DIY Cat Scratching Post

Put those leftover Amazon boxes to good use. This round DIY cat scratching post (a pad really) looks good, costs nothing to make and cats love it.

Dilute calico cat crouching on round scratching pad.

None of my cats have ever been 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, had such an air about her that if she met Gwyneth Paltrow’s cat she would have made it feel dumpy and self conscious. 

But the one thing all of my cats have lost 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 a 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.

Since Amazon season has just finished, and you might have a whack of cardboard boxes at hand now is the perfect time to make this cat scratching pad.


Round DIY cat scratching pad made from recycled cardboard boxes.

You need a bunch of corrugated cardboard boxes, like the kind online deliveries come in. Any size, any shape.


Applehead siamese cat on homemade scratching post in front of cozy living room.

What you’re going to do is cut them into 4″ wide strips and then roll them all up tightly and tape them together.

I very much miss two things in the picture above. My gallery wall, and little Cleo who died at the age of 20 after a long battle with Renal disease.

All my pets have been rescues of some sort, including Cleo. But she got me hooked on the Applehead (traditional) Siamese cat’s personality and now I want another one very badly even though it probably wouldn’t be a rescue and even though Siamese are predisposed to renal failure.

If you have a cat that’s been diagnosed with renal failure, there’s a lot you can do to keep make them feel better and live longer. I gave Cleo subcutaneous fluids at home for a couple of years to keep her healthy and feeling much better. You can read my post on how to give your cat fluids at home if your cat has been diagnosed with renal failure.

Fluffy dilute calico cat sitting on round coil of cardboard.

This particular cat scratching pad lasted for years! I got rid of it when I finally got sick of looking at it. But this week I decided I was ready to make another one for Ernie.




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


Cat lounging and licking its lips while laying on a round scratching pad.

Cats will use it as a scratching post, a bed and a perch. For extra enjoyment sprinkle the top with dried catnip.


Fluffy cat sitting on a scratching pad with sun on its face.


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

DIY Cat Scratching Post

DIY Cat Scratching Post

Yield: 1 scratching pad
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Estimated Cost: $0

Use up those leftover Amazon boxes to make an irresistible cat scratching pad.


  • 1. cardboard boxes (3 large or 5 medium size boxes)
  • 2. duct or masking tape
  • 3. fabric or heavy paper (optional)


  • 1. Box cutter and straight edge


  1. Cut cardboard boxes into 4" strips.
  2. Roll a strip of cardboard up very tightly. When you get to the end of it duct tape it to another strip of cardboard. Continue doing this, rolling and taping until your scratching pad measures at least 16" across.
  3. Cut a piece of fabric the same size as the outside of the scratching pad and glue it to the cardboard if you want to cover up the look of it.


Masking tape is recyclable so if you use that, once you're done with it you can throw the whole scratching pad in the paper recycle bin.

16" is a good size for most cats, but judge the size based on the size of your cat. You want it to be big enough to be comfortable for them.

Sprinkle the top of the pad with dried catnip.

When the cardboard wears out, flip it over for a whole new scratching pad.

By the time your scratching pad wears out you should have another batch of Amazon boxes to make another one. Just like the old saying says: Reduce, reuse, recycle, reorder, repeat.

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DIY Cat Scratching Post


  1. Mirjam says:

    I cut up some boxes this morning and rolled them into a scratching pad… it took my cat about 3 seconds to start scratching! 😂 Thanks for sharing this!

  2. whitequeen96 says:

    Thank you for a great idea. This will be a great “little Christmas” (Jan 6) gift idea for my mom and her husband. Her husband is an extremely good cat daddy and sets aside 30 minutes every evening to play with the cat. I know he will appreciate this, and Mom will be happy that he and the cat are occupied. And God knows I’ve got enough boxes!

  3. linda in illinois says:

    Team Kitten here. Love all animals but still team kitten.

  4. Ei Con says:

    Does it matter if your 4” strips are cut across the corregations or along them?

  5. Sharon says:

    This is a old do eat for shelter donations too-i have been volunteering at the local shelter- mostly walking dogs,because I can’t be trusted to work with the cats- I’m already a crazy cat women! The local shelter has a neat program called. Dog Meets World. Once a week, I sign out a dog and take him on a 5 mile hike on local trails it’s a nice way to have a dog without having a dog! And for some of these dogs who have been at the shelter for months, it’s a chance for them to get out and sniff and burn off the crazy

  6. Louis Navarre says:

    I’ll try it. But they (3) really love the new rug we have.

  7. Lynn says:

    I totally understand wanting another Siamese cat in spite of the potential health issues. Certain animals just get to us in a way that can’t be explained to other folks. For us–it’s Golden Retrievers. A co-worker was giving away Golden puppies several years ago and we said ‘sure–why not’ and that was Daisy. A delight from start to finish. I never knew a dog could get so deep into my heart!!! She died from cancer a few months ago–Goldens have one of the highest cancer rates in the dog world–61%. But that means that 39% don’t get it so we recently acquired Daisy Ditto–almost 3 months old now–and we will focus on doing things that can help avert her developing cancer as she grows older like better quality food, etc. In the meantime, little Ditto is helping heal my heart! Our other dogs are rescues but Ditto is my ‘guilty pleasure’!

  8. Andrea says:

    See if there is a Siamese rescue group in your area. Many breeds of cats and dogs have breed specific rescue groups and that way you can get a particular breed and still do a rescue.

  9. 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.

    • Mary W says:

      I’ve heard that aluminum foil covering special furniture will prevent them from scratching. I discovered this AFTER my cat had shredded a leather chair. Good luck.

    • K. Terry says:

      Acrylic couch protectors are handy. Just trim themto size that fits, and attach.
      Cats don’t like citrus. WAY too strong for their noses. Place a small sachet bag of citrus rhinds in the area you want to chase them away from. Place catnip in areas you want to attract her TO, like her own scratchers and bed areas, etc.
      If you hear scratching in undesignated area, bark her name, THEN follow with a water bottle blast. They quickly learn to “stop & scram” when they hear their name LOUDLY, because NOW they expect to get wet if they don’t stop doing whatever they’re doing.
      Manually trim the tips of her nails every 4 to 6 weeks (with people nail trimmers) so the tips never get really sharp, and GIVE HER NUMEROUS scratchers of her own to use.
      For wires, go to automotive store and buy some plastic wire cover tubing. It is slit lengthwise, and you just tuck the wires into the tube to gather them together and protect them. It come in various diameters, so you can get whatever works best for you. Buy it by the foot. Just ask about it at any automotive store. Hope this helps.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Leslie says:

    My cats would LOVE this! Thank you!

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