Intro: Cat Scratch Post
After 20+ yrs of having cats, I finally have not 1, but 3 (out of 4) that use a scratching post!! None of my previous cats would use one; they much prefered the furniture. But, since I now have cats that do, my scratching posts have been needed to be replaced or repaired. There are two scratching posts downstairs, but none upstairs. And I had been contemplating getting a third scratching post, for upstairs, when luck struck.
My (less than a yr old) wheelbarrow tire went flat! So, I ordered a never-flat for the wheelbarrow and saved the flat one. I had just seen a DIY of a full-sized tire wrapped with rope to make an ottoman, so I immediately thought of using the tire for another scratching post.
I had always heard that tires had a second tire inside of it - a tube, but never really understood what that meant. (I'm not really a mechanical-type person) So, out of curiousity, I tried to take the tire apart. With a bit of struggle, I finally ended up with 3 parts: the tire part you see, an actual tube, and a really neat metal spool.
Step 1: Assembling the Pieces . . . . . (and There Are Alot!)
Ok. There are the tire pieces - the wheelbarrow tire taken apart. Use a utility blade to cut the airstem part out and then tape the closed with electrical tape.
I ended up using 2: 100ft packages of sisal rope. And 2 packages of 12 of glue sticks Don't use the craft type glue sticks - they are too short and they won't secure as well.
I had extra dowels for stairs, but only ended up using one.
Thanks to my neighbor who supplies me with pallets. I had the perfect small pallet to use.
To fill the tube tire, I used uncooked rice.
For the pad on the tire, I used fabric scraps that I had laying around; brown kraft paper; Tostito"s bags; and 1/4" plywood cut into a circle.
And then, 4 tiny (~1") nut & bolt and 2 medium (~2") nut & bolts.
Step 2: Scratching Tire #1
Using your utility knife, puncture the tube, all they way through on one end and only in the inside of the other end. I did not do the inside punctures until after I had filled the tube with rice. Once the tube was filled, and I was ready to thread the pole through, I punctured the two inside ones. Make sure that you have cut the pole to the height you want ahead of time. Thread the pole through the holes, and when in place, seal with electrical tape.
I started to wrap around the tube, but decided it would be better to wind it in along the diameter. Start on the center line on the inside. Use the hot glue gun and lay a trail of glue - don't do too much at a time: only as much as you can then adhere the sisal rope too. Be careful when pressing the sisal rope into the glue to the tire - it is very HOT!!
Continue to glue and wind the sisal rope around and around the tube until the entire tube is covered. It takes awhile.
Step 3: The Kneading Pad . . .
Before winding the sisal rope around the tire, I needed to make the kneading pad. I used a circle that was bigger than the interior edge yet smaller than the exterior edge as a pattern to draw on a piece of scrap plywood. I used my jigsaw to cut the circle out. I then drilled 4 holes into the plywood - to be able to affix the pad to the tire. Once those holes were drilled, I placed the plywood circle over the tire and drilled holes through the tire.
Since I wasn't ready to affix the pad to tire just yet, and because it was a little difficult to see the drill holes, I used skewer sticks as place markers in the tire.
I laid out the plywood circle as a template on my fabric scraps to get an idea of how much to cut. I was very generous with the amount I cut to ensure amble room for stuffing. I also had some tiny scraps of the same fabric that I put inside the large piece since the fabric I was using was a burlap type, and I don't want my cats wearing it out too quickly.
I put the four tiny bolts through the plywood since the pad itself would be covering them.
Placing the plywood atop the fabric, I started wrapping the edges of the fabric around and used the hot glue gun to affix it. Only go around 1/2 to 3/4 around - you need a hole to stuff through! And, when gluing the fabric to the plywood, leave ample room for stuffing!
I tied some fabric scraps up into balls, and also balled up brown craft paper. (It's thicker than newspaper or magazine paper. I get food for my cats and my dogs from an online retailer, and they use is as packing material, As do the online art supply retailers I use. So I have amassed quite a bit!)
In filling the kneading pad, I put the (empty) Tostito's bags first, along the top. They provide the perfect crickle that cats love. Then, I filled it out with the balled up fabric and paper. When it was stuffed, I flipped it back upside down and finished gluing the fabric to the plywood using the hot glue gun.
And, because I tend to overdo things, just to make sure that the fabric wouldn't be able to come loose (knowing that it would be secured to the tire, then glued, then sisal rope ) I cut a piece of cardboard (cereal box will work fine here) to fit the bottom of the pad. I glued it from the fabric edges and in the middle.
Step 4: The 2nd Tire . . .
Before attaching the kneading pad to the tire, I lined the base up with the tire to figure out where to drill those holes. I drilled the holes in the wood base first, then placed the base over the tire to use the holes as guides for drilling the holes through the tire. Again, I put place markers through the holes in the tires, this time, they were drinking straws.
Then, I affixed the kneading pad to the tire. Using the skewers as guides, I lined up the nuts with the holes in the tires and pushed them through, screwing the bolts on. It is hard to push them through and get those bolts started!
Using the glue gun, attach the sisal rope, winding around kneading pad first. I wrapped around the kneading pad twice before I started the winding around the tire. Wind and glue the sisal rope around the tire. Stop before the tire become tire wall.
Step 5: Assembly
When you've mostly finished wrapping the tire with the kneading pad, stop and make sure that the hole to insert the post has been drilled. I also pre-drilled a hole for a screw to help stabilize.
Step 6: Assembly . .
Line up the mostly wrapped tire over the holes. Insert the bolts through the tire and then through the wood holes. Bolt from underneath the wood pallet base.
Finish gluing the sisal rope to the tire, wrapping the to the point where the tire attaches to the wood. Keep wrapping as needed the go under and cover some of the tire wall. Don't want those playful cats to bat under the tire and easily undo the sisal rope!
Use wood glue and put the pole into place. Screw from underneath for added stabilization.
Step 7: Further Securing the Post
I wasn't happy with the stabilization (the cats can be kind of rough on their toys, sometimes), so I decided to dowel.
I have often used skewer stick as dowels with great success. From each side, I drilled in, then coated the skewer stick with wood glue and inserted in the hole. Once it is in, apply pressure - like you are folding it - and it will snap cleanly off at the edge of the wood piece.
And, to further ensure stabilization, I cut three short pieces of sisal rope to use like brackets. Then, I started winding sisal rope - with the glue gun - around the base of the pole down the the pallet.
Step 8: Viola! Finished!
And, finally, the finished scratching post!
Step 9: The Cat Test . . .
Anyone with cats knows that sometimes it will take them awhile to warm up to a scratching post. A trick I've used in the past (never, before these 3 cats, successfully) is a little catnip. Immediately, my matriarch went up and started checking it out. She seemed pleased.