CW's First Bogus Theory of Cats...

Watching cat behavior over the years, I have noticed that they scratch not only to flex their feet and claws, they actually like to stretch their shoulders and back, using their claws as leverage. This stretching behavior will tip over a commercially available 'normal' sized scratching post.

Whenever I have observed one of my cats try to get a good stretch out of a standard cat post, it has moved or tipped and the cat has immediately given up and gone to find a more suitable object for an anchor - usually my sofa.

I have noticed that when my cats start scratching at the furniture, the pieces they choose to destroy have a few things in common:

1. They are stable and heavy. (I have observed that my cats always prefer a post that does not move when they dig their claws in and yank.)

2. They are wider than any standard cat posts. (My cats prefer a post that is wider than their shoulders.)

3. They are taller than any standard cat posts. (My cats prefer a post that is at least twice as tall as they are long.  They like to reach up as high as they can and get a good long stretch.)

Eventually, I developed a theory, which I have dubbed CW's first bogus theory of cats:

Merely disciplining a cat for using the furniture as a scratching post, but not providing them with an alternative that meets their needs is not likely to be a successful method of training. A post that serves a cat's needs better than the furniture does will be naturally preferred for scratching, and it should make training the cats much easier, since they will not be deprived of stretching out and getting a good scratch in, when their physiology demands it.

So, I have created this tree-sized post, which allows a cat to flex their whole body, from their paws all the way to their tail, if they so choose.  Also, it is tall enough to allow them to exercise their innate and instinctive climbing abilities, without wrecking the curtains or other furniture.

Step 1: Get ready - Collect supplies and tools

  • 10 x wide elbows (Lowes part number: 96076 A21 2X1 ANGLE)
  • 2 x narrow elbows (Lowes part number: 315683 STAN 1-1/2” ZN CNR BRC)
  • 22 x .5 inch washers
  • 26 x .75 inch screws
  • 44 x 1 inch screws
  • 2 x scrap lumber (½ inch thick, by 3.5 inches wide, by 36 inches long)
  • 1 x concrete tube (10 inches in diameter, by 48 inches tall)
  • 1 x edge-glued wood panel .75 inches thick, by 20 inches wide, by 36 inches long
  • ½ bucket of plaster (about 6 lbs)
  • A few feet of duct tape
  • 5 x rolls of sisal (.25 inches thick, by 100 feet long, for a total of 500 ft)
  • 1 x plywood circle (12 inch diameter or 18 inch if you have two or more cats)
  • 1 x circle of foam (12 inch diameter or 18 inch if you have two or more cats)
  • 1 x circle of cloth batting (12 inch diameter or 18 inch if you have two or more cats)
  • 1 x large bottle of fast-drying wood glue (16 oz)
  • 1 x piece of cloth or carpet to cover the top platform (I used a cotton bath mat.)

  • pencil
  • hand saw
  • screw driver
  • drill with 1/8” bit and 1/2” bit
  • bucket
  • stirring stick for plaster
  • mixing bucket for plaster
  • scissors
  • magnet on a string (for fishing out tools and screws that you drop into the tube)
  • patience*

*Wrapping the sisal takes hours, so get your patience all stocked up before you start.

