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Build Your Cat a Scratching Post!

Updated on February 23, 2014

Don't Waste Your Money

Unfortunately for cats, many people get fed up with destructive scratching behaviour and simply have their pet's paws mutilated with the barbaric veterinary procedure known as "declawing".

What many people don't realize is that scratching is like yoga for cats, they do it to stretch and keep their claws in good shape, not to maliciously destroy your furniture. Taking out a cat's nails actually requires the amputation of bones, not just the claws themselves. Imagine having your fingertips cut off just because you wanted to have a nice stretch.

I recently got a kitten, so I went out looking for a scratching post. The prices are completely outrageous! Let me show you how I built my own simple scratching post at home in one afternoon, with zero carpentry skills. If you can hammer a nail, you can do this.

Sisal rope is a natural fiber that is cheap and easy to work with
Sisal rope is a natural fiber that is cheap and easy to work with

MATERIALS

Hammer

Small nails (for fastening the rope to the post)

Wood Post - either round or square, make sure it has not been pressure treated with chemicals

Tip: I got a piece of scrap deck post for free at the hardware store's lumber cutting section

Flat square board for the base - again, see what you can find for free, or buy a small piece. The exact size will depend on how big you want the scratching post. Just make sure that the base is large enough to prevent the post from tipping over

Scissors - regular household scissors will cut the rope easily

Sisal Rope - My post was about three or four feet high, and I used about 150 feet of rope. It all depends how tightly you wrap it. This stuff is cheap and easy to find, I recommend starting with a 50 or 100 ft package and seeing how far you get with it

Larger nails or screws - for fastening the post to the platform

A good pair of work or garden gloves

Don't forget to wear gloves!
Don't forget to wear gloves!
To keep the rope as snug as possible, you will want to periodically tap it with a hammer in an upward motion.
To keep the rope as snug as possible, you will want to periodically tap it with a hammer in an upward motion.

STEPS

  1. Fasten the base onto the post using large nails or screws. I used two large screws and a power drill.
  2. Turn the post over so that it stands freely on the base, test it to ensure stability.
  3. Starting at the top of the post, use a small nail to fasten one end of the sisal rope to the post, as shown in the photo. Make sure it is secure.
  4. With one finger on the rope end, pull the sisal as tightly as you can around the post, keeping it as snug as possible. When you've wrapped it around a few times you can let go of the end, the nail will hold it.
  5. If necessary, add another nail or two on other sides of the post, to ensure that the rope doesn't split around the nail and come loose.
  6. Continue wrapping until you reach the end, or as far down as you would like the rope to go. If you run out halfway down, simply nail the end of the first rope to the post, and start again with the second one where the first rope left off.
  7. THAT'S IT! Finish it off by securing the rope at both ends, and add any additional pieces (eg. another board at the top as a perch) as you wish.
  8. Place the scratching post near furniture or where your cat sleeps, and remember to give lots of rewards and praise when kitty uses it!

The finished post. Carpet to cover the base is optional, I chose not to use carpet so the cat wouldn't be encouraged to scratch the actual carpet floor.
The finished post. Carpet to cover the base is optional, I chose not to use carpet so the cat wouldn't be encouraged to scratch the actual carpet floor.
I added a piece to the top, also covered in rope, as a perch.
I added a piece to the top, also covered in rope, as a perch.

Trying it out!

Comments

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    • profile image

      david 

      3 months ago

      hi question?? im building a post and the boards i have are pressure treated. you say not to use boatds treated with chemicals but the 4x4 deck post your using is pressure treated. so do you just mean not to add anything on top of how it is ?

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      For what they want for a scratching post these days, homemade is the way to go.

      Very useful.

    • S Jayaseeli profile image

      Lourdes Jayaseeli 

      3 years ago

      It's brilliant! Thanks for this priceless post. De-clawing is barbaric. Love this post! And love the kitty!

    • sangre profile image

      Sp Greaney 

      4 years ago from Ireland

      I was lazy and purchased one for my cat. I had no idea it would be so easy to make one.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Really good advice!

    • Marie Morrison profile image

      Marie Morrison 

      7 years ago

      This is such a useful hub! I love finding ways like this to save money. Heck if someone was good enough at making them they could even sell a few a make some money. Thanks so much!

    • Katelyn Weel profile imageAUTHOR

      Katelyn Weel 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for reading!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 

      8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      That cat is such a cutie. This is a great Hub and very useful for cat lovers. Thanks.

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