Monthly Archives: October 2009

How to Re-carpet a Cat Scratching Post

recarpet scratching postCat scratching posts are a necessity, but they’re not very eco-friendly.  I try to extend the life of Furball’s cat tree by trimming the excess threads of carpet and vacuuming it regularly.  However, there comes a time when the carpet is threadbare and the cat starts using the floor or the couch instead.  Throwing out the scratching post and getting a new one is double whammy to the environment, so what’s a cat lover and tree hugger to do?  The answer is to re-carpet that scratching post!

I’ll admit it does take some time and requires a few tools, but fortunately, you’ll only need to do it once every few years.  Here are instructions with pictures on how to re-carpet a cat scratching post.

What You’ll Need:

  • Sharp knife for cutting carpet
  • Pliers
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Replacement carpet
  • Nails
  • Hammer or nail gun (nail gun is easier)

3 Steps and Your Done!

  1. Recycle your scratching postUse the sharp knife (be careful!) to cut the worn out carpet off of the scratching post.  In this case, we took it off of Furball’s cat condo post.  Remove the carpet from the scratching post in one piece.  You may need to use the flat head screwdriver and pliers to work out any old nails holding the carpet in place.
  2. Use the removed carpet piece as a template.  Place it over the replacement carpet and cut out a piece of carpet in the same size.
  3. Re-carpet that scratching post!Take the nail gun (be careful!) and nail the new piece of carpet onto the scratching post.  Depending on the size of the carpet, a nail every 2″ should be adequate.  Use more nails if the carpet piece is large and heavy.  Use fewer if it is small and light.

That’s it!  Of course, that take at least an hour of your life, but it’s well worth it to re-carpet your cat’s scratching post.  You’ve recycled your old scratching post, prevented it from ending up in the landfill, you’ve saved on the resources needed to create a new scratching post AND you’ve saved some money too.

Where To Find Replacement Carpet for Your Cat Scratching Post

  • Ask friends and family if they have any carpet remnants. Surprisingly, one of our best friends had a roll of carpet sitting in her garage for years.  I would never have known if I didn’t ask.
  • Try posting on freecycle.org to request some carpet scraps.
  • Visit a carpet store to buy a remnant for a few dollars.

Tips for Making Your Own Cat Furniture Such as a Scratching Post or a Cat Tree

The typical carpeted cat scratching post is bulky, heavy and usually thrown out after Kitty has worn out the carpet.  Rather than buy another scratching post or cat condo, why not make your own?  Ideally, it would be better to re-carpet your scratching post or cat tree and I’ll talk about this in a future blog article.

Since many scratching posts can be made with odds and ends, you can reuse scraps of wood and carpet that would have ended up in the landfill instead.  Great sources of cat furniture material are friends, family and freecycle.org. Freecycle is like an online classifieds site where people in your community post items to be given away and request items they need.  I often see wood pieces up for grabs.

To get you started, I’ve searched the web for some decent instructions on how to make a scratching post from sisal rope, a cat condo and a basic cat scratching post made with carpet.

Here’s a video on how to make a basic cat scratching post:

If you want to try your own design, Rebecca Mountain of Mountain Cat Trees designs and builds eco-friendly cat trees.  She offers 4 tips for building a cat scratching post that your cat will love:

  1. First consider the scratching style your cat prefers. Some cats scratch vertically while others horizontally.
  2. Ensure the structure is designed not to wobble or tip as this is a sure way to scare your cat away from using it.
  3. Cat trees are best if they at least give access to the height of a window, for cats to see out.
  4. Scratching posts should have a surface that cats are attracted to such as sisal rope or a soft wood like cedar.

Videos on How to Make Cat Toys

I was randomly surfing YouTube and came across numerous instructional videos on how to make cat toys.  Who knew there were so many of these how-to videos out there?

A couple of the videos stood out because they were highly watchable and they also featured toys that followed in the spirit of my book, Make Your Own Cat Toys.  The toys were really easy to make with stuff you have around your home.  I haven’t tried making these myself as Furball’s toy box is already overflowing with homemade eco-friendly toys.

