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10 Best Cardboard Cat Scratchers in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

cats and District 70 Sardine Cardboard Cat Scratcher Toy

Cats are arguably one of the easiest pets to care for. They are naturally litter-trained, have a nonchalant attitude, and will handle a large part of their grooming.

However, there is a caveat; cats love scratching. They will scratch almost anything that feels good against their claws, with some of their favorite scratching surfaces being precious furniture and upholstery.

Nonetheless, they don’t scratch to spite. Scratching is instinctual to cats, even among those in the wild. As such, there is no such thing as a cat that does not scratch. Therefore, without a dedicated scratcher, your cat will look for anything that can serve the purpose, such as your furniture, upholstery, walls, and carpet.

This means that a cat scratcher is a must-have tool if you share your living space with a cat.

Cat scratchers come in a variety of materials, shapes, and sizes. The most common ones include wood, sisal, and cardboard. Out of those options, cardboard cat scratchers are usually the least expensive.

Nonetheless, even among cardboard cat scratchers, products can vary considerably in quality, design, and effectiveness. Therefore, finding the best cardboard scratcher might not be as easy as you would wish.

Fortunately, we have done the legwork for you. The following are reviews of the 10 best cardboard cat scratchers on the market today.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Scratch Lounge Cardboard Cat Scratcher Scratch Lounge Cardboard Cat Scratcher
  • Long-lasting
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Reversible construction
  • Best Value
    Second place
    SmartyKat Scratch Up Hanging Cat Scratcher SmartyKat Scratch Up Hanging Cat Scratcher
  • Comes with catnip
  • High quality
  • Adaptable design—acts as both hanging and floor scratcher
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    District 70 Sardine Cardboard Cat Scratcher District 70 Sardine Cardboard Cat Scratcher
  • Made from eco-friendly corrugated cardboard
  • Sturdy
  • Stylish
  • Catit Bench Scratcher with Catnip Catit Bench Scratcher with Catnip
  • Doubles as a lounge
  • Durable cardboard construction
  • Stylish
  • Hepper Hi-lo Cat Scratcher Hepper Hi-lo Cat Scratcher
  • Elegant design
  • Eco-friendly materials
  • Non-slip grips for stability
  • The 10 Best Cardboard Cat Scratchers – Reviews 2021

    1. Scratch Lounge Cardboard Cat Scratcher – Best Overall

    scratch lounge original_Chewy

    The Scratch Lounge scratcher is our favorite cardboard scratcher for many reasons. For starters, it comes with a unique design that offers more than a scratching surface. It also acts as a nest, which will indulge your feline’s love for squeezing itself into smaller spaces.

    The cardboard used to make this scratcher is made from recycled paper. This means that it allows you to not only provide your cat with a place to exercise its natural instincts but also to be environmentally friendly while at it.

    Some cats tend to be leery of new things. To make it irresistible, the Scratch Lounge scratcher comes with a sachet of catnip. Simply sprinkle some of the catnip on the scratcher to draw your cat to it.

    Another thing we love about this scratcher is its longevity. This design allows you to turn over the scratching surface to reveal a brand new one. Therefore, do not start sweating once the original surface starts showing signs of wear.

    Nonetheless, the Scratch Lounge scratcher is one of the pricier options on the market. Additionally, larger cats might not be able to fit into it.

    Pros
    • Unique and friendly design that indulges a cat’s natural tendencies
    • Multiple surfaces for scratching
    • Long-lasting
    • Environmentally friendly
    • Reversible construction
    • Comes with catnip
    Cons
    • Might be small for some cats

    2. SmartyKat Scratch Up Hanging Cat Scratcher – Best Value

    SmartyKat Scratch Up Hanging Cat Scratcher with Catnip

    If you are on a tight budget, we recommend this cardboard scratcher by SmartyKat.

    First off, the Scratch Up Hanging cat scratcher is made in the USA, meaning that you can be sure of its quality. Secondly, it has a simple yet incredibly effective design that your cat will be drawn to immediately.

    This scratcher can be hung from various surfaces, including the doorknob. If you know anything about cats’ scratching habits, then you know they love combining scratching with stretching. Therefore, by simply hanging this scratcher, your cat will instinctively give it a try while getting a stretch, as they would with a tree. All that without having to buy an expensive cat tree, or having to lure your cat into trying it out.

    Nonetheless, if your cat is the stubborn type, the manufacturer has thrown in some organic catnip that you can sprinkle on the Scratch Up to get your pet interested.

