Scratching posts are furniture savers for kitty parents, enticing your kitty to dig her claws in and start ripping away. The unfortunate thing about scratchers that are covered with carpet is that they start to look tattered and worn after a few months. Rope covered ones last much longer.
What is Sisal?
The best rope to be used on cat scratchers is made from sisal. It's an extremely stiff fiber that comes from the agave plant, aka the American aloe. At first glance you might not consider that little cactus to be all that robust, but sisal rope is surprisingly durable and long-lasting, and can withstand many years of your cat's attempts at shredding, making it the optimal choice for a scratching post that can stand up to your destructive kitty.
Why Cats Love It
Sisal is tops as far as durability goes when it comes to scratching posts, but another benefit is that cats are drawn to it. It's texture is rough, like tree bark, so it naturally cries out to your cat to be scratched at, mercifully calling her attention away from your sofa.
Rope or Fabric
You're probably most familiar with sisal rope cat scratchers, but sisal is available in a fabric, too. It has a rough texture, like the rope does, so your cat will be inclined naturally to want to sharpen her claws on it. However, being fabric, it isn't quite as durable as the rope. The advantage of being less durable is that your cat will be able to shred the fabric with enough work, so she'll feel a sense of accomplishment. However, that also means you'll have to replace the fabric more frequently than you would the rope.
Make Your Own
If you'd like to see how effective a good scratching post can be at saving your furniture, you can easily make your own sisal rope cat scratcher. You can get any length of sisal rope at a hardware store and coil it around almost anything. Wrap the rope around all or part of a wooden beam or a branch that's been nailed to a base. Alternatively, cover the rungs and sides of a full size or step ladder. You can even make over an existing scratching post or kitty condo by covering the shredded carpet remains for a like-new cat scratcher.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.