Today, we’re talking all about the best scratching posts for older cats.
Below, we’re going to take a look at some of the most important factors to consider.
Then, we’ll dive into some reviews for my top 7 favorite options.
We have lots to discuss, so let’s get started!
Our Top Pick
FYI, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.
If you want to skip all of the chit-chat and just grab my pick for the absolute best scratching post for older cats, go with the ScratchLadder™ Ultimate Cat Scratcher!
What features to look for in scratching posts for older cats
Let’s quickly go over what I looked at while shopping for my top picks, then we’ll dive into my reviews.
The very first thing I look at when choosing ANY type of cat furniture is whether it’s actually safe for my beloved felines.
As far as scratching posts go, I look for items with a heavy base and other anti-toppling features (if it’s an upright tree).
I also look at the glue that holds the material in place to make sure it’s non-toxic.
When it comes to scratching posts for cats of any age, it’s important to choose something that lets them do the “stretch and scratch.”
So, choose something that’s as tall (or as long) as your cat is when he stretches himself out.
On the other hand, something too tall is kind of a waste of money, because they’re not likely to spend a lot of time scaling tall trees to reach the top.
At least, not in my experience, and one of my cats lived to age 21.
She spent the last few years of her life fairly close to the ground, unless I stacked things just right to make climbing easier.
So, unless your senior is still super active, don’t waste your money on a ginormous cat gym just because it has a nice scratching surface.
Tall vs. long
Should you get a tall scratching post or a flat one? It’s an oddly controversial question in the world of senior cat parents, with no real “correct” answer.
The answer depends entirely on your cat. If he’s suffering from weakness or arthritis in his back legs, opt for something flat.
If you notice that he still loves to reach up and scratch the heck out of your door jams, go with upright.
While material always matters when choosing the perfect scratching post, it’s a vital factor for senior kitties.
Carpeting is too loose and your cat’s claws can get caught up in the pile. Wood, on the other hand, is a bit too hard for senior kitties.
Both materials can lead to painful problems, like torn or broken nails.
Stick with materials like sisal, jute and other natural fibers. Corrugated cardboard is a good option, too.
I also look at things like “is it a good value for the money” and “do other cat owners thing it’s a good buy,” but the above are my major considerations.
Now, let’s check out my top picks.
Best Scratching Posts for Older Cats
I’m going to assume that if you wanted the best cat trees for older cats, you would have searched for that instead.
So we’re focusing solely on products designed to satisfy your cat’s urge to scratch.
I get SO frustrated when I search for something and the top results have absolutely nothing to do with what I asked.
That said, some of them aren’t exactly “posts,” as I wanted to include some flat options as well.
Use the table below for a quick peek at my top Amazon picks. Then read on for the full list as well as reviews for each.
1. SMARTCAT PIONEER PET ULTIMATE SCRATCHING POST
The Smartcat Pioneer is a very highly rated scratching post for cats of all sizes and ages.
FEATURES AND PROS
- Measures 16x16x32, so it’s tall enough to satisfy kitty’s need to stretch while scratching.
- Base is made to prevent tipping and wobbling.
- Covered with long-lasting woven sisal.
- Easy to put together
- Nice modern design
- A bit expensive
- Some complaints that it smells funny.
With over 12,000 reviewers giving it a 4.5 star rating, it’s a pretty safe bet your cat will like it.
The minimalist style should fit in nicely with your home decor (or as nicely as any piece of cat furniture can).
One reviewer mentioned that her 20lb cat plays with it all of the time and it never once tipped over, so that makes me feel very confident in the Pioneer’s safety features.
Others talk about how durable it is, which is definitely a plus given the somewhat high price.
There are quite a few complaints about a “chemical” odor, however. If you’re sensitive to smells, you’ll likely need to let it air out for a bit before bringing it in for your cat.
Those complaints make up a very small percent of the 12K+ ratings, though.
- 32″ height allows cats to stretch fully and tone muscles
- Sturdy 16″ by 16″ base eliminates tipping and wobbling
- Fibrous and durable woven sisal naturally inspires scratching
- Superior to carpeted posts that may snag nail
- Assembles with two included screws
2. ScratchLadder™ Ultimate Cat Scratcher
I found this one last week when I was searching for scratching posts for big kitties, and I think it’s just about the neatest thing ever!
While that version wasn’t ideal for seniors, this model is! Let’s see why.
