In a whirlwind of apartment cleaning this weekend, we threw out our cats’ cardboard scratching board, which had all but disintegrated on our kitchen floor. As the little monsters were threatening to transfer their attention to the molding around our doors, Caroline insisted that I get them a replacement, but I had a different plan.
I googled “DIY cat scratching board” with the intention of figuring out how to make something out of carpet that would work with the space in our apartment, but then I instead i found this post, which seemingly was not written in English and passed through an auto-translator. But the idea seemed simple enough, and cardboard boxes were something we already had lying around the apartment (unlike random patches of carpet). I pulled up another hit for DIY cat scratching board from the google results and started cutting until I ended up with what you see in the picture.
Tools: Razor (box cutter or exacto knife), straight edge, wood glue
Materials: one shallow (about 2 inch) cardboard box (for container); other cardboard boxes (3-4, depending on size)
Instructions: Cut cardboard into 2-inch strips (or other width, depending on the depth of the box you use for your container). Once you have enough to stuff the container full, apply glue between each strip so that the cardboard forms a solid block. After the whole board is glued together, put it in the box (although do not glue it so you can flip the board when one side wears out) and decorate the outside as you like.
The construction process is incredibly easy, if a bit tedious, since it involves cutting strips of cardboard over and over again until you have enough to fill the box. Notice that the first link has a deep box while the other is quite shallow. The box I used was about 2” deep, which I chose because it was about the depth of the scratching board I threw out and because it was a box we happened have in our paper recycling at the moment. It occurred to me after I’d started that having a deeper box might have been better, but you would also end up wasting more cardboard that way (since I don’t know that cats ever really scratch down to the middle of the board).
As far as attaching the boards, the guide I followed (second link above) suggested hot glue, which I don’t have on hand. Instead, I opted for wood glue, putting a thin strip on each piece and then stacking them up. I worked through the board by applying glue to about 25-30 pieces and then applying pressure until that stack dried, then moving on to the next one. If you apply pressure just by setting a weight on the stack you just glued you could immediately start applying glue to the next one. Instead, I set the freshly glued stacks into the box and so added them on to the previously glued stacks, and then would just wait 30-45 minutes before moving onto the next stack, which required about 4-5 stages of gluing.
Finally, a note on the cardboard: if you click through both links, you’ll notice that the first has the cardboard cut horizontal to the length of the board, while the latter seems to have vertical strips. It would no doubt be much easier to make fewer long cuts than many more short ones, but I didn’t look at the second link until after I’d already started compiling cardboard strips. Next time I make one of these I will definitely do it the other way. Also, some of the cardboard I used (particularly one USPS shipping box, and the box used to make the container) were very thin, so much so that in retrospect it wasn’t worth the time it took to cut them up. In the future, I wouldn’t use just any box I happen to have, but look for boxes with nice thick sides so that they fill up the box more easily. But all in all, an easy project that only takes a couple of hours to complete.