Chris Kouwenhoven

Build it and they will come

How To Build a Scratching Post

Supplies Needed:

(Purchase these at a building supply store. The rope may also be found at a hardware store.)
* One cedar post about 30" tall and at least 4" in diameter.
* 75-100 feet of un-oiled sisal rope measuring 1/2" wide. (The amount of rope needed depends on the diameter and height of the post.)
* A square piece of 3/4" plywood measuring at least 16"X16".
* One dozen 1 1/2" roofing nails.
* Five 3 3/4" 16D coated sinker nails.

The specifications for this type of scratching post have been developed by our "cat testers." The reasoning is simple -- A post should be as high as your cat is tall when he is fully stretched out, plus a few inches. It should be wide enough so that your cat can sit on top and survey his territory. A sturdy base keeps the post upright. (If the post wobbles or tips, the cat will not want to go near it again.) The sisal rope gives cats something to dig their nails into.


Before beginning, make sure your post is dry so that there will not be any shrinking of the post after the sisal is wrapped on.

1. Use the roofing nails to attach a coil of rope around the top of the post--one nail every two to three inches.
2. Continue to wind the rope around the post, keeping the coils tightly pressed together. (There is no need to use nails here).
3. When you reach the bottom of the post, nail the last coil of rope just as you did the first coil.
4. Pound the sinker nails through the plywood base into the bottom of the post.

Voila! You have just created a great little exercise center for your cat!


* To introduce the post to your cat, try using catnip as a lure for older cats (kittens younger than 5 months of age may be repelled by catnip). Rub the catnip onto the rope and call the cat over.

* Scratch your nails gently along the surface of the rope. This will help teach your cat where to scratch.

* After your cat begins to scratch, praise him and give him a food treat. (Small kittens can be trained to climb the post by showing them the food treat and then placing it on the top of the post.)

* If your cat has already been scratching a piece of furniture, place the post directly in front of it. (Scratching is a territorial marking behavior.)

* Temporarily cover the previously scratched area with a few strips of double-sided carpet tape or a piece of Contact Paper. This will help to redirect your cat's scratching activities to the post.

* Most cats take to this type of post quite naturally, but if your cat is the exception, please contact the Wisconsin Cat Club and we will find an effective solution for you and your cat.

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