Picture of Full size cat scratching / climbing post
Rufus  wanted a scratching / climbing post, so I decided to make one for him.

The ones available at the pet stores have several disadvantages: They are usually too short, have too small diameters and an annoying platform which doesn't allow 'full speed' upward.

This design allows you to make a scratching post from floor to ceiling, in whatever length your cat prefer, and it's also very stable and doesn't require any holes or screws to fasten. It is also possible to re-wrap the Sisal rope in the future.

The relaxing platform and staircase described at the last step are optional.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What you need.

Picture of What you need.
* PVC drain pipe, diam. 110 mm, in a preferable length (floor to ceiling).

 * Sisal rope, diam. 8 mm, approx. 47 meter for each meter of the pipe length.
   For example: A diam. 110 pipe with length 2.5 m will need 117.5 m.
   Sisal rope can be quite expensive, so check out where you can buy it cheap.
   An affordable supplier is (delivers worldwide).

   (See below in comments section for the formula used for exact calculation).

* Tee nuts, M8, 4 pcs.
* Hexagon head bolts, M8, length approx 50 mm.  , 4 pcs.
* U-bolts, 2 pcs.
* Fake MDF wood tiles. (Or a similar hard surface material).
* Cork gasket sheet, thickness 3 mm.

* Wood screws.
* Ordinary hand tools.

* And the most important: One helpful and curious cat

awesome tutorial, and updates!! thanks! :)

KimB32 months ago

Is there any reason (other than aesthetic) that the MDF parts and the cork must be circular like the part that goes inside the PVC pipe? What if they were square? Thanks!

JoeH5 made it!2 months ago

Here's mine..

The only difference was I used some vinyl flooring offcuts instead of cork.

The cats love it - great design and instructions Bengt!

It gives them access to the top of the wardrobe, to which I have fixed some old carpet for them to be comfy..

Bengt Englund (author)  JoeH52 months ago

Nice build! Thanks for sharing the picture!

KimB32 months ago

Do you think it would be wise to use the cork sheet that has adhesive on one side?

Bengt Englund (author)  KimB32 months ago

No, can't se any problem with that. Could even be a better solution with the cork sheet firmly fastened to the MDF plates.

Joyceline3 years ago
Question - I really like this project and I would love to make one for my cat. However, I'm a bit confuse with the bottom part of the structure.

I see that you use the 4 T-nuts and bolts to act an a spanner, then you slip a plate (with a corked side facing the floor ) under the four bolts.

Would the bolted side of the spanner slip from the smooth side of the plate? (My cat is active and is BIG...I want to make sure that thing will be stable...)

I included a picture...maybe that'll help...a picture worth a thousand words ^_^

Bengt Englund (author)  Joyceline3 years ago
Great picture! You describe you question perfectly.

I also thought of the risk of the bolt heads slipping, so I had a backup solution if it was necessary. Depends of the materials and surfaces of the bolt and plate. The friction was enough in my case.

But, if there is a risk that the friction isn't enough, the solution/modification is quite easy:

Just drill some countersunken end-holes in the plate with a diameter just a little bit larger than the screw head. That will fixate the screws in position and prevent slipping. If a harder contact surface also is needed, make the end-holes a little deeper and put a washer in it.

Hope I explained it good enough.

Happy drilling!


Wouldn't it be hard to drill a hole in the MDF without going all the way through, since it is so thin? Or is it okay if it goes all the way through? I too am concerned about stability, and I want to do something to secure it beyond relying on friction.

Bengt Englund (author)  KimB32 months ago

I would suggest that you first build the climbing post without making any counterbored holes. If you experience any slipping you can fix it later on. I have not had any slipping problems. If it seems to move just tighten the bolts a little.

But, for counterbored holes I use a tool like this:

An easier solution that don't need any 'special' tool is to make an extra MDF plate with holes going straight through, and glue it ontop of the bottom plate, and: Voilà! A counterbored plate with double thickness.

