Saturday, November 24, 2012

Crafting for Kitties: DIY Scratch Wheel

 Anyone who knows me, knows I love my cats. Ever since we brought these two little furballs home nearly a year ago, they have made my life so much more fun and entertaining (which is really saying something - my life is pretty sweet).

Perhaps not surprisingly, Thailand stores don't exactly cater to doting kitty mammas who want their little fur babies to have the very best of everything. However, much like human babies, I suspect kittens do not need nearly as much store bought crap as we think they do. I do want my girls to have easy access to things to scratch, however; I love my cats, and I also love my yoga mats and do not want claw marks all over them. Luckily this homemade scratching wheel takes care of their urge to scratch and my mats (and other household items) remain fantastically claw-free.

This is a super easy craft that uses recycled boxes (bonus points for being environmentally friendly) and only takes about half an hour to make. Check it out:

You'll Need:
- Cardboard boxes (I used three beer cases, and will add a fourth I think)
- A boxcutter/ knife/ scissors
- Packing tape

1. Cut the boxes up into strips of equal width. This one is 5" tall, which, conveniently, is the width of the flaps on the cardboard box. When cutting the boxes make sure to cut across the corrugation rather than with it, so that the length of the strips has the zig-zaggy marks along it. (Note the photo).

Don't worry if the strips are not exactly the same width. Your cat(s) will not care.

2. Start to curl up one piece of cardboard. Secure the roll with a piece of packing tape, then add another strip. I alternate between securing the end of each strip to the main wheel and taping it to the next length of cardboard.

3. Pick one side to be the "top" side and line up the cardboard edges to this side so that it will be more or less flush, keeping the underside less even if your strips of cardboard are slightly different heights. 

3. Keep going until you've used up all the cardboard! Voila!

4. If you want the outside edge to be pretty you can finish with a strip of coloured paper, or use up scraps of old wallpaper (do people use wallpaper anymore?) or something similar. I leave mine plain as, again, my cats don't care.

 As for getting your cat to actually play with the wheel, I haven't had to do anything. Moo and Chili are obsessed with cardboard and LOVE their scratch wheels. The hardest part of building this wheel was getting them to leave me alone while I put it together. If your cat is unsure about the joys it can bring to her life, try sprinkling some catnip on top.

I cannot overstress how much my cats love their wheel. The chew on it, sit on it, scratch it, shove it around with their heads, wrestle each other around it, and basically play with it constantly.

Fun fact: My cats like to scratch it right after using their litterbox, which is great as it gets any little bits of kitty litter off their paws. I keep their old wheel next to the litterbox for this purpose.

Now go make this wheel! Your kitties (and yoga mats) will thank you.

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