<p>When you buy 20' lengths of industrial shrink tubing they ship those in some pretty beefy cardboard tubes. Beefy enough that I don't have to support them with wood for my brackets. </p><p>As in the picture, I put the brackets on first, then the rope, then screwed the brackets to a wooden piece inside. I screwed the bases up to that wood - sandwiching the brackets. </p><p>This isn't quite complete yet - I still need baskets on top of the towers and to finish the ends of the cross piece.</p><p>This particular piece took around 1600' of 3/8&quot; rope and around 3 quarts of glue. I used white school glue so that I could be a little sloppy and it wouldn't show. Cleanup was also simplified by doing this as it's water soluble (kind of).</p>
Awesome instructable, I'll have to make one for my cats. I have a 14 year old cat I've had since 1rst grade and is still as energetic as a kitten and a 4 year old tiger that's 15 pounds and likes to climb so I think this might be perfect for them, the only thing is finding a concrete tube. They have them at ACE this size but $30 is a little pricey.
Woah! $30 IS pricey. I got mine for less than half that at Lowes. Shop around, definitely.
<p>Working on this project and the tube cost me about $7 at Lowes.</p>
<p>Thumbs<br>up! Amazing guidance for my problem, and gracefully executed by <a href="http://www.impromy.com" rel="nofollow">click here</a>! I would definitely<br>recommend them to every single of you out there! They are really worth<br>checking!</p>
<p>QUESTION: in the supply list, it says concrete tube, and later in the post it refers to it as a cardboard tube. Which should I purchase if I want to construct this amazing looking post?</p>
<p>Those tubes are actually used as concrete forms - for pouring a deck piers and the like (you fill the tube with concrete). If you go to the &quot;big box&quot; just ask them for &quot;concrete form tube-cardboard&quot; and you'll get what you need. &quot;Sonotube&quot; is one brand name, so is &quot;Fast-Tube&quot;, another is &quot;Quik-crete Form Tube&quot;. One caveat- there is a huge range in price - the really cheap ones are very thin and would not hold a fastener very well. Real Sonotube is about 1/2&quot; thick and pretty pricey. Tip- sometimes foundation contractors or deck-builders will have chunks of the stuff left over from jobs and might let you have a chunk. Hope this helps. </p>
<p>This is a great project - just one minor note...the &quot;elbows&quot; are actually &quot;corner braces&quot; or &quot;angle brackets.&quot; I know it sounds nit-picky and I don't mean to be - but elbows are usually some kind of pipe/plumbing fitting. I was a confoosed and I know what I'm looking for- just thought a noob would appreciate the actual name if they were searching out parts somewhere besides Lowes. </p>
I used 8 feet of 6 in tubing, scrap plywood and a bunch of 1&quot;manilla rope... Thanks for the great instructable :-)
<p>love your scratching post. any estimate of how heavy it is? is it able to come apart for easier moving? </p>
<p>I thought this was an excellent idea. My 6yr old daughter and I took on the project together. We deviated slightly from the plans since our local Lowes only had 8&quot; &amp; 12&quot; sonotubes so we chose the 12&quot;. That slight change also required 700' of rope and seemingly endless winding around to the top! Our 2nd variance was in the top. I had some extra carpet laying around so we cut a square of plywood, bordered with 1x1 and made Noah a little pad to rest and hide from our great dane on. It also helps that he loves tearing at our carpet, so now he has his own. There is a little mouse hole cut in the back so he can climb up the post and onto the platform. </p><p>Just as the OP had stated, our kitten took to it immediately. I would also like to send kudos to anyone being able to wrap the rope without getting glue everywhere! We had a blast building this, but the rope is stained with the excess glue pretty bad. Its no big deal for me, as I figure Noah will eventually wear it off, but some may not be as laid back about final appearance. </p><p>Great project!</p>
<p>What is the purpose of the two narrow elbow brackets? They seem to duplicate the function of the first two wide elbow brackets. Thx.</p>
I'm gonna try this. My cat is half maine coon and is a big boy. I might try wrapped the tube in heavy craft paper then hot glue the sisal to that. As it gets destroyed, I can unscrew the top, slide the paper/sisal off and put a fresh layer on.
<p>After the cats eventually wreck some of the rope, is it possible to replace a length of rope and still have it look nice after trying to free it from the wood glue?</p>
<p>Just found this and am tempted to make one! My cats are limited to 1 room currenty but I'm not sure if they would climb really. Both choose to use the lower parts of scratch posts but that might be where they could reach as kittens. I agree about shop brought ones being very poor - 2 cat trees and in less than 2 years, both are wobbly now. Neither are tall enough for a full stretch, and the platforms are too small for both cats.</p><p>Only issue will be finding space in a room to put it. But fantastic idea and clear instructions</p>
