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Have you ever wondered why your feline friend loves to scratch things? Those little paws are adorable, but they also include claws capable of serious destruction. DIY cat scratching posts can help keep your kitty occupied and healthy while saving your furniture from certain doom.

Read on to learn more about why cats scratch and how to make a DIY scratching post at home that your cat will love.

Why Do Cats Scratch In The First Place?

Cats can be destructive creatures. Have you seen viral videos of kitties gleefully ripping up rolls and rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom? Imagine that level of kitty “fun” throughout your home.

If your furry friend is exhibiting these kinds of behaviors, it might mean your cat needs some more physical stimulation. Cats scratch for a variety of reasons including:

  • To stretch their bodies. Plus, scratching helps them flex their feet and claws.
  • To polish their claws. Scratching can remove the dead outside layer of their sharp appendages.
  • They want to have fun. Scratching is an instinctive and fun activity for them.1
  • Instead of letting your kitty scratch your furniture, carpet, and other household items, consider a DIY cat scratching post to help keep them busy.

How To Make A DIY Scratching Post: Help Your Furry Friend Scratch And Stretch

If buying a scratching post or cat tree from the pet store is out of your budget, there are many different DIY cat scratching posts that can be made to exercise your adult cat or kittens. Most DIY cat scratching posts are cost-efficient, and they’re an easy DIY project.

diy cat scratching | Ultimate Pet NutritionSince cats scratch to stretch, you’ll want to consider the scratching post’s height. You’ll also want to consider its durability.2

Adding Height To Your Cat’s Scratching Post

Typically, posts above 36 inches tall may help reduce scratching in other areas of your home. Basically, make a cat tower for your kitty to ensure they have room to stretch and climb.

Hanging some rope on the scratching post can also be beneficial, allowing your cat to hang from or climb the post while scratching and stretching. Wrap sisal rope around the sides of the post to give your kitty some vertical scratching action.3 Vertical scratching is all about the reach and stretch.

Providing Horizontal Reach

Though scratching seems like a tedious action, cats need variety to ensure they are scratching in good places and not on your furniture.

Sisal scratching mats offer your cat horizontal scratching. Horizontal scratching also allows your cat to stretch, but gives them the option to lay down instead of standing or sitting up.4

diy cat scratching | Ultimate Pet NutritionDurability Is Key

By making your own DIY cat scratching post, you’re hoping to save money. But all your time and effort will be for naught if the scratcher can’t stand up to kitty’s claws.

This is where sisal comes in: it’s cost-efficient and durable, making it an excellent material to choose for your cat scratching post. Whether it be rope or board, sisal is durable and will help your post last much longer than other materials. Also, following the directions of the DIY-project will ensure your scratching post’s longevity.5

What To Use And What Not To Use: Cardboard, Carpet, Duct Tape, Sisal Rope, PVC Pipe, And More

Once you start searching for DIY cat scratchers, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the seemingly endless choices available. Focus on the materials you want to use. Here’s a rundown of commonly used cat scratcher materials.

Cardboard

Make a cardboard cat scratcher using corrugated cardboard boxes.

  1. First, cut cardboard boxes into strips and score them as you go.
  2. Tightly roll these strips and glue the strips together to make one very long rolled strip.
  3. Then, glue it into a roll shape – it should look kind of like a wood log slice.
  4. Trim any loose parts or glue them down to make it look clean.

This cat scratcher works pretty well as a scratching board, but it isn’t as durable if your cat is an avid scratcher.6

diy cat scratching | Ultimate Pet NutritionCarpet

Build a scratching post out of plywood and carpet.

  1. First, drill pilot holes into the circle/square base and post. This will be the blueprint for the scratching post.
  2. Begin to staple a piece of carpet to both the post and base.
  3. Tightly screw the pieces together and make sure it’s sturdy.
  4. This carpet scratcher can be a good option for scratch-crazy cats, and it can be especially durable if you use sisal carpeting.7

Use Sisal Rope

Sisal rope is a popular material for cat scratching posts because of its strength and durability. You can use the previous instructions to build a base. But instead of using carpet, use sisal rope to wrap around the base. Another option is to use PVC pipe instead of wood.8

You can even use different colored ropes to create a more aesthetically pleasing scratching post. This is definitely one of the better and easier DIY options when it comes to cost and effort.9

DIY Cat Scratching Posts vs Store-Bought Cat Scratcher Posts: Pros And Cons

There are definitely pros and cons to both DIY and store-bought cat scratching posts.

When it comes to DIY scratching posts:

diy cat scratching | Ultimate Pet NutritionPros
  • More cost-efficient. A lot of DIY scratching post materials are inexpensive.
  • You can choose the perfect look and feel of the post tailored to you and your cat.
  • You can specifically make it fit in a certain spot of your house.
Cons
  • It can take a lot of time and effort that a cat owner may not have.
  • It can be costly if you make a mistake.

When it comes to store-bought scratching posts:

Pros
  • No effort required. You can simply walk in, choose one that works, and walk out with it.
  • It might be more durable since it’s professionally made.
Cons
  • diy cat scratching | Ultimate Pet NutritionA lot more expensive than simply doing it as a DIY.
  • You can’t customize it to your cat’s needs.
  • There are definitely pros and cons to both DIY and store-bought pet scratchers. It just boils down to your preference.

Why Is My Cat Still Scratching Where They’re Not Supposed To Scratch?

If your cat has a cat scratcher but still scratches things they’re not supposed to, there are some things you can try to stop the behavior.

Scratching after using the litter box: Your litter box may be in an area that the cat doesn’t like. In addition, it might mean that there’s not enough litter in the box (or even too much). Make sure you regularly clean the litter box as often as possible.10

Scratching furniture or other household items: Your cat may just be bored. Curb scratching by making the scratching surfaces less attractive. Put double-sided tape, duct tape, or aluminum foil on the surface of the scratch site. This may curb scratching a bit, but make sure you are also enforcing the fact that this is a bad thing.11

At Wit’s End? Ask Your Vet

If all else fails, ask your vet for advice. There might be something else going on with your cat making them want to excessively scratch.12 Make sure you’ve played with your cat for the day. This will help zap their energy to scratch (hopefully).

But for most cats, a DIY cat scratching post is a great way to meet there scratching needs. It’s also a good alternative to getting a trainer or having your furniture destroyed.

Learn More:
DIY Pets: How To Make a Stylish Dog Or Cat Teepee
Cuddling Cats: Are Certain Breeds Better?
How To De-Shed Your Dog And Why You Should Always Do It

Sources:
1 https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/cats-destructive-scratching
2 https://100things2do.ca/diy-cat-scratching-post/
3 https://www.dreamalittlebigger.com/post/diy-cat-scratching-post-that-literally-lasts-for-years.html
4 https://www.companionanimalpsychology.com/2017/03/what-kind-of-scratching-post-do-cats.html
5 https://www.sisalrugs.com/blog/Which-Is-Better-Rope-or-Woven-Sisal-Cat-Scratching-Posts/
6 https://www.dreamalittlebigger.com/post/diy-cardboard-cat-scratcher.html
7 https://www.popsci.com/DIY-cat-scratching-post/
8 https://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-make-a-pvc-cat-scratching-post
9 https://abeautifulmess.com/2015/02/colorblocked-scratching-post-diy.html
10 http://www.thehappylitterbox.com/2012/04/why-do-cats-scratch-after-using-the-litter-box/
11 https://phz8.petinsurance.com/ownership-adoption/pet-ownership/pet-behavior/4-ways-to-curb-cat-scratching
12 https://pets.thenest.com/stop-cats-scratching-furniture-home-remedy-spray-7710.html