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. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Leslie says:

    My cats would LOVE this! Thank you!

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

    • Joanne Lewis says:

      I will definitely try this. Currently we have three cats but one is a Christmas foster and is supposed to return to the shelter next week. That will be very hard. My oldest cat is 16 and I’ve learned that she has started kidney failure so we bought the special food. What did you feed yours? As far as scratching goes, all of them love the cat posts with the sisal rope as well as the cardboard ones. Like you said, a sprinkle of catnip will get them going. Thanks for all you do – I really enjoy it all, almost.

  8. Nancy Blue Moon says:

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

  9. 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..

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  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. 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.

  15. marilyn says:

    occasionally there’s a lineup…lmao

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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

  19. 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 :)

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

      • brett says:

        LOL. Love carrot cake and think nothing can beat a kitten for cuteness.

      • Lynn says:

        Dammit. Now I want carrot cake AND a kitten.

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