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DIY Scratching post guide

Making a Sisal-Wrapped Scratching Post


This scratching post has been cat-tested and guardian-approved. Here is a list of the supplies needed. These supplies can be purchased at most building supply stores.

  • One cedar post that is about 30" tall and at least 4" in diameter
  • A bundle of ½" non-oiled sisal rope
  • A 16" X 16" piece of ¾" plywood to make the base sturdy ½" roofing nails
  • Four 3/4" 16d coated sinker nails

The size requirement for this type of scratching post has come from our "cat testers." The reasoning behind this cat post is simple. A post should be as high as your cat is tall when he or she is fully stretched out, plus a few inches. The post should also be wide enough that your cat can sit on top and survey the surroundings. The base should be sturdy enough so that the post will not tip over. Once a post tips over on a cat it is very hard to convince that cat to use the post again. The post should be wrapped with sisal rope because cats like something to dig their nails into and the rope lasts a very long time.


Before beginning you will want to make sure your cedar post is dry to reduce the chance of any shrinking of the post after it is wrapped with the sisal. While wrapping the post, you might want to wear a pair of work gloves to protect your hands. You will want to use roofing nails to secure the beginning of your rope securely all the way around the top edge of the post. Continually wind the rope around the post very tightly so that there are no gaps between the pieces of rope. This wrapping process will take you all the way down to the bottom of the post. Nail the end of your rope all the way around the bottom of the post. Next, you will want to nail the plywood base onto the post, use the four ¾" nails and pound them through the bottom of the plywood base and into the bottom of the post. You now have a cat-approved scratching post!


To introduce the post to your adult cat, you may want to use catnip as a lure (kittens younger than 5 months of age are not affected by catnip). Rub the catnip right into the rope so that the cat can smell the wonderful aroma. Once your cat has smelled the catnip, scratch your nails gently along the surface of the rope. This will help teach your cat where to scratch. Once your cat begins to use the post, praise your cat. You can also reward your cat with a food treat. If your cat is using a certain corner of the couch as a scratching post, place your new post next to that corner. If the cat is still using the couch as a scratching post, cover that corner of the couch with double-sided tape. This is unattractive to your cat and the tape can easily be removed when entertaining company.

Completed scratching posts can be purchased at the Animal Antics store inside any Wisconsin Humane Society location.


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