<p>When I made this 1-2 years ago, I only had 1 adult cat (Tallulah) who loved the short little scratching post she had. She's a bigger cat so I thought she would like a tall one to really stretch and scratch on. This instructable was exactly what I had in mind. Tallulah was mildly interested in it at first, but quickly dismissed it. However, the foster kittens I've had and the additional 2 kittens I've adopted since then LOVE it.</p><p>I followed the instructions and am very pleased with the results! My additions/changes/suggestions: 1) I had a big piece of wood cut into 2 unequal sections and used the small section for the top level (it's more offset than it appears in the photos) 2) I topped that with an old pillow 3) I used a 2 piece bathroom rug set to &quot;pretty&quot; it up: I cut an opening in the large rug for the base and added some fabric and elastic to cover and hold the pillow on the top level 3) I added screw-in cup hooks to the underside of the top level to hang toys from</p><p>The young cats and foster kittens love this post and zoom up and down it, bounce off of it, scratch on it, sleep on the top, chase each other around the base and post, etc. It does need to be near another piece of furniture so the little ones (or ones who can't figure out how to get back down) don't make such a long leap to the floor. I'm thinking about making one or two shorter versions for &quot;mix and match&quot; kind of configurations based on my furniture placement and how the cats are using the post.</p>
<p>This is awesome! My lady and I will be making this for our two beautiful black cats who are almost a year old and the big guy Max needs some exercise. Seems a hell of a lot better than any expensive store bought post. So glad to see someone else looking after black cats. We kept the 2 black cats of a litter for the same reason. Plus they were the sweetest.</p>
<p>Your &quot;bogus theory&quot; isn't so bogus. Putting yourself into your cat's position is a sign you are a <em>compassionate and evolved</em> human caretaker. I would add that there are other common &quot;training&quot; methods that need to be avoided, such as: squirting water on a naughty cat, making loud noises to scare him away from scratching in the wrong place, and any other measures meant to intimidate him. These are just going to create a timid and scared animal. Also, though many folks think that merely rubbing a post with catnip will attract him to it and then to scratch it, I don't really like that solution either. Instead, I'd recommend playing with your cat around the post with a simple piece of string ( or even with a laser toy ). After all, one of the best things about our cats is the wacky and humorous way they chase and hunt ( I ALWAYS get a good laugh when my cats have cornered a mouse, and all the drama that entails! ). Also, let me congratulate you on your approach to the size and stability of your scratcher. These are critical to ending up with a really great scratch post. I always recommend wrapping a post with at least <a href="http://www.felinedesign.net/ropeoffer.htm" rel="nofollow">150-200 ft. of 3/8&quot; Brazilian Sisal Rope</a>.</p>
<p>This is an awesome Instructable: good photos and step-by-step instructions! The only teeny tiny quibble I could find is that I wasn't able to find the items on the Lowe's website using the provided part numbers. Also good: I wouldn't have thought of putting plaster in the tube for weight (I would have tried sand and had it slowly leak forever), so that was very creative :)</p>
Cats also have scent glands in their feet so when they use the scratching post they are leaving their scent (marking their territory).
About how much did the supplies cost, minus the tools? This post looks awesome and addresses the issues most store-bought posts have like not being wide or tall enough.
<p>I love your story about your cats. I've got a black kitty girl who is almost 2 yr old, and spunky doesn't begin to describe her! But also is the sweetest thing, and she adopted my mother recently (who has never been around cats, doesn't really like them, and with my dad's recent death, has been pretty lost). Bella really is her personal watch cat ... and I'm going to make one of these posts for her (she might share it with her sisters, but not betting on it, so will get supplies to make at least two!). Thanks for a great idea.</p>
<p>We have two 3-and-a-half year old black cats from the Humane Society. We bought a set of bookshelves from IKEA that have floor to ceiling posts. We probably made it really difficult for ourselves, but figured out how to make one post fatter, and wrapped it with sisal rope up to the third shelf. They love it and I love your &quot;<strong>CW's first bogus theory of cats</strong>&quot; because it is true. They want stable, wide, and tall. Furniture works very well! </p>
