Cat Scratcher Search: Finding One Your Cat Will Use

Have you bought a cat scratcher, taken it home, and your cat will have nothing to do with it? It’s frustrating, for sure, and it’s happened to me.

Bengal cat with Cat Scratcher

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Marty’s Story

Marty was starting to scratch furniture and carpet, so I knew I needed to solve this problem sooner rather than later. It was holiday season, so there were many sales going on. I found a scratching tower at a good price and decided to get one for Marty.

When the tower arrived, I set it up in the living room, rubbed catnip all over the scratching surface, and waited for Marty to go to town scratching to his heart’s content. I was totally surprised when Marty not only didn’t use the scratcher, he would literally walk around it. He wanted nothing to do with this tower cat scratcher.

Marty can be slow to adopt new toys or scratchers, so I thought that would be the case here, but no such luck! After a couple of weeks, Marty was still avoiding the cat scratcher. I ended up giving the scratcher to a cat client who loved it!

So, how did I solve the problem of finding a cat scratcher Marty would use? I starting observing Marty’s scratching.  Here’s what I discovered in the search for Marty’s perfect cat scratcher:

Observe Your Cat’s Scratching “Style”

In watching Marty, I discovered he is a “downward” scratcher. He prefers to stretch out in front rather than have a standing up posture for scratching. This was an a-ha moment for me, and I saw the error of my ways in purchasing the scratching tower. It didn’t match his scratching style!

Cats Often Prefer A Specific Scratching Surface

Armed with this newfound knowledge, I was sure I’d solved the problem. Ah, not so fast, as it turns out.  Not only did Marty have a specific scratching style, he also preferred a particular scratching surface.

I found this out after buying a well-made, quite costly flat scratcher, confident Marty would love it. Once again, Marty walked past the cat scratcher, but never interacted with it. As it turned out, Marty was not a fan of the sisal material that covered the scratch area. This scratcher was given to a neighbor, whose cats loved It! So, the search continued……

When It Comes To Cat Scratchers, Size Matters

A vendor sent Marty a cat scratcher as a gift. I checked it out to gauge potential success, it was a downward scratcher and not sisal, so I thought chances of use were fairly high.

Not so fast! I realized scratching is a form of exercise for cats, and they like to be comfortable when doing it. This latest scratcher was fine on a couple of fronts, but it was too short for Marty to fully stretch out when trying to use it. Not very comfortable, so after a couple of uses Marty quit using this latest scratcher.

Cats Want A Scratcher That’s Sturdy

Whether it’s a cat scratcher or a cat tree, they want one that will support them when they use it. If a scratcher flips or falls over when a cat tries to use it, they will avoid it in the future. That happened to Marty when he tried to use the scratcher from the paragraph above. When the scratcher flipped, it scared him and he wouldn’t use it again.

This is important to keep in mind with cat trees as well. There are a ton of them on the market, but it’s essential to ensure the cat tree is sturdy and won’t wobble when your cat climbs or scratches on it.

Finding Marty’s Perfect Cat Scratcher

My cat Marty laying in his cat scratch lounge
Marty hanging out in his Scratch Lounge

After the misfires discussed above, I began to wonder if there was a cat scratcher that would meet Marty’s needs. After reviewing all the aspects of scratchers, I had a much better idea of what I was looking for, He liked the cardboard surface of the last one, and I had a good feeling I would be able to find a cardboard scrather that met all of Marty’s needs.

Turns out, I found TWO! Here are Marty’s perfect scratchers:.

  • PetFusion Cat Scratcher Lounge. This is a substantial cardboard covered scratcher that is like a piece of furniture. It definitely supports a cat when he scratches on it, and is big enough to serve as a lounging spot. too. The loung can be turned over to expose a fresh scratching surface, which prolongs the time between purchases. When both sides are used, the lounge can be recycled, another plus!
  • Scratch Lounge. This three-sided cardboard scratcher also serves as a safe place to relax after enjoying an invigorating scratch session. It has cardboard on all three sides, and all three cardboard surfaces are reversible and replacable, extending the time between subsequent purchases. Scratch Lounge also comes with a pack of catnip to sprinkly on the surface to encourage use.


There are other scratchers that are lower in price and mirror the look of both these scratchers. Since it’s been quite an ordeal finding the right scratchers for Marty, I’ve opted to stick with these two. The quality on both is great, and if they make Marty happy, it’s a win for me, too!

As you can see, it’s been an adventure finding scratcher Nirvana for me and Marty. Don’t get discouraged if the first scratcher isn’t the right one for your cat. With some observation of your cat’s scratching habits, he’ll help you find what will work for him!

Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.