If you've got a cat then you've got a scratching machine on hand. Cats love to scratch, end of story.
Given this you need a place for them to scratch and sisal is the ideal surface. The best sisal cat scratchers come in tons of shapes and sizes and cats absolutely love them because of their texture.
Scroll on down to find my favorites or pop open the table of contents to find one in specific design.
Table of Contents
The Best Sisal cat scratchers 2019 Quick Guide
Best Wall Mounted
Great Sofa Coverage
Attaches to Any Door
Best Wall Step
Easy Replace Mats
Chair & Couch Corner Coverage
Easily Hangs in Seconds
Best Sisal Mat
Perfect for Kittens
The Best Sisal Cat Scratchers
SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post
The Pioneer Pet SmartCat Ultimate Scratching post is hands down my favorite cat scratcher on the market. It has pretty much everything going for it.
It is tall so your cats can fully stretch out. It is stable with the extra large base and the weight it carries. It has sisal all over it and cats love to scratch it. And it comes in at a great price.
Here are a few of the key specs for it so you know exactly what you're getting with it:
"The Pioneer Pet Ultimate Post is an absolute must have for any cat owner. Both Lexi and Beastling use it on a daily basis and they can easily get a full stretch in with it. It has never once tipped over, in fact it barely budges when they use it." -Craig from StuffCatsWant
There is only one item I'd mention about this post for potential buyers:
SmartCat Bootsie's Three-in-One Cat Scratcher
If you're looking for versatility in a cat scratcher then Bootsie's has you covered with their three in one system. While the picture shows a standard horizontal scratching post, a closer look reveals more.
On the back of this sisal scratcher you'll find an easy to use mounting system. The system can be used to directly mount it to a wall or to pretty much anything you'd like. Vertically or horizontally.
Mount it wherever your cat scratches or leave it right on the floor on its rubber feet! A few other items worth noting on this model:
"Hasselhoff uses it as a combination scratcher and bed. I've left it on the floor with the rubber feet and he scratches it like crazy then when he's done he curls up on top of it for a nap!"
The only additional items I'd call out on this model are:
4Claws Wall Mounted Sisal Post
If your cat loves scratching up near the wall then the 4Claws wall mounted post is one of the best in the business. It easily and securely mounts to the wall with two simple screws.
But as an added benefit it isn't a single use item. Once mounted you can easily buy refills and change them out so you don't have to keep purchasing the whole system each time. Go green!
A couple of key items you'll want to note on this option:
"Being able to mount the post anywhere was a huge plus for us. Hubby pulled out the stud finder and just drilled the two screws in and we were set to go. Our fluff ball loves it and is scratching daily!"
The only item worth noting on this wall mounted sisal post is:
Sisal Sofa Shield Cat Scratching Mat
If you've got a cat that is going after your sofa or one of your chairs then this might be the purrrrrfect option for you. This is basically an extended scratching mat that you can lay half of under a couch cushion.
Once you lay the first half under the cushion the half with the sisal hangs down over the side of the couch for your kitty to scratch. This effectively stops your cat from directly scratching your couch.
A few items worth calling out on this model:
"My leather couch was absolutely destroyed by my cat in my previous home. When I moved my boyfriend and I got a new couch with slip covers just in case, but after laying this down the side we haven't had a single problem!"
The only unfortunate item worth noting for potential buyers is:
SmartCat Door Climber
Want to provide both a place for your cat to look down on you from and a place for them to scratch, buy the SmartCat Door Climber. It is perfect for people who don't have lots of shelves or ledges for their cats.
This mounts to pretty much any standard door around and quickly provides 4 steps for your kitties to climb and a massive sisal wall post at the same time.
A few key items you'll want to know before you make a purchase:
"My super energetic 14 year old cat has been going up and down this thing like crazy since the minute I hung it to the door. So far so good!"
