DIY cat scratching pad

My cats really aren’t ones for toys, they’re just too sophisticated for that, being of higher breeding than most of your garden variety cats. Ernie, a dirty, skinny stray I found on my front porch in the middle of winter comes from a long line of I’m not sure what, but probably something royal.

And Cleo, being of superior Siamese genetics, has such an air about her she could make Gwyneth Paltrow’s cat feel dumpy and self conscious. She could probably do the same to Gwyneth.

But the one thing both my cats lose their (cat) shit over are cardboard scratching posts. They love them. If you own a cat you’ve probably seen them in the pet stores. A basic plastic, rectangular box that’s filled with pad made out of cardboard. Cats LOVE these things. They’re kindda ugly and really expensive considering they’re made out of what is essentially the garbage portion of most things you buy.

So when I saw this 7 year old post from Design Sponge on how to make a good looking and free cardboard scratching pad? I had to make one.  For full instructions on how to make this scratching pad, just click on the Design Sponge link.  And start saving up your cardboard boxes from Amazon deliveries!




It is a hit with Cleo.



It is a hit with Ernie.


Occasionally there’s a line up.




Even for the fussiest of cats this scratching pad is lick smackin’ good.




They use it as a scratching post, a bed and a perch




Yet one other thing that enables my cats to look down upon all those around them.


Have a good weekend!





  1. Jean says:

    Your kitties are beautiful!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Jean. Pretty much all cats are beautiful, lol. And a kitten can out-cute a puppy any day of the week. (let the arguing among readers commence). ~ karen!

      • Larissa Stretton says:

        Oh Karen, I am soooooo with you! Let’s hear it for Team Kitty!

      • Sakura S. says:

        First brussel sprouts, then TEA of all things, now puppies. Is nothing sacred?? BTW, I’ve owned both cats and dogs, and both are wonderful beings. However, nothing – I mean, NOTHING – can out-cute a puppy. Not even a human baby. NOW let the reader arguments commence!

        P.S. – I still think carrot cake is an abomination.

  2. Laura Bee says:

    oooh! fun! I am pretty crafty, but most scratching posts I have tried to make have been huge dangerous disasters lol.
    One more try!

    • Karen says:

      This was my first attempt at a scratching post type thing (I think) and it worked great. Just be prepared to cut up a lot of boxes. I think mine was around 6 large boxes. It looks good (at least it does in my living room) and the cats (especially Ernie) love it. ~ karen!

  3. TucsonPatty says:

    We made a scratching block by glueing many layers of cardboard together and then cutting it down to about 3″ thick with a table saw. The cats wouldn’t use the darn thing, no matter how much we smeared catnip on it to try to entice. Little rats. They did however enjoy the heck out of the nice texture of the front of the love seat, the rocking chair and finally, the expensive cat tower from Costco. They just didn’t appreciate the DIY, the little ingrates! Your scratching “post” looks very cute and the cats are gorgeous.

    • Mary W says:

      We tried this and it did work with our cats that had destroyed our leather dining table chairs. Tape a piece of aluminum foil across the edge that they dig their nails in. They hate the noise and quit. The real problem is going around the house and removing the foil anytime someone comes to visit. BUT IT WORKS! Once they have lost their favorite place to dig, maybe they will love the cardboard replacement. I’m going to try it with our outside cats that dig into our wicker rockers on the porch. Destroyed 3 so far. With a forest outside, why are my rockers the one thing they use?

      • Marilyn says:

        Great! I’ll try the foil because my cat refuses to use any of his scratching posts! And yes, kittens are cute, but you can’t beat a puppy or a dog! Cats are just too arrogant & disobedient & bite & scratch! It’s much nicer to be licked & adored by a dog!

  4. Dagmar says:

    Wow, surprising to see that the cats are using the scratching unit that is a horizontal piece ! I don’t think that I have ever seen any cat post that style in use. Usually, every cat that I have ever owned or done pet sitting with likes to reach up higher and grab curtains or couches or scratching posts that are vertical. I suppose it is because they resemble a tree post or fence or something they like to climb. A round: mesmerizing , cat-attracting, line-up making, picture-posing, cat hypnotizing, scratch pad. It’s like something out of the twilight zone. Meeeoow.

