Inspiration > Pets

Create a DIY Cat Scratch House

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Owning a cat is filled with little surprises—like coming home and discovering that the arms of your favorite wingback chair have been shredded, or that a treasured votive holder has fallen and shattered in your kitty’s quest for the perfect hiding space. Since there’s nothing to stop our furry friends from scratching and snooping, we’re forced to acquiesce, building them better and more complicated structures to distract them from the sofa.

In fact, most dedicated cat lovers probably spend a lot more time placating to their feline’s every passing whim than they do spiffing up their own homes. Elaborate kitty play places, climbing shelves, and scratching contraptions dominate the pages of the Internet, making you wonder who’s actually in charge here.

It’s in that spirit that I give you the details for creating your own kitty scratch house—one that’s built for the precocious and disaffected natures of our feline friends, and is nice-looking enough to live up to their high standards. In fact, this house is so appealing, you may just find yourself wishing you had a home that was so nice and cushy. Try to control your jealousy, and read on for the details.


I should tell you that I couldn’t have accomplished such an impressive feat alone. Luckily, I had the help of Rebecca and Heather, my two accomplices in crafty projects who were kind enough to let me photograph them while they worked. Here’s how we did it:

  • The first step is to cut the wood to size—the dimensions for our houses came from the original post on A Beautiful Mess, and they worked just fine. Those cuts are:
    • Two parallel pieces for the back and front wall, sized 19″ long and 12″ at highest peak and 9.5″ at the lower peaks
    • One piece for the shorter closed side, 9.5″ by 9.5″
    • 5″ by 1.75″ (piece on open side)
    • 5″ by 9.5″ (bottom)

We went with half-inch plywood, which was sturdy without being too hard to cut through. An employee at a local hardware store was willing to do most of the serious cutting for us, too.


  • Next, cut out the pieces for the door and window using a jigsaw. Make a cut through the center first, and then saw around the piece you want to remove. If necessary, sand the edges of each piece with a fine- or medium-grit sandpaper.


  • Before you attach the pieces together, use the walls as a stencil, and cut fabric to the shape of each piece. This will be your “wallpaper.” Glue the fabric to the wood pieces using Mod Podge.


  • This next part is the hardest—using a drill, attach the base to the back, front, and side pieces. Then drill on the two parts of the roof.


  • Then it’s time to paint! We used indoor latex house paint that Rebecca had leftover from her own home—luckily she had lots of pretty colors to choose from.


  • Allow the paint to dry for at least eight hours, then paint on a door and window frames or shutters, or cut them from balsa wood—whatever you think will best suit your kitty’s tastes.
  • If you have a cat that needs somewhere to scratch, insert a 9.5 by 17.75″ scratching pad in the bottom of the house—however, my cats prefer the extra room without it.

There you have it! With just an afternoon’s worth of work, you can have a house for your cat that’s fancier than your own abode, and one very lucky kitty!

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Erin Vaughan
More about Erin Vaughan

Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner. She currently resides in Austin, Texas, where she writes full-time for, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.

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4 responses to “Create a DIY Cat Scratch House”

  1. Barry says:

    What a smart idea, will definitely try this

  2. Nice one, our cat will love it, where did you get the idea from?

  3. Vanessa Hooper says:

    Why not attach replaceable scratchers on the roof? My cats love to stretch and scratch at the same time. I think replaceable cardboard scratchers on the roof would be perfect for this project

  4. Ferrari says:

    Super idea, love it.

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