DIY Cat Scratching Board




A cat scratcher is one of the most essential accessories you can make for your beast. We made this cat scratching board for our beast and he loves it. It takes a few simple steps to get a very nice and sturdy scratcher.

Step 1: What You Need

  • Wooden plank
  • Natural sisal rope
  • Catnip (optional)
  • 1 pencil + notebook
  • Ruler
  • Saw
  • Wood glue
  • Staple gun & heavy duty staples
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Sand paper for wood
  • Paint/varnish (optional)
  • Work gloves

It is important to adapt the size and strength of your homemade scratching board according to your cat’s size or weight. For example, if your cat is real big (10 lbs+), you may want thicker wood that will resist the tremendous weight of this humongous beast It’s also important that your cat has enough room to fully stretch on the board!

Whatever you decide, make sure you plan ahead and draw a simple plan of your desired scratching board. This step is essential as it enables you to make sure that everything will fall in place when you are done cutting the planks. My drawings and instructions are designed for a medium-sized cat (7-8 pounds).

Step 2: Cutting the Boards (& Painting Them)

Measure and cut 3 planks that will be used to make the cat scratching board. The thickness of the planks is not indicated here but it should be thick enough so your cat’s weight doesn’t bend the plank.

Now when the boards are ready, it’s important that you choose whether to leave them like that or give them a personal touch. If the wood is not stained you could decide to keep it this way but you can also decide to apply some varnish or paint. If that’s the case, make sure you prepare your board before going into the next step. Whatever you decide, I believe it’s good to use sandpaper to smooth the edges and make sure your cat won’t end up with a splinter in his paws.

Step 3: Preparing the Scratching Board (1-5)

Time to prepare the actual scratching board before assembling it to its support and base.

Take the sisal rope, the glue and your stapler, things are getting real.Start by stapling the beginning of the sisal rope under the plank.

Step 4: Preparing the Scratching Board (2-5)

Turn the board and use the glue to trace a straight line on the board where the rope will lay on.

Step 5: Preparing the Scratching Board (3-5)

Go ahead and press the rope on the glue and pull as hard a you can to make it tight before rotating the board.

Step 6: Preparing the Scratching Board (4-5)

When the board is turned, staple the sisal a first time close to the edge (1), pull as hard as you can again and staple it next to the other edge (2).

Step 7: Preparing the Scratching Board (5-5)

Simply repeat the same process until you are satisfied with the amount of sisal rope disposed on the board (or if you simply run out of it like me ). From time to time, apply a line of glue to make sure it holds tight and remains straight. Do not use too much though, the staples should be strong enough except if your beast turns into a big green monster.

Make sure you always staple on the same side of the board. This side will be hidden for visual purposes and also because it will prevent your cat from hurting himself on the staples.Keep on rolling!

Step 8: Putting It All Together (1/5)

Now you should have everything ready to start assembling the 3 elements of our cat scratching board!

First assemble the support to the base. I used wood glue + a drill and a few screws to reinforce the structure.

Step 9: Putting It All Together (2/5)

Now the tricky part is to put the scratching board on top of the support and base planks. You have two options here. Option one is the simplest and has a more rustic finish: don’t worry about it and just nail and glue the scratching board to the rest (just a thin line of glue). Its tricky because the contact area is relatively small. You need to be quite precise here and you might need extra hands to help align it perfectly while fixing the board.

Step 10: Putting It All Together 3/5)

Option two is trickier but the end result will be a smoother look and a stronger structure: adjust the cutting angle of each board so they perfectly stick and align to each other. It’s easier to understand by looking at the images below. The original cut makes the contact points relatively small.

Step 11: Putting It All Together (4/5)

By cutting the edges at the right angle, the contact surface is greatly increased and enables to have the best performance in terms of strength of the overall structure (as pictured below).

Step 12: Putting It All Together (5/5)

When you are done assembling this beauty, let it dry overnight. The glue might leak so make sure to protect the underlying surface. Keep an eye on it when you are just done, you might already see some excess glue that you can easily remove with a cloth.



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    10 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Love this! And it's a good idea to wear work gloves when working with sisal. I learned the hard way by tearing my hands up badly when I was repairing a scratching post.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi Leslie! That's a great advice! Indeed, I don't know how I forgot to put that in the required material list! Thanks a lot for your comment :)


    2 years ago

    love the instructable! what breed of cat is yoda? :)

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi Grace! Thanks for your comment!!! We are not sure about his breed. We adopted him 2 years ago at a local shelter. Maybe Chartreux or Russian Blue :) He is definitely a beautiful mix!


    2 years ago

    How much sisal rope is needed for this project? I am very interested in making this.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi! First, let me say that we are very happy that you are interested in this project. I used 50 feet of natural sisal rope. You can use more or less depending on the size of your board (your cat would say that more is better!). Have a wonderful day! Let us know how it turns out


    Reply 2 years ago

    Definitely! And it doubles as a fun project too! Thanks a lot for your comment :)