Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Winter Non-Garden Projects: Cat Scratching Post

 From time to time, especially during the winter when there is little to do outdoors,  I "get crafty" and have to urge to make something. Sometimes that involves sewing, sometimes its scissors and glue, other times its my toolbox.  YES, I have my own tool box, and it stays in the house right where I can find most things I might need.  It is really multipurposed in its existence, but one reason I have it is so I don't have to go searching in the garage for hubby's tools! (I will save the other reasons why I have my own toolbox for another post.)

This project is actually the result of my saving a small scrap of carpet left over from a whirlwind weekend apartment makeover we did for a family member last summer.  The piece of carpet was pretty small and very stiff, and retained the shape from being rolled up on a tube--as new carpeting usually is. Well as it was laying there on the floor, I (in my sleep deprived state) thought I could use it for some project or another and tossed it in the trunk of my car....and there it stayed...and was used for various things alright, like a mat under a hot baking dish when I took a meal to a family at church.  Then I got the brilliant idea--as our cat scratched the end of our couch with her claws...and scratched at the carpet on our stairs...and scratched at the cushion on the chair--to make a scratching post! AH HA that carpet would be useful right?!  hmmmm...

Shortly after I thought of my "great project idea,"  my dad was checking out some thing under the hood of my car and needed something out of the trunk as well.  He asked "why do you have this scrap of carpet?"  So I began to tell him of my magnificent plan!  He disappeared into the garage and quickly returned with a heavy cardboard tube that I could use for the project....but what was I going to use for a base to keep the thing upright? Then the task got really interesting as although he would deny it, dad likes a good crafty project as much as I do! And besides it was for his grandkitties as he affectionately refers to our 2 cats and reminds me that neither my sister in law nor myself have given him any REAL grand children yet so he has to spoil the cats. Anyways, back to the project--We rummaged around in the garage and found a piece of 3/4 inch plywood which dad then cut into an 18 inch square, (yah I have a tool box but no power tools so I needed help with this part, hee hee).  He then meticulously measured the ends of the tube and cut a circle of the plywood to fit snuggly inside each end, and secured them with a bit of construction adhesive. After finding the center of the plywood base, he drilled 4 holes and added 4 wood screws to hold the post (tube) onto the base (square plywood).

You can see the 2 parts pictured here.

I took the bare construction home with me and set out to cover the tube with my salvaged carpet scrap--which turned out to be way to short for that, and way to stiff to fold over and cover the baseboard.  So after all that time saving it... it ended up in the garbage anyways!
NOW WHAT, UGH!  I had to rethink my plan.
Later I found a thin rubber backed rug on clearance at the store for only $4, and snagged that to perfectly cover the base. My trusty staple gun came in handy for fastening it tightly and smoothly over the edges of the board.  Then a quick trip to the hardware and $7, resulted in a 100 foot roll of 1/4 inch twisted sisal roping to wrap the vertical part of the project.   The pictures below show how I just tied a slip knot,  tightened the loop at the base of the tube,  then tightly wrapped the rope around and around til I reached the top of the 19 inch post, where I finished with a knot and a dab of glue to keep the end from fraying.
You can also see one little furry friend was interested in her present before it was even finished!

To make the fixture more interesting to the cats, I attached a toy to it.  The small fishy is on the end of an elastic cord making it fun to bat at and bite and pull on!  A simple screw in the center of the wooden disc on the top of the tube holds the other end of the elastic string in place.

And here you see the finished product with a kitty cat trying it out.

Oh, I almost forgot to write a few extra notes on the subject:

Why do cats scratch on things?--to keep their claws clean and sharp.

How tall should a scratching post be?--at least as tall as the cat is long when standing, or taller so she can stand on her back legs and stretch up with her front paws.

Make sure the post is sturdy--so it doesn't tip over when that cat first tries to use it, and startle her into not wanting to use again.

Multi surfaces--such as wood, twine, cardboard or carpeting, provide variety for the cats to work their claws on but protects your furniture, curtains, rugs and clothes.

See ya again soon with another winter project post!

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