I've adopted three &quot;Halloween black&quot; cats and several other blackish cats. If you look at one of my Instructables about teaching a cat to swim, she is my latest all black cat. <br> <br>I don't know how black cats got such a bad reputation. My three all black cats have been the most awesome, friendly and sociable cats ever. Diego, the oldest of our all black cats is leashed trained. He loved going to the kid park and hanging out in the kiddy area. It was nice because it was enclosed, kind of like a dog park, but for children. The kids loved him. <br> <br>He would probably still love it, but we have moved to far away to make it feasible for me to take him,
<p>I wish I could fav comments. Good on you! Adopting a black cat myself, from some friends. Keeping her from the shelter. Is a Good Thing. </p><p>Going to make her this post. she's an older cat so I'm going to add a ramp off to one side, but this will be lovely for her. :3</p>
I am allergic to cats. But this is a very nice 'ible for my Mom who has two siamese kittens. I support our local shelter. HSUS is awful. Support ASPCA!
Superb project! Thanks. Do you have a multiple-cat version? (=&deg;o&deg;=)
This thoughtful cat furniture design has been my ongoing dream. Anyone who cares for and about felines can easily observe their needs. <br /> <br />The barbaric practice of declawing cats has and continues to be the easy way out for dealing with furniture destruction. Are you making any for sale; otherwise, I may need to borrow my daughter's power drill and tackle this important project myself. I've spent more than my budget allows for chintzy posts that deteriorate quickly at the base carpet area. I have, in the past, removed the carpet, but my feline experiences show me that they love to sit and scratch at the carpet too. <br />
Just ran across this, and it is outstanding !! I have my current store bought scratchy post firmly wedged under the couch and a side table so my girls can't budge it, but it is too short, and I've wanted a taller one for awhile. I also have scratch mats on the arms of the couch, so they wreck those, not the upholstery.<br>I have very little space though.. I'm thinking I might make this, but add another post to the top, with a shelf or two, high enough so they could climb to the transom window over the balcony door, to look outside. It's a regular door, not sliding, and I can mount a shelf up there for them to lie on. It's one of the few places in here where there might just be room for something like this and I know they'd love it. I have two adopted older girls,litter sibs, black and white, one tiny and crazy, the other was quite chunky when I got her, but is losing weight gradually on a carefully restricted diet of home made raw food. They are fourteen now, but still act like kittens often enough.. the little one, Matty, is absolutely nuts, loves to jump, climb and tunnel wherever she can. Brina is a bit more sedate, but more active now she is slimmer. I'd probably hardly see them if I build them a tall tree. Be a good project for this summer. Great instructions !
Its not a &quot;Big'ol Belly&quot;, its a &quot;Wibble&quot;. And as we all know, &quot;Wibble&quot;s all Wabble.
Good work! I have to build one some day. Cat furniture sells for a ridiculous price considering they're mostly scrap wood, rope and carpet. Cute cats! Sorry to hear that black cats are mistreated because of dumb superstitions... the idea didn't even cross my mind (people are not very superstitious around here fortunately)
Thanks for the compliment. I agree, the furniture at my local pet stores is cheaply made and it isn't even sturdy enough to serve a cat's purposes. This post was not cheap to make, but at least it actually does what it is supposed to do. :)<br> <br> Also, I never would have thought about the superstition thing either, but the people at the shelter told me about it and it checks out online. Apparently, it is a well known phenomena among humane associations and cat shelters. It seems really strange to me and since I don't have a color preference, I just always get black ones now that I know they are the neediest of the needy.
The superstition nonsense is the specific reason we adopted two black kittens. One follows me around the house like a dog and is very social. The other one would rather me sit down so he can be in my lap. <br><br>When they were kittens, we bought one of those short thin scratching posts covered with sisal. I should have taken it back when the packaging said something along the line of, &quot;Do not let pet use without supervision.&quot; (Huh?) I'd say it was because the kittens kept tipping it over. Your logic makes purrfect sense. Make it tall and make it sturdy. (My cats are thinking, &quot;About time!&quot;)
