No matter whether it is for clawing, playing or lounging: a scratching post belongs in every cat household and is the alpha and omega for a species-appropriate attitude. However, those who are looking for a new scratch and play object for their velvet paw, have it not easy: Several manufacturers advertise with a versatile equipment, durable material and high stability. To what extent one can believe these statements, one knows however often only after the purchase. For example, some scratching posts, which have made a good impression in the pet shop, may prove to be less practical or quickly worn out.
The scratching tree test candidates
From ceiling-high to centimeter-small, with many scratching possibilities or numerous lying areas – the selection of scratching trees is huge and can almost overwhelm one.
For our scratching tree test, we wanted to get the absolute bestsellers into the house. That’s why we looked around Germany’s largest online marketplace and chose a model from the popular manufacturers Europet Bernina, Kerbl, Happypet and OmniDeal.
In order to have something for everyone at our Scratching Tree Test, we made every effort to opt for different trees. The size of our test candidates varied from 141 to 215 centimeters.
With prices ranging from € 88.67 to € 128.95, all of the models we tested are in the lower price segment and are therefore also suitable for the smaller purse. All manufacturers also promote the good quality of their scratching posts and promise their customers “high-quality plush”, a “stable stand” or “stylish design”.
But how good are the scratching posts really? Do the bestsellers offer more than a good price and can convince them with quality? And which cat tree is best for the cats?
The test criteria
To get to the bottom of these questions, we have put the scratching posts through their paces on the basis of six test criteria. In addition to the optics, the quality and workmanship of the material as well as the stability and ease of care of the scratching posts were the focus of our investigation. Equally important to us was the equipment of the test candidates: Are there many play, retreat and scratching options on the trees and how deep do you have to reach for it?
Since we opted for standard models, we also assumed for our assessment that all test candidates for cats up to six kilograms must be suitable. While a European Shorthair cat should be able to cuddle easily in the cat tree cave, a Maine Coon will hardly be satisfied with the tested models.
The final judgment and the most important findings finally brought the practical test – a test of endurance in the shelter Hanover.
The following test criteria are included in the evaluation of our four candidates:
If you buy a scratching post, you usually expect a quick and uncomplicated set-up. In order for everything to work out for inexperienced craftsmen, an easy-to-understand manual was important to us. At best, all necessary tools should be included, so you do not have to look for the right screwdriver and Co. first. In addition, the scratching post must not be too small: Many items and screws can quickly cause confusion when building.
We therefore assessed whether a model can be assembled very quickly and with just a few elements, or whether laborious puzzle work is required. In addition, one must be able to build a cat tree as possible without the help of another person. After all, when the cat tree is delivered, you usually do not want to wait for support.
In addition to a quick setup, it is also important that the scratching tree visually convinced. Of course, the tastes are as different as the different cats and their owners.
We have therefore taken care not to evaluate the scratching post as far as possible from a subjective point of view, but to give us an impression of the overall conception and general effect of the trees.
The central questions were: What material are the scratching posts made of? Do the models look good at first glance? Is it a classic cat tree or does the model impress with its unusual design? Especially for small apartments, it is also important to know whether the tree is space-saving and designed vertically, or rather in the width than height goes. [/ toggler] [toggler title = “Fun and value for money”]
Although many a cat tree is indeed suitable as a decorative furnishing, yet one should not disregard the expediency. Whether clawing, sleeping or raving – a good cat tree must be a real all-rounder.
Therefore, we have tested in our scratching tree test how varied the equipment of the respective test candidate in comparison to its price, if there are enough scratching and playing possibilities and how many comfortable lying areas of the tree has.
Of course, the size of the individual elements was a decisive criterion: After all, it does not use the tombots much if the cat tree has a cuddly cave, but the kitty does not fit through the opening. Of course, not every cat tree needs to meet the dimensions of a Maine Coon or Persian cat. For a four to six kilograms heavy cat, the equipment should already be designed. [/ toggler] [toggler title = “Material and processing”]
No matter how varied a cat tree is designed, what ultimately counts is the quality. Badly processed seams and fuzzy plush are not just an optical problem. Even the velvet paws quickly lose the joy of their scratching post. Who would like to slumber on hard lying areas or get caught in the badly processed sisal with the claws?
Therefore, we took a close look at the different materials of the scratching posts and their processing. For example, we paid attention to whether individual elements such as sisal or plush were firmly glued and if there were material defects to complain about.
The health of the velvet paws should play a central role in the cat tree selection: Sharp edges, sharp hooks and unstable beds are for example an absolute no-go when it comes to cat toys. If we were able to identify a point of danger, this was clearly reflected in our assessment. [/ toggler] [toggler title = “stability”]
Extensive clawing, wild turf warfare or stormy romping – such a cat tree has to endure a lot. If individual lying areas are unstable or if there is a lack of stability for the entire tree, it can be really dangerous.
We have therefore taken care that the test candidates can withstand stronger shocks and jerky movements, how large the floor slabs used and how wide the individual sisal trunks are. We also included the strength of the seating and reclining levels in our assessment. [/ toggler] [toggler title = “Easy Care: The Dirt Test”]
A cat tree is a real long-term acquisition. Once you have decided on a particular model, you hope that your own velvet paws will enjoy the product for a long time and the tree is visually well preserved. But over time, hair, dirt or manure residues can be left behind. The covers of a good scratching post should therefore be removed and washed at best. If this is not possible, mild to medium soiling can still be removed with a damp cloth without much effort.
Therefore, in our editorial office, we performed a small dirt test and rubbed the plush of the scratching posts with a mixture of earth, grass and water. Then we left everything to dry overnight and started cleaning the dirt the next morning. The most important questions were: Can the plush be cleaned quickly and easily? Or are dirt residues left behind and is even the fluffy material affected? [/ toggler] [toggler title = “Practice & Robustness Test at the Tierheim Hannover”]
No matter how much we liked the scratching posts in the editorial office, the most important thing was the rating of the cats. Because they are the ones who use the tree day after day and have to make friends with their material and equipment.
To find out how our test candidates would arrive at the Kitty, we drove to the shelter Hannover and let the scratching posts for a detailed practical test there. On the one hand, we wanted to find out which scratching tree is particularly popular and often used. On the other hand, we were interested in what sub-elements the cats liked well or not at all. In addition, our subjects also put the material of the trees to the test: After less than two weeks we looked at the scratching posts again and searched all test candidates for possible signs of wear and damage.
In addition, the zookeepers also gave their assessments, which test candidate was able to score points with the kitty, which danger spots they had noticed and which elements did not arrive as well as we expected. [/ Toggler]