Cat scratching post repair
March 14, 2011 2:02 AM   Subscribe

How do I replace the sisal rope on a kitty scratching post?

I got KittyHeretical a giant kitty tree some while back. She absolutely adores it, and her sharp little kitty claws have cheerfully ripped through the sisal in about eight months. She still uses it, but there's little bits of sisal rope everywhere and some of the loops have broken off entirely. It's her favorite thing to scratch on, much to the delight of my carpet and furniture. How can I replace the rope so she can continue to go nuts on it?

I am not beyond spending a bit of money on this endeavor. This thing has withstood a VERY rambunctious kitten regularly going apeshit all over it, I don't want to have to replace it with something of potentially less sound construction.

(I'm unable to post pictures of KittyH due to a stalker being able to ID me from it, or I'd be photobombing you all already.)
posted by Heretical to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
A picture of the kitteh post would be useful, without inciting a stalker's desires. Often these posts can be recovered and stapled into place fairly easily with carpet of the requisite roughness. You could check out your local carpet dealer for appropriate end cuts? Of course, you'd use a heavy duty stapler, your cat would make short work of anything less.
posted by alonsoquijano at 2:30 AM on March 14, 2011

We ripped the sisal off our cat tree and simply wound new sisal rope around - tying it on with some heavy-duty knots rather than gluing. It's not as neat as the bought version but The Mogget is cheerfully tearing through that one and we figure we'll just yank that lot off and replace as required. You can buy a sisal/hemp rope at most hardware stores and they come in a variety of thicknesses. If the knots didn't work, we were going to try hot-glue and staples but we don't seem to need that yet.
posted by ninazer0 at 2:36 AM on March 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

Molly and Tiny Bear of Mythicbells demonstrate their DIY cat scratcher. You can see from the objects in the video that you'll need a staple gun, scissors, and rope. In the comments she says exactly what sort of rope it is. In other videos you can see that the scratcher in question is actually screwed into the stair banister along the landing, so the side with the staples isn't really cat-accessible.
posted by Mizu at 2:36 AM on March 14, 2011

Will take a couple pictures in the morning, alonsoquijano, when there's actual light in the house.

The scratchy part isn't actually carpeting, it's sisal rope. She vastly prefers the sisal to carpeting, and sisal lasts longer anyway (at least with KittyH's sharp little kitty claws). She was well on her way to destroying the carpeted one I already had, but she hasn't touched it since I got the tree.
posted by Heretical at 3:49 AM on March 14, 2011

FYI, I've wrapped stuff with sisal rope before. My favorite trick was wrapping the ends of the rope with kitchen twine to keep them together.

The sisal rope you can buy from home improvement stores seems to be inundated with chemicals; I'm not sure where to buy more natural sisal. I assume it's available on the Internet.
posted by amtho at 4:03 AM on March 14, 2011

I made a scratching post for my kitty out of sisal rope. I also heard that most sisal rope is saturated with chemicals to prevent it from catching fire when it's run through the rope-making machine, so I found a big spool of untreated sisal being sold by California Bird Nerds. It worked great.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:10 AM on March 14, 2011

I have a gigantic spool of untreated sisal rope. It's fairly thin (more sisal twine than rope), but will last me forever, and I got it at Home Depot of all places.
posted by bookdragoness at 7:37 AM on March 14, 2011

Oddly enough, I asked a very similar question a while back and got some useful leads.

Some sisal has a pungent oily smell that we wanted to avoid; the tip (from that thread) to get "Brazilian sisal" worked for us. I think we wound up finding a place that specializes in accessories for birds for ours. I'll see if I can dig it up.

And since I'm not being stalked, I can post a photo of our cat condo in inaction.
posted by adamrice at 7:56 AM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh god no. NOT STAPLES.

No staples.
I say this as a person who bred cats when I was a little girl.

The last thing you want to find is your beloved kittums hanging by a toenail from the scratching post.

Believe me, this happened to a friend, and thankfully not to any of my kittehs.

yes, it was very very sad, and all of my cats got extra snuggles.
posted by bilabial at 9:27 AM on March 14, 2011

Oh, to actually answer the question - this is one of the few cases where I would suggest buy new, or at least pay someone who makes super good quality cat products to reglue for you.

Or use the tying techniques mentioned above.

But in any case, please, do not use staples. Or nails.
posted by bilabial at 9:28 AM on March 14, 2011

Whip the ends of the new sisal rope and wrap the scratcher in as many layers as you can muster. Use a staple gun every 10 or 15 turns to keep things snug. No glue necessary.
posted by rhizome at 10:06 AM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

No hardware or glue required.

I've done it a couple of ways without staples: I'd suggest the Coffeefilter 2 Holes / 2 Knots Method. These are located at the top/bottom, and secure the ends of the rope.

2 Holes/Knots Method: Drill a hole through the wood where you want the rope anchored. The hole diameter is the same diameter as the rope. Pass the rope through, and tie a knot in the end of the rope.

(Or, if your rope is too thick, and your drill bits too thin, use thinner rope/twine passed through the hole(s) to secure the thicker rope. Depending on the set up, this may exercise your knot/hole/rope problem solving skills. But it's easily do-able.)

I'd suggest thicker rope, e.g., 3/8 inch. If I remember right, 100 feet will get you about a yard of 2x4 wrapped up.

I've also used a hammer to get a dense, compressed stack, but it's probably unnecessary.

If your cat prefers certain parts of the post, you can wrap it in sections, too, for easier future replacement of the heavily used section, while leaving the rest in place.

posted by coffeefilter at 11:08 AM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Eleven years ago I made a scratching post for my kitteh, winding 200' of 3/8" sisal rope around a 2x4. I secured one end with a "clove hitch", made a long splice between the two pieces of rope I bought, and simply threaded the bitter end through the wraps.

The rope is only now beginning to fall apart from the constant use. The kitteh has scratched only on this when she is inside the house for all that time.
posted by jet_silver at 2:42 PM on March 14, 2011

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