We went a little overboard shopping for Oliver when we found out we’d be adopting him. I’m beginning to understand why parents go so crazy buying things for their kids. I spent 30 minutes just trying to decide which cat food was the best option for our little 4-month-old kitten. In the midst of our shopping, I decided that buying a $25 scratching post was just not for me. Instead, I decided to make one.
Because we have carpet in the bedrooms, I decided to go with a rope scratching post. You’re supposed to choose a type of material that isn’t in your house. For example, if you have carpet and have a carpet scratching post, your cat might think that scratching carpet is okay. We didn’t want that, but rope posts are a tad more expensive, especially for a good one.
Let me start off with a disclaimer – this is not as easy as it looks. What I expected to take me an hour took me three days to complete. Seriously. But it was worth it.
To make this rope scratching post, you’ll need:
- Square, tall piece of wood, approx. 2 feet tall and 4 inches thick
- Square, thin piece of wood, approx. 1 foot across and 1 inch thick
- Sisal rope (medium thickness and several feet long)
- Non-toxic wood glue (I suggest Gorilla Glue)
- 4 long screws
First, sand down the post and base with sandpaper if not already smooth. My post was pretty beat up (got it for FREE at Home Depot), so it needed quite a bit of sanding, especially around the newly cut area.
Then start gluing the end of the sisal rope at the top of the wooden post. You will slowly continue to glue down rope on each side of the post, wrapping it tightly around the pole. The reason this takes so long, particularly if you use Gorilla Glue, is because it does not dry instantly, and you have to hold it down until it’s sticky enough to stay, which can take a long time. The rope is thick and doesn’t bend and hold easily, so it needs the glue to keep it in place or it will instantly break away from the wood. Gorilla Glue is meant to set permanently after about 30 minutes. Once you have the first row glued down at the very top of the post, it gets a lot easier but is still rather time consuming. This top row will act as an anchor, making the following rows much easier to glue.
I found that doing three sides at a time was the best approach if I laid the post on its side, pushing down one side while the glue dried and gluing two more sides, laying a heavy book on top to hold down the rope while the glue dried enough to hold it in place. I’d let it set for a few minutes and do a few more sides.
It’s a lot of work, but I promise it’s worth it. The glue you choose can make all the difference, but you want to make sure it’s a non-toxic, wood-safe glue so that it won’t harm your cat if they lick the post, which is pretty likely. It also needs to be tough enough to handle constant scratching and pulling. After you have glued down the length of the post (I stopped about 4 inches short of the bottom of the post), you can begin fastening it to the base.
In order to ensure the post is sturdy, I’d recommend using four long screws to attach the post to the base – one in each corner. Position it in the middle of the square base, marking with a pencil and gluing with additional Gorilla Glue if necessary, and drill four holes into the bottom. Use the drill to screw the pieces together. They should feel very secure at this point.
That’s all it takes. Only a few easy steps, but it can be a long project. Do it a little at a time while you work on other things, and it’ll be done in no time! So far, Oliver prefers scratching my couch, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he warms up to it. Overall this project only cost me about $13, and I get to say it was homemade, which is really the reason I do all of this in the first place!