Success Report: DIY Kitty Perch Rescue

By Roc

Remember that fantastic gray kitty perch Karen put together for us as an early Christmas present during the pandemic…

Tony sleeps up top evenings, and we’ve kept it looking nice. I can count on one paw the times Max has ever touched it.

Tony and I found one sisal post PERFECT for wonderful claw-grabbing s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s and we’ve been giving it daily workouts — until this happened…

I can’t blame Tony. I’m the only kitty with the size and strength to commit vandalism of this magnitude. I even get a criminal look in my eyes when I’m pondering my next big caper…

Around these parts, they call me “KMD” (Kitty of Massive Destruction).

This development upset Karen because 1) Loss of a popular scratching place put us one step closer to digging in to the furniture, and 2) It looked bad, not that the living room is what you’d call a showplace even on a good day.

The sisal was flimsy, and the post underneath turns out to be crappy cardboard. Which explains how Karen got the thing dirt-cheap. What did she expect for less than three figures? Mahogany?

Out of respect (and aversion to Karen’s screaming), Tony and I have steered clear of that post since the destruction.

After determining it might be fixable, Karen turned to the trusty internet and discovered a cottage industry for restoring sisal kitty scratchers.

She bought 164 ft. of MEEXPAWS 1/4” sisal rope from Amazon, which came nicely coiled, and with a roll of double-stick tape…

Photo: Amazon

But Karen didn’t want to use tape or glue because they might not withstand our assaults, and they’d ruin the cardboard if the post needed fixing again. What to do, what to do?

We don’t own a big staple gun, and Karen was considering nailing it when she found this perfectly brilliant man with a YouTube video, “My cat tree repair without tools or glue”…

We tackled the project this past weekend. I supervised nearby, of course. Karen first removed the original sisal, which had been stapled.

Immediately upon untying the new bale of sisal, all 164 feet unraveled at our feet into a tangled mess, which Karen then had to fling around the post with every row she wrapped.

Sorry, no photos of that because I have no thumbs for the iPhone and if Karen had let go for a second in mid-wrapping, it would have all come undone.

As she used up rope, it got a little easier. Finally, she made it to the bottom and tied it off. Voila!…

The color’s a bit off, but it’s heavier rope, so even BETTER than before.

I say that even though Tony and I have so far refused to be the guinea pigs to test it, even though Karen gave us an hilarious demonstration to refresh our memories on how to scratch a post.

Karen was so pleased with the result, she’s gotten ideas about our other perches. But first, she needed to salvage the remaining sisal, a job not made any easier by Tony romping all over it, biting at it like she was playing. We’ve got this much left…

Karen thinks there’s enough left to give Tony’s favorite blue perch at the top of the stairs a refurb…

We’ll need to get more sisal for the short perch by the living room window that screams for attention…

And then there’s that tall perch next to the couch…

The lower level there where Mickey and the Teds hang out could also use some love…

I’m glad Adele isn’t here to see this because she believed “Every Cat’s an Artist” and called all these perches “art installations.” She’d be spitting mad and fluff-tailed to have her creative endeavors sisaled over.

Speaking of outrage, Karen has been wondering why we all suddenly stopped fighting over Max’s favorite kitty bed near the sliding glass door. She found her answer while taking these photos…

There was a hairball on Max’s favorite cuddle toy, Cattey. By the color, it could belong to anybody, but she’ll never find out who because we’re cats, not rats…

(PS: You’ll be relieved to know that Cattey is fine. The hairball had dried out and came off without leaving a stain. I hope you weren’t eating dinner while you read this.)

UPDATE FROM KAREN: A few hours after Roc posted this story, I went downstairs and caught him giving the new sisal post a going over. He looked at me with his, “Am I in the doghouse?” expression, but the sisal stood up to him hanging on it beautifully. So, it looks like full steam ahead on sprucing up the other perches.

9 Responses to Success Report: DIY Kitty Perch Rescue

  1. Ah yes, the dried up hairball! Somehow I only find them when there is company around.

  2. catsworking says:

    Kate, I’m surprised I didn’t find it when it was fresh because I walked right by it at least twice a day to scoop a litterbox by the sliding glass door. But they’re easier to clean up when they’ve aged like a fine wine.

  3. and without onlookers!

  4. feijicha says:

    I find if my guys are hesitant on something new.. either a new scratching post, new pet bed, or new sisal when I also recover my scratching posts, a spritz on whatever the item is with some spray catnip works wonders!

  5. catsworking says:

    feijicha, good idea. I did think of smearing some catnip on the post, but didn’t want to make any more mess.

    On the other hand, it was like magic. After Roc published his post, he went downstairs and tried out the new post. Then last night during TV time, he went at it again. So, it has the Roc seal of approval.

    I haven’t seen Tony try it yet. Max confines his scratching to a flat cardboard thing on the floor of his Man Cave.

  6. Randi says:

    Karen, you did a good job there! I’m sure there’s enough sisal left for Tony’s favorite blue perch.
    The hairball picture reminds of when my husband’s friends from South Africa came for dinner here years ago. I had cooked a fancy dinner and as we all sat down to enjoy it, Fister pooped on our bed, which was in the next room – but the door was open. I think he was too scared to come out and go to the litterbox. Luckily, it was poop, not pee!

  7. catsworking says:

    Randi, how funny! True, I’d rather have a firm poop than cat pee on my bed any day. Fortunately, I’ve never had a cat who peed on the bed. Although once I had a leak in the ceiling from the hallway upstairs, and it was Cole who alerted me. He was glued to the bed, fascinated by watching the drops soak in. The damage would have been much worse if I hadn’t noticed him sitting there and staring.

    Sometimes when Tony poops in the box, the odor could ruin anybody’s appetite. He does his best to cover (embarrassed maybe?) but me removing it is the only way to clear the air. 😉

  8. bassgirl23 says:

    Nicely done! I need to do that with our two posts, they’re getting rather frayed.

    Gotta love those hairballs. I always find them in the middle of the night when they’re on the floor. I’ve stepped in quite a few of them. At least when they’re dried it’s ok but I usually find the fresh ones.

    You’re lucky none of them pee on the bed….I just had to change the bed this morning because we left the door open accidentally and one of them (not sure who) went not once, but twice. Grrr. It’s never a medical issue, it’s marking for territory….so annoying.

  9. catsworking says:

    bassgirl, I’ve stepped in my fair share of fresh hairballs. Nothing like fur soaked in stomach acid squishing through your bare toes!

    Amazingly, in a house full of boy kitties, we have no marking issues or even box misses. I don’t even have anybody who loves to pee on the side of the box.

    Adele started a pissing contest with Max when it was her, Max, and Cole (Cole never participated). She had Max so freaked out, he was peeing at the windows if he saw something disturbing. And Adele TWICE peed all over and ruined my day planner lying on my desk while I was sitting just a few feet away with my back to her.

    Then, as mysteriously as it started, they both stopped. And Max has only had a few slips on a windowsill in the years since.

    As for the sisal fix, I think the method in the video where you tie it in place is the BEST. I was worried about the cats pulling the rope off if it was fastened in any way. But since it’s tied, they can’t. And if it starts to loosen, the knots at the bottom are easy to undo so I can just wrap it tight again and retie it.

    I’ve been trying to remember, but I my two tall carpeted posts (blue and beige) have to be 25-30 years old. They’re solid wood, so they have good bones, but the carpet is tatty.

    So far, I haven’t seen Tony trying the new sisal. I think he hangs back to see how it goes for Roc before he joins in. He’s no fool

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