Introduction: Cardboard Cat Scratcher

Picture of Cardboard Cat Scratcher

Ever get sick of spending your hard earned money on cat crap for your cat(s)? know, like that stupid $10 "Cat Scratcher" know the one, the block of cut down and glued cardboard strips?

Every time I'd buy one, I'd shake my head. Might as well give my cats $10 to play with and eat.

This is a great solution for you. As it's been for me.

Step 1: What You'll Need.

Picture of What You'll Need.

You'll need the following:

1. A cat (in my case Three).
2. A piece of Card Board - 32x24 (I used 3 due to the amount of cats).
3. A razor for cutting.
4. A 36 Inch ruler (I like the metal ones).
5. Some glue.
6. Optional Cat Marijuana.

Step 2: Prepping...

Picture of Prepping...

Lay down the card board onto a cutting table (any table you don't mind ruining...or perhaps put something under it)

Measure two inch lines for each cut. This allows a good depth. Not to mention that once one side is shredded to nothing, it can simply be flipped over.

Once your lines are plotted, use your rule and blade to cut out the pieces.

Step 3: Final Steps...

Picture of Final Steps...

Next you're going to apply glue to each strip. Start placing them together, one on-top of another. Continue until done.

With the Optional Cat Marijuana, you can sprinkle some along with the glue, every other strip. Though, this isn't needed. Cats will scratch regardless to sharpen their claws. This was merely for some added enjoyment on my part. It's always fun to see your cats go mental.

Find something heavy to place on-top of the strips while the glue dries. I used a couple of bricks.

Step 4: Now Let the Cats Enjoy!

Picture of Now Let the Cats Enjoy!

Now it's time to let the cats enjoy their new scratcher.

Put it on the floor or next to something those little bastards scratch...and magic...they'll love it!!!! Add some Cat Marijuana...and enjoy the chaos.

Step 5: Summing Up.

Picture of Summing Up.

I hate spending money on things I can make.

This is a prime example.

The cardboard was free from work. Alternatives could be local stores with fridge boxes...could be cut down and used as well.

The glue, I had around...but every crafter should have a gallon or so.

Everything else I had around my loft.

I don't feel I spent any money on this 30 minute project. Was fun doing, killed some time...and now my cat's can keep themselves healthy...and stop ruining my furniture.

Hope you all enjoyed!!!


TJG2 made it! (author)2015-05-25

Fun and easy to make. Thanks for the great Idea. Turned out great : )

sonia.lecompte.12 (author)2015-01-23

Brilliant, love the funny instructions!

etuttle (author)2014-10-11

This is really cool and saves moeny I made this because we have tons of cardboard

helen.tugwell.54 (author)2014-09-13

We always have heaps of cardboard around, the sad thing is, I just bought 2 ! Next time I will use your great idea, thanks!


Might as well use it where you can!

Glad I'll have saved you some money in the future!


Tuan JinnN (author)2014-07-25

Awesomeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! Especially the part that added the catnip. Thanks

katerlyn (author)2011-12-13

Thanks! I suppose it would be illegal to use up my postal cardboard boxes in this way!!

smeezekitty (author)katerlyn2014-07-12

Like anyone really cares about that

Titanomachia (author)2014-05-10

I plan on starting this ASAP, but I've been pretty spoiled since I can get the scratchers for only $2-3 at Big Lots.

lpoppy (author)2014-04-04

This was pretty f awesome. Thanks!! I had a good laugh too, now I'm off to make a cat scratcher. I have about ten million cardboard boxes so... I was 6 and a half seconds away from buying a $10 scratcher! Now I'm just moments away from making my own.

tcompre (author)2014-03-19

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the nifty idea And the hilarious story, especially the last paragraph, as my daughter would say....You so funny, I lmao and almost roflao. Oh, my little darling said she would have sent a thank you your way, but she is too busy with her scratcher. Well off to liquor store (for more boxes) and maybe something for furball's Mommy while I'm

doctressjulia (author)2014-03-01

Oh, hell yes. Thanks for this.

randersen6 (author)2013-11-27

never thought about using cardboard, nice idea :)

suerose (author)2011-06-30

No measuring or cutting or glue but not so pretty.

1. large cardboard box.
2. folded it to a size I thought the cat would like.
3. wrapped it around with twine.

5 minutes or less.

Cat loves it.

I'd like to know how to grow cat nip.

FossaFossana (author)suerose2013-10-06

Growing catnip is super easy; you can get catnip seeds at any garden store or Target, Walmart, Lowe's, Home Depot, other junk store that sells plants and garden stuff. Or buy them on line. Very inexpensive.

Plant them in your yard or inside in a flowerpot and keep on your windowsill where the cats can't find it and knock it over (if such a place exists).

You can fill a big, shallow empty litter pan (Hartz makes shallow ones) with a small layer of gravel, a large layer of potting soil, sprinkle the catnip seeds over, cover very lightly with a sprinkiling of soil.

Water, then keep in a warm place till the seeds sprout (in the oven with the heat turned OFF, or on top of the refrigerator).

OldBird51 (author)suerose2013-06-30

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial herb of the mint family. Usually found near the herb section of garden centres.. Or find a bush and nip a piece off and plant in a pot of soil roots very easily ;)

FossaFossana (author)2013-10-06

This is teriffic! I agree with you; it really hurts to pay real money for all the stupid cat things made out of currugated cardboard. Thanks for the instructable; I'm going to try it.

bkennelly (author)2011-07-10

Loved your idea and needed something ASAP for a new kitten. Went to K-Mart and they had one for $20!

Took your basic premise but put the strips into the bottom of a 12-pack soda box. Fingers crossed she learns to scratch there and not my boyfriends golf bag LOL

container_gardener (author)2010-05-31

Thank you. I was adopted by a stray cat last week, and I was looking for a DIY scratcher for him.