This is a pretty cool us of this model mounted directly to a wall:
You'll definitely want to be aware of the following before you purchase this climber:
Floating Sisal Rope Cat Post/Step
If you're on the creative side and you want to mix some floating wall posts into the rest of your cat's climbing course then these are the perfect posts for you.
Catastrophic Creations is known for their amazing wall related and climbing related cat equipment. To say the least, they make some amazingly cool stuff and these steps are only scratching the surface.
A few things you'd want to know about them before you get started:
"We started a cat wall to entertain our two young brothers. They needed an energy outlet since we live in a high rise. These have worked wonders as part of our cat wall and the cats scratch on them like crazy too!"
You'll want to consider the following before making a purchase:
The QuickSnap Sisal Scratcher
Looking for something stylish to match your decor? Do you happen to have a darker wood decor in the house? The QuickSnap Sisal Scratcher from Feline Innovations is the perfect fit for your needs.
This upside down U-Shaped Scratching mat is designed specifically to look great and be totally functional as a scratching surface. On top of this you can easily snap in and out replacement Sisal (carpet and seagrass are also available).
A few key items to note on this model before purchasing:
"It is a very modern piece of cat furniture. Our cat loves to sleep on top of it and scratch on it too. The hammock is currently being used for toy storage since the cat doesn't sleep in it!"
The only consideration worth noting on the QuickSnap scratching lounge is:
The Corner Couch Sisal Scratcher
If your cat is destroying your couch corners then the Corner Couch Sisal Scratcher is going to save the day. It is designed specifically to protect your couch.
Simply choose the right color, there are about nine to choose from, and slide it right under the corner of the couch and voila, your couch is now protected and you've provided an enjoyable scratching surface for your kitty!
This really is the perfect solution for 90 degree corners, and couches are the most common corner type! A few other things worth noting:
"The cats loved it so much that I bought a second one to protect the corner of the couch that they only scratched once in a while! Talk about win win, I love it and so do my little devils!"
The only item worth noting before purchasing is:
Door Knob Hanging Sisal Scratcher
If you want a scratching post that is super easy to move from room to room and door to door then this is a great option for you. Just loop it over a doorknob and you're good to go!
This product is made using durable sisal rope wrapped tightly around a piece of wood and then stapled at the ends. There are no glues or adhesives used to keep the rope wound around it.
A few other features worth calling out:
"My 10 year old cat loves it. He isn't the least bit afraid of it when it swings around, in fact he treats it like a game as he scratches."
You'll definitely want to consider the following before purchase:
SmartyKat Sisal Scratching Mat
If your cat goes after your carpet or rugs in a particular spot then a scratching mat can be a great way to redirect them onto an appropriate surface.
The SmartyKat Sisal based mat is a great option for this. Not only is it made of high quality sisal, it is a solid 18 inches long by 14 inches wide which gives your cats lots of space to scratch!
A few other key items worth noting:
"My cats absolutely love these mats. I have four of them spread throughout the house and I occasionally add new catnip to them to keep my 3 ladies entertained!"
You'll want to be aware of the following before making a purchase:
3 Story Sisal Kitten Scratcher Condo
Looking for a scratching surface specifically designed for your little kittens instead of for adult cats? Want to add some fun to it too?
This 3 story condo will give your kittens everything they need. It has numerous entrances and exits, a hanging toy, carpet, and of course the outside is completely covered in sisal fabric!
You can't go wrong with a condo like this! A few other items you'll want to know:
"An excellent purchase for our smaller cat! She loves sleeping on top of it."
You'll definitely want to note the following before a purchase:
What is Sisal?
Sisal is made from the Agave sisalana plant that is native to southern Mexico. But the plant can be cultivated to grow in many places around the world.
Sisal was traditionally used to make carpets and rugs that were both sustainable and biodegradable while being incredibly durable. Because of these features sisal is an excellent choice of material to make a scratching post for cats.
When used for scratching posts, sisal can be used in two formats: rope or fabric. Read below for more details on each. Either form is both strong and rough which makes it the perfect consistency for scratching cat claws.
