How To Make A DIY Cardboard Cat Scratcher

DIY Cardboard Cat Scratcher

Cardboard cat scratchers are a great way to keep your cat happy and healthy. Scratching is natural and necessary for cats. It helps relieve stress, keep their claws groomed and is even a way for cats to stretch and flex their muscles.

So, it’s good to offer your cat safe, healthy and non-toxic options around the house for them to scratch. Placing a few cat scratchers around your home is also a great way to help prevent your cat from scratching your furniture.

How To Make A DIY Cardboard Cat Scratcher

You can make a DIY cardboard cat scratcher by cutting lengths of cardboard into strips, stacking them vertically and gluing them together. In this blog, we’ll explain exactly how much cardboard you will need and step-by-step exactly how to make a homemade cardboard cat scratcher. This project is inexpensive, easy to complete and will keep your feline friend entertained and happy. Let's get started.


Materials Needed:

Cardboard sheets or boxes

Utility knife or box cutter

Ruler or measuring tape

Pencil or marker

Hot glue gun or non-toxic adhesive

Rubber bands or clamps

Catnip (optional)


Step 1: Decide on Size and Shape

Before you begin, decide on the size and shape of your cat scratcher. A simple rectangular or square design works best. While their are more than one DIY cardboard cat scratcher plans, a scratcher with straight rather than curved edges is much easier for a DIY project.

A typical size is around 18 inches by 10 inches but adjust according to your preference, available space and the size of your cat.

Cats also sometimes enjoy laying and sitting on their scratchers, so it’s a good idea to make it large enough for them to do so.


Step 2: Determine How Much Cardboard You’ll Need

Cardboard be used in a DIY cat scratcher

Ultimately your finished scratcher will be constructed by cutting flat pieces of cardboard into one-inch-wide strips that will be placed side-by-side vertically and glued together.

So the amount of cardboard you’ll need depends on how large you want your scratcher to be.

If you want your scratcher to be 18 inches long by 10 inches wide, then you’ll need flat pieces of cardboard to cut that are at least 18 inches long.

How wide your flat pieces of cardboard need to be depends on how wide you want your scratcher to be. Remember, your finished scratcher is going to be constructed by placing the one-inch pieces vertically side-by-side.

Each one-inch piece you cut will be approximately .18 inches or a little less than one-fifth of an inch thick when placed vertically side-by-side. So, for each one-inch width of your finished scratcher, you will need to cut approximately six one-inch strips of cardboard.

So, if you want your finished cardboard cat scratcher to be 18 inches long by 10 inches wide you would need to cut approximately 60, 18 inch by one-inch strips of cardboard. That means you’ll need flat cardboard pieces that are at least 18 inches long and a total of 60 inches wide.


Step 3: Gather, Measure and Cut Your Source Cardboard

Once you know exactly how much cardboard you’ll need, you can begin to gather your source materials.

If using cardboard from boxes, carefully dismantle the boxes and flatten them. Also be sure to remove any packing tape that might still be connected to the boxes.

The sturdier the cardboard you use the more durable your scratcher will be and the longer it will last. You can use any type of cardboard or box, but if you plan on buying your cardboard then we recommend you buy as sturdy a cardboard as you can get.

Once you’ve chosen your materials and flattened out your cardboard, you can begin to measure and cut your source cardboard.

The first thing you want to do is cut your main cardboard pieces to a length equal to the longest side of your scratcher. So, if your scratcher is going to be 18 inches long, then cut all of your flat cardboard pieces to 18 inches long.


Step 4: Measure and Mark Scratcher Strips

Now that you have your flat pieces of cardboard measured and laid out, it’s time to mark them and cut them into one-inch-wide strips.

Place a ruler at the top of your cardboard and place marks at one-inch intervals across the full 60 inches for a 10-inch wide scratcher or for as many inches as necessary using the equation listed above.

You will next want to mark the lines all the way down your 18 inches piece of cardboard for an 18 inch-long scratcher. These will be the lines you will use when cutting your strips.

