpet. added catnip tea from time to time, and the cat used it happily. If you see a heavy branch that you can scavenge, kitty might like that, too. No reason not to have more than 1.
posted by theora55 at 9:42 AM on May 12, 2011

Cosmic Catnip cardboard scratcher: never fails. Wish it weren't so messy, but I've never seen one one that wasn't. The carpet ones get you little pieces of carpet; the rope ones leave behind tiny rope slivers. Cardboard just turns out to be our cats' favorite.
posted by wowbobwow at 10:04 AM on May 12, 2011

I have one cat that has always used the carpet on her cat condo and another foster cat who actually occasionally uses the emeryboard scratcher (must be the only cat in the country....). We get them donated at the shelter since nobody else uses them. Despite using the scratcher I still have to do her nails since the only ones that get worn down is the middle ones.
posted by Ferrari328 at 11:49 AM on May 12, 2011

Another vote for the SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post. I originally scoffed at a $50 cat accessory (!) but Nosy loves it and it's cheaper than reupholstering.
posted by Space Kitty at 12:08 PM on May 12, 2011

Best answer: I could not believe how expensive cat scratchers are, so I built my own. It is the first thing I have ever built with actual hammer and nails and screws and wood etc. I went to a hardware store and asked for advice, and they sold me $28 worth of wood, sissal, carpet scraps, nails, screws, metal brackets, and a hammer and saw. They gave me suggestions for how to make it well balanced and strong. I built it in an afternoon, and the cat loved it immediately. It's only been two weeks, but she hasn't managed to damage it yet. The ones I saw in this sort of style cost around $300, so money was saved.

Anyway, my point is, even if you don't consider yourself the DIY type, it might be easier than you think to build exactly what you want.
posted by lollusc at 4:49 PM on May 12, 2011

My cats like the cardboard scratchers but I didn't like the mess. I ended up with two sisal scratchers. They are made of wood (1 inch thick, by 4 inches wide, by 18 inches long) with sisal rope (quarter inch, I think, maybe eighth inch) tightly wrapped around them. They're made to hang from door knobs or lay on the floor (mine lay on the floor). The cats love them. I believe I got them at Petsmart, but their website doesn't show them at the moment. It would be quite easy to make your own (I know you're handy), just be careful to get untreated sisal rope.

I also have a kitty condo covered in carpeting (regular cheap nylon). It's barrel shaped (16 inches in diameter, 36 inches tall) with two openings and a half shelf inside. My biggest cat (20+ pounds and about a third again larger than his litter mate) loves to use it. I think he likes to be able to stand and scratch more forcefully than the sisal boards let him.
posted by deborah at 6:07 PM on May 12, 2011

+1 for the SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post
posted by roomwithaview at 6:56 PM on May 12, 2011

Armarkat makes really, really good quality cat furniture. We have this model, which has had two+ years of hard use by these two bozos. The sisal wrapping the posts is just barely frayed in a few spots and the (plushy, silky) carpet covering it is fairly thickly matted with cat hair (gotta vacuum it) but utterly undamaged. It's much better quality than any of the ones we saw at any of the local pet supply emporiums, and was a lot cheaper than their not-so-nice ones, too!
posted by Lexica at 7:42 PM on May 12, 2011

Response by poster: My - or, rather, Trilby's - cat scratcher is a sisal post on a base that is covered with some sort of orange matting. Come to think of it, Trilby has never touched the post but has destroyed the matting. So he probably just doesn't like sisal. I think what I may do is reupholster the post and base in carpet. Seems like the most cost-efficient and least wasteful plan.

Thanks all, for your suggestions.
posted by orange swan at 7:07 AM on May 24, 2011

Response by poster: Bought $5's worth of carpet remant yesterday, reupholstered the cat scratcher this morning in about an hour. Trilby helped by getting up onto the kitchen counter where I was cutting carpet and giving it a test scratching. Here are some photos of the scratching post before and after its refresh. I seem to have more than enough carpet remant left to recover the post the next time it needs it as well.

Thanks all!
posted by orange swan at 3:45 PM on June 26, 2011

I just want to say that thanks to the posts in this thread, I bought Jasper a Smart Cat Ultimate Scratching Post as he had been immune to the sisal post as well as the horizontal, carpeted scratcher I had bought for him and instead tore the hell out of the carpeted stairs. Well, a few weeks later and he's in luhhhhhhhrve with the S.C.U.S.P. and has left the stairs alone. Thanks, Ask.Mefi!
posted by Addlepated at 6:54 PM on June 26, 2011

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