DIY Cat Scratching Post That Literally Lasts for Years!

April 7, 2015Allison Murray
Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

Here lately my kitties have been royally getting after things with their claws that they shouldn’t be and it has been ticking me off. They have especially been trying to get to the occasional chair I bought in my sleep last year .

Um, wait… in my sleep? Yep. When I get stressed or have other strong emotions getting down I will get my rear out of bed and do things like dig in the mud, hide other people’s car keys, put my muddy dog into my dad’s car and I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t had to clean mud stains out of the bottom of my sheets after waking up with said mud on my feet. But I am way off topic here.

Though I often live in my own world I did finally realize just how ratty they kitty’s scratching post had gotten. And when I realized that 4+ cats have been going to town on this thing for over 2.5 years I realized it was time to invest in $12 of rope and get this sucker prepared for the next 2.5 years!

MY LATEST VIDEOS
MY LATEST VIDEOS

Today I’m going to show you how I updated my post for a completely new look that matches my current decor scheme much better. Because I used supplies on hand with the exception of a $6 rug and $3 bottle of liquid dye (learn how to use the dye and give that rope some color here). In the end this cost me $21 but if I went with a more generic look I probably would have left that stuff as is and just replaced the rope. But I’m fickle and I change my mind often and I’m stubborn and I want what I want so I went ahead with the extra $9 expense.

Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

For this project you will need:

Optional elements:

  • Rug at least the width of the base + adhesive
  • Paint
  • Colored rope

Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

So here is the old sucker. Like I said before, for 4 cats getting after this thing for 2.5 years it isn’t all that bad. I’ve never reattached the rope when it would come away from the wood and that meant the sisal rope frayed a lot faster than it would have otherwise. I also used a whole bunch of shorter pieces of rope so there was plenty of places that could easily be torn away for an all new frayed rope end to start.

Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

When I was removing the rope from the old version of the cat scratching post, present day me was pretty ticked of with in the past me. I mean LOOK at all of those nails. What the heck was I thinking?!! Be sure to remove any nails you might have used to keep the rope on. Hopefully you were more sensible than me because it took forever to remove these things!

Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

If you’re changing the look of the wood for the base get that done now.

Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

After a lot of looking I finally found a rug with a medallion smack dab in the middle of the design. I wanted this to equally surround the post itself. I think this way it helps to draw the eye in a bit more so the pretty rug can be appreciated.

In order to get things just right, measure out the center of the rug. If you need to be sure that it is centered with the patter on the other side (because it can get messed up) point at the dot you made on the back side and flip the rug over with your hand still beneath. Use your other hand to find and connect your fingers. Move the dot accordingly until your fingers match up. Go ahead and mark and trim all four sides of the rug to fit within the bottom of your post.

In the center of the rug you’ll need to cut a space for your post. Now the wood we used was a 4×4 but that’s not what you really get. A 4×4 post is actually a finished 3.5 x 3.5 post. Mark the 3.5×3.5 inch square in the center and trim the carpet and get after it with your craft knife.

Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

If you’ve already read the other post you may have noticed a difference. Instead of cutting a slit there is just the hole in the center. It turned out that slit was something the cats loved to mess with so it never laid flat after day one and that irked me. Instead with the hole just in the center I was able to pull it down over the post for a perfect fit!

Glue your carpet down with a strong glue. I used Liquid Fusion because it’s some strong business. Go around the edges of the carpet with a clear glue to seal the carpet fibers in and prevent the rug from unraveling at the cuts.

Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

Since the nails had really hacked me off I decided screw a bunch of them and went with my staple gun. Getting them into the wood and the rope and holding it down will a bit tricky at first but once you get the hang of it you’re set. When you get a staple into both the wood and the rope it won’t be a tight fit. Use a hammer to smash that sucker down and really secure things.

Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

Work all the way up to the top of the tree and you’re done! You can change colors as often as you’d like. I wanted 2 colors but I didn’t want it to be all up in your face so I went navy, natural, navy. Boom. I’m loving it.

Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

Marla is loving it too. I set up the thing waiting to see which cat would head on over first and Miss Thing came swooping right on in.

Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

And jumped on top and started scratching upside down. ‘Cause we’re all normal here. Even the petses.

Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

Now there are other tutorials that say it’s cool to use rope out of man-made fiber and I’ve been told that it isn’t by my vet. There are lots of pretty colors that you can use of the artificial stuff but I don’t think it is a good idea. Be sure to check out my post that will show you how to dye sisal rope to be used instead. It’s super easy and only adds the cost of the dye to the project. And it’s safe for kitty’s precious feet!

And remember to build the base you can check out the post from years ago here – Cat Scratching Post DIY. Total investment will run you about $35 dollars including dye if you fancy up your rope.

Store bought cat scratching posts suck. See how to make your own that will honestly last you years and save you money!

Written by Allison Murray - Visit Website

Comments (23)

  • Ejean

    August 15, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    I loved your original design but love this one even more! The colors are wonderful! I’m getting ready to make one for my 3 kitties and can’t find a piece of carpet I like, and definitely not a square I like as much as I like your blue and white carpet. Can I ask where you found yours?

    1. Allison Murray

      August 17, 2015 at 8:14 PM

      I purchased the rug at Dollar General and cut it to fit the square shape.

      1. Bob

        June 27, 2017 at 1:39 PM

        I never would have thought to look there. I’m sure this particular design is gone by now, but it’s still worth a trip to see what they have. Thank you!

  • Autumn

    August 15, 2015 at 6:21 PM

    Where did you buy the rug?

    1. Allison Murray

      August 17, 2015 at 9:21 AM

      Dollar General.

