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homemade cardboard cat scratcher

Maui loves his double-wide corrugated cardboard scratchers – it’s the only type he’ll use. The pet shops here are tiny, with very little selection, and this type of scratcher doesn’t seem to be available anywhere. Luckily, we have an almost-infinite supply of boxes stored in our garage, which I kept after our move for just such thrifty/crafty purposes…

homemade cat scratcher
Maui supervises as I get to work

The flaps of the moving boxes just happen to be exactly the same width as the length of Maui’s old scratcher, so I kept the old outer box and cut 1.75″ strips of corrugated cardboard to make a new scratching surface. Measure, mark, cut, repeat… I needed 60 strips to fill the old outer box.

homemade cat scratcher
Measuring and cutting strips of cardboard

After that, I just ran a line of white glue along the centre of the length of each strip, stacked them all together, and applied pressure for a couple of minutes so they are all packed tightly together. Edge on, you have the perfect scratching surface for the demanding kitty:

homemade cat scratcher
As good as bought!

Cutting 60 strips was a lot more effort than I thought it would be – I had to split the task over several days, as my hand holding the ruler in position would start to ache after 5 or 10 strips. If I still had access to buy a new scratcher instead, I would. But, as I don’t, it’s worth a little hard work to make one for Maui every now and then.

homemade cat scratcher
This is the state of the old one – better that Maui does this to the cardboard than to our furniture!

As a bonus, it’s fully reversible, so when it looks like the photo above, I can just flip it over, and Maui will have another new scratching surface to decimate before I have to make another one.

homemade cat scratcher
After extensive quality control testing, Maui proclaims it totally scratch-worthy.

A happy cat = time well spent!


  1. Lisa said

    I am making one of these right now. I sure hope my girl Zoey likes this. Thank you for the instructions. Almost done. 🙂

  2. Kara said

    Thanks June! I was looking for the way to make these. They sell them at Walmart for $4.95. It sounds like since I have access to one 2 miles away it may be easier to buy one. I didn’t realize it would take so many strips of cardboard and hated the thought of spending $5 on cardboard strips. Yours has 60, so maybe it’s the larger size one. I’ll have to give this a try. They throw in 3 cheap cat toys and some catnip to make the price sound better. lol Thanks for the directions. All my cats do LOVE using this to scratch and just lay on for whatever reason.

    • June said

      I’d say at $5 including free toys it’s definitely worth buying them instead – it’s a slow and tedious process to cut and stick all those strips! Maui only likes the double-width ones (but he’s a big cat). It’s only now I can’t buy them that I’ve been making them – they used to cost $20 each in Canada, but I’d wait until they were in a 2-for-1 sale and stock up. 😉

      My advice is that, if you have tons of spare time and no spare cash (or no access to buy them, like me) then make them. If you can spare a few dollars and have a shop nearby that sells them, just buy them instead, and use the time you’ve saved to make something more interesting!

  3. Sara said

    I think a paper cutter would speed up the cutting process. If you’ve got a good one, it will go through cardboard like nothin’. and be easier on the hands.

    • Niki said

      I tried a paper cutter, it cuts great. the only problem Insee is that ine side of the cut is crushed some and it has smaller scratch ends.

  4. Megan said

    Your cat is adorable! My cat growing up was named Maui as well! Also, love the homemade cardboard scratcher. Great idea!

  5. pam said

    Brilliant idea! B-R-I-L-L-I-A-N-T!

    We don’t have a kitty but i have sent this on to friends who do!

    ANd BTW – Maui is beautiful!

  6. val said

    what a clever idea for Maui….I also love all your photos, just lovely!

  7. Shelly said

    That’s pure genius! I’m gonna have to have a go at making one of those for my two!

  8. Thank you so much for this. Poor me has shredded furniture below from Lola the (male, we got it wrong) cat and on top from Georgie the African Grey.
    Bird Beak shredders next please 🙂

  9. Katrin said

    What a great idea! I wonder if my cat would appreciate such a scratch box.
    Maybe I’ll give it a try and make one of my (or should I say her) own.
    Thanks for sharing

    • June said

      I think you should give it a try – you could always start with a smaller version (faster to cut and assemble) and see if your cat shows any interest. If not, try sprinkling catnip over the surface and see if that does the trick. I used to do that, but once Maui got used to a cardboard scratcher, the catnip was no longer necessary 🙂

  10. Morgan said

    Very clever! I am glad to see that Maui has his claws. My cats do also. Declawing makes me feel bad… giving cats a place to scratch other than the furniture is great!

    • June said

      I’m very glad to hear that your cats have their toes intact, Morgan. It’s strange that declawing is still seen as acceptable in North America – I was horrified when I arrived in Canada and first heard of the practice! I think it’s illegal in the UK, where I grew up, and definitely seen as barbaric in most countries, as it involves actually amputating part of the cat’s toes. Sorry to be a bit heavy-handed, but I do feel very strongly about this: to anyone reading this who doesn’t realised what declawing actually involves, please, please read up on it before you even consider subjecting your cats to this mutilation!

      • Judith Mills said

        I am so glad to see I am not the only one who is against declawing. It is inhumane and cruel. It should be against the law. I am hoping I can make the cat scratchers as I have 4 cats.

      • Rachel said

        What a great idea! Definitely want to give it a go. My cat has a scratching post, but she doesn’t use it, even though it’s the exact same design as the old one that did use all the time (such is the finicky nature of cats) My sofa is looking a bit shredded but there is no way I’d even consider getting her de-clawed. I didn’t realise it was such a wide-spread practice in other countries, people who think it’s acceptable to do this shouldn’t be left in charge of a pot-plant, never mind an animal.

  11. Mimii said

    Perfect ! i have to do this too ! Thanks for share 🙂

  12. Michelle said

    I really should do this, too. Our kitties have just about completely shredded their scratching box, and every other box in the house, for that matter. They have some kind of vendetta against cardboard.

  13. Else T said

    June, I don’t have a kitty but I think this is the coolest thing ever! You are so clever. I am going to pass this post on to my cat-owning friends. 🙂

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