Refinishing a Cat Tree With Sisal Rope

Rather than buying a new cat tree when the original carpet has finally been shredded by your lovely kitties, try removing it and replacing with sisal rope. Cats love to use sisal as a scratching surface and will of course wear through it too eventually, but it is easy to replace. This page offers instructions and photos helpful for refinishing a cat tree with sisal rope.

New cat trees can be quite expensive. We had an old one in our garage, that had been heavily used and was pretty much useless for scratching. After deciding that I didn't want to purchase a new cat tree, I settled on updating the old one with sisal rope. Our new kitty loves it and it looks new again!

Total Time: 2 hours


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  1. Use a box knife to carefully remove the carpeted post sections. There will likely be a lot of staples, so it may need to be removed in small sections. Note: This is a surprisingly messy job. You may want to do it outside, if possible. In addition to hair and dander, there was a lot of glue dust from the carpet.
  2. Use pliers to remove the staples.
  3. Use a rubber cat brush to remove any hair from the carpet shelves. I got off way more than I expected!
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  5. Use scissors to trim away any loose threads, strings, or carpet fibers.
  6. Here is the cat tree after all of the carpet was removed.
  7. Starting at the top apply a liberal amount of hot glue and attach the end of the sisal rope. Begin wrapping the post with rope, making sure to keep the rope tight as you go. Push up on the rope as you go, to remove any gaps. Note: I wanted to avoid cutting the rope and potentially wasting a bunch, so I actually spun the entire cat tree as I wrapped it. If that is too difficult for you, I suggest you attempt to estimate the amount you will need to limit how many new sections you have.
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  9. When you are only a few wraps away from a stopping point, apply more hot glue. I found that there was a gap between the shelf and post that I could tuck the end down into.
  10. For the space where the shelf prevents you from wrapping the rope around, you will want to use lots of glue and wrap the rope back and forth to fill that space. Then continue wrapping the rope around the post.
  11. Here is the cat tree with all 3 sections of the post wrapped.
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  13. The cardboard scratching insert wouldn't fit if I wrapped that section, so I sanded it and left it as raw wood. Because that section was originally wrapped in carpet, the insert was a bit loose. I made a cardboard wedge using cardboard from a food package. I folded it to the correct length, then wrapped it in packing tape, and I put a note on it to not throw it away.
  14. PB Jelly, ThriftyFun's new office kitty, absolutely loves her "new" scratching post!
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Pets Cats Cat ToysSeptember 5, 2019
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