Are you tired of having your cat scratch up every piece of furniture in your house? Whether it's the wood table legs on your dining room table, the fabric of your sofa, or your living room drapes, the simple fact is, cats need to scratch. Even those declawed front paws need exercising, and while the declawing helps to prevent your furniture from utter ruin, it can make life difficult for both you and your pet. Here's an inexpensive way to solve this problem, using many of the items you may have at home. And best of all - making your own scratching post can prove to be safer for your pet then buying one from the store.
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Things you need
- Scrap wood for base
- Thick piece of wood for pole
- Sisal rope, blue jeans, etc. for scratching against.
- Nails or screws
- Hammer or screwdriver
- Catnip (optional)
Using any scrap wood you may have around the house, build a base for your post. The wood you choose should be completely chemical free, which means no treated outdoor wood, nothing stained, painted or sealed. It should be big enough and heavy enough to prevent the post from tipping over when in use. For example, a post that stands about 80 cm (32 inches) tall should have a base of 27.5 by 42.5 cm (11 by 17 inches).
Make sure to sand the base well to remove any possible splinters of wood.
Choose a piece of wood for your post. Again, it should be chemical free. The post you create should be longer than your cat can stretch out on his hind legs. Remember, a post you make for a kitten, will not be large enough for an adult. If you have more than one cat, mount more than one post to your base (remembering to increase the size of your base if you do so). Secure the post using nails or screws sunk underneath the base into the bottom of your post. This way your cat can't get injured by scratching against an upraised piece of metal.
Cover the post and base in sisal rope, winding the rope around the base, starting at the bottom, making sure each row is tight up against the last one. At the top, secure the rope by sinking a screw into it, then wind it back down, again securing it by sinking a screw deep into the rope. You can cover the base by either gluing or screwing the rope in pieces lengthwise across the base. Alternatively, measure the size of the post and cut up an old blue jean so that it can be wrapped around it. Sew a seam up the material, creating a sleeve that can be dropped down over the post. This sleeve can be removed for washing, or thrown away when worn out. You can also use a log to create your post. The log should be of red cedar, fir or pine -- any softer wood that will not splinter. Bark can be removed or left on. This style will need a bit more maintenance due to flaking.
Most scratching posts on the market today contain catnip somewhere on or in the post material. While this can entice the cat to use the post, some owners prefer not to have to deal with the effect this natural drug has on their pet. If you choose, purchase a stem or two of natural, organic catnip. This can be tied directly to the post for a short period of time, until your cat takes notice and begins to use the post on a regular basis. Or, crush the stems and leaves and rub the crushed material over the scratching post before covering it. This will give a faint hint of the catnip smell, while keeping your pet from going too crazy.
Tips and warnings
- For extra support, once the post is in a place, attach it to the wall with a wooden spar, preferably attaching it to a stud, and one spanning from the top of the post to the "hanger" almost like a shelf. Make sure the wood spanning the distance is strong enough to sit on - because you know that's where your cat will love to go.