Best Cat Scratching Post Ever AND Cat Weight-loss Device

Picture of Best Cat Scratching Post Ever AND Cat Weight-loss Device

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.

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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.

Only issue will be finding space in a room to put it. But fantastic idea and clear instructions

mimidale44 made it!17 days ago

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.

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 "pretty" 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

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 "mix and match" kind of configurations based on my furniture placement and how the cats are using the post.

cody.israel.72 months ago

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.


Your "bogus theory" isn't so bogus. Putting yourself into your cat's position is a sign you are a compassionate and evolved human caretaker. I would add that there are other common "training" 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 150-200 ft. of 3/8" Brazilian Sisal Rope.

lrohret5 months ago

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 :)

mommywoman7 months ago
Cats also have scent glands in their feet so when they use the scratching post they are leaving their scent (marking their territory).
alohalana9 months ago
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.
RustyRoller11 months ago

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.

hammer98761 year ago

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 "CW's first bogus theory of cats" because it is true. They want stable, wide, and tall. Furniture works very well!

rsmaudsley2 years ago
I've adopted three "Halloween black" 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.

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.

He would probably still love it, but we have moved to far away to make it feasible for me to take him,

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.

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

sires61 year ago
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!
calico cat1 year ago
Superb project! Thanks. Do you have a multiple-cat version? (=°o°=)
earthlings2 years ago
This thoughtful cat furniture design has been my ongoing dream. Anyone who cares for and about felines can easily observe their needs.

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.
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Furballs3 years ago
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.
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 !
sojakai3 years ago
Its not a "Big'ol Belly", its a "Wibble". And as we all know, "Wibble"s all Wabble.
hotkey4 years ago
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)
weiblen.c (author)  hotkey4 years ago
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. :)

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.

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, "Do not let pet use without supervision." (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, "About time!")
Tammy Lynn3 years ago
Your guide for the "pin cushion" 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 "HERE I COME" 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!
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!
Again, thanks weib!
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 "Scratch Off" 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.

Good luck!
andydumi4 years ago
Hello, I wanted to let you know I liked your guide above, so I decided to build a post.

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.

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.

Thank you for the inspiration and I hope others use your great guide.
weiblen.c (author)  andydumi4 years ago
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. :)
annagail4 years ago
Your cats are beautiful. This is a great project, thank you!
grooooovy4 years ago
This is neat- I wonder if this or a store-bought one would be cheaper...
weiblen.c (author)  grooooovy4 years ago
Cheaper is not better.

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...
elimasmx4 years ago
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
weiblen.c (author)  elimasmx4 years ago
Thank you, that's very sweet. I'm glad to find so many like-minded folks on Instructables! What a great community we have.
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.
weiblen.c (author)  Scatmanbrandt4 years ago
Woah! $30 IS pricey. I got mine for less than half that at Lowes. Shop around, definitely.
rinkjustice4 years ago
I'm breaking my "no comment on blogs" 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 ;-)
Myriad694 years ago
As I was reading this, thinking to myself "I should try and make this!", 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.
weiblen.c (author)  Myriad694 years ago
My younger cat squeaks a lot too!  :)   The funniest part is that she hates toys with squeakers in them.  She attacks them violently whenever they squeak.  The sound drives her crazy. 
twocvbloke4 years ago
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

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
weiblen.c (author)  twocvbloke4 years ago
My younger cat squeaks a lot too!  :)   The funniest part is that she hates toys with squeakers in them.  She attacks them violently whenever they squeak.  The sound drives her crazy. 
Scumm74 years ago
I think when I make this, I'll use anchors and screw them tight before I pour the plaster
weiblen.c (author)  Scumm74 years ago
Yep. That's definitely recommended. See step 4. Attach the base. You want it to be secure before you start pouring or you're going to have a big mess. :)
pie popper4 years ago
Quasar is so cute! She sure like that post!
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