Scratching Post Versus Cardboard Scratcher : A Detailed Comparison

Scratching Post versus Cardboard Scratcher

Cats love to scratch. That is just a matter of fact, so what are some thoughts and things about scratching post versus cardboard scratcher? If you have a cat, but don’t have a of designated scratching surface for them, chances are that you have come home to your furniture in shreds. Cats need a surface that they can scratch, which is for several different reasons. A cat that does not have a good scratching surface is not going to be a very happy cat at all.

This of course begs the question of what kind of scratching surface you should get for your cat. There are a variety of options to go with, mainly cardboard scratchers and scratching posts. Scratching posts themselves can be covered in various materials, so we will cover that too.

The main point of today’s article is to compare the good old scratching post against a cardboard scratcher. We want to help you find the best scratching surface, so your cat is happy and so your furniture stays in one piece, but choosing the right one may not be so easy. As you will see, both scratching posts and cardboard scratchers have their benefits and drawbacks, all of which we are going to talk about right now.

Scratching Post

When it comes to scratching posts, there are a couple of different options that you can go with. Cats usually tend to prefer larger scratching posts. First and foremost, you should aim to get a scratching post that will let your cat stretch while scratching. They really like to get up on their hind legs so they can scratch up high with their front paws. Moreover, cats also prefer it when there are both vertical and horizontal scratching surfaces, both of which usually come with most scratching posts.

In terms of the material used, generally a scratching post will be made of either sisal rope or carpeting, both of which get the job done. Scratching posts that are made with sisal rope tend to be a little more durable, they last longer, they do a good job at satiating your cat, and they make a good sound when scratched too. All that being said, sisal rope scratching posts are usually a bit more expensive than the carpeted alternatives.

Cats also like carpeted scratching posts, but what you need to keep in mind is that a cat may get confused. The whole point of a scratching post is to let your cat use its claws without destroying your furniture. Getting a scratching post with carpet on it will confuse your cat and it may not understand why exactly it is allowed to scratch the post, but not other furniture.

People who get sisal rope scratching posts tend to have much less scratched up furniture than people who have carpeted scratching posts for their cats.

Cardboard Scratchers

Cardboard scratchers are good options to go with as well, but we think that they are not as good as real scratching posts. The big upside to cardboard scratches is that they are very inexpensive. Real scratching posts cost a fair bit of money, while cardboard scratches won’t cost too much. Cats like the cardboard variety for a couple of reasons.

First of all, cardboard shreds really well under the claws of a cat, which is very satisfying to them. A cat will probably prefer a cardboard scratcher due to the softer surface and an easier scratch. At the same time, cardboard seems to make this noise that is really satisfying to cats when they use it.

Of course, the downside to cardboard scratchers is that they don’t last very long, at least not nearly as long as real scratching posts. There is also the fact that they tend to make a real mess, which nobody wants. Those little pieces of cardboard can easily make their way across your home. Moreover, cats like vertical and horizontal scratching surfaces, but cardboard scratchers are usually only horizontal, or sometimes slightly angled.

Cats may prefer a tall vertical scratching post over a cardboard scratch for this reason.

Cardboard Scratch vs. Scratching Post

Now, if we are to compare the scratching post to a cardboard scratch, there is not all that much to be said. Generally speaking, a real scratching post will be much bigger, have a larger scratching surface, and it will last for much longer. Cats seem to like how these things are vertical because they can really go at the post from many angles. Scratching post are undoubtedly the more durable option.  Most owners provided at least one scratching post; cats scratched the preferred substrate more often when the post was a simple upright type or a cat tree with two or more levels and at least 3 ft high*.

On the other hand, scratching posts are going to be much more expensive than cardboard scratchers. Cardboard scratchers do get the job done, but their relatively cheap construction does come with a lower price tag, and also a lot less longevity at the same time. The fact that they are cheap is something that people tend to like. Cats also seem to like the feel of the cardboard under their claws, plus they really like the sound too.

As you can see, both cardboard scratchers and scratching posts come with their own advantages and drawbacks.

Why Do Cats Scratch?

You might be wondering why you even need to get your cat a scratching post versus cardboard scratcher. There are a few reasons why cats need a scratching surface:

  • Cats scratch surfaces to mark their territory. The scent glands in their paws release a secretion when a surface is scratched, this letting other cats know who is the boss of these parts
  • Cat claws keep growing nonstop, but indoor cats don’t really have a good way to control claw growth or to sharpen their claws, well, except for on your furniture. This is where a scratching post comes in handy, to save your furniture while still providing your cat a way to sharpen its claws and keep them at a respectable length.


So, as you can see, both options make for good choices. Most people usually go for both scratching posts and cardboard scratchers. However, if you want to choose between the two, at least now you know what is available for you to purchase.

Reference:   *Wildfern Way, Greely On, K4P-1R4, Canada of Veterinary Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, CA, USA, USA.3Oakland Veterinary Referral Services Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA.4Ceva Animal Health, Libourne, France.5North Toronto Veterinary Specialty Clinic, Thornhill, ON, Canada.

Whether you have a kitten or a senior cat, this resource helps you quickly identify potential problems, take proper steps in emergency situations, better understand diagnoses and treatment options, and communicate more effectively with your veterinarian.

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