Cat Mom Life: the Best Cat Scratchers Under $50

Cat Scratchers for the Home

A common complaint among cat parents is that they scratch furniture. Cats seem to scratch at carpet and upholstery most, but can be known to scratch all kinds of home surfaces. And it can be quite annoying, either because of the noise or because of the destructive nature of the action. However, there are a ton of great cat scratchers out there that can help curb the behavior. Read on for a guide to the best cat scratchers under $50.

Before getting into the list of the best cat scratchers, though, I invite you to look into the psychology behind why cats scratch, because it’s not just to annoy us — it’s actually a natural instinctual urge of theirs and something that is totally normal.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Louis, and his face always makes me laugh! This scratcher was one of his and Olivia’s favorites, and lasted about three years before they completely shredded the carpet beyond repair.

Why Do Cats Scratch?

In the wild, cats scratch to mark their territory, which is a reason why house cats continue the behavior indoors. It marks territory both visually and through scent. Scratching also reduces anxiety, and helps trim nails. Like with yoga, it’s even a form of exercise and it can strengthen their muscles.

When it comes to nail care, it’s important to note that declawing is not the solution for scratching behaviors. Trimming cat nails is an important part of their care, so I recommend getting comfortable with that maintenance in conjunction with providing cat scratchers. For more information on trimming your cat’s nails, click here.

The Benefits of Providing a Cat Scratcher

By providing a scratching post in a spot where your cat likes to stretch and scratch, you can help deter destructive scratching on furniture and home surfaces. As the Humane Society notes here, location matters, so be sure to put it in a spot where your cat will actually use it.

Introducing the scratcher can be necessary, as some cats don’t really know what to do with them at first — or are simply indifferent. One way to introduce the scratcher is to incorporate it into a playtime routine, such as with a stick toy or laser, so that the cat interacts with the post while playing with the other toy. Alternatively, you can rub the scratcher with catnip or spray it with catnip spray (my cats’ favorite!) to make it more enticing.

The Best Cat Scratchers Under $50

I was inspired to write this post after finding a great scratcher on Chewy for under $40. We have had many scratchers over the years, originally buying mostly the cardboard options. While these work great, Louis likes to chew on cardboard, and walking around picking up bits of cardboard got old really quick (this was the only one he couldn’t destroy). So, I tend to go with the non-cardboard options, like rope scratchers or jute fibers.

King Lou & Co’s New Favorite: Heavy Duty Cat Scratching Post with Toy

With the move, I noticed that the cats had started to scratch at the non-scratched up sides of our furniture. So, I decided to try to find a new scratcher for them, to keep them entertained and dissuade them from going after the couch. I found this option on Chewy and was drawn to it’s height, color, and price.

At 35 inches, this vertical cat tree is bigger than the other scratchers we’ve collected, allowing the cats to really stretch out. The base is really sturdy, so there’s no risk of it turning over.

The cats took to it pretty quickly, but really started to use it once I sprayed it with catnip. 10/10, would recommend.

Available on Chewy in 2 colors.

The Cozy Option: Cat Condo Tree Tower with Hammock Bed

This is, hands-down, my cats’ favorite scratcher. We have two of these little hammock beds, and besides loving the hammock itself, all three cats like to scratch on the jute rope scratching legs.

I like to stick a crochet Cat Mat or two in the hammock and will spray the whole with with my cats’ favorite catnip spray a couple times a week, or whenever they seem bored.

Overall, this scratcher option is durable, super easy to assemble, and can be found at a variety of places online for under $30. If you’d rather skip the hammock, here is a similar style with a single pillar.

Available on Amazon, PetSmart, & Chewy; similar style available at Petco.

The Fun Option: Cactus Cat Scratcher

For the plant-loving cat parents, I suggest checking out this super cute Cactus Cat Scratcher. It is available in two sizes on Amazon for $30 and $40 respectively and features a wide and stable base.

The medium size (23″) scratcher is designed for smaller cats (the listing says up to 10 lbs), while the large (27″) is made with adult cats in mind.

With three pillars with a mix of scratching materials — rope and carpet — the scratcher is designed to enhance play time. Like the hammock scratcher above, this scratcher features an interactive hanging toy to “stimulate their prey-like behavior.”

Available on Amazon. A similar option is available at PetSmart.

The Modern Option: Triple Scratching Posts with Complementary Colors

For a more modern aesthetic, this three-tiered neutral-tone jute road scratcher is ideal, and currently available for just $24. Made with natural jute and coconut rope, the scratcher is designed to keep cat nails happy and healthy while fitting seamlessly into your home’s existing decor.

Like the two above, this scratcher features an interactive hanging toy for optimized playtime. Multiple pillar heights offer some complexity to your cat’s scratching routine.

Adding to the sleek, modern design, this cat scratcher features a wood style base and tops of the poles, as opposed to the typical carpet. (Check out this tower for a similar, carpeted option; Petco also has a similar style with mixed-media carpet, jute, and wood pillars.)

Available on Amazon.

The Mini Cat Tree: Scratch & Play Cuddler Cat Scratcher

Finding a mini-cat tree scratcher is a great way to efficiently use up space, particularly in smaller apartments.

This Whisker City Scratch & Play Cuddler is just $40 and is perfect for small spaces. It features both carpet and jute scratchers, plus an interactive toy, and a cozy lounge spot for your cat.

Like with the hammock, pair it with one of my crochet cat blankets and some catnip spray and you’re good to go. I recommend sticking it next to a window for optimal cat TV viewing.

Available at PetSmart.

Does your cat love to scratch? Do they have a favorite scratcher style?
Let me know in the comments!

*This post was originally published on May 30, 2021. It was most recently updated on August 4, 2021.

Shop The Post