DIY Beautified and Renewed Cat Scratching Post

Think you need to go out and buy a whole new scratching post once your kitties have ripped it to shreds? Think again! Growing up, my mom always re-wrapped our scratching posts with sisal rope, which can be purchased at your local hardware store! It’s an easier job than you think, and much better than paying tons of money for a new cardboard tube and ugly carpet-covered plywood base.  I decided to also give the post a makeover while I was re-wrapping it, since it would already be disassembled.

Here are the materials you need:

»Staple gun and staples
»Sisal rope (I bought 100 ft of ¼ inch natural twisted sisal for $6.48 at Lowe’s.  Depending on the size of your post, you may need more or less.  I have plenty left over but I believe it’s less than half.)

Additional Materials:

»Fabric square large enough to cover the base of the scratching post (approximately 21” x 21”)
»Fabric for the top cap of the post (approximately 6” x 6”)

Materials Cost: $6.48 (will be more if you don’t own a staple gun or don’t have any fabric on hand)

1. Disassemble your scratching post.  This will vary from post to post, but for my basic post (I think it came from Petsmart), I simply had to unscrew the bolt on the bottom to remove the base and pop off the plastic cap on the top.

Disassembled and ready to go!

Disassembled and ready to go!

2. Remove the old rope from the tube or base. The rope on most scratching posts is held on by staples which can be easily removed with pliers.  I recommend wedging the pliers under botht the staple and rope to help loosen the staple and then removing it from the front.  There is generally a row of staples along the top and bottom, with a few in between.  If the rope is glued down, it may take a little more legwork to get it off.

Post with the end of the rope removed to start unwrapping.

Post with the end of the rope removed to start unwrapping.

3. Wrap the post with new sisal rope.  Mimic the original staple pattern or staple as you feel necessary.  I did miss the edge a few times at the top and bottom, but you can simply pull the staples back out with pliers.  It’s important to pull somewhat tight and also push down the rope as you move up the post to ensure the layers are compact.  I recommend wearing gloves since sisal is rough on your hands. Be sure to staple down each end to prevent fraying.  I even left the tape on the end of the rope to help prevent this from happening.

4. If all you want to do is re-wrap the post, then viola! You’re finished! Let your kitties enjoy their fresh post.  If they seem put off by the smell, try spraying some catnip spray or enticing them to use the post with a toy.

Now, on to the fun part!

1. Cut a piece of fabric for the base of the scratching post with a fabric of your choice.  I happened to have a ¼ of a yard of botanical pattern which I was looking at as curtain material and decided to use that since it matched the room.  You simple have to have a square big enough to wrap around the bottom edges of the base.  Mine was approximately 21” x 21”.  Most scratching posts are covered in ugly carpet.  I went ahead and left the carpet underneath to help cushion the base.  Ensure that you cut a hole where the bolt of the post or other fastener passes through the base.  I went ahead and made a large hole to help the post sit down in the carpet, but it’s up to you.

Fabric square cut and ready to be attached.

Fabric square cut and ready to be attached.

2. Lucky for you, you already have your trusty staple gun handy!  Attach the fabric to the bottom of the base as you would if you were recovering a chair cushion.  Start on one side, pull taught, then staple the opposite side.  Fold in the corners for the remaining two sides as if you were wrapping a gift package.  Staple down the folded corners, ensuring the fabric is taught, and then the center of the remaining sides.  Remember this is a cat scratching post, after all, so don’t be too hard on yourself about perfecting the corners, especially if you’ve never upholstered anything before!
3. My scratching post has a plastic cap that just pops into the top of the tube.  I decided to cover it with matching fabric and used a glue gun to hold the fabric down.  The top of your scratching post may vary but feel free to contact me for suggestions.

4. Reassemble and you’re finished!

Additionally it would be very easy to build your own scratching post using a base made of wood, such as plywood, and a cardboard tube, such as a packing tube or even an old carpet tube.  The only challenge will be finding the best way to attach the base to the post.  If you purchased a packing tube, it should come with plastic caps for both ends.  Drill a hole large enough for a bolt through one plastic cap and in the wooden base.  Then thread the bolt up from the base through the plastic cap and secure with a washer and nut on the inside of the tube.  Then cover the other plastic end with fabric if desired.  You can also cover the base with a scrap of fabric, or batting and fabric of your choice.

Have a great weekend. And until next time,

|The Creative Physician|