Crafters have many ways of marking straight lines. Whatever your preferred method, you will want to use that here. It’s very important that the lines and ultimately your cuts along those lines are straight for the full length of your scratcher pieces.

Once you have all of your cardboard marked, you’re ready to start cutting.


Step 5: Cut Your One-Inch Wide Strips

During this step, you want to make sure that safety is your first priority. We recommend using gloves that are meant to prevent cuts and to make sure that you make your cuts on a stable surface that is clear of clutter. Also always make sure to use best practices in terms of knife and box cutter safety.

You’ll also want to make sure that you are not making your cuts on top of any surface that you are worried about damaging when your box cutter cuts through the cardboard.

As noted, these are the pieces that will be placed vertically side-by-side to form the surface of your scratcher. So be sure to cut each piece precisely one-inch wide so the surface of your scratcher will be level when they are all glued together.

There are many tips for cutting straight edges. Whatever your preferred way, go ahead and cut all the one-inch strips you’ll need to equal the width of your finished scratcher according to the equation provided earlier.

See Our Cardboard Cat Houses with Scratchers ➡

Step 6: Gluing Your Strips Together

Cardboard strips to be used for a DIY cardboard cat scratcher

The scratching surface is the most important part of your homemade scratcher. It’s where the scratcher will come in contact with your cat’s claws and needs to be sturdy enough to last.

To form the scratching surface, begin by taking your one-inch strips and placing them vertically side-by-side. It’s best to line them up with the end of each piece against a wall. This helps to ensure the length of the scratcher is uniform.

Once you have them in the form of your final scratcher, place a rubber band around one end of the strips to loosely hold things together.

If you are making a very wide scratcher, you can build it in small batches that can be held together with rubber bands. You can then glue each section together later.

Once you have the rubber band around one end of your vertical one-inch strips, you can begin to use a hot glue gun to glue the pieces together.

Work from the end of the scratcher without the rubber band toward the end with the rubber band in order to allow flexibility between the pieces to add the glue.

You can use many dots of glue or a single line of glue down each strip depending on your preference.

As you move from the top of your scratcher toward the area with the rubber band, you can begin to add rubber bands to the areas that you have already glued in order to hold those pieces tightly together.

As you get toward the bottom of your scratcher where you placed your first rubber band, you’ll need to remove the initial rubber band in order to leave flexibility to add glue in that area.


Step 7: Secure and Let Dry

Once you have all of your pieces glued together, you want to secure them tightly at multiple points along the length of the scratcher to let them dry. This step is vital. The more tightly they are glued together, the more durable your scratcher will be.

You can use rubber bands as mentioned above to compress your pieces. Or, if you are a more advanced crafter and have more specialized clamps or other compression devices, those will also work.

As mentioned, if you are making an extra wide scratcher, you will need to do it in multiple sections which are rubber-banded together in this step. You can then later glue those sections together.

How long you need to let your new scratcher dry before removing the rubber bands or other compression devices depends on the glue you’re using. The directions on the glue itself will tell you how long that glue needs to fully dry and adhere.


Step 8: Placement and Use

Black and white cat scratching a DIY cardboard cat scratcher

Once the glue is fully dry, you are ready to remove the rubber bands and your DIY cardboard cat scratcher is ready for scratching.

Your cat may not at first realize that this is for them, so sprinkling your new scratcher with a little bit of catnip will help attract your cat to their new scratcher.

Scratchers can also slide around if your cat is not fully on top of it when they are scratching. So, it’s a good idea to place your new scratcher on a carpet or rug to help it stay in place.

One of the huge advantages of scratchers is that they also help divert your cat’s attention away from scratching your furniture and other parts of your home. So, it’s a good idea to place your new do-it-yourself scratcher near furniture that your cat has scratched in the past in the hope that they will now use their scratcher instead of your couch.



Building a DIY cardboard cat scratcher is a fun and rewarding project that provides your cat with a dedicated place to scratch and play.

We really hope this comprehensive guide has helped you create a durable and engaging scratcher that will keep your cat happy and healthy.