I love my cats. That probably isn’t a shocking thing to read if you’ve had anything to do with me. I love other animals too, but cats will always have a special place in my heart. Even when they rip the couch to shreds trying to sharpen their claws!
My current cats, Rogue and Ziggy, seriously love scratching the poor couch. Ziggy learnt about the joys of sharpening claws on furniture from Rogue, who learnt it from Moss, who learnt it from my old girl Midnight. They sometimes use the scratching pads and the scratching post, but their favourite is the couch. I miss the girls, but it’s a legacy I’d prefer not to have. So with a bit of rope, a needle, and some thread I set to work turning the torn up mess into a new scratching post.
Read on to see how I did it, and to get an idea of how to do it yourself.
I didn’t need much for this job, and neither will you if you give it a go. It takes some jute rope, some strong thread, and a curved needle. The curved needle is important because it makes sewing a lot easier.
I started by whipstitching over the rope to secure it on. This meant the stitches are visible and have the potential to be broken by the cats’ claws. Seeing as this is the bottom edge I wasn’t too worried about that. You’ll see I switched to stitching through the rope too later on.
You can see how handy the curved needle is in this picture. I’m sure you can imagine how difficult it would be to sew the rope on with a straight needle! Plus, the curved needle looks a bit like a cat claw which is very in theme with the project.
This photo gives you a better idea of how the stitch works. I used a strong thread so I could pull quite tightly to really hold the rope on. For this photo I kept the last few stitches nice and loose so you can see what’s going on. The strong thread has the double advantage of being able to be pulled nice and tight and it’s more likely to stand up to the cats’ claws if they do reach it.
The picture below shows how tightly I was holding the thread as I stitched. You can see the tension has pulled it down between the rope strands.
After the turn for the second row, the top side of the rope turned into the bottom which meant if I kept going as I was I’d be changing from sewing with the needle going up through the couch and over the rope to going down through the couch and over. That would have made the sewing a bit more difficult so I did a little stitch between the two rows which anchored the thread so I could continue on. You can see how working from left to right on the second row caused the stitches to face the opposite direction to row one too. Accidental chevron, anyone?
It was around this point (halfway through the second row) that I decided I should move on to doing a half-hidden stitch. The start of the stitch was the same – up through the couch – but then instead of going over the rope I pushed the needle halfway through before taking it down and up through the couch again.
I eventually moved on to a fully hidden stitch by taking the thread up through the couch fabric, then taking it right through the rope so it came out between the rows before repeating the stitch.
Three and a half rows down! You can really see the damage the cats have done in this photo.
This photo shows the difference between the visible and hidden stitches really well. The top two rows look a bit like they’re floating.
Zigs was pretty interested in what I was doing to his beautifully scratched up area.
Lighting change! I ended up having some surprise guests over which meant by the time I got back to work it was dark outside so I started sewing by artificial light.
The first photo here was around an hour and fifteen minutes worth of work. It doesn’t look like much for all that time. I sped up as time went on, thankfully.
In the second photo I was checking to see if it really was only two more rows around the side of the couch. I’m so glad the last row went left to right which made it so much easier to do the small horizontal rows up to the arm rest part of the couch.
I decided to do a swirl around the arm rest section because it was likely to suit the existing line more. I stitched the rope on with the same technique I’d been using for the horizontal area. The first row was a little tricky, but it got easier from there. I loved how it sped up towards the end because the loops were getting smaller and smaller!
I didn’t want the rope to fray so after chopping it off I wrapped it with some more thread. I could have chosen some twine or a thin rope which would have blended in more, but I liked the idea of using the same thread I had been working with. The tail you can see in the second picture was the final piece of sewing. It was stitched around the end of the rope and tied into the couch.
After four hours of sewing it was done! I could have used a hot glue gun to attach the rope which probably would have taken ten minutes or so, but I wanted to stitch it on for both strength and safety. I didn’t want the cats eating glue if it got caught in their claws.
It surprised me how nice it ended up looking. I wasn’t expecting it to look horrible, but I’ve ended up loving it! There’s something very satisfying about how it ended up looking, in my opinion at least. What do you think?
A little note before I go. If you have cats that wreck your furniture, or their paw-needles cause other problems, please don’t ever declaw them. Declawing a cat is the equivalent of cutting of your own fingers at the first knuckle. It also encourages cats to start biting more because you’ve taken away one of their defences. Trimming their claws is more like cutting fingernails so it’s fine. I used to struggle big time with trimming my cats’ claws until I stumbled on this video by Catmantoo. My cats sleep through getting their claws trimmed now!
I’ll leave you with some bonus toe beans.
Until next time xx
I'm Beth the human behind Little Grassbird. Welcome!