Scratching is one of the many innate expressions of the feline ethogram. Simply put, it is something all cats do to clean and sharpen their claws on rough surfaces in their surroundings. Unfortunately, these surfaces often turn out to be common furniture items found in most households, such as sofas, chairs, tables, and beds. While thereâ€™s no way to stop your furry little friend from relieving their urge to scratch, there are ways to protect your furniture, drapes, and other items from damage, such as setting up a cat scratching post. Cat scratchers have become incredibly popular among pet owners as a smart, multi-purpose accessory to kill two birds with one stone.
While you can find hundreds of cat scratching posts on the market in different shapes, sizes, and material options, this is something you can easily make at home with different colors and textures, and save a lot of money in the process. In this post, weâ€™ll share a detailed guide on how to make a DIY cat scratcher.
What is a Cat Scratcher?
A cat scratcher is a roughly textured vertical post often made of wood or similar material designed to provide cats with a designated place to scratch and follow their natural behavioral instincts. Cat scratching posts come in different shapes and sizes, but all serve the same purpose â€“ to prevent inappropriate scratching on furniture and other items.
Benefits of a Cat Scratcher
If youâ€™re caught on the fence regarding whether or not a cat scratcher is an essential feline accessory, here are some key benefits that make it an indispensable term for cat owners:
Cat scratchers are incredibly helpful for young kittens to utilize their stored energy as these posts provide a vigorous activity thatâ€™s not only fun but addictive, especially when home alone. This will help them practice some key feline behaviors, such as marking their territory in case they have to compete with other cats within the same household and relieving stress after a long day of climbing and chasing.
Scratching may seem like a pesky habit from a humanâ€™s perspective. On the contrary, itâ€™s actually great for your catâ€™s health in different ways. For starters, it helps eliminate the outer coating of nails so they can grow to be sharp and healthy while also removing any trapped dirt or debris. Secondly, itâ€™s a great form of exercise that enables them easily climb fences and tree trunks when hunting.
If you donâ€™t have a cat scratching post, your cat will settle for the next best thing to scratch their claws on â€“ your furniture. By opting for a scratcher, you can divert their attention to it and help minimize or prevent damage to your favorite sofa, bookshelf, and drapes. However, simply setting a post wonâ€™t necessarily stop them from scratching your furniture. You have to lure them in and make them get used to it in different ways, such as limiting access to other rooms, putting some catnip on the scratcher, or strategically placing it near their feeding station.
How to Make a DIY Cat Scratcher
Without further ado, hereâ€™s how to make a cat scratching post yourself:
- Straight edge (optional)
- Staple gun or tape
- Electric drill or screwdriver
- Basic safety equipment (goggles, gloves, etc.)
- A cardboard tube or tree log (oak, maple, redwood, etc.) at least 2 inches in diameter and 3 feet in length
- 4 ft X 4 ft x Â¾â€ plywood base
- 3-inch wood screws (2)
- Carpet or 20-30 feet Sisal cord rope
Start With the Base
The first step is to cut the base wood according to the desired parameters (4 ft by 4 ft by 3/4 in). For this, you can use a hand or power saw. Ideally, you should use natural, non-treated wood for this purpose to protect your cat from harmful chemicals. Next, cut the base carpet to size, so it easily wraps around the base. You can either use a stapler or tape to hold it down. Once youâ€™re done, use a ruler and knife to cut any corners.
Make the Post
Once your DIY cat scratcher base is ready, the next step is to make a post using a piece of wood or a cardboard tube. Using wood screws, attach the post to the base by putting it upside down and ensuring itâ€™s centered. Once youâ€™re done, flip the base, so your scratcher is on the ground with the post on top. The length of your scratching post depends on you. Ideally, you should make sure itâ€™s long enough for your cat to fully stretch to reach the top. Using a tape measure, measure your cat from the nose to the tail and add 1 foot to it.
Wrap the Carpet or Rope
Once your scratcherâ€™s structure is ready, the last step is to wrap it with a rough textured material that your cat will enjoy scratching. For this, you can use a piece of carpet or a sisal cord rope. If you opt for a carpet, start by cutting it to the exact parameters of your post (height, length, width, or circumference). Carefully wrap the carpet around the post and start stapling it from the corners to the center. Alternatively, you can use glue to stick the carpet with the post. Once youâ€™re done, cut off any excess using a knife, so your catâ€™s claws donâ€™t snag on it. If you prefer using a sisal rope, all you need to do is coat your post with non-toxic rope and carefully wind the rope, starting from the bottom until you make your way to the top. Make sure the rows are straight and close together. Before you introduce your DIY cat scratcher to your cat, grab a rubber mallet or hammer to press down the carpet or rope.
And there you have it â€“ everything you need to know about making a DIY cat scratcher. Cats will never stop scratching since itâ€™s an instinctual feline habit, so setting up a scratching post can help them exhibit this behavior without causing harm. So, what are you waiting for? Summon your inner DIYer and head to the nearest store to get the supplies and get started right away. If your cat seems to be tentative to the presence of this new accessory, be patient and let them get the hang of it and reap its positive benefits while you seamlessly protect your furniture from damage.