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Breeding & Showing Cats

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DIY Cat Scratcher

Did you know that you can easily make your own cat scratcher? Yes indeed! All you need are a few supplies that you likely have around your house.


The things you will need to make your cardboard cat scratcher includes:

  • Several Corrugated Cardboard Boxes: The longer, the better. However, you can still use boxes 18 inches in length.
  • Masking Tape
  • Utility Knife
  • Pencil or Magic Marker
  • Glue and/or a Hot Glue Gun (Optional)
  • Paint or Paper to Decorate (Optional)
  • No Slip Shelf Liner (Optional)
  • Catnip (Optional)

Once you have your suppliers, you are ready to begin:

(1) Flatten The Boxes

Open a box. Using the utility knife, cut down one side at the corner so that you can lay the box out completely flat. Repeat with as many boxes as you think you will need for your project.

(2) Trim The Flaps Off The Box

Using the utility knife, trim off the flaps that make up the top and bottom of the box. You will be left with one large rectangle of cardboard. Note: Place something under the box when using the utility knife to make sure that you don’t cut the floor beneath

(3) Summon A Little Help

Enlist the help of your nearest kitty… Of course, help may come without you asking.

(4) Measure 4″ Strips

You can easily see the grain of the cardboard. You will be cutting the cardboard into 4 inch strips perpendicular to the grain. First, use a pencil and ruler to measure and mark 4 ” at intervals all along the cardboard.

(5) Cut The Strips

Use a ruler, or a level to draw a line joining all your 4″ markings. I picked up a super cheap yard stick, which helped to keep my cuts straight. Using your utility knife, cut the first strip. Repeat until you have created a collection of 4″ wide strips from all the cardboard.

(6) Make It Easy To Roll

Take each strip of cardboard and pull its length around something round like a table leg, or in my case, my foot. This will make the strip more pliable and easier to roll it into shape.

(7) Begin To Wrap

Take a strip of cardboard and begin wrapping it around itself tightly. Once you get to the end of the first strip, take a several pieces of masking tape and tape the end down securely. Shorter strips are easier to work with at the center of the roll. Longer pieces work well as the roll becomes larger.

(8) Tape & Repeat

When you get to the end of the first strip, take your next strip and tape it down where your first strip ended. Continue wrap it around, pulling the strip tight as you go. Repeat with the rest of your cardboard, or until you reach the desired size. My scratcher ended up being 14.5 inches in diameter.

(9) Final Tape & You Are Done

Once you get it to the size you like, just tape the end closed. 

Decorate It

This step is optional. You can finish and decorate your DIY Cat Scratcher. I used a hot glue gun to tack down the end of the last strip. This made it easier to paint. I then painted the outside of the scratcher with basic acrylic craft paint. You can also glue non-slip shelf liner to prevent it sliding around on on uncarpeted floors.

Last of all, sprinkle some catnip on top! Your DIY cat scratcher is complete.

The cat scratcher is poking up a bit in the center due to manhandling while being painted. It will squish right down under the weight of my giant Cream Puff, Tiger.

As you can see, this really is an easy project. It is inexpensive to make, environmentally responsible and will provide a great place for your favorite feline to exercise its desire to scratch those claws. When the scratcher starts to look too frayed, just make a new one.

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Felines need to scratch to keep their nails healthy. Cats scratch with their front claws by dragging them downward, either on a horizontal or vertical surface. This action is referred to as stropping,. It loosens and removes the outer husk of the claw revealing a sharp new surface underneath.