FEATURES AND PROS
- Comes with 4 replaceable scratching panels: catnip mouse panel, plush panel, sisal panel and grooming panel.
- Base is made from real wood.
- Replace any or all of them with different options (sold separate)
- Handmade in the US (so you’re supporting small businesses with your purchase).
- Ships free in the US.
- Pricey (both initial price and for the cost of replacement panels)
The price is really the only drawback to this option. It’s over $130 for the initial cost, then $20 for each replacement panel.
However, the craftsmanship is just gorgeous, and it’s such a unique idea (which is probably why it’s patent-pending).
So, even though it is pricier than most of the other options shown here, I think it’s fair for a handcrafted item.
Plus, if your cat gets bored with it, you can just swap things around and it’s like a whole new post!
3. PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge
If your cat prefers something flat rather than tall, this one by PetFusion is an outstanding option.
Features & Pros
- Scratcher doubles as a fun little lounger.
- Curvy design makes it comfy both for scratching and napping.
- Made with recycled cardboard and non-toxic starch glue
- Three different color options
- Comes with organic catnip
- Won multiple awards, including the 2015 Eco-Excellence Award
- Made from cardboard, so it will inevitably shred.
- Pricey for cardboard
While I do think the price is a bit on the high end for something made entirely from cardboard, over 10,000 5-star ratings can’t be wrong.
Plus, while it is cardboard, it’s very well designed, so it’s not just a curvy shipping box. 🙂
As PetFusion puts it, “Our scratchers are glued together piece by piece, making them much more durable than the cheaper pre-glued versions.”
Customers- as well as the brand- do warn of copycat sellers, so make sure you’re buying from Petfusion’s Amazon shop.
- CATS LOVE IT: A scratcher, lounge, & SO MUCH MORE (see video on left). Incl premium USA organic catnip leaf. Natural scratching = healthy claws, great exercise, & stress reliever ... (better overall wellness)
- YOU'LL LOVE IT: Made of recycled cardboard, non-toxic corn starch glue. Attractive design, neutral colors. Recommended to save your furniture as cats prefer the feel of cardboard. Happy cat = happy you ..
- THOUGHTFUL DESIGN: Curves make for easier scratching & a more comfortable place to rest & play. Naturally attracts cats. Interactive
- GREAT VALUE: 34 x 10.5 x 10.5 inches. Reversible for 2x the use. Superior cardboard & construction lasts longer than other scratchers; preferred by cats (please read our reviews). Large surface area to hold multiple or larger cats & provide generous scratching space
- AWARD WINNER / BEWARE OF CHEAPER COPYCATS THAT BUY REVIEWS IN EXCHANGE FOR FREE OR HIGHLY DISCOUNTED PRODUCT: 2015 Eco-Excellence Award. Featured on Animal Planet's 'My Cat From Hell'. Top 19 Cat Products (2016 BuzzFeed viewer selection)
4. Under Table Cat Scratching Pole
If you don’t really have the floor space for a big scratching post, this is a fabulous option. As the name implies, it fits right under your table.
Features & Pros
- Natural seagrass scratching material
- Works under most tables from 26.75” to 31” tall
- Cats can’t tip it, and it’s easy to remove/relocate.
- Pads on the bottom protect your floor.
- Unclear as to where it’s made
- Only one color
What is it with cat scratching posts costing $50? I don’t know, maybe I’m just cheap!
Anyway, aside from the price and unclear origins (Cats Play clearly labels things that are made in the USA), I can’t really see anything wrong with this option.
I love that you can put it under just about any table.
So, if your senior cat spends a lot of time under your desk like mine did, you can put it nearby.
It’s great for small spaces, too, like apartments.
5. Catry Activity Center
This is a neat option for those who want something more tree-like for a very petite cat.
It’s not so big that your senior can’t climb it, but still offers plenty of fun features.
Features & Pros
- Made from high quality particle board and natural jute fiber.
- Scratching posts are wrapped with a special type of paper rope versus plain old sisal.
- That paper rope is gentler on your aging cat’s skin.
- Cat condo on the ground level.
- Perch is easy enough for seniors to reach
- Removable mats for easy cleaning.
- At full price, it’s pretty expensive for what it is (it’s on sale, though)
- Cubby is only big enough for very petite cats.
While the cubby is really only big enough for super petite cats, I still wanted to include it because not everyone has “are you sure that’s a cat?” breeds like I do!