The durability is key because it can last on a scratching post for years of extended use and the format makes it relatively easy to replace in most cases.
This video from PurrfectPost is also really helpful if you'd like a bit more information:
Is Sisal Rope or Sisal Fabric Better?
If you've seen a sisal scratching post you've probably seen a rope based version as they were far more common until the past few years.
As mentioned above, sisal has a rough texture, it might remind you of twine. Sisal fabric though tends to be a little less rough and a little less durable due to the conversion process of making it into a mat.
This means your cats can easily shred the fabric version. This has benefits and drawbacks. The biggest benefit of the fabric is that it is less likely to injure your cat by leaving behind shards of sharp sisal sticking out because the fabric is a smooth surface that claws can easily pass through. The biggest drawback is the lack of durability and the frequency with which you'll have to replace it.
One additional side benefit is that cats, just like us humans, like to feel a sense of accomplishment. When they shred something it is nice for them to see the progress. Sisal fabric will show this far more effectively than sisal rope.
Personally I feel sisal fabric is a step above sisal rope as an option to use to build a scratching post or scratching mat. But the differences aren't huge and often replacing sisal rope will be easier than a sisal mat.
This is because you can easily buy sisal rope at pretty much any major home repair store like Home Depot or Lowe's and simply wrap it around your existing post. Fabrics on the other hand need to be purchased in a perfectly designed shape and size.
Is Sisal Better Than Carpet?
If you stop by Petco or Petsmart you'll still find that the bulk of the cat furniture they sell is covered in carpet. As a well informed cat owner though, you'll probably want to avoid using carpet for your kitties if you can for a few major reasons:
If for no other reason than avoiding setting a bad behavior I'd avoid carpet based scratching posts and condos if at all possible!
Is Sisal Better Than Carboard?
Cardboard is another lead competitor to sisal based scratching posts and mats. This is because, similar to sisal, cardboard is biodegradable & cheap to make. Shaping into something cats like is dirt cheap too.
Corrugated cardboard, which just means a series of ridges or rows, is by far the most common form of cardboard used to develop scratching lounges and posts.
Cats love it because it is easy to shred and it provides some resistance which helps them shed the sheathes of their nails.
Manufacturers love cardboard because it can be constructed in lots of ways and the method of construction will determine the quality. The higher the quality and the thicker the cardboard the higher the cost, but also the longer it will last.
Sisal in general will last a lot longer than cardboard and it also won't make nearly as much of a mess as your typical cardboard scratching post or mat. I'd place sisal based scratching equipment several steps above cardboard.
What About Jute Scratchers?
If you follow cat related topics like I do then you'll have heard of new jute based scratching posts and scratching mats coming around. Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. Perfect for covering scratching surfaces.
Jute is produced primarily from plants in the genus Corchorus, the primary source of the fiber is Corchorus olitorius, but it is considered inferior to Corchorus capsularis. Jute is the name of the fiber that is used to make burlap & gunny cloth, both widely considered extremely durable and long lasting fabrics
Jute is also one of the most affordable natural fibers in existence and it is second only to cotton in amount produced and variety of uses. This means it is not only renewable & biodegradable, but also an excellent way to produce scratching surfaces for cats at a low cost.
I personally have not yet had a chance to try a Jute scratching post or surface yet so I can't recommend them or not. That being said, sisal is considered a heck of a lot more durable in applications like flooring where Jute has been used for a long time.
Given this I would lean toward a sisal scratcher over a jute based option just for the sake of durability.
Choosing The Right Design
Cat Scratcher Height / Length
Cats scratch for a variety of reasons (read this article on why cats scratch), but one of the primary reasons is as a form of exercise to work their muscles out. To do so properly cats need to be able to stretch their entire body out.
Your cat might appear quite small, but when fully stretched out most cats are actually quite long! An average cat can easily stretch up to 2 feet when they really go for it.