What about super-gluing the screw heads to the bottom plate? Would that make it too hard to disassemble later?

Bengt Englund (author)  KimB32 months ago

Correct, it would be difficult to disassemble and tightening later on if needed, ie. the PVC tube expands different compared to the materials used in your house.

Thank you for this ibble!! My rope is on it's way, just need to get some piping, wood, bolts, screws and a cat (on it's way tomorrow) :)

I also thought about the countersunk holes and love the idea of the washer in there too. To help stability but I'm also considering cutting some more discs, 150mm in diameter with a 110mm hole in the center (using holesaws to cut my wood), cut these in halves/quarters and insert in the gap created by the spanner section. If it's a tight enough fit it should provide a bit of extra security and the gap created by cutting them in sections should allow for a flat device to be inserted between them to pop them out if needed. It could also help with the design as there will no longer be a gap at the bottom.

I have a feeling it may be easier to wrap the pole while it's vertical, rotating the pole should hopefully prevent a lot of the tangles because the rope is just naturally fed onto it and youve got gravity helping to keep the rope down if starting at the bottom.

I don't think it's needed, but I'll be adding a small ring of cork between where the pipe and the disc's make contact, just as a slight cushioning and to prevent any shaking if there's a gap.

I was looking into this before seeing your ibble and have seen a few places recommending at least 10mm rope, just an fyi for if you ever need to change the rope. I was a bit surprised to find out that 10mm would also work out £0.58 cheaper, but all other thicker rope gradually became more expensive.

For those trying to work out how much rope they'll need, here's the formula I used:
Height of pole * (Pole Diam + Rope Diam) * Pi / Rope Diam / 1000.
eg: 2500 * (110 + 8) * 3.142 / 8 / 1000 = 115.9m (313 coils around the pole!)

I then added an extra 10% or rope for compression, I'll post back once I know if this was enough (luckily I bought enough for a taller pole as I'm now freaking out about he compression).

PS Thank you again for a method that doesn;t damage floors or ceiling, my wife will be happy!
Bengt Englund (author)  DreamingSheep2 years ago
Thank you for your new design ideas and improvements! Please feel free to share some pictures of your work in progress. Thanks for adding the rope length formula, I used a similar calculation but forgot to mention that in the instructable.

Here is some update: After 1.5 years and two cats later using the pole at least 30 times a day, i decided to tightening the sisal rope around the pole. The rope started to slack a little and showed gaps between some turns. The gaps where larger at the top of the pole, due to the cats weights during climbing pusching it downwards, as expected.

It was really easy to add some more rope, just to remove the U-bolts, compress all the turns with your hands and add some more rope. 3-4 more turns was enough.

Would suggest though that you add mostly of the extra rope inside the tube at the top, but also some at the bottom.

The funny part is that the cats LOVE this pole. They are chasing each other up to the top, tumbling around at the platform and then running down the smaller shelfs. And sometimes, just chilling, all above the rest of us mortal humans.
KimB32 months ago

What kind of wood did you use/would you recommend using, for the plug units?

Bengt Englund (author)  KimB32 months ago

Any wood used for common house building purposes will do fine.

TrickahTreat3 months ago

Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for posting this! I totally feel like I can do this. My cats are going to be so happy! Thank you again. Ordering rope now!

mrs_somerset8 months ago

Brilliant - I found this as we are making one with a pressure mounted metal extending pole, and was not sure of the best way to attach the sisal.

I think we will need to make another with the drain pipe too

really clear instructions, and with help from the cat too :-)

jladley1 year ago
I have a large cat... Large as in tall from paw to shouler and long from nose to bum. The posts you buy from pet stores are waaaay to short for him, and have too many platforms which don't allow the cat to stretch, I made one for my bug guy, but he's almost worn it out!... I love this idea!
cubequeen1 year ago

I love that you showed your cat "assisting."

arpad.cseh1 year ago

Hi! My name is Rufus too, Im from Serbia, Europe:) This is a good bulid:) I want it!!!:)

carolmac551 year ago

Very inspirational. Having read it through it came to mind the large cardboard tubular insert used by Carpet retailers would give you height and claw friendly material, wadaya think

Bengt Englund (author)  carolmac551 year ago
Hmm... interesting suggestion!

