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Why bother making a “do it yourself” cardboard cat scratcher for your feline friend? Well, whether it’s a labor of love for your feline family member or a last-ditch effort to protect your furniture… it’s always a smart idea to get cat scratching under control.

By using some materials you probably already have lying around at home, not only will you be saving some cash, but you might also be saving your couch and carpet from further abuse.

Read on to learn more about why your cat needs a safe and sturdy scratching surface, and how you can make an eco-friendly version all on your own.

Why Does A Cat Scratch Things? The Psychology Behind Scratching

Bad animal behavior at home concept. Cat scratching white sofa with clawsContrary to popular belief, cats don’t scratch surfaces because they’re acting out negatively. In fact, they’re simply exhibiting a natural instinct to…

  • Mark territory (since scratching leaves both a visual and olfactory mark of the cat’s presence);
  • Sharpen their claws by shedding the dull outer layer of the nails;
  • Get a good stretch and flex their paws and claws 1

These are all important cat behaviors to support. Instead of discouraging cats from scratching, redirecting their attention and energy to an appropriate scratching site or object is key.

This is where the modern cat scratcher comes in: You can provide the ultimate scratching post or surface they can safely use for exercise, self-grooming, entertainment, and stress relief, without sacrificing any of your own home furniture.

DIY Pets: How To Make The Ultimate Cat Scratching Post Or Pad

If you’ve had cats reject a store-bought scratching toy or post before, it isn’t because they’re being extra difficult. It may be because you haven’t properly observed their scratching behavior prior to purchasing it. Most cats may enjoy scratching, but their scratching preferences may differ. 2

They may like to scratch a spot while standing or sitting up on their hind legs, or stretching at an angle. They may like to scratch wood-like surfaces (think door jambs or window sills) or softer fabric (like carpets and upholstery). Take the time to observe your cats and determine if they’d benefit from an upright or vertical scratching post, or a flat and horizontal scratch lounge.

Once you’ve figured out the orientation, you can start planning how to DIY a cardboard cat scratcher. Read on for instructions for two types you can choose from (or you can opt to make both).

Making A Flat Corrugated Cardboard Cat Scratcher: Materials And Steps

Cute little kitten in cardboard box, closeupFor horizontal scratchers, create a flat surface they can scratch and even lounge on. The corrugated surface of a cardboard box helps provide a textured surface for them to grip and claw at.


  • Recycled cardboard boxes
  • Ruler or straight edge
  • Cutter or craft knife
  • Strong glue or glue gun


  1. Lay one cardboard box out flat. Using your straight edge and craft knife, cut out several two-inch strips lengthwise, making sure to reveal the corrugated section of the cardboard along one side.
  2. Take one strip and lightly score along the length, making sure not to go all the way through. Scoring the cardboard at small (about a quarter-inch) intervals will help you roll the strip up tightly later on.
  3. Start rolling a scored piece of cardboard, making a tight roll. Unroll it, then re-roll with one hand as you gently apply glue in the middle to seal your spiral tightly.
  4. As you reach the end, apply a layer of glue on the end before attaching another strip of scored cardboard flush against the edge. You’re adding on the original small spiral, making it larger.
  5. Repeat the rolling and gluing until you come up with a large flat spiral, with a surface area large enough for your cat to perch or lie on as he scratches. 3

Making A Scrap Wood And Sisal Scratching Post: Materials And Steps

Sisal rope or fabric5837394 - baby kitten and sisal yarn are common coverings used on cat scratching posts… and with good reason. This natural and biodegradable material sourced from the sisal plant has proven to be a satisfying surface for cats to scratch, as it leaves visible marks when scratched and becomes softer over time (both pros as far as your feline is concerned). 4


  • Recycled wooden plank or post (small and light enough to hang from a doorknob)
    Note: A piece of pallet or fence post works well
  • Sisal rope
  • Wood glue


  1. Apply wood glue to the bottom of the wood piece. Start wrapping the length of sisal rope around the wood, starting at the bottom.
  2. Hold section in place until dry and secure, before wrapping another length of rope around the wood.
  3. Make sure the coils are flush against each other and glued on amply. Apply glue on top of the previous coil and press down with a new coil, making sure they stick together and don’t have any spaces in between. This will help make your hanging scratching post more durable.
  4. To make the handle, stop coiling and wrapping the wood piece a few inches from the top. Cut a length of rope from the opposite end of your rope.
  5. Glue each end on either exposed side of the plank or post to make a long handle you can hang the whole thing with.
  6. Resume coiling and gluing the sisal rope in place, making sure to cover and secure the handles’ ends.
  7. Ensure wood glue is completely dry before hanging from a sturdy doorknob and introducing it to your cats. 5

Scratch Cat Scratcher Off Your Pet Supply Shopping List and Make Your Own

A DIY cat scratcher made with organic and found materials such as cardboard, wood scraps, and sisal is a creative way to save some cash (and your sanity, from all that incessant cat scratching). Consider making one for your kitty today, before your sofa sends a final S.O.S.

Learn More:

Changes In Environment For Cat Enrichment

Understanding Cats: How To Read Your Cat’s Body Language

Are Cats Loyal? Reasons Why Cats Make Good Companions