If you have a cat, then there is a good chance that you have a scratching post, and if you do not already have one, we would recommend that you get one as soon as you can. Scratching posts are great for cats to play on. Not only does a scratching post provide valuable exercise for your cat, but they also provide a valuable way for a cat to scratch their claws (saving your furniture and carpet from being scratched).
Scratching posts are often made from sisal rope. This type of rope is great for cat scratching posts for many reasons, but there will come a time (if your cat uses the scratching post a lot) when the rope will fray, split, and come away from the post. This is when it is time to replace the rope, but what size should you go for? And, why should you choose sisal rope?
Why Do Cats Scratch?
Let’s start with the basics. Why do cats scratch? There are many answers to this one, and none of them are ‘to annoy cat owners.’ It may seem like it sometimes, but cats are not scratching up your furniture and carpet purely to annoy you. For cats, scratching is a mix between grooming and exercise.
When a cat scratches, the outer husk of a claw is removed. This leads to better groomed, healthier, and sharper claws. The act of scratching also helps cats to stretch and exercise their muscles. Combine this with being able to mark their territory and reducing stress, and it is no wonder why cats scratch so much.
Why Use Sisal Rope?
Sisal rope comes from the agave plant. It is a natural fiber which is known for its strength and durability. In fact, there are many other things made from sisal fibers, including carpets and rugs. With a cat, you need something which is strong and durable, and using a natural fiber is also great for any animal.
Sisal rope has a great feel to it (for humans as well as cats). If you get the chance, feel the roughness of sisal rope. It has a roughness which is similar to tree bark. If a cat is given the choice of scaling a couch or something which feels like a tree, they are going to go for the tree every time. The roughness of the material is what gives it its durability, and an advantage of this roughness and durability is that it will resist shredding from cat claws (it will resist it, but it will not be immune to it).
Sisal rope gives a great balance for you and your cat. For your cat, it is rough and durable enough to be scratched and clung onto constantly through the day. For you, it is rough and durable enough to last you for a long time. Of course, there will come a day when the sisal rope has deteriorated enough to warrant a replacement. This is when you need to measure for a new sisal rope.
How Much Sisal Rope Do I Need?
With many cat scratching posts, the stem of the cat post is wrapped with sisal rope. When it comes time to replace it, it is recommended that you replace the entire thing instead of replacing a part of it; this will help with the durability of the rope. So, the first thing you need to know is how long a length of sisal top you need.
What Size Sisal Rope Do You Need?
Sisal rope comes in different thicknesses, but ¼” is common and the thickness we will be using for our example. Start by measuring the height of the stem in inches and dividing that by a quarter. For example, if your cat post is 40” in height, then the sisal rope will wrap around your cat post 160 times (40 / 1/4 = 160).
Next, you have to work out the circumference of your cat post (if it is circular) or perimeter if it is square. Take a measuring tape and wrap it around your cat post. Take that measurement and multiply it by the number you got previously. For example, if your cat post measures 6” in circumference, then you would need 960” of rope (or 80 ft). This number will vary depending on the height of your cat post, the circumference, and the thickness of the sisal rope.
When buying your rope, always remember to buy a little more than you need, just in case.
Fixing Your Cat Post
Now that you have your sisal rope, you can take off the old and put on the new. Use a utility knife to remove the old sisal knife from the post, taking care not to damage the post as you do so. Once you have the old rope off, you can put on the new rope with a glue gun. Start at the bottom and apply the glue a little at a time. Press on the top and hold it for a few seconds. Keep the rope as one length and wrap it around the post, applying a little glue each time. When you get to the top, you can cut the rope.
Sisal rope is the ideal choice for a cat who likes to scratch. The material is perfect for scratching cats, and it will last. Eventually, it will come away from your cat post, but that is easy to fix. You have seen how easy it is to measure for new sisal rope. Just remember to take into account three numbers: the thickness of the rope, the height of the scratching post, and the circumference/perimeter. If you measure all three correctly, then you are going to be fine.
Replacing your sisal rope when it is frayed and damaged is a great way to keep your cat satisfied and keep them from scratching your furniture and carpet. A little money on sisal rope goes a long way to saving your home.