We realized we needed to make something for our cat (Mochi) to destroy when we noticed how bad our couch has been abused. This scratching post was designed to be an easy introduction project requiring few tools. Because every cat is different, and often picky, we thought it would be best to start here to see if Mochi liked our work before making her a better one. It's now been a year and she is still using it!
Step 1: Design and Plan
There are a lot of DIY cat scratching posts out there, and most of them require an actual post (i.e. something vertically standing up from the ground or hung vertically from a wall, door, etc).
We were't crazy about the idea of something standing vertically on it’s own. Our Mochi is not the most graceful kitty, and chances are she’d find some way to knock it over, freak herself out, and never go near it again. The door hanging ones might wobble and they’d bounce around every time we had to use that door, so those didn’t appeal either. And wall mounted ones had to actually be attached, and we wanted a solution that we could put away if we needed the house to look nice without leaving vacant nails in the wall.
So we came up with a horizontal scratching post instead (more like a scratching pad)
This is definitely a quick afternoon project, and comparatively quite cheap to anything modern looking you could buy online. Plus, it’s built in a way that will allow you to easily replace the scratching material if it gets too worn out.
Step 2: Assemble Wood Frame
- 1×10 wood (we cut ours to 23″ long, but anything around that size would work)
- 1×3 wood (two pieces, cut about 11″ long each. Again, sizing is flexible, just make sure it’s longer than your main board’s width so it overhangs)
- Twine/rope (sisal works great, but anything natural works)
- 4 x screws
The sizing of the wood can totally be adjusted depending on what you have. For us, this project was essentially free because everything we used was scrap wood we had in the garage, so definitely do utilize material you have on hand if you can and don’t feel like you have to match our measurements exactly.
We started by cutting our main piece from a 1×10 to about 23″ long (long enough that Mochi would have room to sit on it while pulling her claws). I think as long as you have a piece that’s big enough for your kitty, it should work just fine.
Next we cut two 11″ long 1×3 pieces that we screwed in at either end of our plank. We used two screws per side, like you see in the illustration above. If you want to be fancy, you could countersink the holes with a countersink bit or larger size drill to have the screws hidden. The 1×3 pieces overhang length-wise about 1/2″ on each side.
The purpose of these two end pieces was to give the twine something to hold tight against (we worried that without some kind of footing at either end, the twine might slip off the edge).
Step 3: Wrap Rope/twine
Next we drilled two holes through the main body, picking one corner on each end (see graphic above). We chose a side of the board to be the back, threaded the twine through our drilled hole, and tied a knot on the back side to secure it.
After threading our knotted twine through the hole, we wrapped it tightly in circles around the board. We didn’t use glue because we thought Mochi might not like the smell. Plus we wanted the twine to be removable in the future if she roughed it up too much and we needed to replace it.
Annnnnd then we ran out of twine. Which is what we get for using a roll of it we already owned with an unknown amount left on the roll. At the end of the twine, we did a couple quick staples with our staple gun to secure it to the back side of the wood. The staples will be easily removable (with pliers) if we need to replace the twine in the future, and they should be safely hidden on the back side. If you are worried about the stables falling off, then glue could be used, or even a screw through a knot in the rope.
Luckily, we had a second roll of twine so we repeated the same process on the other end of the board. It also was not enough to complete the board, so we stopped wrapping when it was about the same amount of coverage as the first piece of twine.
I actually consider it a happy accident because we kinda like how the wood looks in the middle. Plus, Mochi is likely to only pull her claws at either end anyway because of how she sits on it. Though when we replace the twine eventually, we might try doing the full board.
Step 4: Enjoy!
To replace it down the line, we would just need to remove the staples with pliers, knot and thread in new twine, and either re-staple the end to secure it or pull it through the other hole and tie it off. But we’ve actually had this scratching post almost a year so far and we haven’t had to replace the twine yet.
Our girl loves it! Now we did tip the odds in our favor slightly by spraying it with catnip (liquid form). All it really does is make her curious, but that was what we wanted. Of course… she still loves the couch too… but at least she has options haha. One other suggested way to get your cat interested in the object is to play with them around it and even scratch it yourself! Figuring out what your cat likes to pull their claws on is very important but this same base could be used to attach carpet or other materials if that is what is preferred.
Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial!!
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