How to Make a Cardboard Cat Scratcher
Why Make a Cardboard Cat Scratcher?
Cats have an instinctual need to scratch. It helps them remove the dead outer layer of their claws and mark their territory. Providing appropriate scratching surfaces for your cat prevents damage to your furniture. Making your own cardboard cat scratcher is an easy and inexpensive way to create a scratcher your cat will love.
Some key benefits of homemade cardboard scratchers include:
- Cost effective – Cardboard is cheap and widely available.
- Customization – You can make it any size or shape.
- Cat approved – Cardboard has a texture cats enjoy scratching.
- Replaceable – Once worn out, toss it and make another.
So grab some cardboard and let’s get started!
What You’ll Need
Making a homemade cardboard cat scratcher requires minimal supplies:
- Cardboard – Reuse boxes or purchase sheets from a craft store. Go for thick, corrugated cardboard.
- Carpenter’s glue – Any strong adhesive like hot glue or wood glue.
- Scissors or box cutter – For cutting the cardboard to size.
- Sisal rope – Optional covering to entice scratching.
- Catnip – Also optional, sprinkled on top.
Look for large cardboard boxes at least 15″ tall. Appliance boxes, mattress boxes, and furniture boxes are ideal. Pick unwaxed, untreated cardboard for the best scratching texture.
How to Make the Scratcher Base
Start by making the base:
Cut cardboard to the desired length and width. Standard sizes are about 16″ x 16″ or 24″ x 24″. But any size works as long as it lays flat.
Glue cardboard pieces together until you have a square or rectangular base that’s 1-2 layers thick. Allow glue to dry completely.
Optional: Cut a front “scratch ramp” piece about 4″ tall and as wide as the base. Glue to the front edge of the base, tilted back slightly.
The ramp helps guide your cat’s scratching to the flat base surface. Make sure the whole structure is sturdy when assembled.
Adding Texture and Height
Now add texture and levels cats can scratch:
Cut cardboard pieces into bricks 2-4″ wide. Make some taller than others.
Glue bricks in rows across the base, alternating taller and shorter pieces to create staggered levels.
Leave 1-2″ gaps between brick rows for scratching slits. Stagger the rows so slits aren’t aligned.
Repeat gluing rows until you have built up a pyramid 6-12″ tall. Leave the peak row partially uncovered to allow cat access.
Let the glue dry fully – at least 24 hours – before letting your cat use the scratcher.
Add some final touches to maximize the scratcher’s appeal:
Cover bricks with sisal rope – Wrap and glue rope along the bricks and scratch slits. Sisal rope resists shredding better than jute or other fabrics.
Sprinkle catnip over the scratcher, especially in slits and the peak opening. This adds irresistible scent appeal.
Secure the base by weighting it with a book or other heavy object so it doesn’t shift.
Place the scratcher in an appealing spot near nap locations or windows. Have multiples in key areas your cat frequents.
Now sit back and watch your cat enjoy their handmade cardboard creation! Replace or recover it periodically as the cardboard wears down. With this easy homemade scratcher, you can save money and customize options to please even finicky felines.