    What’s more, once it is worn completely, simply remove the back to reveal a new scratching surface. Talk about getting your money’s worth! And did we say that you can also place the Scratch Up on the floor if your cat prefers doing their scratching on level surfaces? The possibilities are endless.

    The only issue we have with this product is that it is rather flimsy. Cats prefer a steady surface, which this scratcher is not. With that said, we still believe that the SmartyKat Scratch Up is one of the best cardboard scratchers for the money.

    Pros
    • Made in the USA
    • High quality
    • Adaptable design—acts as both hanging and floor scratcher
    • Budget-friendly
    • Comes with catnip
    Cons
    • Flimsy

    3. District 70 Sardine Cardboard Cat Scratcher – Premium Choice

    District 70 Sardine Cardboard Cat Scratcher Toy

    It seems as though District 70 had both you and your cat’s interests in mind when creating this scratcher. The Sardine is both a cat house and scratcher, allowing your cat to hide inside when it is not feeling social. Additionally, it is incredibly stylish, making for a unique piece of interior décor.

    The Sardine has a large scratching surface area, which makes it a great choice for cats of all sizes. We also love that it is made from eco-friendly corrugated cardboard, which not only feels great against your kitty’s claws but also does not contain any harmful constituents.

    Unlike most cardboard scratchers, the Sardine is sturdy, meaning it does not wobble or tip easily. This makes it even more appealing to cats, as they do not like unstable scratching surfaces.

    Its multi-purpose design allows your cat to climb on it, lay on top of it, or hide inside when it feels sleepy.  And it comes with two doors for your cat’s convenience.

    Even though this scratcher is one of the more expensive cardboard options, you will appreciate its value proposition. Your cat gets a multi-purpose toy while you get to update your interior. It is a win-win.

    Pros
    • Versatile design
    • Made from eco-friendly corrugated cardboard
    • Sturdy
    • Stylish
    • Great for cats of all sizes
    Cons
    • A bit pricey

    4. Catit Bench Scratcher with Catnip

    Catit Bench Scratcher with Catnip

    Some of the best things in life are simple in nature or design. The Bench Scratcher by Catit is a good example of that. It features a simple design consisting of a lounge on two legs.

    If your cat is like any other, it means that it is always on the lookout for the best place to kick back and relax. The Catit Bench Scratcher offers just that. If the animal feels like stretching and scratching, the durable cardboard construction has them covered.

    Another great thing about this scratcher is that it does not take up lots of space. This means that you do not have to invest in many scratchers, as you can simply take it to where your cat is. Moreover, the manufacturer also includes a bag of catnip in the package to allow you to incentivize your kitty to use this lounge.

    However, due to its lightweight frame, this scratcher is not as sturdy as we would like it to be. That flaw can make it unappealing to some cats.

    Pros
    • Doubles as a lounge
    • Durable cardboard construction
    • Stylish
    • Comes with catnip
    • Ideal for cats of all sizes
    Cons
    • Not sturdy enough

    5. Hepper Hi-lo Cat Scratcher

    Hepper Hi-lo Cat Scratcher

    When looking for the ideal scratcher for your kitty, one of the most important factors to consider is your cat’s preferred scratching angle. For the longest time, this meant having to experiment with different styles of scratchers to find one that your cat loves. Unfortunately, that also meant having to spend unnecessarily.

    To help you circumvent that problem, Hepper came up with an ingenious solution, which is the Hi-Lo cat scratcher. This scratcher allows you to reconfigure the angles to identify your cat’s preference. It comes with 5 different angle positions, ranging from horizontal to vertical. It is also an incredibly elegant scratcher, making for a nice addition to your décor.

    The Hepper Hi-Lo’s construction consists of grooved cardboard on a plywood frame. Both materials are non-toxic to ensure that your cat’s health is not compromised. The cardboard is about 2½ inches thick, meaning that it will take a while before you need to replace this scratcher.

    The metal legs this scratcher comes with are easy to install and adjust. Additionally, they come with non-slip grips for extra stability.

    The only drawback to this scratcher is that it wears out rather fast, despite having 2½-inch thick cardboard.

    ExcitedCats.com has a controlling interest in the Hepper brand. Therefore, we will benefit from any Hepper purchase you make as a result of this review.

