Green Living with Multiple Pets

Reusing Boxes and Containers as Eco Scratchers

Grant Emerson

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Why Use Boxes and Containers for Pet Scratchers?

Cats love scratching because it helps them keep their claws sharp, mark their territory, and stretch their muscles. With the influx of products available to cat owners, it might be surprising to know that everyday boxes and containers can be an excellent choice for pet scratchers. There are many reasons for this, including environmental benefits and saving money.

Environmentally Friendly

Reusing old boxes and containers instead of buying new scratching posts reduces waste. Cardboard is biodegradable and can be recycled, making it an eco-friendly option. Instead of throwing away old boxes, you can give them a new life as a cat scratcher.

Cost-Effective Solution

Store-bought scratchers can be expensive. Reusing boxes helps you save money. You can find cardboard boxes at home, during deliveries, or even at local stores that are giving them away for free.


You can customize boxes and containers to fit your home’s decor. Whether it’s painting the box or adding fabric, you can make it blend seamlessly into your living space.

How to Create Eco-Friendly Scratchers

Creating your cat scratchers out of old boxes and containers is easier than you might think. Follow these simple steps to turn your recyclables into useful pet items.

Gather Your Materials

Firstly, gather all the boxes and containers you plan to use. Common items include:

  • Cardboard boxes (shoe boxes, delivery boxes)
  • Plastic containers (storage bins, large food containers)
  • Packing tape or non-toxic glue
  • Scissors or a box cutter
  • Optional: fabric or paint to decorate

Cutting and Shaping

Use scissors or a box cutter to cut the cardboard into sizes that will be easy for your cat to scratch. If you’re using a large box, cut it down into smaller sections or shapes. You can create different textures by cutting the cardboard in various ways, such as making corrugated surfaces.

Securing the Materials

Use packing tape or non-toxic glue to secure pieces of cardboard together. Make sure the layers are secure but not overly tight: your cat needs to be able to pull and scratch without resistance.

Optional: Decoration

To make your scratcher more visually appealing, consider adding fabric or paint. Make sure the materials you use are safe for pets. Avoid toxic glues and paints; opt for pet-safe options instead.

Setting Up the Scratcher

Once your scratcher is ready, place it in an area where your cat usually likes to scratch. This could be near furniture, windows, or areas where your cat sleeps or eats.

Variations of Eco-Friendly Scratchers

There are many ways to get creative with making scratchers from used boxes and containers. Here are some ideas to keep your cat entertained and your creativity flowing.

Wall-Mounted Scratch Panels

Create flat panels of cardboard that can be mounted on the wall. Use adhesive hooks or nails to secure them. These panels save floor space and can be placed anywhere your cat enjoys.

Vertical Scratch Poles

Take a tall plastic container and wrap it with layers of cardboard or sisal rope. Secure these layers with non-toxic glue. The vertical scratcher mimics a tree trunk, which many cats enjoy scratching.

Interactive Puzzle Scratchers

Cut holes into boxes and place treats or toys inside, encouraging your cat to scratch and reach through the holes. This can keep your cat entertained for hours and encourage physical and mental stimulation.

Safety Considerations

While reusing boxes and containers is generally safe, there are some points to consider to ensure your pet’s safety.

Check for Sharp Edges

Ensure all edges are smooth and avoid any sharp points that might injure your cat. Scissors and box cutters can leave rough edges, so take the time to smooth them out.

Avoid Toxic Materials

Make sure any glue, tape, paint, or fabric used is non-toxic and safe for pets. It’s important to avoid items that could potentially harm your cat.

Supervise Initial Use

When you first introduce the new scratcher to your cat, supervise their interaction with it. This way, you can make sure it is sturdy and safe.

Long-Term Benefits

Making your scratchers from reusable materials can have lasting benefits for both you and your pet.

Reduce Clutter

By reusing boxes and containers, you can cut down on the clutter in your home. You are not introducing new items into the space but rather repurposing existing ones.

Environmental Impact

Every piece of cardboard that gets reused is one less item in a landfill. This small change contributes to a larger effort of reducing waste.

Health and Happiness of Your Pet

Cats need to scratch for their health. By providing engaging and environmentally friendly scratchers, you ensure your cat stays happy and healthy.

Finishing Thoughts

Reusing boxes and containers as eco-friendly scratchers for your cat is an excellent way to save money and help the environment. Customizing these scratchers not only provides for your pet’s needs but also adds a personal touch that commercial products lack. By taking simple materials and transforming them into functional and enjoyable items for your cat, you are showing creative and responsible pet ownership. Try these easy and effective methods, and you’ll see how beneficial they can be for you, your pet, and the planet.

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