Archive | Pets

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post

A while back we built a horizontal cat scratching post/pad and shared it on the blog. Mochi did use it, but the downside is she still clawed our couch too. Womp.

So we built a modern vertical cat scratching post that slides over the arm of our couch, hoping that giving her something vertical to pull on will spare our couch from further damage. And so far, she’s using it!!! Yay!!! Bonus, this thing also acts as a wooden couch sleeve to set your drink on. Double yay!!

Of course, we documented the whole build on video so if you’d like to see the action in video form check it out!

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a second it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. Since we’re brand new to YouTube, every view, like, and subscription makes a huge difference for us. Click here to see the whole channel. Thank youuuuu! We’re doing a big goofy happy dance right now!]

Tools & materials

Before I get into this build, I’ll preface it by saying we used a lot of tools on this simply because we had them at the ready, but you don’t need everything we used. So I’m gonna put the must-have tools at the top of the list, and additional stuff we used below.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - Must-have tools/materials

Additional tools/materials we used (helpful, but not 100% necessary)

Step 1: Measure & cut the 2 vertical pieces

This scratching post is made of three pieces. To start, we’re going to find the measurements we need for our two vertical pieces (numbers 1 and 2 below). All the measurements for this build will depend on your couch.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - Because couch arms can be rounded, grab a scrap piece of wood, or anything flat really, and place it across the top of the couch arm, making sure it’s level. Then measure the distance between the floor and the underside of the scrap piece.

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This measurement is going to be the length of your longer vertical wood piece that goes on the outside of your couch arm.

Next, slide the yardstick between the arm of your couch and the cushion until it hits the base of your couch under the cushion.

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This measurement is going to be the length of your shorter vertical wood piece that goes on the inside of your couch arm.

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We used these two measurements to cut two pieces from our 10×1 on the miter saw. You could definitely use a circular saw instead though, or heck even a jig saw or hand saw.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post -

On the shorter piece, we also added a slight taper by cutting an angle on our miter saw so that it would slide between the cushions more easily. It’s optional, but it does help.

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Step 2: Pocket holes

Next we drilled pocket holes. If you don’t have a kreg jig don’t worry, you can just screw perpendicularly through the boards with wood screws later to attach them (don’t do it til after you’ve attached your sisal though. We’ll cover that part later). If you want to try the kreg jig but aren’t sure how to use it, here is a great tutorial on it.

We drilled these at the top of both vertical pieces, on the inside part that will be facing the couch arm. We’ll use them to attach the top piece later.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post -

Step 3: Attach the sisal

Next we wrapped the longer vertical board (the one on out outside of the couch arm) with thick 3/8″ diameter sisal rope. We used most of this 100 foot roll which is pretty crazy. DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - Because it’s so thick, we had to wrap the board first before we could get an accurate measurement of how wide our top piece needs to be.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post -

We attached the sisal in such a way that if she really goes to town on it and at some point we need to replace it, we can easily do so. First we drilled a hole at one end of our longer piece of wood.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post -

Tape the end of the sisal and thread it through the hole so that the taped end is on the pocket hole side of your board.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - We secured the sisal by screwing through it and into the wood. First drill a small pilot hole, making sure to NOT go all the way through the wood.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - Then screw through the taped end of the sisal and into the pilot hole. Make sure you use a small enough screw that won’t go all the way through your board (we used #8 x 3/4” wood screws).

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - Next we rounded out our edges with the router and ⅛” radius roundover bit. Eventually we are going to round pretty much every edge except those that are joined together, but for now we just rounded out the edges of the piece that will have the sisal because we wanted to do it before we wrapped it.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - As we started, we realized we should have rounded these edges BEFORE we attached the sisal because it actually got in the way of the router. So we had to detach it, round the edges, and then reattach it.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - After reattaching the sisal, we got started wrapping it tightly around the board. It helps to have a buddy for this part because our arms actually got surprisingly tired haha.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - We attached the end of the sisal the same way we started it, by drilling a hole through the wood, threading through the sisal, and screwing it to the board on the pocket hole side of the wood (the same side we screwed the starting end to)

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post -

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post -

Step 4: Measure & cut the top piece

Next we are going to measure out and cut our top piece of wood.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - First we put the two vertical pieces in place.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - We made sure they were level, then measured the distance between the outside edge of each board.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - We cut that length on the miter saw, but again, use whatever saw you’ve got.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - Before attaching the top piece, we rounded the corners of the rest of our edges. Like I mentioned before, we wanted to round out everything but the edges that we would join together.

