Cat Scratch Fever: How to Make Your Own Cat Scratching Posts

Why buy cat scratching posts when you can make your own from inexpensive materials? And, since we cat owners can’t have nice things, why not make nice things scratch-able?

With these two notions in mind I set about making a scratching post that I could attach to the side of our Ikea couch. Here’s what you’ll need:

3/8 inch sisal rope
scrap wood (I used a 4×4)
heavy duty stapler and staples

Wrapping the wood is straightforwards, if tedious. I used some clamps to hold the post down to my work bench while I did the wrapping. Put a few staples in the sisal as you begin to wrap it around the wood. Wrap as tightly and closely as you can, putting staples in every few courses as you wind around the wood. Put a few more staples in at the end of the rope. That’s all there is to it.


You could make a base for your scratcher but I was more interested in integrating it into our living space rather than having a free-standing object that takes up a lot of room. Not only was I able to attach it to the couch (a hacked Ikea couch that I wrote about in a previous post) but I also turned the scratcher into a phone stand. This is a refinement of the original “catification” of the couch ends and an example of catification stacking functions.

Just minutes after installation it was already in use:

I’m so satisfied with the results that I’m thinking about creating a integrated cat scratcher/USB charging station/cat perch using a twisty tree branch. I know, that sounds like a bad idea, but as Marshall McLuhan once said, “If you don’t like that idea I’ve got others.”

In fact, I can see a future in which everything is wrapped in sisal. Yet more proof that felines are in charge of much more than the interwebs.

A Plea to End Daylight Savings Time

800px-Peterborough_Cathedral_sundial

Peterborough Cathedral sundial. Image: Wikimedia.

Can we please stop this changing the clocks business? I swear I’d support a Kim Kardashian presidential bid if she’d make ending daylight savings time a campaign platform.

Anyone who keeps chickens knows that this time change nonsense has nothing to do with farming. The hens look to the sun as their cue to start their working day. The same goes for the cats who are, as I write this, staging a loud protest in the kitchen to let us know that breakfast is an hour late.

It’s bad enough that our clocks are an abstraction of solar time. Why do we need to add another layer of abstraction by changing our clocks rather than adjusting our lives to the passage of the seasons? This is the time equivalent of taking honest labor, abstracting it into money and then turning that into a collateralized debt obligation. As the layers of abstraction accrue, we lose touch with the rhythms of the rising and setting sun. We lose sleep. We piss off the chickens and cats.

Get working on that campaign, Kim.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Rat Poisons

rat-poison-wildlife-los-angelesI want to share this important message from our National Park Service: please don’t use rat poisons. The NPS has documented numerous predators deaths recently, in our area, including several young mountain lions and foxes all killed by eating rats who had consumed anticoagulant rat poisons.

I’m preaching to the converted here, since I doubt that many readers of this blog use rat poison, but I’m hoping some of you will share this post with your friends and relatives. The NPS has a short info page on how to control rats without using anticoagulant rat poisons.