How To Replace Sisal Rope On A Cat Tree?

how to replace sisal rope on a cat tree

If you’re looking for information on how to replace sisal rope on a cat tree, then congratulations!

It means your pet cat has adapted to her cat tree, dug her claws through the sisal rope, and successfully left your furniture and carpet alone for a couple of months.

Sisal rope is the textured string wrapped around most scratching posts.

Don’t worry about the sisal rope from your cat tower or cat tree getting destroyed – it’s super easy to replace – just a bit of DIY, and you’re right! 

Items Needed To Replace Sisal Rope

If you don’t have a pair of scissors, a knife, or staple remover at home, buy one because you’ll be using it to replace the sisal rope on your cat’s scratcher.

Other things you’ll need to include to replace the sisal rope:

  • A spool of twisted sisal rope (You can find the 1/4-inch thickness at Lowes for about $5)
  • One hot glue gun and a pack of glue sticks (You’ll be using several regular-sized glue sticks)
  • The base of the old scratching post
  • Measuring tape

The amount of sisal rope and glue sticks will vary depending on how long your scratching post is.

Is your cat tree beyond repair? Is your big, lumbering furry friend in need of a new condo? Check our best cat tree for large cats guide and view products that get you the most bang for your buck!


Use these equations to find out how much sisal rope you need:

Height – Measure the height of your cat tree in inches. The usual height is 20 inches for kittens and 40 inches for adult cats.

Thickness – Divide the number by a quarter (this comes from the thickness of rope you have: 1/4-inch).

Example: If your cat tree is 40 inches in height, the rope will have to go around 160 times because 40 divided by 1/4 is equal to 160.

Circumference or perimeter – But for a more reliable measurement, you also need to consider the post’s circumference (for circular) or perimeter (for square). To do this, wrap a measuring tape around the cat tree.

Multiply this measurement with the number you got from the first equation.

Using the example above: if the cat tree has a six-inch circumference, you’ll use the equation: “6 x 160,” which gives you the answer 960, or the number of times you wrap the sisal rope throughout this entire project.

Once you’ve got the measurements down, you might want to learn how to reupholster the entire cat tree too.

3 Steps To Replace The Rope

Step 1: Take off the ragged sisal rope

Depending on how shredded the cat tree is, you might need to use scissors, a box cutter, or other tools to get all the damaged rope off the base.

Clean up the old rope as much as you can, but keep the actual post sturdy.

Be careful about staple wires hiding under the rope. Some companies use them to reinforce the scratching post.

Step 2: Uncoil the sisal rope and heat your glue gun

Start squirting a line of glue around the bottom of the post. Eyeball the glue and gently place the rope on top of it.

When wrapping the sisal rope onto the post, press it as tightly as possible before you begin another row, making sure you carpet the entire post with the rope.

Step 3:  Continue from bottom-to-top

Repeat step 2 until you reach the top of the post. Every time you finish one row, pull the rope tightly. Having loose parts will make it easy for your cat to destroy the post again.

Cut the sisal rope once you reach the last row at the top, then use a cable staple to secure the rope or use extra glue to the post for extra strength.

Now that you have learned how to replace the sisal rope on your cat tree, you don’t have to buy a new tree just because the scratching posts get fuzzy ever again. Just replace the cover of her trusty scratching post, and she’ll go back to leave your furniture alone!