Thursday, March 17, 2011

Semi-Handmade Scratching Post for Loooong Cats

Does your cat like scratching on vertical surfaces? Cats like to be able to stretch out fully when they scratch. Scratching is a basic need for cats, and the best way to keep your cats from scratching your furniture is to provide an alternative! There are a few types of materials used scratching surfaces and trial and error will determine what types your cat will use-our two resident rescue cats enjoy cardboard and carpet and will not scratch sisal. We have one really tall, long kitty who LOVES scratching the sides of chairs and even the corners of walls. He likes the cardboard scratching posts we have for him but they haven’t quite stopped him from scratching the walls. He reaches higher than any standalone scratching post I’ve ever seen. Only big (and expensive!) cat trees look like they’d really let him stretch as high as he likes to.  We’ve been thinking about making our own for a while now, and we’re still considering putting together a long cardboard one for them, but my fiancé came up with this design for a vertical carpeted scratching post made from an old board,  a refill for a carpeted scratching post, and some nails. You could probably easily use ordinary carpet for this if you could find the right size or were willing to cut it up.  It’s really simple, anyone could make one!

We found a long flat board in our basement left behind by a previous tenant. My fiancé tells me it is probably a 1 by 6 board. For the scratching surface, we got one of the refills for this scratching post at petco: It’s great for this purpose because it’s meant to go over both sides of that A-shaped holder so it’s LONG (A little over 3 feet). It has Velcro straps which we wrapped around the board. If you bought your own carpeting, you could easily customize the size and be able to wrap the sides and back of the board as well-I think we’ll do this next time.

We secured the carpet to the board with some short nails (short enough to lay flat in the front and not catch on kitty nails, but still not stick out the back).  If you’re willing (or your landlord wouldn’t mind) you could easily nail the board to a wall near one of your cat’s favorite scratching spots. The walls in our apartment don’t do well with nails (they tend to crumble) and we didn’t want to put nails into the front of the moulding where we wanted to place the scratching post (our cats favorite scratching corner!), so we put screw hooks in the back of the moulding and attached the board with string and rubber bands to make it easier to wrap tightly. We put one string at the top and bottom. You could always trim the board to the length of the carpeted part of the scratching post.

The hooks we used

The string on one side of the board

 The rubber band on the other side

Our long cat loves his new scratching post, and our shorter cat-who has always been very happy with the cardboard scratching posts-loves it too.

Above is one of our cats using the new scratching post, and to the right here's our looooong cat using the scratching post. Sorry for the low quality, but he just wouldn't cooperate when I was trying to get pictures but I managed to catch him on my phone! You can see even though he's not stretched all the way he reaches close to the top!
My cats seem pretty happy with their handmade toys. I’ve also made them a stuffed catnip sock and my fiancé made them a box to play in with 2 doors and toys hanging down inside. (Of course we can't resist buying them presents sometimes-they have lots of toys!) Has anyone else tried making their own scratching post or cat furniture? What about cat or dog toys?  I’d love to hear about it. If you try this method out, I’d love to know if your cat likes it too!
One of our favorite toys-a fleece rope on a stick

Copyright 2011. See more at Voyage of the Hyperspace Hippo

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Helpful Stuff-The Unofficial Etsy Forums

Any of you who are on Etsy may have noticed the big change in the Etsy forums recently. Basically they've taken away the sections where you could promote your shop or blog, the one where you could discuss various techniques or materials, the critiques section (where you could go to request feedback on your shop), and the general chat (called etc.) forum I used to use the first two often-the first to request people submit their etsy finds and the second to ask my own technique questions. I never really used the critiques or etc. forum but I'm sure lots of poeple found them useful!

Anyway, the point of all this is to let you all know that I've found an alternative (thanks to @Demure4You on twitter). It is called the Unofficial Etsy Forums and it was started by a group of etsy sellers who heard that the Etsy forums were to be changed and created their own separate forum that followed some of the old Etsy forum format. I think one of the coolest things about the new forum is that you DON'T have to be an Etsy person to use it! So if you have an Artfire shop, a Zibbet shop, or NO shop, you can come here and ask questions! Yay! I asked a materials question there for the first time and got an answer within 20 minutes, how great is that? So come and join me in the Unofficial Etsy Forums!

Copyright 2011. See more at Voyage of the Hyperspace Hippo


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