ExcitedCats is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Sandpaper Cat Scratcher: Is It a Good Idea?

If you’re thinking about making a DIY cat scratcher for your furry friend, you might be wondering if you can use any materials that you have lying around the house. Offering your cat a few different scratching posts can save your furniture and keep your cat happy and healthy.


Why do cats scratch things?

Scratching is an instinctive behavior for your cat, so it’s not something that they have any control over. They just have to scratch! There are a few main reasons that cats scratch, including:

cat scratching couch
Image Credit: Magdanatka, Shutterstock

  • To remove the outer dead layer from their claws
  • To mark their territory with pheromones
  • To stretch their muscles

If you catch your cat scratching something that you’d rather they didn’t — like the arm of your brand-new couch, for example — punishing them is never the answer.

Instead, you should redirect this behavior to somewhere specific, like a cat scratcher! If you haven’t been providing environmental enrichment for your cat in the form of a variety of scratching surfaces, you shouldn’t be surprised if your cat can’t resist scratching on any surface within your house.

With that in mind, offering a few different cat scratchers will allow your cat to carry out this natural behavior while also keeping your furniture free from the effects of their claws. It’s a win-win!

Is sandpaper a good material for scratching posts?

If you’ve been researching cat scratching posts, you may have seen DIY plans that use sandpaper. This material is nice, coarse, and cheap, and you might even have some lying around your house. But is it a suitable material?

The answer is that it depends on your cat. It’s not the best material for any cat, though.

Just like us, cats have their own individual likes and dislikes. Some cats will be clear in letting you know what is acceptable and what is definitely not!

This mainly goes for food and toys, but it also applies to things like scratching posts. Some cats will use scratching posts with sandpaper, and others won’t go anywhere near them. The only way to know is to try with your own cat and see what happens!

While some cats might tolerate a sandpaper scratching post, we recommend that you try other materials first.

Abrasive materials like sandpaper may not be the best choice

The scratching posts that you’ll see for sale in pet stores and online are usually made from a range of materials, including:

  • Rope
  • Carpet
  • Wood
  • Corrugated cardboard

None of these are abrasive like sandpaper and are generally considered to be more suitable materials for scratching posts.

Abrasive materials like sandpaper don’t necessarily help your cat shed the old layers of their claws, which is one of the primary reasons that they scratch things in the first place. Many cats don’t actually like the texture of sandpaper, and it’s even recommended as a material to place over areas that you don’t want your cat to scratch!

Sandpaper can hurt your cat’s paw pads

The abrasive nature of sandpaper can end up hurting your cat’s paw pads as they run them down the surface.

This can lead to pain if the abrasion is deep, or it will at least put your cat off from using that particular scratching post again.

What’s the best material for cat scratching posts?

If you’re trying to make a DIY scratching post for your cat, there are many other materials that they’ll probably prefer to sandpaper. We recommend trying:

  • Sisal rope
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Carpet

If your house has carpeted areas that you don’t want your cat scratching, you might want to avoid a carpet-covered scratching post. It can be confusing for your cat to be allowed to scratch the carpet on the post but told not to scratch the carpet everywhere else! Some cats do just fine working out where it’s acceptable to scratch carpet, but for other cats, you may find that they scratch all carpet!

cat paw divider

Wrapping it up

While some cats will use scratching posts made with sandpaper, you should try other materials first. Cats generally prefer a softer material, like cardboard or rope, that they can sink their claws into. This helps them easily remove the outer dead layer of their claws, which is one of the main reasons that cats love to scratch!

thematic break

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay