How Much Sisal Rope Do I Need for a Scratching Post?

When it comes down to it, the best material for any cat scratching post is sisal rope. It’s very affordable, super durable, and quite easy to work with as well.

Determining the amount of sisal rope you will need depends on the height and circumference of the scratching post. The second thing to determine is the diameter of the rope you will be using – common sizes are quarter-inch (1/4″) and 3/8″.

If you are making your own scratching post, you might not know how much sisal rope to get. How much sisal rope you need for a scratching post is what we are here to help you figure out right now.

How Much Sisal Rope Will I Need?

We have now discovered that sisal rope is very likely the best thing to have if you have cats that love to scratch. It’s good for their claws, it keeps them occupied and away from your furniture, and in terms of the material itself, it is fairly easy to work with, it is very durable, and it doesn’t cost all that much.

However, one thing which many people have trouble with is judging how much sisal rope is needed to cover a particular cat scratching post.

If you go the shop and you have not made the proper calculations, it is quite likely that you will come back with either too little or way too much sisal rope, both of which are of course less than ideal.

This means that you need to do some calculations before you go out and spend good money on the rope. So, how do you know how much sisal rope you need for a cat scratch post? It’s actually quite a simple calculation.

Buying Sisal Rope for Scratching Post

First off, you need to decide what size of sisal rope you want to use. Yes, there are different sizes of sisal rope and you need to make a choice. Most commonly, you have your ¼ inch and 3/8 inch sisal rope.

Tip: a thicker 3/8 inch option is much more durable and longer lasting, but it is harder than ¼ inch rope to work with when attaching.

Of course, the ½ inch rope is not nearly as thick and will not last as long. That being said, you need to choose one. For the purposes of our example here today, we are going to go with the ¼ inch option, as it makes calculations a bit easier.

So, first things first. Measure the circumference of the scratching post by using a tape measure to figure out how much sisal rope you need to wrap around the post one single time, so that the tape measure is touching – this forming a full circle.

Once you have figured out the length of the rope needed for one full wrap around, it is time to move onto the next step. For the purposes our example, let’s say that your cat scratch post has a circumference of 10 inches. Now it is time to figure out how tall the cat scratch post is.

If your cat scratch post is 24 inches tall, and your sisal rope is ¼ inch thick, you need to multiply that ¼ inch to get up to 24 inches in height. So, 24 x 4 equals 96. Therefore, this means that you will need to wrap the sisal rope around the post a total of 96 times to get from the top to the bottom.

Now that you know to make 96 full wrap arounds and each wrap around is 10 inches in length, multiply 10 x 96 to get the total length of sisal rope you will need to complete the job, which in our case is 960 inches.

How To Replace The Sisal Rope On A Cat Tree

Now that you have figured out how much sisal rope you will need, you need to know how to attach the sisal rope to the cat tree. Let’s go over this in a quick step by step manner.

>> Need to know how to replace carpet instead of rope? Read our article on step-by-step instructions for replacing carpet on a cat tree

If you are not starting from scratch with a new post or a DIY project, you will need to remove the old sisal rope from the post before you can start adding the new rope. Here you can use a box cutter, scissors, or any other such tool which will allow you to rip the old sisal rope off.

Step 1: Start sisal rope at the bottom of the post

Start with your sisal rope at the bottom of the post. Keep in mind that the best method for attaching sisal rope to a PVC or wood post is a glue gun. So, yes, you will need to get your hands on a cheap glue gun and some glue sticks.

Step 2: Add hot glue where sisal rope will be wrapped

Add a nice glob of hot glue where you plan to start wrapping the sisal rope around the post, and firmly stick the rope on. Remember that it takes a few seconds to dry, so press it on firmly and make sure that it stays in place while it dries.

Step 3: Keep winding around and around the post

Continue winding the sisal rope around the post, making sure to add a nice glob of glue every ¼ revolution. Don’t be shy with the glue, cats will be scratching this!

Step 4: At the top, cut the rope and add more hot glue

Once you get to the top of the cat scratch post, cut the rope so that the end sits firmly between the rope and the edge of the cat scratch post. You will want to use a good amount of hot glue to attach this rope end so it does not start to unwind.

In other words, if the cat scratch post as a circumference of 10 inches, you need to add hot glue every 2.5 inches. This will ensure that the new sisal on your cat scratch post will stay securely in place. Some people choose to add glue along the whole length of the sisal rope, which works too, but it might be a bit of overkill.


As you can see, it only takes a few minutes to determine how much sisal rope you need to get your cat scratch post in good shape again, plus a few cheap tools and a couple of minutes to attach it. Sisal rope is the best way to go for cat scratch posts, and a cat scratch post is definitely something your cat needs!