This means you need a scratching post that is at least 2 feet in height to properly accommodate your cat and ensure they are willing to use it! Horizontal scratching mats or wall mounted posts are a bit easier to work with because your cat has more space to work with, but be sure to get a tall post if you go vertical!
Note that the Pioneer Pet Ultimate Scratching Post will easily handle most cats. If you have an extra large cat like a Maine Coon then you might want to look at a cat tree for extra large cats instead.
Cat Scratcher Stability
We humans don't particularly like exercising on unstable platforms do we? Well, unless you're purposely doing it to develop your core. Cats are the same way.
Since a large part of why cats scratch is based on stretching their muscles out they will want to do it on something that looks firm and stable. If it tips over the first time they use it they aren't going to use it again without some significant convincing.
A few basic tips that will make your cat love their scratching post:
Vertical vs. Horizontal
Vertical versus horizontal seems to be mostly based on the preference of your particular cat. Some cats seem to love scratching vertically and some seem to love scratching horizontally and some don't really care.
If you've just adopted your cat and you're not sure which preference your cat has you can pay attention to their behavior for a few days and then make a decision. Most cats have easy tells!
If they go after your rugs then they probably prefer a horizontal option.
If they go after the side of the chairs in your living room or your door frames then aim for a vertical post.
If you're adopting a kitten they likely haven't yet developed any terrible habits yet so you should probably get one of each and see which one they lean toward. You can always donate the other once they show their preference!
Teach Your Cat To Scratch A Specific Surface
If you've just recently adopted a new cat then you'll want to ensure they learn to only scratch one surface. If you reward your cat for scratching multiple surfaces then they may end up scratching things they shouldn't.
The most common issue here is carpet. If you get your cat a carpet covered scratching post or condo then your cat usually can't determine right or wrong when scratching the carpet on the post versus the carpet anywhere else in the house.
Given this it is ideal to simply start your cat scratching on a surface like sisal and then only have sisal based posts or mats around the house for your cat to scratch.
Once they are rewarded for scratching sisal they're more likely to only scratch sisal.
The best way to get a cat to start scratching one particular surface is to simply spray down the surface with catnip spray or to directly rub catnip right into the surface. Sisal is perfect for this with its rough nature.
Another option is to use a wand toy or a toy the cat likes to play with already and redirect their paws toward the scratching post as they play. Check out this quick video for an example:
Will I Still Have to Clip My Cats Nails?
Scratching posts and nail clippers have distinctly different purposes. Scratching posts will help remove the outer sheathe of the nail to refine it into a point, but they won't shorten or blunt the nails.
If you're unable to clip your cats nails on your own then you can hire a groomer or usually any veterinarian will handle this for a small fee.
DIY Sisal Scratching Posts
If you're relatively handy and you don't feel like buying a scratching post you can put one together pretty easily on your own. It really only takes a few things:
- Sisal Rope
- A wooden dowel
- A solid wood base
- Staples & a staple gun**
**Avoid adhesives. The smell will make your cat avoid it & ingesting them can be toxic if you aren't careful with your selection of glue.
The process for putting it together is quite straight forward once you've got the three core pieces:
- Attach the base to the dowel or block
- Attach the base of the rope to the base of the post
- Wrap the sisal rope tightly around the dowel
- Keep pushing the rope down for a very tight fit
- Wrap it all the way to the top
- Cut the rope at the top and attach it
You can also watch this great video from Black Beard Videos on how to create a post yourself:
Wrap Up On The Best Sisal Cat Scratchers 2020
If you're looking for something for your cat to scratch than you really can't do better than sisal. The best sisal cat scratchers are durable, affordable, biodegradable and your cats will love them.
There are a ton of different options and designs to choose from too. There are even sisal fabrics that can essentially be mounted in almost any shape or format so you can find a scratcher engineered to meet the needs of your specific feline friend(s).
If you've got experience with a specific sisal scratching post or mat that I haven't listed please let me know in the comments so I can get it added. Or if you've got another preferred scratching post that is made of something else let us know too!
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