Truffles, like most domesticated cats, likes to think she runs things around here. When Jay and I first moved in together I made sure he provided her daily meals for a period of time, until they had established a relationship. Before him it had always just been Truffles and I, so there was, understandably, some animosity. But delicious food found a path from her stomach to her heart and Truffles was soon enough accepting enough to share her home.
Now, instead of random meowing throughout the day, she parks herself outside the bedroom door desperately trying to pry it open, screaming in all tones, until her father gets home (or back up) and feeds her her justly due treats.
A Cardboard Box In Good Shape
Straight Edge For Cutting Along
Colored Duct Tape (For Decoration)
To answer a few quick questions- You will want to choose a cardboard box that is about 3 times the base surface area of your cat 'loafed.' Your cat should comfortably be able to sleep and lounge in the box. If you're lucky, and you leave the box lying around, your cat will inspect this part for you, if not, eyeball it for general judgement. We went with a box about 12" x 20". For your scrap cardboard try and choose one, large, box, broken down. Ideally you will be able to cut all of the cardboard needed from one large box- if not, try to find boxes that are uniform in wall thickness.
Next will be a lot of repetition. If you have a high quality, thick, shipping box you'll require less strips to fill your base. To make the best use of your scrap cardboard, flatten any boxed you may be using and cut long strips to match the width of your box base. Next cut 2" strips until you have cut enough strips to fill your base. The strips should all fit side by side tightly- you may even have to force the last 1 or 2 in. The tighter they are, the more friction your cat will have when scratching and the less likely any of the boards will kick up during use.
DO NOT attempt to cut more than one strip at a time, as this could be dangerous.
Now the next step is crucial.
Throw your shiny new homemade cardboard cat scratcher on the floor with absolutely no concern and walk away as though it were trash. Even the slightest aura of concern or pride could communicate the wrong message to your cat. Remember- they know best. And they do what they want. When they want.
In fact, it is highly likely your cat will stand near the scratcher, walk past the scratcher, jump over the scratcher, and entirely ignore the scratcher for a period of time. They're testing you. Remain vigilant, hold your ground. You don't care if they ever notice it exists. You made that for you, not them, and you're happy with it laying on the floor like a grade school art project.
Nope....they will even stand directly behind your shiny new cardboard cat scratcher and stare at you mockingly. You may even begin to have a conversation with your cat in your head. You know that look. It's the "I know what you want me to do, and it's the last thing you're going to see me do." look.
Because they are a cat. And cats do what cats want.
On their own terms.
Yes, that will work. For sure.
So, go grab a can of the IAMS™ Purrfect Delights you picked up at Walmart and treat your cat to some flaked tuna and mackerel in sauce. Just don't be surprised if they continue to glare at you from behind the scratcher. Even while a fresh plate of delicious cat food sits conveniently just to the side. It's too late. Your cat knows. It's a bribe.
And the best thing you can do is just leave the room.
At least you got your way with something. Kinda.
Now's a good time to admit again that the cat really does call the shots. You're only there to serve them. They only allow you to feel as though they need you. So give your cat a scratch behind the ear, make absolutely no eye contact with the offending 'scratcher in the room,' and go about your day.
Just don't let your cat catch you getting any satisfaction out of those crinkled shredding noises.
For those wondering, Truffles now lounges on her scratcher every chance she gets- especially in the window soaking up the sun. As for scratching? It's held up great through multiple daily 'therapy' sessions.
What Daughter Says: I stopped trying to negotiate with the cat a long time ago. I've been much happier ever since.