Step 5: Sand & smooth

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - Then we sanded out surfaces so that everything was smooth because it’s a lot easier to do before everything is assembled. We used the random orbit sander on the large surfaces and hand sanded it with a sanding block on the edges.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post -

Step 6: Attach everything

We used right angle clamps to keep the boards as square as we could before attaching them. In the picture below, we’re attaching the top piece to the shorter vertical piece

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - We screwed through our pocket holes using pocket hole screws. If you didn’t do pocket holes, this is where you could screw wood screws perpendicularly through the boards.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - When it came time to attach the long vertical wood piece, the dang sisal was in the way again so we had to get creative with some additional clamps and scrap wood in order to clamp the boards at a right angle. But we figured it out and screwed through those pocket holes as well.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - Yay, all attached!

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Step 7: Finishing

Next we rounded out the corners of our top piece so that they matched up with the rounded corners of our side pieces. You can see in this picture where some edges are still sharp, and some are already rounded.

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Then we rounded the rest of the top piece. You could potentially do all the edge rounding at once, we just thought it was easier to do it as we went.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - We noticed there were a couple slight gaps where our pieces joined together. So we filled them with sanding dust from our sander and some glue. This is a great alternative to wood putty, and it’s guaranteed to match the color of your wood. Add more dust if you need to, and sand it to finish.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - A trick to get your cat interested in the scratching post is to spray it with catnip spray. It’s sorta cheating… but it works! We also like to scratch on it with our hands to help show her what it’s for.

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If all your measurements were correct (cross your fingers!) this should slide right over your couch arm.

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - She’s spotted it…

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - She actually likes it!!! Eeeeeeep!!

DIY Modern Cat Scratching Post - We definitely like this new scratching post more than our old one. It feels a little more finished looking, and we don’t have to worry about stubbing our toes (although we’ll still hold onto the old one for a while)

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Hope she continues to like and use it! Please, Mochi, please use it, for the sake of our couch…

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DIY Cat Scratching Post

Today we’re sharing a post about a post. A scratching post, specifically. We love our fur baby Mochi but we also love our couch, which she has gradually tried to destroy over the years.

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We didn’t realize how bad this one corner of the couch had gotten until the light caught it just right one day and it literally stopped me in my tracks. Pretty sure a single little tear fell from my eye. It was a sad sight.

So we decided to take action before it got any worse. Part 1 of that action was to casually toss carefully place a throw over the arm of the couch. It may look like it was just thrown there, but you best not move it. Part 2 of the action was to give our girl something else to pull her claws on, stat!

There are a lot of DIY cat scratching posts out there, and most of them require an actual post (i.e. something vertically standing up from the ground or hung vertically from a wall, door, etc).

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I wasn’t crazy about the idea of something standing vertically on it’s own. Our Mochi is not the most graceful kitty, and chances are she’d find some way to knock it over, freak herself out, and never go near it again. The door hanging ones might wobble and they’d bounce around every time we had to use that door, so those didn’t appeal either. And wall mounted ones had to actually be attached, and we wanted a solution that we could put away if we needed the house to look nice without leaving vacant nails in the wall.

So we came up with a horizontal scratching post instead.

DIY Cat Scratching Post -

Spoiler alert – Mochi actually uses this thing!!! If you’re a cat owner, you know that a cat actually using something you buy/make for its intended purpose is a big win.

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So, onto how we did it. This is definitely a quick afternoon project, and comparatively quite cheap to anything modern looking you could buy online. Plus, it’s built in a way that will allow you to easily replace the scratching material if it gets too worn out. Here’s what you’ll need


  • 1×10 wood (we cut ours to 23″ long, but anything around that size would work)
  • 1×3 wood (two pieces, cut about 11″ long each. Again, sizing is flexible, just make sure it’s longer than your main board’s width so it overhangs)
  • Twine
  • 4 screws

Tools used:

Below is a quick overview illustration of what was involved/what we did. We’ll break the steps down further using more graphics as we go.

DIY Cat Scratching Post -

The sizing of the wood can totally be adjusted depending on what you have. For us, this project was essentially free because everything we used was scrap wood we had in the garage, so definitely do utilize material you have on hand if you can and don’t feel like you have to match our measurements exactly.

We started by cutting our main piece from a 1×10 to about 23″ long (long enough that Mochi would have room to sit on it while pulling her claws). I think as long as you have a piece that’s big enough for your kitty, it should work just fine.

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Next we cut two 11″ long 1×3 pieces that we screwed in at either end of our plank. We used two screws per side, like you see in the illustration above. The 1×3 pieces overhang length-wise about 1/2″ on each side.

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The purpose of these two end pieces was to give the twine something to hold tight against (we worried that without some kind of footing at either end, the twine might slip off the edge).

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Next we drilled two holes through the main body, picking one corner on each end (see graphic below). We chose a side of the board to be the back, threaded the twine through our drilled hole, and tied a knot on the back side to secure it.

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DIY Cat Scratching Post -

Here is a photo of the back side. After threading our knotted twine through the hole, we wrapped it tightly in circles around the board. We didn’t use glue because we thought Mochi might not like the smell. Plus we wanted the twine to be removable in the future if she roughed it up too much and we needed to replace it.

