Scratching posts last approximately 6 months to 2 years or more.
This estimation is based on how many cats you own and how actively they use it. If your scratching post only receives light use, it will last longer than one that is used frequently or that gets used by many different cats.
If you’re a cat owner, or soon-to-be, then you have probably researched the benefits of a scratching post. While there are many reasons to buy one for your cat, it’s important to know how long they will last.
The Life Expectancy of a Scratching Post
Scratching posts are a type of cat furniture designed to give your kitty an outlet for their natural scratching instincts – but how long do they last?
The short answer is: 6 months to 2 years.
This might seem like a broad timespan, but that’s because there are a lot of factors to consider about how quickly your scratching post will need to be replaced.
Through personal experience and thorough research, here’s all you need to know about how long your scratching post will last.
How to Determine How Long Your Scratching Post Lasts
There’s no magical algorithm to understand how long a scratching post will last, because there are several factors that contribute to the answer. If you find yourself wondering about how you can figure out your scratching post’s life expectancy, this is what you should consider:
1 – Your cat’s activity level and how much they use the scratching post is a major factor in when you should buy a new one.
On average, your cat will sleep 15-20 hours per day, but that doesn’t mean they’re not full of energy when they’re up and about.
The amount of time your cat spends using their scratching post will determine how much wear-and-tear it receives, which in turn will help you to know when to replace it.
This is based on your cat’s activity level, which can depend on a variety of factors such as their:
Based on these factors, you can make an educated guess about how much action your scratching post is going to receive.
For example, a feisty and energetic kitten will typically use a scratching post much more than a quiet and laidback adult cat.
Despite this, it’s important to remember that every cat’s temperament and their living situation is different. Some younger cats are much calmer while an older kitty who’s used to getting ample playtime might love using their scratching post frequently.
On the other hand, your kitty could fall in love with their scratching post or only use it when they’re feeling especially bored.
Once you determine how much activity your scratching post is going to receive from your cat, you can estimate how long it has before your kitty has shredded it beyond repair.
2 – The number of cats you have in your own home can determine the lifespan of your scratching post.
How much your single cat uses their scratching post and the number of cats in your household can also influence how long it lasts.
If there are several kitties taking turns on the scratching post, then it will quickly suffer wear-and-tear.
Whether you have one cat or five, understanding their individual activity levels and how much they each use the scratching post will allow you to figure out how often you’ll need to replace it.
It’s not as simple as thinking that each cat that uses the scratching post multiplies that destruction. Instead, you should pay attention to:
- How often your cats individually use the scratching post
- Where they choose to scratch
- How intensely they scratch
If your cats seem to be focused on a specific part of the scratching post, it may cause one part of it to become more worn than the rest.
If the wear-and-tear doesn’t create a dangerous circumstance, it’s okay to let your scratching post suffer a little before getting a new one, especially in a multi-cat household where your cats might be using it all the time.
The best option when you have several active cats in your home is to purchase multiple scratching posts and cat scratchers for them to enjoy.
By doing this, you’ll ensure that your cats have plenty of options and you won’t need to worry about how quickly your cats might destroy a single scratching post because you will have a back-up ready to go.
3 – The quality of your scratching post has a serious effect on how long it will hold up against your cat’s claws.
Scratching posts incorporate many different materials, such as:
Typically, the base of a scratching post will contain wood, pressboard, cardboard, or a combination of the three.
Carpet, sisal, rope, and felt complement the structure and are the parts of the scratching post that your cats will claw at.
High quality scratching posts are typically constructed from some type of wood. They have a sturdy base that leads up into a thick post, which allows your cat to claw, stretch, and climb with ease.
Lower quality scratching posts will be made from pressboard and/or cardboard, or a cheaper wood. They may be flimsier since these materials aren’t as strong, which means that your cat will be able to break it down more quickly.
You can determine the quality of a scratching post based on:
- Price range
While you might not be able to let your cat test out every scratching post on the market, online reviews and viewing scratchers in person at your local pet store are great ways to get an idea of the quality of a scratching post – but that doesn’t mean you need the best one out there.
