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 [I have revised this post: nails work better than staples!]
#17 x 1 inch wire nails
hot glue (optional, but a few dabs will keep the sisal on the post longer)

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 nails in the sisal as you begin to wrap it around the wood. Wrap as tightly and closely as you can, putting staples nails in every few courses as you wind around the wood. Put a few more staples nails 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 an 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.

Update 5/15/2017: This project has worked great and the cats love it. With our two cats, I’ve found that I have to renew the sisal around every four to six months.






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  2. So, think of how the staples will eventually be 1/2 pulled out and expose their sharp ends. How about wrapping the rope onto wood-glue covered post? Or, be sure to have all the staples on just one face of the post, and that face be inaccessible to scratch.

    • I think the staples are carpentry staples that you hammer in, not office staples from a stapler. If so, they seem pretty kitty-proof.

    • I should have been more clear with the post here–I used heavy duty staples and an electric stapler. So far it’s held up well but I will report back if it falls apart. Some hot glue might be another refinement on this project.

  3. I also wonder about the staples pulling out at all, or the rope under them wearing thin, and cat claws getting stuck in the staples.

  4. We have a store bought cat tree and the carpet on the posts was all worn out so I took the carpet off and stapled sissel rope on the posts (I used an air stapler), darn cats won’t touch it, too coarse for their tender paws? Darn Cats!

    P.S. Sweet rotary phone, tough to press 1 for english, I would guess…. (=

  5. Great scratching post…..but please don’t show my cat! Daisy was raised by a dog, so she has no clue that cats do scratchy things with their claws, and I’d like to keep it that way.

  6. While I have no cats, I am a fiber geek… the rope is made from “sisal” which is sourced from the agave, and is a coarse fiber used in rope and brushes…

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  8. We made a scratching post for the lads a few years ago. It has 4 posts, 2 with sisal and 2 with carpet and 2 platforms with carpet.

    The sisal posts were never used but the carpeted one are falling apart as they use it multiple times a day, we plan to recover all the posts with carpet.
    This is their hangout place, and they compete to see who gets the top bunk.
    It was made with leftovers, even the rugs, but we had to buy the sisal. We will recover with a leftover bit of rug and the sisal will go in the composter

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  11. This is great, but I’m eagerly awaiting the next guide – how to get your cat to actually use the scratching post you’ve just made! Haha. Apparently no amount of catnip is more appealing to my cat than our couch is when it comes to scratching.

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