Make a Cat Scratch Pad From Upcycled Cardboard Boxes

Create a stylish spot for your feline friend (and draw their claws away from your upholstered furniture) by grabbing cardboard headed for the recycling bin.

Photo by: Lauren Oster

Lauren Oster

Materials Needed

  • 5-6 large cardboard boxes
  • scissors, craft knife or rotary cutter
  • ruler
  • packing tape
  • fabric pen
  • 18”-x-18” piece of fabric
  • 52”-x-6” strip of fabric (or scraps that add up to those dimensions)
  • fabric glue
  • dried catnip

Measure and Cut Cardboard Strips

Break boxes down into large, flat pieces, then measure (Image 1) and cut the cardboard into strips of equal width (Images 2 and 3). The long sides of the strips should run against the cardboard’s corrugation (Image 4).

Create Core

Form the center of the pad by rolling a cardboard strip into a tight spiral (Image 1). Tip: Keeping one edge of the resulting roll as flat as possible will create an even surface on the top of the pad (Image 2). (That said, most cats won’t turn their noses up at a bit of variation in the finished piece.) Secure the top and bottom of the end of the strip with packing tape (Images 3 and 4).

Add Cardboard Strips

Secure a second strip of cardboard with two more pieces of tape (Image 1). Continue securing and adding strips (Image 2) until the pad is approximately 15” in diameter. Secure the last piece of cardboard, then measure and cut one more strip that will wrap all the way around the pad (Image 3) and set it aside.

Add Fabric Base

Place the pad on the 18”-x-18” square fabric and trace a circle with a 1" border around its edges (Image 1). Cut out the circle, flip the pad upside down, and secure the fabric to the base of the pad with fabric glue (Images 2 and 3). This layer will prevent catnip from falling through the pad (Image 4).

Add Fabric Border

Place the wraparound strip of cardboard atop the 52”-x-6” strip of fabric, then add glue along its edges (Image 1). Fold over and secure the fabric (Image 2). Flip the pad right-side up, then glue the fabric-covered strip in place (Image 3). Stand the pad on its side, seam down, and let the weight of the pad hold the seam in place as the glue dries.

Add Catnip

When the fabric glue is dry and the fabric border is firmly in place, flip the pad right-side up once more (Image 1). Sprinkle a bit of dry catnip on the surface of the pad (Image 2) and tap the pad against the floor a few times. Inform the resident cat that a new tribute has been hand-fashioned for him or her (Image 3).

Photo by: Lauren Oster

Lauren Oster

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