Mighty Cat Scratching Post
I've been a cat owner for a while, and (through research and patience) have found the solution to keeping feline friends from ripping apart my couch.
Half the battle is in giving your cats a sturdy scratching post - nice and tall so they can stretch out, bottom heavy so it won't tip over, and made of something they can dig into, like sisal hemp.
I saw the opportunity to build these when visiting the Tilly Foster Farm in Brewster NY, where they happened to be demoing a host of antique farm equipment engines. One of the exhibits was a working 2 horsepower dragsaw, slicing cookies off a giant tree limb. The owner was letting people take the cookies for free, so I helped myself to two.
These became the bases for my mammoth scratching posts.
First I drilled out and cut a nice big circular hole in the center using my jigsaw.
Then I traced an identical circular piece out of plywood, with which I could attach the actual post (2x4s with the corners cut, then wrapped and stapled with 1/2" sisal rope) with screws. Once done, I drilled some nice beefy screws diagonally into the piece of tree limb to keep it steady, making sure to countersink the screws and fill in all the gaps with my homemade wood filler (screened sawdust and wood glue).
Next I thought up a novel way to make the tops of the post look nice, because they had just the end strand of the sisal stapled to the top - not too aesthetically pleasing and not too pleasant for cats either. So I found a smaller branch that was the same diameter, and cut it to size, making sure to make a crevice for the sisal to sit (first sketched out with a sharpie, then routed out with a spade bit and a rasp bit)
Liked it so much I built another!