Annnnnd then we ran out of twine. Which is what we get for using a roll of it we already owned with an unknown amount left on the roll. At the end of the twine, we did a couple quick staples with our staple gun to secure it to the back side of the wood. Again, the staples will be easily removable (with pliers) if we need to replace the twine in the future.

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Luckily, we had a second roll of twine so we repeated the same process on the other end of the board. It also was not enough to complete the board, so we stopped wrapping when it was about the same amount of coverage as the first piece of twine.

I actually consider it a happy accident because we kinda like how the wood looks in the middle. Plus, Mochi is likely to only pull her claws at either end anyway because of how she sits on it. Though when we replace the twine eventually, we might try doing the full board.

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DIY Cat Scratching Post -

To replace it down the line, we would just need to remove the staples with pliers, knot and thread in new twine, and either re-staple the end to secure it or pull it through the other hole and tie it off. But we’ve actually had this scratching post almost a year so far and we haven’t had to replace the twine yet.

Our girl loves it! Of course… she still loves the couch too… but at least she has options haha.

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Side note, if your kitty doesn’t seem impressed at first, spray some cat nip on it to get kitty interested. Once they figure out it’s something for them, they’ll keep going back to it!

Side note two, the two types of twine we used were different: one was a looser/rougher looking twine, and the other was more tightly pulled and cleaner looking. Mochi seems to prefer the rougher/looser twine to pull her claws on, so eventually we’ll use that type again as a replacement.

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DIY Cat Box Cabinet

In our last laundry room post, I mentioned a DIY project Evan and I tackled back when we were still in the apartment. This project was all about hiding poop. Cat poop. And litter and stuff. The scourge of the clean freak cat owner.

Being in an apartment meant we had no good place to hide Mochi’s litter box. Our laundry room/pantry only had a couple square feet of floor space, and shoving it into the corner of our only bathroom where guests would see it was not ideal either. Especially because Mochi, bless her little crazy heart, spazzes out after each time she goes potty and bursts out her litter box in a mad dash trailing a flurry of litter-bits behind her like pebbly cat star dust. This meant litter was EVERYWHERE. All. The. Time.

We weren’t sure what to do about our little Pooper. But then we saw this

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

Ikea + jigsaw + kitty door = a cat box cabinet! We immediately scoured the internet and found all sorts of tutorials. In addition to the one above, we got inspiration from here, here, and here. We sort of took what we liked from each and created our own kitty litter containment center. Here it is in all it’s glory! (hanging out in it’s old home in the apartment)

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

We chose a two-compartment Besta unit at IKEA as our base since it’s our cabinet of choice (we used it for our media center and wanted everything to be cohesive). We discarded the extra shelves that came with it and bought a full-height cabinet door for the left side, and a drawer and shorter cabinet door for the right side. We also ordered this kitty door to add to one side so Mochi could get in and out.

Before putting the unit together, we grabbed the side piece we wanted to put the door into and traced an outline to give us a where-to-cut guide.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

Then we took it out onto our balcony (in the middle of the night it seems!) and cut out the shape with our jigsaw.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

Next we spray painted the door black so that it blended in better with the Besta.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

Please forgive us, at the time we didn’t know we’d be sharing this tutorial on a blog so we didn’t take pictures of the next steps. After the door dried, we popped it into the hole we cut like the instructions say to do. We took off the magnet that makes the door snap shut because Momo couldnt figure out that she had to push a little harder to get through and she kept accidentally “locking” herself inside the box. Oh Momo.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

The next step, which we also did not take a picture of at the time, is to use the jigsaw to cut a doorway through the middle panel of the Besta. I’ll show you what I mean in the picture below.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

See the part marked “doorway”? I outlined it in white so you could see it better, but basically before assembling the Besta we traced a Mochi-sized opening in the middle panel to connect the two compartments of the cabinet and cut it with our jigsaw. The edges were raw, so we were super classy and finished them off with duct tape (see that gray inside part of the “door frame”?).

Once our doorway and kitty door were made, we assembled the Besta and added some weather stripping along the bottom of the inside of the cabinets to keep litter from coming out the cabinet doors.

After that, we just popped in her box on the left, a litter mat on the right, and filled the drawer with all her stuff (minus her toys, which she hides in secret places around the house).

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

Close the cabinets and drawer and you have an inconspicuous cat box cabinet/good place to set your keys.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

This cabinet is AWESOME. No ugly litter boxes. MUCH less litter out on your floors (there’s still a little but not bucketfulls like before). No stinky-ness. Good place to store cat stuff. Win win win win! Plus it was easy- just make sure you find a box that fits, that was the only challenge! The best part is Mochi likes it, and a happy cat means happy hoomans!

DIY Cat Box Cabinet-

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