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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

13 Models Considered
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best hanging cat scratchers

Last Updated July 2019

Your cat doesn’t want to disappoint you by clawing through your furniture, but if there’s nowhere to scratch, what’s an indoor cat to do? Putting hanging scratchers in a few rooms is one of the most practical ways to solve the problem. That way, you don’t need to take up floor space in every room with a horizontal mat or freestanding vertical post. Another plus: a hanging cat scratcher eliminates tripping hazards.

Scratching is a normal, healthy, and natural urge for cats. It’s kind of like when we indulge in a whole-body stretch in the morning. A cat using an indoor hanging scratcher mimics scratching a tree outdoors. Though it’s legal to declaw a cat in most places in the United States, many owners and veterinarians no longer choose this surgery. That’s why it’s important to have multiple scratchers your cat can easily access.

There’s a large selection of hanging scratchers on the market (though none with bark on them). Scratchers come in cat-friendly materials and different widths and with varied features. Our shopping guide, complete with our favorites, can help you find a scratcher your kitty will love to use.

Cats love the sound that corrugated cardboard makes when they’re shredding the material. Evidently the more noise a cat creates while scratching, the more satisfying the scratch.

Key considerations

A hanging scratcher is an easy solution to pet-proofing your furniture or anything else your cat likes to claw. But selecting the right hanging scratcher depends on answering a couple of key questions that’ll help you get started.

What are your cat’s scratching habits and behaviors?

Any cat owner knows that there’s no guarantee you’ll ever truly understand your feline’s behavior. But if your cat suddenly starts to scratch your furniture or carpeting or climb the drapes, it could be because something is going on in the house or out in your yard that is causing anxiety or heightened territorialism in your kitty. Is there a new cat in the neighborhood, a new family schedule, or a new person in the house? Cats also scratch on certain items because they prefer the feel of that material. If possible, you’ll want to find a scratcher with a somewhat similar material. If you observe your cat stretching by standing on its hind legs with the forelegs extended, that’s a good indication that a hanging scratcher may work for your kitty’s needs.

Is your cat hypersensitive to movement, noise, or smells?

You know when you own a scaredy-cat. Your nervous Nellie will hide and run when there’s so much as a breeze in the air. Your kitty may be more finicky than other cats you’ve had, and maybe that’s due to smell sensitivities. If you’re looking for a hanging scratcher for this type of cat, you’re better off sticking to the basics, without bells and whistles, and choosing a scratcher with little odor or fragrance (unless it’s catnip). You’ll also want to choose one that stays relatively still while your cat scratches.

Adjustable and soft

The loop on this scratcher is long enough to double-knot so it hangs higher on the door at your cat’s preferred height. The soft and odorless latex backing is ideal for use on the floor, too, and it won’t scratch the door’s finish when it’s used as a hanging scratcher.

Hanging cat scratcher features

It can be baffling to try to determine your cat’s preferences in order to choose the right scratcher. While shopping for a hanging scratcher, there are a few main features to keep in mind, including the material, dimensions, loop, and backing.

Material

Hanging scratchers are typically made from sisal or corrugated cardboard. Sisal doesn’t shed as much as corrugated cardboard, but regardless, it’s easy to vacuum up the shreds.

Dimensions

  • Width: Some cats are messy scratchers and need a wider surface to do their work. Cat scratchers that hang are limited in width, ranging from five to nearly eight inches.

  • Length: If the scratcher isn’t long enough for your cat to stretch up on its hind legs and claw, it won’t be used. What counts (to a cat, at least) is the length of the scratcher minus the loop.

  • Thickness: If you like the idea of a double-sided scratcher, corrugated cardboard may be the best option. Many are made double thickness so when one side wears out, all you need to do is turn it around for a fresh scratching surface.

Loop

You can use a longer loop to adjust the height of the scratcher. Look for a loop that can withstand constant tugging and won’t easily slide off and end up on the floor. If it comes off the door while your cat is using the scratcher, it could sour your kitty on ever using it again.

Backing

If the hanging scratcher moves around too much, your cat won’t like it. A nonslip backing that’s sticky or tacky keeps it from sliding around too much.

Extras

When comparing hanging cat scratchers, keep an eye out for these features that may entice your kitty enough to make it his or her new favorite scratching area.

  • Catnip: Some scratchers are infused with catnip; others have a pocket to place a bag of catnip to entice cats to use the toy.

  • Interactive elements: Visual and tactile items, such as attached feathers, bells, or balls, can also attract a cat to use the scratcher.

  • Weighted hem: Some scratchers with fabric borders have small weights sewn into the hem to hold them down while your cat scratches.

