A cat tree is nothing but cat furniture that bears semblance to a miniature tree, with ample number of platforms and hiding spots, for the cat to play in. They are also known as cat condos, cat towers, or cat gyms. The purpose of building such a cat tree is to stimulate a cat’s natural tendencies of climbing, scratching, and hiding.
These trees are great pieces of furniture for your feline friends to relax and play on. They come in all kinds of sizes and varieties, however, the ones available in pet stores are really expensive, thus, it’s wiser to build your own and save the extra bucks.
Building a Cat Tree from Scratch
Cat tree may take some time to build, however, once you see your cat comfortably relaxing on it, all the hard work put into it will seem to be worth it. Let’s take a look at how it is built.
- One 22″ length of 12″ (diameter) Sono tube
- Two 2’x2′ pieces of 3/4″ plywood
- Two 8’x2″x4″ pieces of lumber
- One 1″x2″ piece of lumber
- Twelve, 1/4″ x 3-1/2″ lag bolts
- Heavy wire brad staples
- Staple gun and staples
- 500′ of 3/8″ sisal rope
- 3″ long nails
- Twenty 1-1/2″ wood screws
- Twelve flat washers
- Four 26″ squares and one 34″ square fabric
- Wood glue
For the perch, take the 22″ long sono tube and cut it into three curved pieces. This will act as the perch. The 2’x2′ piece of 3/4″ plywood will form the base. For the posts take the 8’x2″x4″ pieces of lumber and split them into 4′-6″, 2′-9″, and a 9″ length piece each. For the supports cut the 1″x2″ piece of lumber into three 19″ pieces and two 13″ pieces of lumber. To cut all this wood one requires tools like saw, hammer, drill, measuring tape, screw driver, pencil, carpenter’s level, and wooden clamps.
Step 1: Preparing the Cat Tree Base
For the base of the cat tree glue the 2’x2′ pieces of 3/4″ plywood to one another to form one 2’x2’x1-1/2″ base. Once this glue dries, using the drill, drill away six holes along one side of the 2’x2’x1-1/2″ base piece, such that the first and last hole are drilled at a distance of 2” from the edge. Moreover, these holes have to be drilled in three pairs with an equal distance between them. Use a 1″ drill bit to countersink these holes, thereby providing a depression for the bolt heads and washers to fit in. Now, cover the base with the 34″ fabric and use the staple gun to keep it in place.
Step 2: Preparing the Posts
We already cut the two 8’x2″x4″ pieces of lumber into 4′-6″, 2′-9″, and a 9″ length piece, thus, we have total six pieces of lumber to work with. Use the drill to drill two holes at the bottom of each piece of wood. Now take the 19″ long 1×2″ support we cut and attach it between the top portions of each post wood pair. Take the 9″ pieces and join them together. Then, attach the 2′-9″ and 4′-6″ pieces with nails. These have to be placed between the posts.
Step 3: Joining Base and Posts
Using the 3-1/2″ lag bolts, join the posts to the base. Next, take the 9″ post assembly prepared and attach it to the base front by inserting a bolt through the washer. After this, take the previously prepared 2′-9″ post assembly in the middle of the base piece. Finally, take the 4′-6″ post assembly and attach it to the rear of the base. While tightening the bolts, do not tighten them completely, because there’s still some work left.
Step 4: Joining Support Shelf Perch
The rough framework of your cat tree is now ready, and now you can make it stand in the upright position. On either side of the post and in its inside, clamp the 13″ 1×2 between the 2′-9″ and the 4′-6″ posts. To allow the posts to align themselves freely and properly, make sure the base bolts are not tightly bolted.
Next, keep the top of the 1×2 supports 21″ over the base and level them. Further, take the 13″x19″ shelf perch and place it flat on them. There should be no wobbling, thus, make sure you adjust the clamps and support 1×2’s till the shelf attains flat position. Then using a screwdriver and 1-1/2″ wood screws, screw them to the posts. Once this job is done, remove the clamps and screw the 13″x19″ shelf to the 1×2 supports with the help of three screws on each side. You can now tighten the base lag bolts.
Step 5: Join the Perches
Take one of the three curved pieces of Sono Tube that we initially cut and place it on top of the post assembly. Join it to the assembly using the wooden screws, with two screws in each of the 2×4 post. Similarly, screw the other pieces to the posts and the perches have been attached. Have the perches covered with poly batting and the 24″ piece of fabric using the staple gun. Do the same with the shelf perch.
Step 6: Post Covering with Sisal Rope
In order to cover the posts, one needs heavy wire brads which are to be wrapped from the bottom to the top of the post. Cut small pieces of the rope and individually attach them to the 1×2 shelf supports. This wrapping part happens to be a time-consuming process.
There are different ways to build a cat tree, and the plan mentioned above is just a basic one. Use your creativity and build a tree that best suits your cat’s interests. Hope your pet enjoys the cat tree you build for him or her!