Before I decided to take home my first cat, the idea that my house – my furniture and my wall decors particularly will all be wrecked and scratched up. I wasn’t sure if I’ll have enough time to groom and cut their nails. It was a big part of the decision process I had, taking the cat home.
Luckily, I stumbled upon people who had the same dilemma and they shared tips on how to divert scratching urges from cats. One tip and the most common among everyone who gave me was to have a cat scratching post.
What Is A Cat Scratching Post For?
Scratching is an instinctive and necessary part of a cat’s life. They do this to communicate with other animals and more importantly as part of their hunting skills. Their scratching movement leaves visible messages and detectable scents to other cats.
Aside from scratching to communicate with other animals, cats scratch their paws to clean and sharpen their claws. It is something they will do no matter what surfaces you have at home. To them, scratching is a big part of their processes of cleaning, grooming, playing, and emotional relief.
As convenient as scratching sounds for the cat, you wouldn’t want your pieces of furniture and house decors to be the target of their claws. This is where cat scratching posts come in.
Cat scratching posts are necessary and essential items for feline owners. This is where we allow them to vent, file down their fingernails, scratch and stretch. Having a cat scratching post is providing them a place that belongs to them.
That ownership gives them a place to redirect their natural tendencies to scratch and put their claws in, thus improving your cat’s health at the same time, leaving your precious pieces of furniture safe.
Cat scratching posts are helpful for you and your feline in a lot of different aspects:
- For Cats: Scratching posts are brilliantly helpful for young kittens with a lot of contained energy. These posts offer a dynamic activity for the cats while providing them something to attach themselves to at home early on. Cat scratching posts make adjustment periods for rehomed kittens easier as it alleviates any of their behavioral issues that may arise with the new environment. Scratching posts with hanging items to play with will help entice your energetic tikes to use them.
- For Your Furniture: It is a natural habit for cats to scratch even when they do not have a post to do it on. Meaning, as long as there is a surface that they can put their claws on, they will scratch. Even if it is your precious piece of furniture. Adding a cat scratching post to the equation will take away their attention from your fixtures and divert it to the scratch post. Note that you may have to lure them to use the scratch post instead of your table’s legs. Put catnip on it or place a treat at the top to get their attention.
- For Your Cat’s Health: Cats and their scratching habits may come off a little pesky to us, but it is, in fact, excellent for their health and well-being. Aside from keeping their claws in tip-top shape, it is their way of exercising and of reducing stress. A cat that can scratch without worry or being apprehended is healthy. This is why a cat scratching post is important.
- For Common Ground: If you own more than one cat, you will notice that there is one spot they always convene at. It would be best if that spot had a scratching post, that way it can be a perfect place for them to play, interact, and scratch. A cat scratching post is a great way to bring your cats together since all cats love scratching.
DIY Cat Scratching Post
Before you start rolling up your sleeves to do the dirty work, understand that cats are very choosy animals. They are not just picky eaters, they are also picky scratchers. They require that the post is not flimsy, so make sure that it is sturdily supported. Otherwise, when they feel it is wobbly, they’d refuse.
The cat scratching post you are going to do must be high enough as it is going to be used intensively and for a long time.
Once you’ve finished this project, you will need to let your cat understand that he can use it for his claws. Strategically position the scratching post in any of your cat’s favourite places. Make it more appealing by hanging one of your cat’s toys on it.
If you notice your cat still scratches at the wrong places, correct it by placing the scratching post there. Once he starts scuffing regularly on the scratching post, you may slowly and gradually move the post where you want it.
What Kind of Rope Do You Use For a Cat Scratching Post?
- Plywood (22mm)
- Sisal rope (8mm)
- PVC pipe (Ø110 mm)
How Much Sisal Rope Do You Need?
Sisal rope is a hard natural fibre that has almost the same characteristics as Manila rope. But, it offers 10 times more strength and is more economical than manila. Its good knot holding ability makes it the perfect material to use for cat scratching posts.
To find out how much you need
- Divide the length of the PVC pipe by the thickness of the sisal rope.