    Pros
    • Allows you to identify your cat’s favorite scratching angle
    • Elegant design
    • Eco-friendly materials
    • Non-slip grips for stability
    Cons
    • Wears out rather fast

    6. Bergan Turbo Cat Scratcher Toy

    Bergan Turbo Cat Scratcher Toy

    What we love about the Bergan Turbo cat scratcher is how it facilitates two favorite feline hobbies—playing and scratching.

    This toy comes in the form of a plastic ball with a corrugated scratchpad at the center. You know how excited cats are about balls—they will nudge, chase, and pounce. And when they are tired, they can scratch away at the pad.

    What’s more, the ball is made from hard plastic, meaning that it does not break easily. In fact, the scratchpad is what is going to wear out first. To ensure that this toy retains its functionality, the manufacturer offers replacement scratchpads separately. Therefore, simply order a couple of pads once the original one starts showing signs of wear.

    However, despite the ingenuity behind the Bergan Turbo’s design, it is a supplementary scratcher at best. It cannot serve as a main scratcher. Because, as mentioned, cats prefer steady surfaces for proper scratching. Therefore, you will still have to invest in a proper scratcher. Nevertheless, we appreciate the thought that went into designing this toy. Your kitty will love it.

    Pros
    • Doubles as a toy
    • Durable
    • Replaceable scratchpads
    Cons
    • Not ideal as the primary scratcher

    7. Fat Cat Big Mama’s Scratch ‘N Play

    Fat Cat Big Mama's Scratch 'N Play Ramp Cat Toy

    While scratching satisfies a cat’s natural instincts, few scratchers facilitate actual nail grooming. This is where Fat Cat Big Mama’s Scratch’ N Play has other scratchers beat; it comes with grooved nooks and crannies that allow your cat to groom and trim its nails as it scratches the board.

    Additionally, its slanted ramp design makes it a multi-purpose tool, as it allows your cat to stretch, lie, or use it as a slide bridge.

    The Scratch’ N Play is remarkably durable as well. Like some of the other options on this list, its scratchpad is also reversible. As such, if the original surface begins to wear out, simply reverse it to reveal a new scratchpad. What’s more, it is made from eco-friendly materials, meaning that it poses no danger to your kitty or the environment.

    The manufacturer also includes some catnip and a small removable toy as a bonus for even more fun. On your part, you will appreciate the Scratch’ N Play’s unique design that adds to your home’s interior décor.

    The only issue we had with the Scratch’ N Play is that it does tend to slide around a good bit. Additionally, its nooks and crannies can trap a cat’s nails.

    Pros
    • Facilitates proper nail grooming
    • Allows cats to stretch and play
    • Reversible design to enhance longevity
    • Sleek design that adds to your décor
    • Comes with a small toy and catnip
    Cons
    • Not sturdy enough
    • Claws sometimes get caught in the nooks and crannies

    8. Paws & Pals Square Cat Scratcher Post and Lounger

    Paws & Pals Square Cat Scratcher Post and Lounger

    The Paw & Pals Square cat scratcher is a cubic multi-purpose tool, acting as a scratcher, stretching & lounging spot, a hideout, as well as a toy.

    This scratcher features an innovative design that supports a wide variety of scratching and stretching angles, making it one of the few cat scratchers on the market that is ideal for all types of cats. Additionally, it has a square hole that allows your feline friend to indulge in their obsession with squeezing in small spaces.

    What’s more, you can even pull the cube out of the scratcher to reveal up to 4 extra scratching surfaces, making it a good fit for families with several cats.

    This unit is made from 100% recycled cardboard.

    Unfortunately, the quality of this cat scratcher has been inconsistent lately. We hope that the manufacturer takes the necessary measures.

    Pros
    • Multi-purpose cat scratcher
    • Accommodates a wide variety of scratching preferences
    • Can be used by several cats at the same time
    • 100% recycled cardboard
    Cons
    • Inconsistent quality lately

    9. PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher

    PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge Toy with Catnip

    The Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge by PetFusion is one of the most versatile cat scratchers in the game. It comes with a unique “infinity” shape design that does more than just offer your cat a scratching surface.

    Its soft curves make it the ultimate lounging spot, while the bottom offers your cat a place to hide or play. Additionally, it can support two cats at the same time. Its remarkably stylish design is another reason you will want to purchase this scratching lounge.

    This scratching lounge is made from dense, recycled cardboard. This not only ensures you longevity but also the peace of mind knowing that you will not be harming your cat or the environment. To add to that durability, the boards are reversible, meaning that all you have to do is flip them over once one side begins to show signs of wear.