  5. Rondina says:

    Finally, something my cat might like. She’s getting bored because of all the rain. Sometimes I take the corrugated shipping boxes and just cut holes in them. She hides in there, plays hide and seek from me in there, sleeps in there. I’ll let you know how this turns out.

    Good timing with all the Christmas stuff arriving.

  6. Sarah says:

    Great blog. Always makes me laugh ! Our scratchy cat will love this – if I finally get round to making it. Got loads of boxes, so I may even do it this weekend. Thanks for the idea! With any luck it’ll stop our cat ruining the doors! Have a good weekend.

  7. Sally says:

    I bet your cats would like watching the new Amy documentary on youtube while on their post. , hope the link is still working 🙂

  8. Traci says:

    Excellent idea! Now I know what to make the cat for Christmas! A long while back, I made a blog to share my new house and projects with my family across the country. I did a post on a cat house/tower I made out of chicken nugget boxes from costco. We call it the kitten nugget house. It is still holding up great 6 years later and is still one of the cats favorite places. Here’s a link to the post with directions and pics

  9. Amber says:

    I made 2 of these cat trees a couple of years ago. the kits love them!!!

    And I agree on the cuteness thing. When my puppy was born he looked like a really ugly kitten. But he’s handsome now!

    • Traci says:

      I wondered about that project. I may have to make one in the room we’re turning into an office/writing room.
      I have to disagree on the kitten/puppy front. My childhood dog looked like a teddy bear as a puppy. Cute as can be! I think it depends on the kind of puppy, but he and his brother were sooo fluffy! They were chow/german shephard mix.

    • Karen says:

      I love that cat tree! It looks great. And it would fit almost anywhere. Love it. ~ karen!

  10. tj says:

    Nice pad.. but what I really want to know, is why do you have so much toast in the toast holder? Never mind the burning question, of ‘why is it in the living room?’.

    • Roxanne says:

      [why do you have so much toast in the toast holder … in the living room?]

      Hmmm. I think maybe those are toast-shaped coasters. Get it? Toast? Coast(ers)?

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I sometimes forget that everyone looks at everything in the photos. It isn’t toast. It’s cork, toast shaped coasters. 🙂 I got them for Christmas last year, but you can buy them on Amazon for $12. I put them in a toast rack for fun. ~ karen!

  11. marilyn says:

    occasionally there’s a lineup…lmao

  12. Susan says:

    Kittens are cute, I’ll grant you that. But puppies, deep sigh. I’m melting just saying the word. They’re soft and fluffy, and their bodies wiggle so much when they see you, they fall over. And dogs are pack animals. They actually want your company, where cats, if they feel like it. Right now, my fifteen month, seventy five pound shiloh shepherd puppy is drapped across my lap, her front paws almost touching the floor. Their puppy smell, puppy breath, puppy paws that smell like Cheerios. Okay, I’ll stop now.

  13. Vicky Smith says:

    Your Ernie looks a lot like a cat we had that was named Goldie. We got her from the humane society and she was also very bedraggled. Humm, wonder if my Detroit cat is an ancestor of yours?

  14. Jillian says:

    My cat, Fletcher, refuses to use the store bought scratch rectangle pads. He pulls them apart so it ends up in 3 pieces, looks at it and walks away. I found a flat “basket” which looks like a basket without sides made from wicker and he does use that along with a carpet remnant sample. BUT, I think this idea would work for him since it is big and round. Thank you so much for posting, it was perfect timing since he has been stuck in the house since his nubbins were removed last week…..I’ll get right on it

    • Karen says:

      The other good thing about it Jillian is you can make it as big as you want. I made it with all my leftover boxes and it sat for a few weeks. Then I got some more boxes and thought … I’m going to add to it and make it bigger. I did that twice. ~ karen!

