Cats have a natural need to scratch. It maintains their claws, spreads scent, and is a means of exercising the natural desire to hunt. It even helps reduce stress and anxiety in some cats. Outdoor cats enjoy scratching trees and fences, but even they can benefit from having surfaces that they are allowed to scratch in the house. And if yours is an indoor cat, it will need at least one scratching surface or it will find its own.
While there are plenty of scratching posts available to buy, and in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, scratching posts are also relatively simple to make and require only a small budget.
Below, we have included plans and guides for 10 free DIY cat-scratching posts that you can build today.
The 10 DIY Cat Scratching Posts
1. DIY Cat Scratching Post by Brie Passano / Daily Paws
|Materials:||2×2 plywood, 2×4 studs, sisal rope, carpet|
|Tools:||Measure, saw, screwdriver, drill, utility knife|
A scratching post doesn’t have to be complicated or especially large to be effective and enjoyable. This DIY cat scratching post consists of a short post with a seating platform on top, which provides an ideal platform for your cat to sit and watch the world go by. The scratcher itself is covered in sisal rope, which is the most popular scratching surface material and will feature heavily in the plans on this list. It also uses carpet as a protective cover for the base and the top platform, and it is stable and secure thanks to the use of wood as the primary building material.
2. DIY Cat Scratching Post That Lasts for Years by Dream a Little Bigger
|Materials:||Sisal rope, rug, post cap, 4×4, plywood, decorative edge|
|Tools:||Staple gun, hammer, circular saw, utility knife, miter saw, drill|
This DIY cat scratching post that lasts for years is similar to the post above except it lacks the top platform but does have a few more decorative embellishments that really take it up a level. The cap on top of the post gives it a nice finish, while the decorative trim around the base prevents the rug edge from fraying and further offers a beautiful finish to the whole piece. You can really customize the look of the post by using your choice of rug, stain, and even the color of the sisal rope of your choice.
3. DIY Cat Scratching Post Pad by The Spruce Crafts
|Materials:||Small rug, picture frame|
Cat scratching posts can take many forms from massive scratching trees with multiple branches and layers to simple scratch pads. A scratch pad offers the same functionality to your cat, providing a surface that they are legitimately allowed to scratch and that will help maintain good claw health. But, the pad attaches vertically to some surface and allows a good stretch position, which a lot of cats enjoy when they are scratching. This DIY cat scratching post pad uses a rug, which is framed within a picture frame, and attaches to the wall at a suitable feline height. It looks like an attractive piece of wall art, although you will need to choose a strong rug to prevent too much fraying and destruction.
4. DIY Scratch Post from Purina
|Materials:||Tree log, scrap wood, carpet remnant|
|Tools:||Staple gun, straight edge, drill, saw, sandpaper, sisal rope|
You don’t have to run out and buy new lumber and other materials to make a scratching post. You can use suitable materials that you have laying around the house. Or, as is the case with this DIY scratch post, scrap materials that are laying around the garden. The plan uses a walnut limb that was felled during a storm. Cats will scratch trees and other pieces of natural wood when they are out of the house, so there is no reason you can’t use the limb of a tree to make an indoor scratching post that they’ll love. The plan says that the sisal rope is optional but you will find that most cats love the texture of the sisal.
5. DIY Cat Scratcher by Brittany Goldwyn
|Materials:||Plywood, wooden dowel, sisal rope, paint|
|Tools:||Staple gun, saw, sander, scissors, pliers|
While a lot of plans use really thick pieces of timber as the main post, you can create a scratcher from lots of different off-cuts and pieces of scrap wood you have. This DIY cat scratcher uses a thick dowel as well as scrap plywood. It might not be sturdy enough for a Maine Coon but should be more than stable enough for the majority of cats. And, thanks to the painted base, it has a design that will look great in most homes and with most decor.
