Does your cat scratch furniture, rugs, or walls around your house? Unfortunately you can’t stop your cat from scratching – it’s a natural behavior that feeds an instinct to mark territory, provides exercise, and for some cats, is just plain fun. Instead, whip up a DIY cat scratch post and encourage him or her to exercise those instincts on something more appropriate than your sofa.
A scratch post is a simple assembly project with materials that you probably already have around your home. Start with a piece of plywood. The wood should be long enough that your cat can stretch to her full length to reach the top of the post. Then select a solid chunk of wood to serve as the base of the post. This piece should be substantial enough in both weight and length to prevent the post from tipping over. To affix the post to the base, use non-toxic wood glue, like Gorilla Glue, and be sure to let it dry fully. If your cat is strong, you can reinforce the bond with a screw in the center. Can’t find a good base? Just lean the finished post against a wall, though be sure to cover the top with a piece of fabric or rubber to prevent extra wall scratches.
Next, cover the post with scratch-worthy material. Try non-oiled sisal rope or corrugated cardboard. Use your non-toxic glue to affix the pieces. To keep your cat excited, try mixing different coverings, like wound sisal rope on the bottom half and corrugated cardboard or even sticks from your backyard along the top half.
While carpet scraps seem like a good cover option, there are two problems with using carpeting. First, carpet fibers can shred with a lot of wear and tear, and some cats will eat those shredded fibers. Second, if you use a texture similar to a texture in your home – say, your living room carpet – your cat may not be able to distinguish between the carpet she’s allowed to scratch and the carpet that’s off-limits.
Once the glue is completely dry, your post is done and ready for your cat to dig in. Cats instinctively know how to scratch, but some cats might be reluctant to test out their spiffy new scratch post. To entice a reluctant cat, rub catnip on the post or tie some of her favorite toys at various heights.
Want to spoil your cat even more? One variation to this DIY project is to affix the covered plywood to a door instead of a base. A hanging scratch post is perfect for cats who love to climb. Use a commercial over-the-door hanger or drill a hole through the top of the plywood, loop a piece of twine through, and hang the scratch post over a doorknob.
Images: andycoan, Mel B.,