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Cat Scratching Post Plans: How to Make a Cat Scratching Post

Updated on November 11, 2015
DIY Wooden Cat Scratching Post
DIY Wooden Cat Scratching Post

Cat Scratching Post Plans: Cats just love to scratch. They scratch to mark their territory, to keep their claws sharp, and just because it feels good. Scratching is instinctive and part of their natural behavior. And cats tend to scratch where ever it pleases them - sofas, chairs, doors and kitchen cabinets -- they scratch up just about any piece of expensive woodwork. Since you can't stop a cat from scratching, try giving them a cat scratching post to use.

Our cat insists on scratching the woodwork around our house. The soft pine door jambs are her favorite, and she left her claw marks everywhere. When sisal, cardboard and carpeted scratching posts didn't interest her, I made this scratching post from some old boards. The top lifts off, revealing an area to fill with catnip for luring your cat to the post. While our doors and furniture still get the occasional clawing, the wood scratching post takes its fair share of abuse.

Constructed from a couple of old salvaged pine and weathered cedar boards, the plans for this cat scratching post features a compartment at the top to fill with catnip. When one corner or side of the post gets torn and shredded, simply turn the scratching post around to expose a fresh edge. After the wood is ripped to shreds and worn out, it's easy and and inexpensive to make another cat scratching post from pieces of scrap wood.

The 36" height of the scratching post is high enough to allow our cat to stretch up and out to her full length for a "maximum scratch". If your cats are larger, you can easily make the post higher by extending the length of the side boards. Build several for different areas of your home and let your kitty scratch away!

Cat Scratching Post Plans and Photos by the Author

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How To Make A Cat Scratching Post

Top View of the scratching post
Top View of the scratching post

Cat Scratching Post Plans:

Cut a " thick board into the following parts:

Part A (front and back) 36" L x 5" W each

Part B (sides) 36" L x 3" W

Part C (Base) 10" L x 10" W

Part D (Lid) 6" L x 6" W

Part E (Top) 4" L x 4" W

Part F (Inserts) 3" L x 4" W (quantity of 3)

Assembly: Start the assembly of the scratching post by making the square column. Using one of the inserts (Part F) as the bottom for column, line up the end of a side sections (Part B) to the insert, and attach using finishing nails.

Attach the second side piece to the opposite site of the insert, forming the bottom of the post and two uprights for the column.

Center the front (Part A) between the sides, allowing for a 1/8" overhang (known as a reveal) and nail the front to both of the side pieces. The reveal forms a recessed corner, which looks good and the cats find interesting to scratch.

Repeat this process with the back section (Part A), forming a rectangular box.

Slide one of the inserts (Part F) down into the open end of the box, about halfway down. This will form the bottom of the compartment for adding catnip. Measure and mark the location of the insert, and nail into place.

Drill several small holes on all four sides, just above the insert to allow the aroma of the catnip to escape and attract kitty's attention. Before drilling, layout the hole positions to create an attractive pattern. Attach the post assembly to a large base (Part C). The cat scratching posts should stand upright and stable.

Center the remaining insert (Part F) onto the underside of the lid (Part D), and nail into place. Then center the top (Part E) onto the top side of the lid, and secure with nails. The completed lid should fit snugly onto the top of the cat scratching post.

Sand all of the edges smooth to remove any splinters or burrs, add catnip to the compartment, and place the posts in areas where your cats like to scratch.

Important Tip: Make sure that the cat scratching post is stable and secure. If the post tips or wobbles when a cat tries to stretch out and scratch, then the cat won't use it. When I first built this scratching post, the base was too small and our cat pushed it over.

To correct an unstable scratching post, try using a larger base (Part C). I added a larger plywood base to the scratching post, and attached a scrap of carpet to the top of the extended base. Our cat stands on the carpeted base, and then reaches up for a good scratch.

Cat Scratching Post Plans

Cat Scratching Post Plans by the Author
Cat Scratching Post Plans by the Author

What does your cat use for scratching?

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Selecting a Scratching Post for Your Cat

Cats need to have a proper surface to scratch on. If you fail to provide your cat with a scratching post of pad, they will inevitably find something to scratch on such as your carpet or furniture. Pet-Care Advisor, Valerie shows some of the different styles and textures of scratching posts.

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    • Anthony Altorenna profile imageAUTHOR

      Anthony Altorenna 

      21 months ago from Connecticut

      Hi Loretta,

      The thickness of the wood is not important. The scratching post in the photos was made from 1" thick cedar, and I've also used scraps of 3/4" thick pine. More important than the dimensions of the wood is the stability of the scratching post: it must be very stable and not tip over or the cats won't use it. The base in the photo was too narrow so I replaced it with a larger piece of plywood.

    • profile image

      What size lumber (??" thick") 

      22 months ago

      One of our two recently adopted mixed-breed kittens has decided that my woodwork is much better for scratching than any of the other purchased posts/trees we've already bought. Since I have plenty of wood for building my own (& have already covered the assaulted woodwork with double-sided tape to discourage further attacks!), I need to give him an acceptable alternative. The wood in you photos appears to be 2x4 or 2x6. Is that good enough?

      Thanks for the plans.

      Loretta

    • profile image

      Fatima 

      3 years ago

      The Cat House looks great. I just hope it's easy to build as I'm not the most handy. But my cat would simply love to hide and peep' out.

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 

      5 years ago

      We just recently adopted a 3 year old male tabby cat from our local SPCA... one of our friends gave us the cat tree and cat castle they had, and the tree he had made from scratch. I love your idea with the holes and putting catnip in the middle, that's a very clever way to attract them to the scratching post.~BLESSED~

    • profile image

      glutenallergy 

      6 years ago

      I found out that all I needed to do was leave a rather large box out (it's a box that contains something I will be shipping elsewhere and just haven't done it yet). My cats have been going nuts sharpening their claws on it! Made me realize that there is a reason why some manufacturers sell scratching boxes full of pieces of cardboard.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Okay I admit that I had to watch the video just so I could watch the cute little kitten. What a sweet kitty. I think she just wanted to get at all the cat scratch posts rather than listening to how they worked though lol.

    • canoz profile image

      Heather Bradford 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Love my cat to pieces. It's a big thing because my husband didn't want an animal in the house and I've been 20 years before getting the cat shaped hole in my heart filled. Obviously I wanted her on her best behaviour.... but she did scratch sometimes. I have found the solution is to clip her nails. Between times she scratches on the outside mat so I think we've come to some understanding!! Thanks for your lens. Catnip idea is a good one!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Returning with some fresh angel 'catnip' for that secret compartment...shhhh...

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      What a great project! Wish I had done this when I first rescued some kittens. So much for my leather couch. Youch. My newest adoptee loves cardboard file boxes. She almost exclusively sharpens her claws on the corrugated cardboard, which is great. I never thought about the catnip idea to attract cats to a scratching post. Thanks for the wonderful ideas and options.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      Now featured on my Cats Coloring Pages, should have thought of that yesterday, thank you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      Another great and innovative DIY by you Anthony, I like the idea of a wood scratching post much better than the carpet ones for sure and I think all cats will prefer doing their scratching on your pine and cedar scratching posts and that secret compartment for the catnip is a sweet addition.

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