I like this one for a senior munchkin or one of the other tiniest cat breeds.
The main reason it makes my list, though, is because of the paper rope material, because it’s fantastic for cats with aging skin.
It doesn’t have quite as many reviews as the other options here, but 260 people gave it a combined total of 4.5 stars.
All of that said, on Amazon it has a “regular” price and a “sale” price.
I have to be honest (I always am); I don’t think that it’s worth the regular price at all. So, if it’s not on sale for about $50, I’d skip it.
- WHAT YOU NEED: If you have an active kitten that needs a place to play and relax, we have the answer with the newly designed cat tree with paper roped covered scratch post, an interactive playground specially made for your cat to have fun and consume its energy!
- QUALITY AND PROTECTIVE MATERIALS: The cat tree is composed with high quality particle board and natural jute fiber. The reinforced scratch posts are wrapped with our special paper rope instead of traditional sisal rope for skin-friendly.
- LOVELY DESIGN: This simple-design three level cat tree combines two platforms for relaxing and a condo for sleeping, all for the comfort of your kitten. All the mats are removable for easy clean.
- PROTECT YOUR HOME: Our cat tree is a great alternative for leaving your kitten alone without it damaging your furniture. Your lovely pet can scratch the paper rope post, play with the toy mouse and have fun while leaving your sofa and tiles free of scratches.
- DURABLE CONSTRAUCTION: The cat tree will look lovely in your home due to the nice design and combination of colors. At the same time, the high quality particle board ensures stability, while the combination of jute fiber and paper rope is a joy for your cat that gets to play with all these textures without hurting its nails and paws.
6. AmazonBasics Cat Scratching Post and Hammock
If kitty still has a bit of spring in her step or you want something that’s more than just a pole with some rope attached, AmazonBasics’ post with hammock is an inexpensive option.
Features & Pros
- Two jute-wrapped scratching posts.
- Plush Elevated hammock
- Two neutral color options
- Attached toy breaks away for added safety
- Hammock is too small for larger senior cats.
- Hammock isn’t washable
Customers complain that the hammock is too small for larger cats, so it’s not really a good fit for a Maine Coon.
However, if you have a kitten and an older cat, it could be just right!
Honestly, considering that it costs half the price of many of the other options out there, you could even just buy it for the scratching posts alone.
With 83% of over 11K customers giving it a 5-star rating, it’s a pretty safe buy.
- Elevated cat hammock with dual scratching post pillars
- Plush hammock provides a comfortable space for your cat to relax
- Helps keep your cat from damaging carpets, furniture, curtains, and more
- Natural jute fiber scratching posts help keep nails healthy
- Neutral color tones fit in with your home’s existing décor
- Durable, long-lasting construction
7. Kitty City XL Wide Scratching Collection
Okay, so the Kitty City XL Wide Scratching Collection really stretches the definitely of “scratching post,” but I wanted to offer one good flat option for those on a super tight budget.
Features & Pros
- Comes with three pieces, so you get a lot more for your money.
- Made of non-toxic recycled corrugated paper.
- At 10″ w x 18″ L, it’s wide enough for most kitties to enjoy.
- Sits flat on the ground, so it’s perfect for much older cats with major mobility issues.
- When your done with it, toss it in with your recycling.
- Definitely not built to last.
- Not made in the US
I love the fact that I won’t go broke buying this option!
While the collection comes with three pieces, each on is double-sided, so it’s more like getting six for one low price.
My cats have these (or similar scratchers) and they LOVE them. I think they enjoy these even more than the pricier things I buy for them!
For the cost, they’re definitely worth a try.
- Best wide scratcher product. Size:18 x 10 x 1.5 inches
- Made of non-toxic corrugated paper, SAFE for playing.
- Helps protect furniture from claw damage
- Recycled Cardboard
- 3 pack option available for better value
I already shared my top pick for the best scratching posts for older cats earlier, but if you prefer to shop on Amazon, I really like the Pioneer.
It’s such a highly-rated option, I can’t imagine choosing anything else!
What do you think of these best scratching posts for older cats? Share your favorites below!
Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief and one of the writers here on CatVills. She’s been a cat lover most of her life and-at one point- counted five felines as part of her family. Today, she’s proud cat mom to two indoor kitties and caregiver for a slew of ferals.
Last update on 2021-01-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API