    2. Holly koekker

      January 16, 2017 at 10:54 AM

      You did a Awsome job ,,,,,what do you think about the pole in my basement ,,,,couldn’t I wrap the rope around that ???for my babys???

      1. Allison Murray

        January 16, 2017 at 12:13 PM

        You absolutely could! It sounds like a solid plan to me because there is building required! :)

  • Katie

    September 28, 2015 at 12:13 PM

    i love the design carpet on the bottom. I’ve made one before too. Mine has a small platform on top so the kitties can nap up there ?. But mine has indoor/outdoor carpet on the bottom so it’s not as pretty.

  • Lylalu

    October 11, 2015 at 9:03 PM

    Thank you so SO much for posting your diy cat scratching post! I just finished making mine (wrapping the rope took FOREVER). It is such a simple design with a nice look to it. I’m so happy with my results :)

  • DIY: Re-surface Cat Furniture with Sisal Rope – Catnipocalypse

    October 24, 2015 at 2:29 PM

    […] Our cost was about $20 for rope and staples, including shipping for the rope. We already had the other items. Your costs may vary based on how much post you’re covering, and how fancy you want to get.  You could also use decorative rugs and dye your rope, as we found out later from this post. Check out how to do those things – Allison made her own scratching post and it looks great! […]

  • Roxanne

    November 6, 2015 at 12:15 AM

    Just to make things easier on yourself, to find the center of the pattern from the wrong side, you could just go to the center on the right side, and stick a nail through the very center of the pattern from the right side (make sure to use one big enough to go all the way through), then flip the rug over. Then you can easily use a marker to mark a circle around the nail before you take it out. Since you are cutting the center out anyway, it doesn’t really matter if you put a hole in the rug in the center. Hope this helps!

    1. Allison Murray

      November 6, 2015 at 7:28 AM

      That is brilliant! Sometimes I make things far more difficult than they need to be!

  • 19 Creative DIY Projects Featuring Rope – Proverbial31

    November 17, 2015 at 6:20 AM

    […] Let’s not forget about our cute little furry friends: the cats. They’re cute and cuddly until they start to ruin your furniture. To avoid such situations, offer them a scratching post. They really need it because it’s their instinct to keep their claws sharp. Obviously, you’ll be using sisal rope because it’s the best option for such projects. Use the rope to give an old and completely ruined scratching post a makeover or to build one from scratch. You can find an inspiring example on Dreamalittlebigger. […]

  • Cat training videos

    December 23, 2015 at 12:41 PM

    What great way to save a few bucks. Some of the scratching post at Petco can be expensive.

  • Square Paws

    January 20, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    Very nice work! I find my cats don’t gravitate towards nylon (man-made) rope, so it’s interesting to see that dyeing sisal doesn’t affect cats. I had read that dye can be dangerous and toxic to cats, so I steered away from doing that. I used black nylon rope on the “Stiletto” cat condo I made two years ago (on my site). My cats will scratch the nylon, but not as much as they will sisal.

  • Kay

    January 24, 2017 at 12:58 AM

    No staples! They can cause serious harm to the cat’s paws. If just one comes loose you will have big problems. Use wood glue instead.

    1. Allison Murray

      January 24, 2017 at 7:53 AM

      Hi, Kay. I can understand your concern but I STILL have this scratching post with 3 cats (at one point 4) and I have never, ever had a problem with kitties getting hurt.

  • Shirley

    February 20, 2017 at 10:17 PM

    Slap a circle of plywood covered in more rug on the top fastened down with screws and kitties will spend hours on top looking out the windows!

    1. Allison Murray

      February 21, 2017 at 9:45 AM

      Ooh, I love that idea!

  • Elizabeth

    January 10, 2018 at 9:34 PM

    This is so beautiful! I was all in despair at the utter ugliness of all the prefab scratching posts our there, and starting to resign myself to the idea that my living room chair would simply be the collateral damage of pet parenting, when I came across your wonderful post. I’ve ordered the sisal you recommended, dyed it pink and green (great tip about binding the end of the rope before you dye it, BTW ), painted my wood and am starting to staple, and could use a bit of advice.

    Did you do anything special to hide the staples? I don’t see them at all on your post, but they stand out tremendously on mine. I’m also wondering how close together your staples are. When I only staple the back side of the post, the tension on the rope doesn’t seem like it’ll be enough to hold up to vigorous scratching.

    Thank you so much for sharing your fantastic idea, your process and of course that adorable upside down scratching photo :-)

    1. Allison Murray

      January 12, 2018 at 8:18 AM

      Yay! I still absolutely HATE store-bought scratchers and simply refuse to buy them so I totally, totally get where you’re coming from and so glad you’ve found this DIY useful :) As far as the staples go I went NUTS with them going all the way around each rope but I only attached the staple to the top half of the rope. So basically one prong of the staple went into the wood above the rope and the other staple went into the middle of the rope. This way as I wrapped it up the wood I covered the staples from the row just below. If I remember correctly I just glued the daylights out of the very last (topmost) round of rope to keep it there and the cats never really hit that part of the scratcher with that cap on top so it’s worked out just fine!

  • Phil

    September 28, 2018 at 4:21 AM

    Awesome design and I see two very happy customers in the pictures!
    I’ve made a couple of scratching posts very similar, but they don’t last more than a couple of months with my Maine Coon making it his mission to pull them apart – I’m wondering if there is anything more durable than sisal rope?

    1. Allison Murray

      September 29, 2018 at 5:54 PM

      It there is something more durable I haven’t found it. I’ve used rugs, but that only seems to encourage scratching my rugs! Sisal seems to be the best option for us.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Post Next Post

BEFORE YOU GO!

Sign up for my newsletter and grab my 10 most popular blog posts, I'll send them right to your email address.