108841 (author)2009-04-28

You mean catnip right? Not cat marijuana.

neopirater (author)1088412009-07-14

Um...Yes. I was trying to be witty.

bowmaster (author)neopirater2010-01-01

If I gave my cat $10 he would buy some catnip.

Mr. Brownie (author)1088412009-07-11

Yes, I'm sure that's it.

bowmaster (author)2009-07-18

You say "It's always fun to see your cats go mental." I say: When do they stop? I have a cat around 12 months old who makes a real racket at night. I stayed up all night a few days ago and I kept thinking a bunch of people where coming down the stairs. All because of an 8 pound cat.

talonts (author)2009-02-13

Rather than go insane drawing lines over and over, invest in a wider yardstick, and just use it to set the width to cut. Or check out drywall squares, they are long and wide. Or just get a 1.5-2" wide piece of bar stock in steel or aluminum. You can also just make a cutting jig out of scrap wood, clamping a utility knife blade in it. Set it up with a channel with the blade at the width you want to cut, start with a straight edge from the box, and just run the box through it over and over, or if you make the jig small enough, hold the box off the end of a table/chair/whatever, and run the jig across it over and over for strips the same width without measuring. If you're only going to make one, it makes sense to just measure and mark. But if you're going to keep making them, a properly sized strip of metal or a cutting jig will save you a LOT of time. Having 6 cats, I'll be doing this soon. If I make a jig, I'll post it.

neopirater (author)talonts2009-02-21

I'd like to see what you come up with as far as a jig. I have a two in ruler, just isn't long enough for the cardboard I use. I moved out of the loft I was in...and only one cat (my cat Nana) remained with me. So...the scratcher was just recently built again. My ex got the old one. Nana doesn't seem to like using it as much, now that the other two aren't around to use it as well. She prefers the corner of my brand new bed mattress and the back of my favorite retro couch. I'll be getting a squirt bottle in no time...Cat nip on the scratcher didn't seem to go over all that well. Anyone know a good way to remove cat hair off of black sheets, without the use of a pet vac?

talonts (author)neopirater2009-02-21

The simplest jig would simply be a piece of 1x2 pine with a slot cut near the end, with a screw going through side of the board (on the 3/4" side) through the slot. Put a carpet knife blade in the slot (they're safer than utility blades - they're the hooked ones), tighten the screw to clamp the blade down.

Then get another scrap of 1x2, screw/glue/nail/whatever it to the other perpendicularly (making a T shape), with the scrap under the blade board. The length of the blade board should be picked before fastening, just measure from the scrap board to the blade to set the cardboard strip width.

To use, place the cardboard over the edge of a table, put the cutter on the overhanging edge, with the scrap board parallel to and against the cardboard edge, and slide the cutter. Lather, rinse, repeat, feeding the cardboard off the end of the table for each cut, so the blade is always at least a couple inches from the table edge.

There are many, many ways to make a cutter or jig. For example, another way is to use the above T cutter, but with a standard utility blade. Now add another 1x2 piece under the scrap T edge, parallel with the blade piece. When setting the blade, run it down until the tip embeds in the lower 1x2.

Or yet another quick version - build the T cutter, but fasten it to a decent sized piece of scrap plywood. Rather than running the cutter over the cardboard, set the cutter on the floor, and run the box through it.

If you have scrap wood and fasteners laying around, your only costs will be the occasional replacement carpet or utility blade.

I could probably whip up a couple of examples if the above don't make sense. I'll just have to see if I have any scrap 1xXs or not.

kill-a-watt (author)2009-02-05

Big 2x4 frame screwed together. Pre-cut cardboard that has as many sheets wedged in as possible.Done. .

neopirater (author)kill-a-watt2009-02-21

I like this...No glue, right?

kill-a-watt (author)neopirater2009-02-21

no glue. I got the cardboard precut from some envelope boxes. There was a center divider down the center of the flats of envlopes. The cardboard, looked at edgwise, is in a V shape.. I just crammed as many as possible in the frame. You can see about two inches from the end where there's a notch. Originally I made a frameless scratcher by just strapping the cardboard in that notch, However using just the frame works better

ItsTheHobbs (author)2009-02-05

Oh my gosh, your cat roxie looks just like mine named Trtella!

neopirater (author)ItsTheHobbs2009-02-21

It's my ex's cat...she's the devil. Roxy, not my ex.

ItsTheHobbs (author)neopirater2009-02-21

haha. actually, Tortellas pretty evil too....

ItsTheHobbs (author)ItsTheHobbs2009-02-05


MinnieLea (author)2009-02-01

With 4 cats, don't know why I didn't think of this. Keep the frame, make new innards. Free cardboard I can get, all I need. Thanks.

HvW (author)2009-01-24


I make a similar scratcher for my cat, but without glue. I'm just about to do an Instructable for it, figured I'd search first and see what else was out there. Free cardboard is so, so handy! I've actually wondered if the companies making the $10 scratchers are *also* getting it free. I bet they are!

I like your step about how a cat is required. :)

MrsPost (author)2008-11-02

We bought the $10 ones to find out if the cats would like them. The answer is 'yes'. Now that we have the frames we'll be making new innards as needed. The catnip makes it fun for us to watch. ;) Very good instructable. Lots of pictures and clear instructions. Can't ask for better than that.

ChrysN (author)2008-11-01

Nice, too bad I already spent the $10 on mine. Good idea to put the catnip right in there.

neopirater (author)ChrysN2008-11-01

Next time you have the chance to get corrugated cardboard for free...this is a nice little time killer...and a great money saver, while giving your pet a good place they know is "OK" to scratch...and keeping their claws healthy and your furniture new.

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