Different types of scratching posts are designed to fit different types of kitties. For example, a household with one easygoing cat versus a household with three very active felines will require their own set-ups.
Make sure to do thorough research before purchasing a scratching post to find one that best meets your needs.
4 – The design of your scratching post can affect how long it lasts based on its size, shape, and purpose.
Scratching posts don’t all come in one size, shape, and color. There’s a diverse group of cat furniture, and different kinds will hold up against your cat’s claws longer than others.
The most notable difference between scratching posts is their size.
If you compare a 1-foot tall post to a 3-foot-tall post, you’ll likely notice more wear-and-tear on the smaller version since there’s less material for your cat to scratch up.
The more surface area your cat must scratch, the more time it will take before you’ll need to replace the scratching post altogether.
Typically, smaller scratching posts are less expensive than their bigger counterparts, and there’s nothing wrong with choosing a tinier model.
If you have a kitten or a cat on the smaller side, a small scratching post should suit their needs just fine. If you have an adult cat or multiple cats, a larger scratching post would work well to handle the number of claws that will be tackling it.
In addition to this, scratching posts may also have extra features such as:
These additions may fall off or break before the actual scratching post is completely worn down. If this happens, if they don’t leave behind anything that your cat could harm themselves on, it’s okay to keep the post around for your kitty to scratch.
How to Decide When to Replace a Scratching Post
Even when you look at all the factors to predict your scratching post’s lifespan, it can be difficult to have an exact answer as to when it’s time to toss yours in the trash and replace it.
For every cat-friendly household, it’s up to you to decide when your cats need a new post, but there are some things to look out for that can help you make this decision.
You should consider replacing your scratching post if:
- The fabric/scratching materials, such as carpet, sisal, or felt, are coming off the post.
- Pieces of the scratching post, such as toys and platforms, are falling apart.
The severity of these two possibilities is what should determine when you throw away your current scratching post and buy a new one.
If the post is still functional, safe, and happily used by your cat despite a little wear-and-tear, then you should continue using it. This is especially true if you think about it from a cat’s outlook.
Your cat’s scratching post is their very own piece of furniture that they have used to:
- Leave their scent and mark their territory
- Scratch, stretch, and climb
- Play on and enjoy
Because of this, even if your scratching post is a little rundown, it can be shocking for your kitty to discover it’s been thrown away or replaced.
Although you might not find the sight of a torn apart scratching post very appealing, from your cat’s perspective that post is a work-of-art and introducing a new one should be gradual.
Add a new scratching post alongside your current one as it starts to wear down. This way, your cat will be able to use both and begin adjusting to the new one before their current one disappears.
Additionally, some parts of your scratching post might be salvageable. For example, if the post is wrapped in sisal rope or carpet, you could always purchase more of that material to replace at home so that your cat can continue enjoying it.
On the other hand, if the scratching post has become unsafe or unusable for your cat, it’s important that you replace it immediately. This might include factors such as:
- Broken materials that present sharp or dangerous edges
- Small pieces breaking off that could pose as a choking hazard
- Loops of sisal rope or carpet that could be dangerous for your cat
If you’re concerned about the status of your scratching post, then it’s best to err on the side of caution and find a replacement.
The Benefits of a Scratching Post
Scratching posts are made to be destroyed, and no matter how long they hold up to your cat’s claws, there are many important benefits that come from purchasing one.
These benefits include:
- Offering a positive outlet for your cat’s instinctual and natural scratching behaviors
- Helping your kitty to shed the outer layer of their nails
- Giving your cat a place to exercise and stretch their muscles
- Providing your kitty with a type of fun enrichment to keep them from getting bored
- Redirecting bad scratching behaviors so your pet is less likely to tear up furniture
No matter what reason you choose to purchase a scratching post, it’s a great investment that will provide your cat with fantastic health benefits, fun, and enrichment.
I haven’t met a cat who doesn’t enjoy using a scratching post of some type, so if you’re ready to make the purchase, you can invest in a post at your local pet store or online.