Creating your own cat scratching post or play house is a great gift idea for your own cat or any friend with one or more furry family members. Making one yourself is a low cost alternative to a store bought scratching post while also providing you with some DIY fun and a personal gift to give.
Here are two different designs to choose from (or build both).
Design #1 - House
Step 1 - Cut Plywood, Corner Bead and Dowel to Size
I made my scratching post and play area with 18-inch squares, 24-inch squares work just as easily. You need to cut 3 even pieces. Cut the wood dowel and corner bead into 3 2-foot sections.
The dowel will be used to add structural support. Cut it lengthwise to 2 30-degree angles to form a triangle. However, you can make a square dowel work, it will just be set lower in the frame.
Step 2 - Form the First Section of the Triangle Frame
I complete this by myself, it will be easier if you have a friend to help hold the sections while you work. Start with one section of plywood flat on the floor. Angle the second piece to form one side of an equilateral triangle. Apply a small amount of wood glue to one piece of corner bead and slide the piece into place, holding the two angles of the wood at the bottom corner.
Step 3 - Repeat With Third Side of Triangle
This is where a helper will come in handy, as the first side will want to wobble as you work. Simply take your third piece of plywood and angle it into place to form the full triangle. Again, apply a small amount of glue to the second piece of corner bead and slide it to hold the bottom corner. Apply a small amount of glue to the last piece of bead and anchor it to the top.
Step 4 - Allow to Dry and Install Bracing
Allow the wood glue to dry long enough to prevent your plywood from slipping. Apply glue to the two angled edges of the dowel, or outer sides if you did not angle the piece. Now use some ¾-inch wood screws to attach the plywood to the bracing. The corner bead already has holes to use; no drilling is required.
Use a few screws along each half of the corner bead and repeat this process for all three edges of the triangle. You should be able to carefully turn the triangle on its side to complete this. The ¾-inch screws should not penetrate through the dowel bracing, keeping your cat from being poked. If the edges of the plywood are rough, lightly sand them to prevent splinters.
Step 5 - Add Carpet
You can pick up carpet remnants at most carpet stores or use old bath or kitchen rugs. Cut these to the same size as your plywood side. Glue one piece to each outer side of the cat post and play center. Add a third piece on the inside for a comfortable napping area. You can also add a dangling cat toy to the top for extra entertainment, yours or the cats.
Design #2 - Post
Step 1 - Create the Top Post
If you are using a 4x4 piece, skip this step. Otherwise, cut your 2x4 piece in half to form 2 three-foot sections. Use the 2-½ inch wood screws to attach the two sections together to form a 4x4 piece.
Step 2 - Attach the Jute Twine
You will need to work in sections. Add glue to all four sides of your post, about four inches up the post at a time. You can smear the glue with an old paintbrush. Begin wrapping the twine around the post and press it firmly into the glue.
In order to cover the entire surface of a three-foot tall post you would need 192 feet of jute twine, assuming it is about ¼ of an inch thick. Jute is normally sold in 190-foot rolls, so just leave a couple of inches uncovered. You can make the uncovered section the top or bottom of your post.
Step 3 - Attach Post to Plywood Base
Again, a helper will make this easier. With the post vertically on the floor, place your plywood base on the top. Use four 2-½ inch wood screws to attach through the plywood into the end of the twine covered post. Do try to keep the end of the screw flush with the plywood to prevent wobbling.
Design #2 Variation
If you prefer a round post, use a strong cardboard tube. A postal mailing tube or heavy gift-wrap tube will work. You can attach a three-foot piece of 2x4 to your plywood to act as a center support for the tube. Just ensure that the tube fits over the post.
You will need to use a couple of screws to lightly secure the tube to the 2x4 inside. Do not crush the tube in the process; just use the screws to prevent the tube from turning. Repeat the glue and twine process, covering the entire tube
These are only two easy DIY cat scratching post ideas. With a little creativity you can easily come up with many more styles, and fancier variations, to keep any feline happy.