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“Has your cat left scratch marks on everything from grandmother’s kneecaps to your grandfather clock? It’s time to train Kitty to use this scratching post instead of everything else in your home.” Phil Bowie and Larry Cotton are here to help with their Cat Scratch Feeder project that appears on the pages of MAKE Volume 33. Their simple design combines scratching post and treat dispenser, sure to get Kitty’s undivided attention and keep it. Essentially all it takes is some wood, PVC, an extension spring, aluminum flat bar, a piece of carpet scrap, and a weekend in your workshop.

A catnip cup in the top will attract your cat and place her in natural scratching position. Each time the cat claws downward on the spring-loaded carpeted cylinder, this device will deliver up to 4 special treats. Because you control the number of treats, you can keep your cat lean and gradually wean her off the treats altogether as she becomes accustomed to using the post, if you wish.

Below are a few glimpses from the project: drilling and assembling the treat disk, and putting together the spring assembly inside the body tube. The full project how-to is available starting on page 108 of MAKE Volume 33 and here on Make: Projects.


cat scratch feeder treat disk


cat scratch feeder finished


MAKE Volume 33: Software for Makers

In our special Codebox section you’ll learn about software of interest to makers, including circuit board design, 3D CAD and printing, microcontrollers, and programming for kids. And you’ll meet fascinating makers, like the maniacs behind the popular Power Wheels Racing events at Maker Faire. You’ll get 22 great DIY projects like the Optical Tremolo guitar effect, “Panjolele” cake-pan ukelele, Wii Nunchuk Mouse, CNC joinery tricks, treat-dispensing cat scratching post, brewing sake, and more.

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Goli Mohammadi

I’m senior editor at MAKE and have worked on MAKE magazine since the first issue. I’m a word nerd who particularly loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon as a whole. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for the ideal alpine lake or hunting for snow to feed my inner snowboard addict.

The maker movement provides me with endless inspiration, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. The specific beat I cover is art, and I’m a huge proponent of STEAM (as opposed to STEM). After all, the first thing most of us ever made was art.

Contact me at goli (at) makermedia (dot) com.



  1. oh2fl says:

    Very cool! But please don’t use loop carpet for kitty scratchers- they can get their claws hooked in the loops too easily.

    1. miroslava von schlockbaum says:

      That’s true and is a good look out. and yet… cats “want” to get the old claw sheath caught and pulled loose (so as to leave behind the sharp new edge). so while loops would very likely catch too much claw, what is the best substance having a bit of both qualities? Darwin would say: “wood” (or bark), no?

      1. Matt says:

        Sisal rope is the go-to scratching post material. Easy to replace if it ever gets worn down too.

        1. miroslava von schlockbaum says:

          but doesn’t a transverse fiber of high tensile strength revisit the “don’t use loop carpet” problem? and yet… they simply love the cloth arms of sofas. there’s a maker project(!): a sofa with replaceable cat scratcher arm “cartridges”.

  2. Cat Scratch Feeder, Mew, Mew, Mew…Ted Nugent approved!

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