Weiblen... <br> Your guide for the &quot;pin cushion&quot; is fabulous. I have multiples who, when charging through the house, can take down Windsor chairs. I have agonized over finding an adequate scratching post. My Tater is 16 pounds of pure &quot;HERE I COME&quot; and we cringe when we hear crashing from the next room. All of mine are shelter cats too weib. Three of them are black as tar. LiveWire, Fuzzy and Stein. Pet store posts do not work. Your guide is going to make us all very happy; I can see this already. I wanted to tell you thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You've saved me a lot of grief...and Windsor chairs! <br> I'm going to build it this week and I'm no carpenter. I'll be back asap and I'll post the total material cost for those who want to know what the material will set them back. As you suggested, we're shopping Lowe's. I'll bring you pics of my post when it's finished. I'm going to add the shelves you suggested, offset the top shelf, and add a condo box at the top as well. The thought that I will have built them exactly what they need, with my own two hands, is just an awesome thought. I'm sure Zenith and Quasar know exactly what I mean! <br> Again, thanks weib! <br> Tammy
i took in a cat from a friend who couldn't afford him anymore. he was a barn cat but we kind of domesticated him. i can't really let him be an outdoor cat because i live in a big city but i try to take him on walks with the cat leash i got him and he loves it but i can't, for the life of me, get him to use the scratching posts i bought for him. i sprayed it with catnip spray but he just likes to lick it off and scratch up my carpet and furniture.
Try wrapping the scratching posts in an old sweatshirt or pair of jeans. Cats have scent glands in their claws, and they will mark their scent over your own (hence why they like to shred your furniture and carpet). It's a way of claiming you as their human. When you put your scent on the scratching post, then they should start going to it more then your furniture. In the meantime, you can try a spray called &quot;Scratch Off&quot; that they sell at walmart, or for that matter, use lemon grass oil, since it's exactly the same thing... cat's can't stand the smell, but humans can barely notice it. <br><br>Good luck!<br>Moonchylde
Hello, I wanted to let you know I liked your guide above, so I decided to build a post.<br><br>Great guide, great instructions. I took some pictures of my process and posted them at the below link if anyone else is interested. I made some changes but in the end it turned out the same.<br><br>Few suggestions for others: I used some tile grout on the bottom seam to make sure nothing leaks out. I also used quickrete concrete instead of plaster. And I put the rolls of sisal on top of the platform while wrapping the post, and it was very easy to unroll it that way as gravity did half the work. I also added glue on 3 sides like you did, and every 6 inches or so I did it all the way around just in case.<br><br>Thank you for the inspiration and I hope others use your great guide.<br>http://picasaweb.google.com/andydumitrescu/CatPost?feat=directlink
Thanks very much for sharing your photos! Your post looks really great. Now, that's the way to do it with all the right supplies and equipment, instead of scrounging things that are laying around in the garage, like I did. :)
Your cats are beautiful. This is a great project, thank you!
This is neat- I wonder if this or a store-bought one would be cheaper...
Cheaper is not better.<br> <br> Nothing that you can buy for a similar cost will be as sturdy or serve your animals' needs as well as something you customize specifically for them.
Somehow, I don't quite agree with that statement...
I love you because you love them (': It really made me very happy seeing that there are people who care about stray cats. And that post is great! Looks like your cats really love it. Thank you, you made my day. :D
Thank you, that's very sweet. I'm glad to find so many like-minded folks on Instructables! What a great community we have.
I'm breaking my &quot;no comment on blogs&quot; policy to commend you on such a great howto. Some nice observations as well. I just got a new (used) sofa chair today and I'd like it to last awhile. I know what to do to save it now ;-)
As I was reading this, thinking to myself &quot;I should try and make this!&quot;, my cat (also a black cat) came over and jumped into my lap for a cuddle. I take that as a sign. Thank you for the fantastic how-to and for the wonderful story about your cats.
My younger cat squeaks a lot too!&nbsp; :) &nbsp; The funniest part is that she hates toys with squeakers in them.&nbsp; She attacks them violently whenever they squeak.&nbsp; The sound drives her crazy.&nbsp;<br>
I have two black cats too, and the younger one, Squeaky, has all but demolished the scratching post I bought for my first cat Spud!!! Round here though, the cats find plenty of things to dig their claws into, fenceposts, the shed, door frames (well external ones anyway), my legs (ouch!!!), they enjoy it, but when it comes to my sofa, it's a big no-no!!! :S<br> <br> But it is funny when one of them gets a claw stuck in the material, so they're left there paw in the air, can't move, and I have to release them, which can be a pain too with Spud cos she's a grumpy little cow... :P
My younger cat squeaks a lot too!&nbsp; :) &nbsp; The funniest part is that she hates toys with squeakers in them.&nbsp; She attacks them violently whenever they squeak.&nbsp; The sound drives her crazy.&nbsp;<br>
I think when I make this, I'll use anchors and screw them tight before I pour the plaster

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