If your kitty needs a new plaything, why not give these a try?  The only thing that I wish these videos included were a few notes about safety.  The first toy is made from a plastic bag and the second from tin foil.  If your cat eats plastic or tin foil, then these toys are potential hazards.  The toys are also unsafe if your cat is able to bite off a shred.  Cats have small barbs on their tongues, which makes it impossible for them to spit things out, other than pills ;)!  That’s why so many small items are potential hazards and why you should always supervise your cat when playing with toys and put them away when he or she is finished.

Eco-Friendly Cat Scratching Posts Branch Out in a Different Direction

eco-friendly cat scratching postMountain Cat Trees takes a different and novel approach to creating eco-friendly cat scratchers.  Based out of the North Quabbin region of Central Massachusetts, this company eschews the typical carpet and wood composite inputs, and instead uses real trees to create natural looking cat trees that are simple and eco-friendly.

Scratchers from Mountain Cat Trees are made using only natural untreated wood and sisal rope. The vertical posts are real trees with the bark removed. I find it rather ironic that a scratcher made from a real tree is the exception as opposed to the norm ;).  The scratching posts are eco-friendly because:

  • They’re made without carpet or synthetic materials using all wood construction
  • The trees are harvested locally using sustainable practices
  • The scratchers are 95% biodegradable

I asked Rebecca Mountain (yes, that’s really her name!) of Mountain Cat Trees what her inspiration was to start her business.  Here’s what she had to say:

“While living in the Chicago area years ago, I became involved with a not-for-profit group that was committed to helping curb the overpopulation of feral (wild) cats living in neighborhoods in the area. As part of our efforts we would catch the young kittens in these colonies, socialize them, have them vet checked, and adopted them out to caring, responsible homes.

It was during this time while fostering kittens in my home that I found the need for the kittens to have a scratching post and place to lay by the window. I was not pleased with the carpeted ‘kitty condos’ at the pet store. My experience with them was one of shedding carpet fibers, and an endless battle of trying to vacuum off cat hair. They soon became unsightly behemoths that eventually ended up in a landfill. I decided to make my own cat tree and was determined to create one that was fun and appealing to the cats, attractive in my living room and easy on the environment. A few years later Mountain Cat Trees was born.”

Rebecca has four cats that test each new product design.  A new design must pass their scrutinizing evaluation before going into production, so you can be assured that Mountain Cat Trees’ cat trees get the kitty stamp of approval!

To learn more or to find out where you can purchase Mountain Cat Trees products, please visit their website at www.mountaincattrees.com.

How to Choose the Best Eco-Friendly Cat Litter for Your Cat

I thought I’d try a hand at writing an article on eHow about how to choose an eco-friendly cat litter.  There are so many litters touted as earth-friendly these days that it can be confusing to know which one is best for your cat.  Obviously, you can’t try them all out so please check out the article to help narrow your choices.  Kitty litter is something you want to get right the first time!

P.S.  The eHow article writing is an experiment on my part to test out a couple of things:

  1. Can I reach a larger audience by writing on eHow and thus encourage more people to make eco-friendly changes in their lives?
  2. Can I build a passive income stream writing eHow articles to pay for the cost of this site and my time?

Thanks!

Holly and Furball

Here’s the article link:

http://www.ehow.com/how_5517591_choose-ecofriendly-cat-litter-cat.html

Is Your Cat Sleeping in a Chemical Cesspool?

Now that I’ve got your attention, a friend emailed me an interesting website that lists the toxic chemicals found in pet products.  Did you know there are no government standards for hazardous chemicals in pet products?

logo-stuff
HealthyStuff.org tested over 400 products for toxic chemicals and lists the results on their site.  Most of the tested products were for dogs, but there were some cat beds and toys tested as well.  You can probably assume if there are toxic chemicals in dog products, the same is likely for cat products.

Here are some facts listed on HealthyStuff.org:

  • 45% of pet products tested had detectable levels of one or more hazardous chemical, including:
  • One-quarter of all pet products had detectable levels of lead.
  • 7% of all pet products have lead levels greater than 300 ppm — the current CPSC lead standard for lead in children’s products.

Green Little Cat is the only blog that's all about eco-friendly ideas for cats and cat lovers. This blog is a labor of love, created by Holly Tse, author of Make Your Own Cat Toys.
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