Build Your Cat a Scratching Post!
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.
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
- Fasten the base onto the post using large nails or screws. I used two large screws and a power drill.
- Turn the post over so that it stands freely on the base, test it to ensure stability.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place the scratching post near furniture or where your cat sleeps, and remember to give lots of rewards and praise when kitty uses it!