How can I cat-proof my bulletin boards?
March 1, 2019 10:30 AM   Subscribe

One of our two darling kitties -- Waffles -- has a thing for bulletin boards. He pulls off all of the tacks and items pretty regularly. I'm sure it's great fun for him, but less so for me. Any creative ideas for cat-proofing my bulletin boards?

Here's what I have done so far:

1) Attempted training Waffles to not do this. Hahahahahahahahaha. This is a cat who has pulled a light fixture out of the ceiling.
2) Switched to thumbtacks instead of pushpins, and pressed them really hard so they are totally flush with the board. He foils this great idea by grabbing an edge or corner of the item and yanking it off.
3) Investigated bulletin boards with glass doors (like schools sometimes have for announcements). They are pretty expensive and not terribly attractive.

I use my bulletin boards for reminders, projects, notes, and decorative bits. I don't really want to have to remove them altogether.

So let's get creative. I don't want to switch to a magnet board because he'd be just as likely to do the same thing. Could I get plexi sheets and attach them with... something? Is there some other kind of cat-proof board that would do a similar job?
posted by dayintoday to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Would a sticky cork board work? The edges would all be flush with the board.

posted by wellred at 10:35 AM on March 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't have a solution for you, but I would personally like to discipline the naughty Waffles with pets and lovvies.
posted by BostonTerrier at 10:44 AM on March 1, 2019 [11 favorites]

They are so cute! But man, there's a lot of mischief in those eyes!

Do you think its the thumbtacks in particular that he likes - does he just want to play with those?

Would a ribbon board work? (or would he just paw at the buttons on the board?)

Can you hang the board on a wall where there's nothing nearby for him to be able to reach it?

Can you give him his own board to play with? (obviously you'd need to watch out for pushpins on the floor, but maybe he just wants something to play with?) Maybe something more like an activity board for him. Re-direct him to that one...
posted by hydra77 at 10:47 AM on March 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah idk what you can do about this but i love that you included pics, of both of them no less , bc it wouldn't be fair to show us only waffles : D
posted by elgee at 10:48 AM on March 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

How does Waffles get to the boards (or the light fixture, for that matter??). This cat is a ninja.
posted by hollyholly at 10:55 AM on March 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

Would it be feasible to use a whiteboard instead and just write your reminders and whatnot?

Echoing the others: your cats are ADORABLE!!
posted by orrnyereg at 11:00 AM on March 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: What is a sticky cork board? I Googled, but I'm only finding bulletin boards that stick to the wall.

He can reach literally every surface of the house except (some) of the ceilings.

A ribbon board is a good idea. He might still take things off it, but at least it won't involve me stepping on tacks.

(I'm glad you all like these dingdongs.)
posted by dayintoday at 11:06 AM on March 1, 2019 [5 favorites]

The surface of the cork is actually sticky on one of these. Just press the thing onto it.
posted by wellred at 11:10 AM on March 1, 2019

Alternately, give him something else to play with, mounted below the bulletin boards. An intentional cat toy to distract him.

Super cute cats!
posted by gingerbeer at 11:28 AM on March 1, 2019

I have no idea how well it work work wall-mounted, but I immediately thought of those sort of old-school desk pads that you could slip papers under for easy reference. To prevent everything from falling out ever time you opened it, you could mount a cork board to the back of it and use thumbtacks.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:37 AM on March 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Also, get rid of the tacks immediately. If he eats one (intentionally or not) it's emergency surgery for sure.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:38 AM on March 1, 2019 [7 favorites]

Make your own fancy enclosed glass one, but with a homemade door made of plexiglass? A home improvement store could cut it to the size you need. Mount it over your bulletin board with some hinges, and add a magnetic closure (or padlock, given Waffles' obvious ninja qualities) on the other edge.