    However, more than a few cats have been observed to show disinterest in this scratching lounge. This is the reason we have ranked this great product so low on our list. Moreover, it is quite pricey.

    Pros
    • Top-quality
    Cons
    • Some cats do not like it
    • Expensive

    10. AMZNOVA Cat Scratcher

    AMZNOVA Cat Scratcher

    This scratcher by AMZNOVA is an eco-friendly product made from corrugated cardboard. As mentioned, cats love corrugated cardboard, thanks to how good it feels against their claws. Additionally, it can withstand harsh scratching for a whole lot longer than standard cardboard would.

    Nonetheless, this scratcher is too small and light to be used as the main scratcher.

    Pros
    • Made from recyclable corrugated cardboard
    Cons
    • Too small and light
    • Some cats won’t try it

    Buyer’s Guide

    If you love your furniture and are thinking of sharing your home with a feline buddy, you better get a cat scratcher. Cats have an instinctual need to scratch; it is ingrained in their DNA. It serves a host of purposes, none of which involves annoying you, though that can sometimes be a byproduct.

    For example, scratching helps cats to remove the outer layer of their claw to reveal a new one, in addition to being a form of stress relief and exercise. As such, a scratching cat is a healthy cat.  Therefore, if you cannot stand a cat’s scratching habits, you might want to consider another type of pet.

    Fortunately, a cat scratcher is all you need to solve that problem. However, as mentioned, these tools vary significantly in quality, usage, and effectiveness. Therefore, you want to be sure that the product you choose is a good fit for both your cat and yourself.

    The following are the most important factors to consider when looking for the ideal cat scratcher for your kitty:

    Size

    Cat scratchers come in a wide variety of sizes. However, we found that most cats prefer larger scratchers. And it does make sense considering cats honed their scratching instincts on trees. Trees are large and stable, allowing a cat to exert its weight without the fear of slipping. Moreover, cats tend to stretch as they scratch, which is why a stable surface is important to them.

    Therefore, while there are some good small cat scratchers out there, you will never go wrong with a larger one. Nonetheless, a small-sized scratcher is great if it also doubles as a toy. However, it cannot be the cat’s main scratcher.

    cat in Catit Bench Scratcher with Catnip

    Mounted or Standalone

    Some cardboard cat scratchers come as standalone pieces, while others need to be mounted on the wall or floor. Obviously, mounted scratchers are the superior option, as they are stable. This is especially relevant when it comes to cardboard scratchers since they are the lightest of all scratcher types.

    Replaceable Scratchpads

    As mentioned, cardboard scratchers come in a wide variety of designs. One of the most practical designs is one that allows you to replace the scratching surface once your cat wears it out. This means that you will not have to invest in a whole new scratcher, thus allowing you to cut costs.

    cats in Paws & Pals Square Cat Scratcher Post and Lounger

    Reversible Surface

    Another way in which manufacturers enhance the durability of their scratchers is by making them reversible. Once your cat wears out the original surface, simply flip it over to reveal a new one. We love these kinds of scratchers due to how durable they are.

    Multi-Purpose

    Some scratchers combine various feline interests into one tool, making them incredibly practical. For example, some scratchers come in the form of a box, nest, or lounge, giving your cat a place to rest and a surface to scratch. Others come in the form of toys. Multi-purpose scratchers are a great option, as they save you from having to purchase different cat toys.

    Style

    At the end of the day, the scratcher will likely end up in your living room. Since you do not want it to be an eyesore, consider how a scratcher’s design affects your décor.

    cat paw divider

    Conclusion

    A cat scratcher is a must-have tool for cat owners. It allows you to not only keep your pet healthy and happy but also to save your furniture, carpets, and upholstery from the cat’s claws.

    While there are numerous cardboard cat scratchers on the market, only a handful are worth your consideration.

    If you must choose one, we recommend the Scratch Lounge Cardboard Cat Scratcher. It has the best combination of size, practicality, and value out of all the scratchers we reviewed. But if you are on a budget, consider the Scratch Up Hanging Cat Scratcher by SmartyKat. You will be hard-pressed to find a better scratcher at that price.

    Most importantly, do not forget to consider other types of scratchers, such as wood- or sisal-based. This is because they have inherent advantages over cardboard scratchers, especially when it comes to practicality and durability.