  15. Mary W says:

    Ernie should be named Paul Newman with those gorgeous eyes!!!! I have a question about one of your pictures hanging on the wall. It appears to be a little girl in a red coat hanging like a bat upside down. Did you do that to trick us or is it my eyes tricking me? I’m going to make one of your quasi log discs and give it to my outside cats. And I’m making another one for my dog inside. She is now in her “advanced years” and has a time jumping on the couch. Trixie (10 year old yorkie/poodle/poodle= 7 lb. yorky poo poo) has a collapsed trachea from a careless groomer and I want to make a stepping pad to help her jump up. Most any effort causes coughing due to inhalation problems. This may be the best solution since I can glue a rubber dish protector to the bottom to keep it from slipping when she launches herself up. Thank you so much for this unintended but wonderful idea.

  16. Karin says:

    your kitties are beautiful. the scratcher is pretty neat.
    two of my cats barely scratch anything, one made it her mission to dig from one end of the box spring to the other. meh

    as for kittens vs. puppies. no such thing, i say. if it has button eyes, fluffy ears and clumsy paws, i’m loving it


    have a great weekend.

  17. amy watson says:

    My sistet bought Ginny one of the cardboard Scratching pads, she loved it, l say loved because it is almost beyond using….time to gather up some boxes and make her another one, BTW… contest between puppies and kittens, cats win everytime in my book…..l love cats…..l have had at least one cat in my house ever since l can remember..

  18. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    My kitties say thank you…Ernie & Cleo are looking quite lovely…Cats Rock….

  19. Teddee Grace says:

    Your cats are weird. I’ve had lots of cats and nary a one would look twice at a scratching post of any kind, far preferring upholstered furniture. Maybe it’s because this one is flat on the floor?

  20. Mindy says:

    I have a puppy. They’re assoles. But they’re so damn cute, they get away with it. Same goes for kittens. Equally cute. Equally assholes.

  21. Leslie says:

    My cats would LOVE this! Thank you!

  22. Bee-Naz says:

    I saw a DIY post like this a couple of years ago. I painstakingly cut up boxes that I had saved and set about making one for the little furball, turd monster for his birthday. Did he appreciate my hard work? Did he console me when I swore like a trucker after every paper cut? No! The little monster didn’t care for it. Not for one second. Catnip, treats, nothing could entice him to use it. He sat on it for a minute with a look of indignation. Just to make me feel better I’m sure.

    He did however get a lot of enjoyment out of this. Mostly because he’s a treat monster and this involves treats.

    • Renee says:

      My kitties love the flat cardboard scratchers. Rip them to shreds. I read that to a kitty, it mimics the smell & paw feel of tree bark. I was going to try this using a thin box as the holding frame & cutting pieces to fit in it. The nice thing is that they are recyclable! PS love just about any baby animal! I have 4 inside kitties, and I have a TNR colony of 7.

  23. billy sharpstick says:

    I would make the pad large enough for the cat to sit completely on it and weigh it down, otherwise it will flop around and make them leary of it. The best way to do this is to glue it to a larger piece of plywood. A bit of catnip sprinkled on top helps get their attention.
    Not all our (8)cats like these. They prefer a rope wrapped post screwed securely to the wall. It is a 4×4 post with 3/8 inch sisal rope wrapped tightly around it from about eight inches off the floor to the highest they can reach, about twenty inches. Every year or two, I remove it and redo the rope. Some grooves cut in the wood under the rope can hold some catnip.

  24. Marti says:

    Running out to the curb where neighbors placed their moving boxes yesterday. I have 2-3 of my own inside right now, but this is a great gift idea for my blind friend and her cat, who I frequently sit. Thanks!

  25. Oriah says:

    Are your cats indoor/outdoor cats?…. And how do you keep them from scratching the crap out of your sofa and that basket-looking table.

    I just adopted a cat from the spca and she wants to scratch everything. She even chews electrical cords. She’s out of control….but just so darn cute.

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