Bonus is you can write on plexiglas just like a whiteboard, so you get a twofer.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:48 AM on March 1, 2019 [6 favorites]

If there's no possible way to move it out of reach, you could use a scented cat repellant on your boards and provide him with one at cat level to play with.
posted by OnefortheLast at 12:14 PM on March 1, 2019

I wonder if a way around this would be to get a metal strip - maybe a stainless steel yardstick - instead of a bulletin board, and use magnetic clips to hold papers. No pushpins or thumb tacks to pull off, but you'd have to see how Waffles does with papers dangling from clips. Seems safer for both him and your feet, anyway.
posted by citygirl at 1:10 PM on March 1, 2019

Sorry, no tacks for you. : )

Or... maybe you could set the bulletin board up away from all chairs, tables, etc., so he can't get to it. However, I have to say, someday you'll forget, leave a box or a dining chair there, or a pet sitter will... you need a different system.
posted by amtho at 1:22 PM on March 1, 2019

posted by bluloo at 6:00 PM on March 1, 2019

Swallowing magnets is bad for all living things. Ditto for pushpins.
Ummm... would a mirror or photo frame work? Dry erase boards are super cheap. Maybe try a DIY shadow box.
Waffles and not-Waffles are adorable.
posted by TrishaU at 8:03 PM on March 1, 2019

We use a chalkboard for reminders, shopping lists etc, but that doesn't work if you also want to attach ephemera.

(The "kitties" photo is very much this album cover.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:47 PM on March 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Bitter apple spray! You can get it from basically any pet store or online. This is how I get my big pushy jerk cat to stop messing with things. The downside is that it’s disgusting if you accidentally inhale after spraying it or get it on your hands then get some in your mouth. Only takes it happening once for you to not do that again, which is how it works for cats, too! Spray the thumbtacks and bulletin board corners. I know he’s probably using his paws but trust me — he will figure out why his paws got so bitter quickly. My cat ruined furniture using it as a scratching post until I started coating it with bitter spray.

You can also get double-sided tape that’s really low tack on one side so it doesn’t damage surfaces and annoyingly sticky on the other side to deter cats. One brand is called Sticky Paws but it’s another item that nearly all pet stores or online retailers carry, “cat deterrent tape” is the thing to search for. It’s not meant to be permanent, basically you use it until your furry terrorist gets bored with trying, so don’t stress about it being unsightly. Put it up on the outside of the bulletin board and any surface nearby that allows Wafffles to gain accesss.

You can also deter him with things like a water spray bottle or a device that will shoot compressed air if he goes near it. This depends on you being vigilant about doing that to him and honestly water hasn’t worked for my cat who has spent eight years being a door darter (to the forbidden outside). I foster cats and so worship at the alter of Jackson Galaxy of My Cat From Hell Fame and I’ve seen him use the air spray that’s triggered by movement to train cats to stay away from an area.

Also, I agree it will help a lot to follow up with creating some “cat traps” of irresistible distractions around your bulletin board. Get a nice scratching post, cat tree, cube, etc nearby. There are puzzle toys or activity centers to create the exciting experience he gets from your bulletin board, and if you make the bulletin board just a little bit less rewarding (bitter taste, unpleasant tacky tape under paws) and the cat trap area nearby more exciting then over time he’ll forget about the super exciting fun thing that is a bulletin board.

But if he just can’t get over the bulletin board, yeah, get him his own bulletin board and stick it somewhere to distract. If you go that route, magnets far too big to swallow would work on a magnetic board. I don’t stress if my cat bats around some IKEA magnets I use that attached to a plastic piece that’s like 1.5”.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 10:30 PM on March 2, 2019

I don't know how thick your existing board is, but look into frameless picture frame clips. There are different styles of them that may work to hold some plexiglas in place. You may even decide to make your own frameless bulletin board....

If frameless clips aren't a solution there are magnetic buttons that can attach to your existing piece and to the new plexiglas. You may need to use multiple attachment points rather than the 4 corners.
posted by mightshould at 2:36 AM on March 4, 2019

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