Make A Cat Scratch Post That's Actually Not Ugly

Feline logic goes a bit like this: The fancier the furniture, the more enticing it is to scratch. Amirite? Scratching posts provide a great distraction for capricious claws, but most store-bought ones are hideous eyesores. If you're the sort that likes to live in stylish spaces, roll up those sleeves — you'll have to make your own.

cat playing with ombre scratching post
credit: Trisha Sprouse

Things You'll Need

  • Sisal rope, 150 feet
  • RIT dye
  • Bucket
  • 4x4 wood fence post (cut to 20" length)
  • 18-inch circular wood tabletop
  • 4x4 fence post cap
  • Power drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Acrylic paint
  • Staple gun
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wood glue
  • Pom-poms (optional)

Step 1 Dye the Rope

If ombre is your jam, you'll need to dye the rope in at least three color variations of the same shade. I used two different colors of RIT dye (petal pink and fuchsia) to create three shades of pink and left the rope its natural color for the fourth shade.

four colors of sisal rope
credit: Trisha Sprouse

Prepare the dye baths according to the instructions on the bottle. I soaked one roll of sisal rope in fuchsia for 30 minutes, one roll in petal pink for 30 minutes, and one roll in petal pink for 10 minutes. Rinse the rope thoroughly until the water runs clear and let dry. Then marvel at your monochromatic masterpiece.

soaking rope in RIT dye
credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 2 Drill Pilot Holes

Math is hard. But with a trusty measuring tape, you can find the center of the wood circle. I promise it's possible. Then place the fence post in the center and trace around it.

tracing around fence post
credit: Trisha Sprouse

Divide the square you traced onto the circle into four equal quadrants and mark the center of each quadrant. Drill a pilot hole in each center mark. Give yourself a high-five for mastering such a mathematical feat.

drilling pilot holes into wood circle
credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 3 Paint the Circle

Paint the circle any color your little heart desires. May I suggest a copper/rose gold acrylic paint? That's what I used.

painting wood circle
credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 4 Attach Fence Post to Circle

Place the fence post on top of the traced area on the circle. Flip both of them upside down and drill wood screws into the pilot holes, securing the post to the circle. Yep, you're a bonafide carpenter now.

drilling screws into wood circle and post
credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 5 Wrap Rope Around Post

Start with the darkest rope color. Staple the loose end to the bottom of the post, then wrap the rope tightly around the post, hot gluing it as you wrap. Be sure to push each row down as you continue wrapping up the post. Curse yourself every time you burn your finger on the hot glue (or maybe just wear gloves).

When you've wrapped about 5 inches up the post, cut the excess rope off, staple the loose end to the post and switch to the next lightest color. Repeat with the third and fourth colors (wrapping each color about 5 inches up the post). Leave an inch unwrapped at the top for the fence post.

gluing yarn around the post
credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 6 Attach Pom-Poms

Tie two pom-poms to long strings of yarn. Cats can't resist 'em. Adjust the length of the pom-poms to the desired height and then staple the yarn to the top of the fence post.

attaching pom-poms to scratching post
credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 7 Glue Fence Cap to Post

Use wood glue to secure the cap to the top of the fence post. Do a happy dance because you're all done.

gluing cap on top of post
credit: Trisha Sprouse

Present the stylish scratching post to your furry friends. If you're lucky, they'll show some semblance of appreciation. But really we know they feel total indifference about all your hard work. That's OK -- it still looks pretty in your living room.

two cats playing with scratching post
credit: Trisha Sprouse