6. Cheap & Easy DIY Large Cat Scratching Post by Crafting Happiness
|Materials:||Birdhouse post, sisal rope, rope mouse|
|Tools:||Scissors, hammer, large sewing needle|
The cheap and easy DIY customer large cat scratching post in this guide uses a birdhouse post, which is a pretty specific piece of recycled timber that most people won’t have. However, it does show that you can use virtually any piece of recycled wood that has a base and a suitable post. This plan also shows you how to attach a cat toy to the scratching post, which adds an extra element of fun. Just as they have an inherent need to scratch, cats naturally enjoy chasing small toys because it is very similar to hunting prey in the wild.
7. DIY Cat Scratcher by Cat Lessons
|Materials:||Pizza box, glue, cardboard|
|Tools:||Scissors, utility knife|
Cats love to scratch in a variety of different positions. Some love to stretch out and upwards as they scratch their post, while others prefer to scratch while in a more horizontal position. A horizontal scratch pad is great for those cats that prefer a more laid-back approach to claw maintenance. This cat scratcher is made using nothing but a pizza box and some scrap cardboard, and while it does require quite a bit of cutting with a utility knife, and gluing, it is really easy to make. If your cat is a vigorous scratcher, you will need to replace the cardboard quite frequently, but that’s just a good excuse for more take-out pizza.
8. Traditional DIY Cat Scratching Post by Cats and Pats
|Materials:||Plywood, carpet, 4×4, post cap, sisal rope|
|Tools:||Circular saw, scissors, stapler, screwdriver|
This cat-scratching post is another traditional-looking post. It suggests using either carpet or sisal rope for the scratching material. While cats will happily scratch a carpet or rug, the material won’t usually last as long as sisal rope. Jute rope is another material that you can use, and this should last longer than carpet. If you aren’t intentionally using existing materials or recycling off-cuts, and are buying materials, sisal rope isn’t that expensive and it will last the longest compared to other materials, as long as it is firmly fixed to the post.
9. DIY Cat Scratcher by ManoMano
|Materials:||Wooden board, carpet square|
|Tools:||Saw, blade, sander, hammer|
The DIY cat scratcher is another scratching pad, rather than a post. Rather than framing a piece of carpet, this design uses carpet squares that are glued to pieces of wood, which are then attached to the wall. You can pick up carpet squares from most textile and carpet stores and they are inexpensive. You might even be able to get a free sample square, although this is unlikely if the store knows why you want it. Buying a carpet square means you can pick the design and finish of the scratchpad.
10. DIY Modern Cat Scratcher IKEA Hack by We Are Scout
|Materials:||Rast bedside table, sisal rope, floor protection dots, cushion, fabric, cat toy|
|Tools:||Staple gun, hammer, scissors|
IKEA hacks are great. All you really need to be able to do is put together the simple flat-pack designs that the Swedish manufacturer is renowned for and then add a few modifications. IKEA products are cheap and reasonably well-made. All the design and measurements have effectively been done for you, especially with plans like this one for a DIY modern cat scratcher IKEA hack. It uses an IKEA bedside table that is really easy to put together, and it not only provides a scratching post for your cat but also a bed area and a hanging cat toy.
As another option, if you're looking to give your cat something exciting, we know of an awesome scratcher that both encourages play and doubles as a stylish modern furniture piece. The Hepper Hi-Lo Cat Scratcher is designed with a curved shape for dynamic movement, is built to last with safe and sturdy birch plywood and thick cardboard, and offers three height options to ensure your cat enjoys the exercise, elevation, and excitement they crave ... and, it's affordable!
At Pet Keen, we've admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
Cats need to scratch, and if you don’t provide surfaces for them to scratch, they will find their own. These cat scratching post guides and plans above enable you to make scratchers quickly and easily, often recycling materials that you already have around the home. The designs can be modified to better accommodate the materials you do have, the space you have available, or your cat’s preferred scratching position, too.
Featured Image Credit: 5 Second Studio, Shutterstock