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Home > Cats > Sisal Fabric vs. Sisal Rope for Cat Scratching Posts: What’s the Difference?

Sisal Fabric vs. Sisal Rope for Cat Scratching Posts: What’s the Difference?

Sisal Fabric vs Sisal Rope - Featured Image

Let’s face it; cats are some of the most finicky creatures on the planet! When it comes to their scratching posts, many pet parents have a difficult time figuring out which material is best for their cats. Should you get sisal fabric or sisal rope? What’s the difference, anyway?

Don’t worry—we’ve got you and your kitty covered. In this article, we’ll explain the differences between sisal fabric and sisal rope for cat scratching posts. We’ll also discuss why one may be better than the other for your pet’s needs. Read on to find out more!


Details for Sisal Fabric vs Sisal Rope

Sisal Fabric Sisal Rope
Upholstery on post; encourages scratching and lasts a long time Woven on post; fibers may stick out that discourage cats from scratching


Overview of Sisal Fabric

different shades of brown sisal fabric
Image By: ubonwanu, Shutterstock

Sisal fabric is a woven material that’s made from the fibers of agave plants. It has a coarse texture and can withstand heavy wear. This makes it an ideal choice for scratching posts since cats need to have something rough and durable to tear their claws into.

Its natural fibers can also provide cats with relief when they scratch—the coarse texture helps to remove dirt and debris from their claws while they scratch away. Plus, sisal fabric is non-toxic, so it won’t harm your cat if they accidentally ingest some of the fibers.

How It Works

Sisal fabric is usually wrapped around a scratching post or pole to create a surface that cats can claw into. The fibers of the sisal fabric become looser as they’re scratched, providing your pet with a stimulating experience. If you want to provide your cat with additional relief, you can also stuff some organic catnip into the fabric to make the scratching even more enjoyable.

scottish fold cat using a scratching post covered with sisal fabric
Image By: Julija Sh, Shutterstock

When to Choose Sisal Fabric

Sisal fabric is a great choice for cats who are looking for something to scratch that’s both durable and comfortable. Since it’s non-toxic, you don’t have to worry about your cat becoming ill if they come into contact with the fabric. It’s also an affordable option since it can be used again and again.

  • Affordable material that lasts
  • Non-toxic and safe for cats
  • Durable and comfortable
  • Can eventually wear out with continual use


Overview of Sisal Rope

bengal cat sitting on cat tree
By Credit: Von Berlin, Shutterstock

Sisal rope is another popular choice for cat scratching posts. It’s also made from natural agave fibers, just like sisal fabric, but the fibers are twisted together to form a rope. This makes for very tough material.

However, scratching sisal rope repeatedly can cause small pieces of fiber to stick out. This makes the surface of the scratching post sharp, which then discourages cats from wanting to scratch on it. The rope can also fray over time, which decreases its effectiveness as a scratching post.

How It Works

Sisal rope is usually wrapped around a scratching post or pole to create a surface that cats can scratch into. However, the rope should be kept fairly tight so that small pieces of fiber don’t stick out and cause your cat discomfort.

cat using a scratching post covered with sisal rope
Image By: Jasmine Pang, Pexels

When to Choose Sisal Rope

Sisal rope is best for cats that don’t scratch very often because the more sisal rope is scratched, the sooner the sharp fibers will break down and stick out. Cats don’t like the feeling of sisal rope once this happens, as it’s very uncomfortable.

  • Affordable and effective
  • Comfortable when new
  • Safe for felines
  • Fraying can occur that hurts cat’s paws


The 6 Other Factors to Consider

When it comes to choosing sisal fabric or sisal rope for your cat’s scratching post, there are a few other factors that you’ll want to consider. Let’s explore these so that you can choose the most suitable materials for your cat’s needs.

1. Durability and Quality

Sisal fabric is known to be highly durable and long-lasting, making it an excellent choice for cats who are prone to scratching their post often. On the other hand, sisal rope is also quite sturdy but may require replacement more frequently if your cat gets especially enthusiastic while scratching it.

Scottish little cat playing on scratching posts
Image By: Anatoliy Cherkas, Shutterstock

2. Cost

Although minimal, sisal fabric is typically more expensive than sisal rope, as the former requires special sewing and manufacturing to achieve its smooth feel. However, the extra cost may be worth it for those who want a high-quality scratching post that will last for years.

3. Style and Aesthetics

The look and feel of each material will also differ greatly. Sisal fabric has a much smoother texture and can come in various patterns, colors, or designs to match your home’s decor.

Meanwhile, sisal rope is typically seen as the more traditional-looking option with its coiled shape that mimics natural materials like straw or grasses.

cat scratching post
Image By: EbneRol, Shutterstock

4. Safety

When it comes to cat safety, both materials are generally safe for use in scratching posts. However, sisal fabric may be the better option as its smooth surface is less likely to cause abrasions on cats’ claws than sisal rope which can sometimes have sharp edges and strands.

5. Thickness

The thickness of the material is also an important factor to consider. Sisal fabric typically comes in rolls that measure around 8mm thick, while sisal rope is usually 3mm to 6mm thick. Generally, thicker materials are more durable and sturdier but may require larger posts, as well.

Gray cat lying down a cat tree with scratching post
Image By: husnerova, Pixabay

6. Scent

Last but not least, sisal fabric tends to have a distinct scent that some cats may find attractive. On the other hand, sisal rope won’t usually emit any odor. Of course, you’re free to apply a catnip spray or catnip oil to either material if you think your cat would appreciate it.

When it comes to sisal fabric versus sisal rope for cat scratching posts, there are several factors to consider. Be sure to factor in your cat’s behavior and buy accordingly.

divider-catWhich Is Right for You?

Do you want a cat scratching post that is cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing? Or are you looking for something that is extra durable and comfortable?

Ultimately, you might spend slightly more on a sisal fabric cat scratching post, but its superior durability and comfort may make it worth the investment.

If you’re on a tight budget, however, sisal rope is still an excellent option as long as your cat isn’t too rough with it.

No matter which material you choose, it’s important to ensure that your cat has a comfortable, safe scratching post. Both sisal fabric and sisal rope are great options, so it’s just a matter of finding the right one for your feline friend.



The decision to buy either sisal fabric or sisal rope for your cat’s scratching post will depend on several factors, such as durability and cost. If you’re able to spend a bit extra on quality, then sisal fabric is probably the way to go due to its superior comfort and durability.

Sisal fabric also equates to less mess, and it’s a lot less likely that fibers will break off and become scattered around the house.

On the other hand, sisal rope is a great budget-friendly option that provides cats with enough scratching material to get their claws into.

Featured Image Credit: Top – Sisal Fabric (Seregam, Shutterstock) | Bottom – Sisal Rope (JensRS, Pixabay)

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