Hard to tell if it will work, without detailed knowledge of the material properties:

* Will it be sturdy enough to resist the pressure when pressed against floor and ceiling?
* Will it bend if pushed in the middle?
* Will it expand/shrink with temperature?

It might be a problem to tighten the U-bolts hard enough, without breaking the cardboard.

If you decide to test a cardboards tubulare insert, please post your experiences!
leirbagvd1 year ago
Great Instructable!!! It was exactly what I was looking for and immediately went and bought the materials to start the build. As well the shelves were a good idea but as you can see in the pic there are many windows and there was no space for wall shelf brackets, so I decided to make floating shelves instead and they worked great.

My two cats (rescued) started climbing in a few days after the post was installed and they love it.

Thanks for the inspiration!!!

P.S. since I had a lot of hallway real estate I went crazy with the shelves and ended up with a cat playground.
Bengt Englund (author)  leirbagvd1 year ago
Wow! A very nice build!

I understand that the cats love it.
atmasingh1 year ago
Here it is! Thanks once again!
2013 06:17 pm.jpg
Bengt Englund (author)  atmasingh1 year ago
Looks great!
atmasingh1 year ago
Wow! :-)

Have got the rope (220m for £45!!!) other stuff's on it's way, including the rescue cat which get's here Saturday - we've named him Napolean (after the lead character from the film Napolean Dynamite).

Many thanks for a truly great instructable!!!
rgustafs1 year ago
Used your plans to make one for my house, and my cats are in love with it. I made a couple mods to make my life a bit easier, given that my jigsaw skills are minimal. One can buy pre-cut 6" round plaques at Michaels/AC Moore/your local arts and crafts store. I also bought 4" round plaques, which with a tiny bit of sanding with the Dremel, serve as the piece that fits up inside the PVC pipe. And I used the Dremel to notch out the wood and PVC for the rope and U-bolts. After painting the top wood plaque to match the ceiling and staining the bottom one to match the wood floor, this post looks less "I have a big ole cat post in my house" than "so there's this cool rope post..."

Anyway. Just wanted to say thanks for a great instructable!
Bengt Englund (author)  rgustafs1 year ago
Thank you for your feedback!

Nice improvement to paint the wood pieces. And most important: That your cat likes it!
snjokaggl3 years ago
Very nice design! Rope is on it's way! thanks
Bengt Englund (author)  snjokaggl3 years ago
Good luck!

When you are finished it would be great with some feedback / photos / comments for improvments or different ideas.

And... don't forget protective gloves... the rope hurts like h*ll when working with it ;-)
I love this and you make it seem so do-able! But, I also want to know about the copper piping that appears near the ceiling. Is it art? Does it have a function? I initially thought it might be a cat ledge, but then I decided it looked like it was made out of pipes. Please tell or point me to another instructable :)
Bengt Englund (author)  divinebluesky4 years ago
Thanks for your comment! The cat love the climbing post so much that he races up and down at least 50 times a day.

The polished copper pipes is another project that I have done (but there is no instructable, yet) and it's part of my solar cell installation. The pipes are used for covering the electrical wiring inside and to give the installation some kind of 'semi-cyberpunk' feeling and runs all around the ceiling. Quite nice actually.

The electrical wires insides the pipes connects to two steel wires which acts as plus and minus for the 12V system. Between the wires there are super bright LEDs (with resistors) to light up the room.

lemonie4 years ago

It's good, nicely shown too.

foobear4 years ago
love it!
rivetgeek4 years ago
This is a great build. I am considering this to give my cat a place to escape our dogs.