How To: Make This Cat Scratcher


Anyone with a cat knows how important it is to have a cat scratcher in the house. They come in all sorts of ugly, like those carpeted ones that shed and harbor who knows what. There are also those really beautifully designed corrugated cardboard scratchers out there, but my cats use them religiously and want nothing to do with them once they get soft. So investing in expensive ones that will need to be replaced often (and recycled, don't worry)  just isn't feasible for me.

So we have always gone with the cheaper option from Trader Joes. They are the right size, work great, and are inexpensive. The only problem is that they come in that ugly purple box. After years of using them I finally came up with a solution, build a frame!

It is really easy to make, and you can just drop the cardboard insert right in. It also gives it a little more weight, which helps keep it in place when your furry friend is going at it. You can also decorate it in lots of different ways to put your stamp on it.

I had all the materials already lying around, so this project was essentially free. Is there anything better?

What You Will Need:

  • Wood Frame: use 1.5" x 3/4" wood; you'll need 11 3/8" (x2) and 19 7/8" (x2)
  • Chop Saw or Miter Box and Hand Saw
  • Wood Panel 11 3/8 x 19 7/8
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood Glue or Liquid Nails
  • Finishing Nails and Hammer
  • Clamps (2-4)
  • Cardboard Cat Scratcher (specifically built for the Trader Joes scratcher)
  • Cat Nip (Sugaree says this is a deal breaker)
  • Bling (read on for more details)

How To:

  1. For your frame you'll need two 11 3/8" and two 19 7/8" pieces. Miter cut the corners at a 45 degree angle. The measurements I gave are from outside corner to outside corner. You can use a chop saw or a miter box with a hand saw for this step. If you don't have access to either, just have the lumber store cut the wood for you at a straight angle instead.
  2. Cut your wood panel to 11 3/8 x 19 7/8.
  3. Sand all edges of your wood.
  4. Glue your corners together and then glue the frame down to the panel. Clamp the corners with your clamps and set some heavy books on top of the entire frame.
  5. Wait and let dry.
  6. If you want more stability you can then hammer in finishing nails from the bottom of the panel into your frame.
  7. Take the corrugated cat scratcher out of its purple box and place it in your new beautiful frame.
  8. Sprinkle some catnip on it and go grab your cat. Voila! You now have a happy cat and a more stylish home.

Optional Bling: There are lots of ways you could stylize your new frame. Here's a couple to keep in mind (I am making three and they will all be a bit different):

  • In The Raw: Keep it slick and modern with some varnish to keep splinters away and give it a finished look (this is what I did).
  • Stain It: If you want to keep the wood but prefer a different color, rub some stain on it and then varnish. You could even use some painter's tape and just stain 3/4 of the frame. Maybe even use two different colored stains.
  • Dipped: Paint 1/4 or 3/4 up the side of the frame. Paint stripes, two different colors, or an ombre. Try using a super glossy paint in a vibrant color.
  • Draw: all over the frame with marker and gel pen. Create a pattern or just go at it freehand.
  • Washi Tape: Go Washi Tape shopping and wrap it all around your frame. This way you have the option of easily changing it up later on.
  • Paper: Glue paper to it. You could almost wrap it like a present with some funky design.