Don't Put Old Cat Furniture In Rubbish Clearance -- Restore It*

*This is a collaborative post*

It's become all too common to see an old cat tree or a worn out cat scratching post out for rubbish clearance. Have you ever thought about what happens to most of these? They end up in landfills! The good news is that Clearabee, an on demand eco-friendly rubbish clearance company, is dedicated to taking old cat furniture (and other furniture) to places where it can be recycled or re-purposed. However, there's an even better solution. You can easily restore most cat trees and cat posts yourself and keep them out of the rubbish clearance pile entirely!

How Many Cats Are In the UK?

The UK is absolutely crazy for cats. In 2017, the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) estimates that there are about eight million cats living in the UK. In fact, per capita, the UK has far more cats than the United States, even though the frisky feline has replaced the family dog as the most popular pet in America. With all the positives these purring creatures bring into our lives, one sad negative is the number of cat trees that get thrown into landfills every year.

Why Do Cats Need Scratching Posts and Cat Trees

Some eco-consciously minded cat people have decided to not offer their cats a scratching post or cat tree to avoid destruction to the environment. However, this is not a healthy solution for a feline. Cats need to scratch to remove the dead layer of their claws and to exercise. They also need to dig their claws into something to get a really good stretch to keep their back muscles toned. Scratching is one of the best ways for a cat to relieve stress, especially for indoor cats. Finally, cat trees accommodate a cat's natural instinct to climb high to survey their territory, making them feel safer and more comfortable.

How To Remove the Old Sisal

On store bought cat furniture, sisal is usually applied with a combination of glue and staples. The staples are usually located right at the top and bottom of the scratching posts, hidden under the first and last bit of the sisal wrap. You can first try prying off the old sisal with a butter knife and just ripping it off from there by hand. If that doesn't work, you may need to get a sharp knife (be careful!) and cut the sisal at the top and bottom, to release it from the staples, before pulling it off. Pliers come in really handy here as it allows you to have a much stronger grip on the sisal which makes pulling it off much easier. If you see old glue attached to the post after you remove the sisal, just scrape or chisel that off with a butter knife or other blunt tool.

How To Add New Sisal

You can buy rolls of sisal in almost any hardware store. Most cheaper cat furniture manufacturers use 1/4 inch sisal. The "1/4 inch" refers to the diameter of the sisal. Sisal will last longer if you replace the thin sisal with a thicker 3/8 inch sisal. You can also try really sturdy 1/2 inch sisal, if you can find it in economical bundles, to see if your cat likes it. As you start to apply the new sisal, it is easier to start from the bottom. Attach the end of the sisal with a flat wooden staple. Be sure to hammer in the staple so that it is completely flush with the wood. This will ensure it does not come off and is safe for your cat. In a pinch, you can substitute a regular nail but flat head staples, wide enough to fit over the diameter of the sisal you are using, work better and are quite cheap. As you wind the sisal around, tap down the post as you pull on the sisal to make sure it goes on tight and even. When you reach the top, add another staple to hold it in place. You can also add dots of NON-TOXIC wood glue as you along to help secure the sisal.

You Can Compost the Old Sisal

Don't set out the old sisal for rubbish clearance -- compost it! Sisal rope is made from the Agave plant, native to places like Mexico and Brazil. It's a gift from same family of succulent plants that give us tequila and agave syrup. These natural fibers are 100% organic material, and therefore, can be added to your compost pile to make rich beautiful soil for your garden. To make sisal biodegrade more rapidly, cut it into smaller pieces and mix it fully with other organic material in your compost pile.

Is There a Connection Between Clearabee and Cats?

Well, actually there is... in a round about way :-) The headquarters for Clearabee is Birmingham, England. According to a 19 Feb 2015 article in the Mirror, the cat capital of the UK is Birmingham, home to an estimated 70,258 thousand cats! This number was provided by Petlog, the largest register of micro-chipped kitties in the UK so it's a reliable number and doesn't even include the cats who aren't micro-chipped.

Here's a Way You Can Really Help

When referring to old cat trees, you've probably heard people say things like, "It's just easier to buy a new one and put the old one out for rubbish clearance." This throw away mentality has been engrained in our culture for decades now, but luckily, there are sustainability leaders like Daniel Long, the visionary behind Clearabee, who are dedicated to changing this unsustainable culture. You can help too by taking before and after pics of your restored cat furniture and posting these to social media. Encourage others to restore their cat furniture by getting out the word on how easy and rewarding it is to restore your old cat scratching posts good as new! You may want to mention how much money they'll save by doing so too! 

*This guest post was contributed by Clearabee

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