We have a small carpeted cat tree with a sisal/hemp covered scratching post support. The cats seem to love this scratching post more than any other, as they have torn up the sisal to where it is falling off the post in several places. I would like to repair this by replacing the sisal cord in its entirety. The post was commercially made and cost around $40 new.

I found this video that does make it look very possible to do this repair myself. The video (and several other sources) suggest using either white (Elmer's) glue or hot glue as a means of securing the sisal to the post. This would certainly be low cost, but I'm concerned about the toxicity. So far as I've noticed, none of the other scratching posts we've bought have used an adhesive of any kind. Instead, it seems they've used an out-of-sight metal fastener (staple, nail etc.).

One of our cats has a habit of eating everything he can get his teeth around. Is glue a safe material for repairing the cat tree, or would be risk of poisoning? Or should I just do the repairs the hard way and get a staple gun or break out the hammer and nails?

Update: I was all set to repair the post with solid materials only (new sisal and metal staples). I started disassembling the torn and shredded sisal and it became clear that the original manufacturer had used at least 2 types of glue. One is a hot-glue look alike used near the ends, which were also secured with numerous staples. The other was more of a contact cement applied to the whole cardboard tube, around which the sisal was wrapped. I'm going to look into the glue safety some more and see if I can't get something similar.

  • Oh, and I emailed our vet to see if they had official info to share. The internet is surprisingly dark and murky on cat-safe glues...
    – Dacio
    Dec 14, 2014 at 20:11
  • Same question...I think I will try my hot glue gun, as I'm not sure regular Elmer's glue will hold the materials together! Thanks!
    – Cindy
    Sep 10, 2017 at 14:27
  • Elmer's was really quite effective in the strength department. It's liquidity is an advantage because it bonds to the sisal very strongly. Also, my cats haven't gotten sick in the ~3 years since I've done the repair.
    – Dacio
    Sep 11, 2017 at 19:28
  • What about skipping the glue altogether and using furniture tacks/brads/screws? Sep 17, 2017 at 18:51
  • amazon.com/10-1-Safe-Adhesive-Sealant-2-Pack/dp/B00P4C9RSK/… - eco bond pet-safe sealant; found while looking for same thing. Have not tried yet.
    – Jason C
    Jun 14, 2018 at 3:53

1 Answer 1


Glues made diphenylmethane diisocyanate can greatly expand in your pet's stomach, causing dangerous blockages. See http://tsawwassenanimalhospital.com/learning-centre/pet-poison-alert-accidental-wood-glue-toxicity/ Apparently this is common in wood glues, Gorilla Glue, and Elmer's ProBond.

Even regular glue though could cause a blockage if the animal injested enough of it, though this piece is probably not of a concern to you, as I doubt your cat could eat that much from whatever you use to repair the scratching post.

Unfortunately, it's common to not list the ingredients in glues, so it would be very difficult to figure out a particular glue's toxicity. I've found resources (http://www.petplace.com/dogs/tips-on-non-toxic-items-dogs-can-eat/page1.aspx) that say regular Elmer's glue is okay for dogs, so I suspect it's okay for cats as well, however, as said by http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jlee/2012/mar/pet_proofing_your_house-13475 when in doubt, keep glues away from your pets.

  • Our vet came back with a somewhat vague response in agreement with you, Kai. "Our Doctors said any kind of non toxic glue is ok for cats just make sure it says non toxic on the label, but they suggested your call the manufacturer of the cat tree and see if they can tell you what they used." I'll try to remember to check the label of an equivalent tree when I'm in the pet store next, to finally get something definitive, but I'll probably never remember that...
    – Dacio
    Dec 17, 2014 at 22:24

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