The 7 Best Eco-Friendly Cat Scratchers of 2021

Save your furniture with these sustainable scratchers.

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The Rundown
A sturdy wall-mounted scratcher gives your cat lots of room to stretch, make with recycled materials.
Recycled cardboard scratchers with catnip that you can hang or place on the floor.
Because of its sleek, modern design, you won’t feel like you have to tuck this post in a corner.
Vertical scratcher made from recycled paper material, comes with organic catnip.
Versatile sisal scratcher that can mount on the wall, hang, or sit on the floor.
Floor-to-ceiling elaborate creations made of solid wood and sisal rope.
Solid cedar scratching posts for cats that like digging into wood.

Cats love to scratch. They don’t tear up your couch because they hate your taste in furniture. Scratching is an instinctive behavior. 

Cats need to stretch their bodies and flex their claws and feet. When they scratch, they can mark their territory using the scent glands in their paws and with the visual scratch marks. Scratching also allows them to slough off the dead top layer of their claws.

The key, of course, is to give your cat a place to scratch that both of you find acceptable. We looked for cat scratchers that were made with as many natural products as we could find, including natural sisal rope, recycled paper products, and wood.

Invite your cat up to the keyboard and take a look at the best eco-friendly cat scratchers.

Best Overall: Catipilla Cat Scratcher

Catipilla Cat Scratcher

This wall-mounted scratcher gives your feline friend plenty of room to stretch. It comes in four sizes and has a sleek, clean design. The product features South American sisal rope. According to the manufacturer, they look for the “whitest” natural sisal rope they can find and never bleach it. You can buy replacement cylinders for the post once your cat has done a number on the sisal.

The scratcher is very eco-friendly. The aluminum is sourced from 79 percent recycled material, and packaging is made from 100 percent recycled material. All aluminum, platforms, plates, casing, and packaging are also recyclable, and Catipilla has a paper-free office

The main downside is that because the company is based in the United Kingdom, there is a substantial shipping fee to other countries.

Best Budget: SmartyKat Scratch Up Cat Scratcher

SmartyKat Scratch Up

Whether you just want to try a scratcher for your cat or want to put a bunch of them all over your home, this is a very economical option. The SmartyKat hanging scratcher is made from recycled cardboard and is recyclable when your cat has shredded it. You can either put it on the floor or hang it from a door with the over-the-knob cardboard holder, although some cats will ignore over-the-knob scratchers that don't offer a secure grip. The scratcher is about 20 inches long and comes with catnip.

A statement on the company website says it was founded on the principle that “environmentally responsible products should be as functional, as affordable, and as stylish as conventional ones,” promising that products are made with “high-quality recycled, reclaimed, organic, and sustainable materials whenever possible.”

Best Minimalist Design: Tuft + Paw Zip Scratching Post

Tuft + Paw Zip Scratching Post

This upright scratcher features tightly woven sisal carpet over plywood on a sturdy, wide base, so it’s less likely to topple over if your cat is energetic when it's scratching time. It’s 36 inches tall, so there’s plenty of room for cats that really like to stretch.

Because this scratching post is a sleek, modern design, you won’t feel like you have to tuck it in a corner. It comes in three muted, earthy colors: tan, brown, and gray. The durable sisal wipes clean with a lint roller.

Best Recycled: Way Basics Vertical Cat Scratcher

Way Basics Vertical Cat Scratcher

If you don’t want to permanently attach a scratching post to the wall, this is a slick solution. The Way Basics Vertical Scratcher goes flat against a surface, allowing your cat to get in a long stretch while working those scratching instincts.

Eco-friendly and sustainable, the scratcher is made from a product called Z-board, which is composed of recycled paper products. It’s non-toxic and has no formaldehyde or VOCs. The product comes with some organic catnip in case you need help luring your kitty to start scratching. There’s a lifetime guarantee if used correctly.

Best for Small Spaces: SmartCat Bootsie's Combination Scratcher

SmartCat Bootsie's Combination Scratcher

This sisal scratcher is very versatile. You can mount it on the wall, hang it over a door, or prop it up on the floor. At 24-inches tall, it doesn’t take up a lot of space, but it’s long enough to give your cat plenty of room to stretch and scratch.

Nubby sisal naturally inspires scratching. Rubber feet will keep the post from skidding across the floor. This simple scratcher can last for many years before it has to be replaced. Some cats even liked to take naps on it after a vigorous scratching session.

Best Custom: Cats Cozy Space Floor-to-Ceiling Cat Tree

Cats Cozy Space Floor-to-Ceiling Cat Tree

If you really want to splurge on your best pal, this is the place to start. This Etsy shop has great ideas and uses all-natural materials, mostly solid wood and sisal rope. You can create floor-to-ceiling trees and scratching posts with baskets or shelves for your cat to perch. The shelves have 100 percent natural wool felt pads.

You can work with CatsCozySpace to come up with pretty much any configuration. However, the shop is based in Poland, so shipping is expensive and may take about two months to arrive after an order is placed.

Best Natural Wood: Mountain Pet Products Wood Cat Scratching Post

Wood Scratching Post

Handmade in Hardwick, Massachusetts, these solid cedar scratching posts are a great option for cats that prefer digging their claws into solid wood. Basic and gorgeous, the post is a simple all-natural northern white cedar post in a square base for stability.

Natural cedar develops cracks as it ages. That's normal, says the manufacturer, and won’t affect the integrity (or the good looks) of your cat’s post.

Final Verdict

The Catipilla Cat Scratcher (view at Etsy) is a slick, wall-mounted scratcher made of South American sisal rope with easy-to-replace cartridges. If you don’t want to permanently attach something to the wall, check out the Vertical Scratcher Cat Toy made of recycled materials by Way Basics (view at Way Basics).

What to Look for in an Eco-Friendly Cat Scratcher

Materials

There are many cat scratchers on the market made with plastic or carpet spun from synthetic fibers. These aren’t the most eco-friendly materials because they’re typically made from fossil fuel byproducts. Instead, look for natural or recycled materials. 

Sisal rope is commonly found in scratchers, which comes from a plant native to South America. Similar to hemp, sisal can be grown with no pesticides or chemical fertilizers and is fully biodegradable at the end of a product’s life. Another sustainable option is recycled/recyclable cardboard.

Scratch Texture

If you’ve caught your kitty clawing something you’d prefer he or she didn’t destroy, you probably have some idea of what kind of materials appeal to your cat. Many cats like something with plenty of texture for their claws to sink into, but if you’re not sure where to start, consider an inexpensive cardboard option. 

Size

If you have a big cat, you’ll probably want a bigger scratcher, or consider mounting the scratcher on a higher spot on the wall. On the other hand, you’ll want to make sure the scratch pad isn’t too high for smaller cats or kittens. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

To create this list, we researched cat scratchers made from natural and recycled materials, while avoiding plastic and synthetic fabrics.

The proud mom of a rescue dog, Mary Jo DiLonardo pet sits all the neighborhood cats. For more than 25 years, Mary Jo has covered a wide range of topics focused on nature, pets, health, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place. She has spent more than six years with Treehugger, formerly under the Mother Nature Network brand.

This article was edited by Senior Treehugger Editor Margaret Badore, who has a cat that loves to claw at cardboard scratchers like our budget pick.