  • Border: Though your cat may not care about a pretty border, having a fabric hem around the scratching area gives it aesthetic appeal in your home.
EXPERT TIP

Cats begin to scratch when they’re about two months old. That’s the time to train them to scratch on appropriate surfaces.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Add adhesive hook-and-loop fastener tape or strong double-sided tape to the door and back of the hanging scratcher to keep it from swinging back and forth.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Hang scratchers in unusual places, not just on the main doors in your home. Cats love the thrill of finding a new place to scratch. Try closet doors or the knob of a heavy, sturdy bureau.


Staff  | BestReviews

Hanging cat scratcher prices

Inexpensive: Under $10, you’ll find basic cat scratchers that hang on the door. Though mostly made of corrugated cardboard, you may find some sisal door hangers, too.

Mid-range: Between $10 to $15, you’ll find more aesthetically pleasing sisal scratchers with fabric borders, interactive elements and accessories, and slightly wider surfaces. In this price range, some of the hanging corrugated box scratchers can also be used as horizontal floor scratchers.

Expensive: In the $22 to $26 price range, you’ll find specialty types of hanging cat scratchers. The pricier items hang off a couch arm, wall, or even window. They’re made of sisal or corrugated cardboard, as well.

Affordable fun

Corrugated cardboard scratchers are economical, and, happily, the SmartyKat scratcher has two sides so it lasts twice as long. The multifunctional handle on this scratcher is designed to hang on a door or sit at an angle on the floor, where it’s easier to add more of the organic catnip that comes with it.

Tips

  • Look for a loose weave. Although the material used on a scratcher needs to be durable, it could be too tight for a cat to scratch. Cats like loosely woven material that they can tear into and leave a visual territorial mark. Cardboard and sisal hanging scratchers help a cat do just that.

  • Reward your cat for using the scratcher. Every time you see your cat using a scratcher, generously reward your furry friend with treats and affection. This helps a cat understand that there’s a positive association with scratching in that particular place.

  • Offer your cat both horizontal and vertical scratching surfaces. A number of hanging scratchers can do double duty as floor scratchers. The reason cats need both is that they work different sets of muscles while scratching in various positions, such as crouching down or stretching upward.

Other products we considered

Hanging a scratcher vertically on the wall may help satisfy your cat’s urges, too. That’s why we love the 4CLAWS Wall-Mounted Scratching Post that’s 26 inches high, but you can adjust and mount it to whatever height is best for your cat. If you don’t know exactly which material will be best for your cat, why not get a scratcher with three surfaces in one? That’s what we like about the Cat Craft Door Hanging Scratching Pad. It’s made from wood, faux fur, and rough woven sisal. If you’re looking for the ultimate hanging cat scratcher with a view, look no further than the K&H Pet Products EZ Mount Window Scratcher Kitty Sill that hangs with heavy-duty suction cups and holds up to 50 pounds.

Multi-cat households need multiple scratching options. Never expect two cats to use the same scratching surface. A two-cat home might need at least four scratchers.

FAQ

Q. Why won’t my cat use a scratcher with catnip?

A. Cats can be incredibly frustrating, but we love their independent nature. When it comes to catnip, it may be that your cat isn’t being stubborn but is simply unable to respond to the plant. The way a cat responds to catnip is hereditary. There’s a 50/50 chance your cat doesn’t have the gene that triggers the response. Kittens under three months, and sometimes six months, won’t respond to catnip, either. Another surprise: mature and geriatric cats may lose their sensitivity to catnip over time, too. Instead of catnip, try inviting your cat to use a hanging scratcher by adding dangling toys.

Q. Will my cat’s claws get stuck on a hanging cat scratcher?

A. Some cats seem to get themselves in situations where they can’t retract or release their claws from a surface, such as carpeting loops. That’s a good reason to have sisal or corrugated scratchers around the house to help them blunt their claws. However, some cats retain little tips on their claws no matter how much they scratch. You don’t want to find your kitty helplessly dangling from a claw stuck in a hanging scratcher, so learn how to clip the tips of its nails just enough so they won’t hook onto materials.

Q. Do cats prefer sisal rope or sisal fabric?

A. If only we could ask them, but we do at least know cats love sisal in general. Cats prefer to make long shredding marks not only to mark territory but also because it’s pleasurable. Sisal fabric tends to shred more easily under their claws. Sisal rope interrupts the downward shredding motion. However, all cats are different (finicky), and while one cat may love sisal fabric, another could prefer the feel of sisal rope.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Erica
    Erica
    Writer
  • Marilyn
    Marilyn
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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