Keep your cat overlord happy with this easy DIY scratching post

It's cheaper and sturdier than the store-bought kind
cat sits next to scratching post
And you're done! If necessary, use treats, toys, or catnip to entice your cat to approach its new furniture. Sarah Fecht
cat and tools
These building materials are cat-approved Sarah Fecht

Over the years, I have wasted a lot of money on cat accessories that turned out to be junk. Sure, every cat owner dreams of bringing home one of those three-tiered, carpeted towers with adorable cubbyholes for the fur babies to play in. But what you can’t see in the picture is how easy it is for an overenthusiastic jump to send the entire habitat crashing to the floor, while your cat scrambles away terrified, silently vowing to never go near that thing again.

Even something as simple as a scratching post can be unsturdy, too short, and/or too expensive. Essentially, these things are just carpeting attached to a wooden or cardboard post—so why is it so hard to find a good one at a decent price? With limited options in the store, my husband and I set out to build our own.

For our first try, we simply attached a wooden post (a leftover bit of 4×4 that Home Depot gave us for free) to a wooden base ($4). The cats love it, and it’s held up for a year or two now, but it’s getting a little worn out. For this latest one, we decided to get fancy and add a bit of carpet. Here’s how we did it.

Project Stats

  • Time: 2 hours

  • Cost: ~$10

  • Difficulty: Easy


  • Drill

  • Staple gun or glue

  • Hammer

  • Box cutter or scissors


tools and materials
You only need a few basic supplies to build your own cat scratching post. Sarah Fecht
  • Wooden post. Cats like to be able to stretch while they scratch, so make sure the post is longer than your cat. I used a 4×4 that’s 27 inches long.

  • Wooden base. This should be heavy enough to support the post. I found a nice round piece at the hardware store for $4, but plywood may work as well. You’ll probably want it to be at least 16 inches square.

  • Two 3-inch wood screws

  • Carpet (optional). I used less than 1 square foot of a carpet runner to cover just the vertical post. Avoid carpets with a loop pile, which can unravel quickly when a cat scratches.

  • Padding (optional). If you have hardwood floors, you’re probably going to want to cushion the bottom of the wooden base. I used adhesive felt pads, but another option would be to hot-glue any leftover carpeting to the bottom of the base.

bottom of post
bottom of base
drilling holes
stapling carpet to the post
stapling carpet to post
cutting the carpet
post wrapped in carpeting
hammering staples
screws poke out of base
felt pads on base
cat using scratching post