How to build a simple cat scratching post.


None of the dimensions are critical.  I wouldn't suggest making the column any taller, or the base any smaller than described.  For cat safety, avoid toxic materials, such as pressure treated wood, and don't leave any sharp points sticking out, such as screws or staples.  If adding dangling strings, use line at least as thick as a shoe lace to reduce temptation to swallow it, if (when) the cats get it loose.  In a multi-cat household, the platform perch may become so popular, you will need to make more than one to reduce fighting over it. cat_post_2732_Js.jpg
Photo of two cat posts, similar but not identical to the one described.


Material List

Qty Size/Type Material Use Notes
8' 2x4 lumber
Column (not pressure treated)
2'x2' 3/8" plywood Base Exact dimensions aren't critical.
25-30 #10x3"  deck screws Fastening column Any type of 2-1/2" or longer flat head screw should work.
100' 1/4" Sisal rope Scratching, traction. 3/8" rope would also work. Use natural fiber.  Yes, it takes 100'.
1 tube Glue, construction adhesive Rope attachment Gluing the rope to the column will make it last longer.  Use glue which is non-toxic after curing.
The materials below are only needed if building the optional platform.
18"x18" 1/4"  plywood Platform Should be large enough for a sleeping cat, but smaller than the base for stability.
6' 1x2 lumber Railing A railing around top edge of platform helps keep snoozing cats from rolling off.  Exact length of 1x2 needed depends on size and shape of platform used.
8-12 #8x1" deck screws Fastening railing Any type of wood screw at least 1/2" longer than the platform thickness should work.
3-4 #8x2" deck screws Fastening railing Any type of small wood screw about 2" long should work.



Cut 2x4

Laminate column

Mark plywood

This step will be easier with more than two hands.

Attach column

Wrap column

This step would be easier if done before attaching the column to the base.  But if done in that order, the rope would make it more difficult to tell if the column is exactly perpendicular to the base.

Attach platform railing (if adding optional platform)

If building the optional platform on top of the post, consider cutting a large notch in the plywood almost to the center, making it easier for less athletic cats to pull themselves up onto the platform after  clawing their way up the post.  The shape of the notch can be round or rectangular, so long as a fat cat can fit through it.

Attach platform to column (if adding optional platform)

Attaching the platform is very similar to the first and last steps in attaching the base.  Just skip the part about the 2x4 braces.  The platform can be installed either before or after winding the rope on the column, which ever seems easier for you.  Installing the platform exactly perpendicular to the column isn't as important as keeping the base perpendicular was.  A slightly slanted platform won't increase the chances of the whole thing tipping over, and the cats certainly won't care.

Finishing touches

The scratching post can be made more attractive to cats by adding some padding to the platform.  A piece of scrap carpet could be trimmed to fit, or towels folded to fit.  Dangling toys could be attached to the underside or edges of the platform.  A scrap of carpet could be cut to fit the base, with a hole and slit to fit it around the column.  This carpet could then be sprinkled with catnip.