Introduction: Cardboard Cat Scratcher

About: Lean something about everything and everything about something. Never stop creating.

A cardboard cat scratcher made from reused cardboard.

We recently got a new cat and I thought it would be nice to have a scratching pad in case this cat like to scratch. If felt strange to purchase a pile of cardboard when so much cardboard is already being recycled.

The scratching pad is simply a bunch of sheets of cardboard held together with a few scraps of wood.


  • Pile of cardboard
  • Some wood scraps
  • Wood screws

Tools used:

  • Utility knife
  • Straight edge
  • Band Saw (optional)
  • Bar Clamp
  • Drill/driver
  • Table saw(optional)

I used a table saw to rip the wood frame but they could be made from any scrap wood. The band saw helped cut the cardboard but with enough care one could cut the cardboard chunks to exactly the same size.

Step 1: Prep the Cardboard

To make this you will need a lot of cardboard scraps. I intercepted a couple of large boxes on their way to the recycling.

Use a straight edge to cut the cardboard into equal sized chunks using the utility knife. I used the edge of a level.

I cut mine into roughly 8"x16" pieces. It turns out this was about twice as tall as I needed so I ripped them in half to 4"x16" pieces.

Once you have a big old heap of cardboard chunks start stacking them.

If there aren't enough full size pieces butt two pieces together. Most of mine were long enough but there are one or two layers that used two pieces.

Tap the pile on edge to get everything nice and square. If they aren't all the same size it is ok - they will get cut down later with the saw.

Step 2: Stack and Rip Cardboard

Once you have a nice stack, hold it all together with a couple pieces of tape wrapped around the pile. Wrap it tight enough to keep all the sheets in line but not so tight you are crushing the internal structure.

Be careful, the cardboard makes a lot of dust so wear a dust mask and always exercise caution using power tools.

Use a band saw to cut through the cardboard. I ripped mine in half and made some bumps on either side. Anecdotal evidence suggests that 100% of cats prefer lumps on their scratching pads (sample size: n=1).

A note on blade choice - For whatever reason I thought a very fine blade would work better than a big one - I was wrong. Use a blade with few teeth per inch. I think I ran a 3/8" blade. It made fast work of the cardboard.

Step 3: Construct the Frame

To build the frame, cut the pieces to the same length as the cardboard.

Cut the pieces so the width is about 3/4" smaller than the width of all your cardboard after it is stacked and lightly compressed.

Using bar clamps, compress the cardboard between the two sides.

With clamps in place screw the frame together with a couple wood screws in each corner. Once it is all attached, release the clamps and you are done!

If our furry demon doesn't like it in the horizontal orientation I plan on putting a rope on one end so I can loop it over a door knob to make it vertical

Now all you have to do is wait for a cat to use it while the camera is ready....

... or maybe it is a cat couch after all.

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