- Its result is the number of turns the rope needs to fully cover the post.
- Measure the width or diameter of the PVC pipe.
- To get the length of the sisal rope you need, multiply the diameter of the tube (PVC) by 3.14 and then multiply the result by the required number of turns. For example:
- Your cat scratching post has a diameter of 110mm. So, 110mm x 3.14 = 345.4mm rope is needed for one turn around the PVC.
- Your cat scratching post is 1000 mm high. So, 1000mm / 8 = 125 turns of rope
- The required length is then: 125 turns x 345.4mm = 43.175 mm of rope
- Divide it by 1000 to get the length in meters. In this case, it is approximately 43.5 meters.
How Do You Attach a Sisal Rope To a Cat Tree?
Step 1. Create the top plate of the scratching post.
Use a 22mm thick plywood panel for the top plate. Work with the jigsaw to saw out the round top plate to get the diameter of 300mm. You can start by marking out a precise circular shape by driving a nail at the panel’s center. With a pencil and a piece of string, pencil out a circle at a distance of 150 mm from the center. Smooth the edges after with sandpaper to remove sharp edges and splinters.
Step 2. Create the baseplate of the scratching post.
For the base plate, use the same 22mm thick plywood panel. Saw out a square piece that measures 400 x 400mm. Assess the weight of your cat. The heavier they are, the thicker the square piece should be for extra stability.
Find the center of the baseplate by drawing two lines between parallel corners. Mark 2 reference points on both sides of the center, each at a distance of 40mm from the center. Drill 2 holes at those reference points. These will allow you to fix the baseplate to the tube with countersunk screws.
Smooth the edges after with sandpaper to remove sharp edges and splinters.
Step 3. Arrange the central tube of the cat scratching post.
Carve out a 10mm slot at each end of the PVC tube for the 8mm to make way for the sisal rope to pass through. Pierce 3 small holes at the top and bottom of the tube so you can set up the top plate and the baseplate to the endplates of the PVC tube.
Step 4. Create the endplates.
You will need 2 endplates to fix the top plate and the base plate within the PVC tube. For this endplate, use a piece of 22mm thick plywood. The endplates’ diameter is 110mm (the PVC tube’s outside diameter) minus twice the wall thickness of the tube. This is normally 3.2 mm, so the diameter of the endplates should be or rounded-off 103mm.
For the circular endplates, go along the exact same method as for the top plate. Saw the 2 endplates out with the jigsaw. To let the knotted sisal rope pass downwards through the endplate at the top of the tube, saw a piece with a width of 8mm off the edge of the endplate.
Setup the top plate to the endplate within the top of the tube with screws and glue.
Step 5. Mask and hide the top plate.
You can hide the top plate of the cat scratching post with the same kind of sisal rope that you consumed to wind around the PVC tube. It won’t just conceal the top of your post, your cat will love it! Simply wind the sisal rope in circles and fix it to the top plate with glue.
Step 6. Fit the top plate.
Begin at the top of the post. Create a tight double knot at the end of the sisal rope and put the rope in the PVC Tube through the cut-out slot at the top end of the tube. Incorporate the endplate inside the top of the tube, with the cropped edge of the endplate that is right next to the place where the rope passes through.
Push the endplate right into the tube, and then screw it in place using 3 countersunk screws. Be sure to fix the endplate so the top edge is horizontal and level with the top of the tube.
Step 7. Wind the rope around the tube.
Pull the rope tight and start twisting it around the tube. Keep the rope tight while you are wrapping it. After encircling it around a few times, use a hammer to push the windings tightly and neatly collectively. Have a pair of working gloves to protect your hands and be sure to have someone help you keep the rope tight.
Step 8. Mount the base plate of the scratching post.
Once you are done winding the rope around the tube, keep it tight and push it through the cut-out slot at the bottom end of the tube. Do it in the same way you did with the top of the tube. Push the endplate right in the bottom end of the tube. Screw it securely in place.
Ensure that you mount the endplate properly so the bottom edge is horizontal and level with the bottom of the tube.