After reading How to Talk to Your Cat About Gun Safety, I decided it was about time to introduce my cats to firearms. Specifically, I wanted to build a shotgun-shaped cardboard cat scratcher. I wanted to do so as safely as possible but also efficiently. With all the information available on the internet and the infamous curiosity of cats, I didn’t want my cats finding out about guns on their own without my guidance.
In all seriousness, cats get bored. When cats get bored, they become destructive. Often taking their frustration out furniture or toilet paper rolls, cats need stimulation to keep the whole family happy.
In this guide, I wanted to show you how to build your own cardboard shotgun cat scratcher. It’s pretty simple and takes about 30 minutes to complete. It’s a little more work than our last DIY Cat Scratcher tutorial but also a lot more fun.
How to make the cat scratcher
Preparation & Materials
Making a cardboard cat scratcher requires of course lots of cardboard. For this design, I used a couple of old amazon boxes.
You’ll also need: a cutting tool (preferably an exacto/utility knife), elmer’s glue (the normal white glue), and a heavy object.
Before you begin construction, you should find a place that wouldn’t mind getting a few cut marks on it. More than likely, while you're cutting out the shotgun shape, the utility knife will go through the cardboard onto whatever surface you’re working on. Don’t destroy the kitchen table for this!
Step 1: Trace the stencil and trace out the pieces
The first step is to create the stencil. I’ve put the shotgun drawing here. The easiest way to create the stencil is to print out the picture of the shotgun outline and then cut it out. You should be able to use this to trace out all of the outlines.
To determine how many cardboard shotgun pieces you’ll need, determine the thickness and desired width. For this scratcher, I wanted to make a scratcher that was 8.75 inches wide and my cardboard was about 5/32 inches thick. This means I needed to trace and cut out 40 pieces.
Step 2: Cut out the cardboard pieces
When tracing out the design, make sure all of the shapes are properly aligned with the grain of the cardboard you’re using. A cat scratcher only works if it’s cut perpendicular to the flute (the wavy section inside the cardboard).
After cutting your cardboard, it should look like this.
If it doesn’t, you’ll have to start all over again. All of the pieces you draw should be parallel to each other. It’s more than alright if some of the pieces are flipped upside down but they should still be inline with the other cardboard shotguns.
This step will take a lot of time but if you focus you can get it done in less than 30 minutes. I recommend keeping a couple of spare blades around for the utility knife. A sharp knife is always safer and faster.
Step 3: Glue together
Gluing the shapes together takes way less time than cutting them out. It can still be tedious though. I recommend using elmer’s glue. You can find it here at Blick or at literally any craft or home improvement store. Elmer’s glue is safe for cats. You won’t have to worry about your cat chewing on it at all. You still shouldn’t let you cat eat your cardboard creation.
Carefully line up the shotgun slices and then add a thin layer of glue between each layer. Make sure not to use too much glue or it will drip out and not look great. I also recommend pausing every 4 or 5 layers to push the entire scratcher together to make sure everything is coming together nicely.
Step 4: Use a clamp or heavy object to let the glue set
The final step is to put a heavy object or use a clamp to hold the pieces together while the glue dries. Depending on the environmental conditions, Elmer’s glue can dry very quickly. You shouldn’t have to wait more than 30 minutes for the glue to set. Once it’s dry, you’re all done and it’s time for your own cat test!
Our Cat Test
I tested this design with my cat, Chalupa. He absolutely loves to scratch new things. When he was a kitten, we’d have to lock him out of the bathroom or risk that little shredder destroying the toilet paper. He absolutely loves this cat scratcher. Cardboard has always been his favorite material. He never was very fond of sisal rope scratchers.
With Elmer’s glue you may be wondering how much it will really stand up to furious little cat claws. The scratcher holds up surprisingly well. As with any cat scratcher, little pieces of cardboard will flake off as he goes at it. The glue held and the scratcher never split down the middle.
Overall, Chalupa loved the design and managed to play with the shotgun cardboard cat scratcher without totally destroying it. It was a decent amount of work to create but a lot of fun when you see your little kitty go crazy for it.