How To Make Your Own Cat Tower or Cat Tree
Want to buy a really HUGE Cat Tree? Make or buy your own huge Cat Tree?
Do you want to buy a really huge cat tree or are they a little expensive right now? If so, if you adore your cat, why not make your own cat tree or scratching post? Even with our very limited carpentry skills, we did. Cat trees are so expensive, and not necessarily longer lasting, so if you build your own cat tower you could be doing yourself a favor in the long run and the cats will enjoy the fruits of your labour for years to come. However, if this seems too difficult, there are some really huge cat trees on sale here too.
Of cats and cat towers!
Do you know how to build your own cat condo?
My cats have two cat towers and two scratching posts. One scratching post is wall mounted and they never show interest in it. One is a heart shaped pink fluffy thing which keeps Miss Amber content. (The pink fluffy things has recently been retired and replaced with a 7 foot cat tower - due to simple wear and tear!) The other two are more robust. Do you know how to build your own cat condo? Read on to find out!
The Perfect Cat Tree - Is Kitty Mansions the Perfect Huge Cat Tree?
Why we made our own huge cat tower
Big huge cat trees need not be expensive...
About twenty years ago when we were poor as church mice we saw cat towers on sale and they were out of our range. We decided to build our own cat tree. We designed and constructed a cat tree that for a time also doubled as a telephone table while the moggies were content with the lower decks. Then the Persians arrived and evicted the phone!
It seemed a kind thing to do to buy them the best that we could afford and so we did. We took it home and assembled it - a five foot palace complete with cave. Four years later and it was in shreds whilst home made Cat Palace was still as good as ever!
Both were and still are equally popular, but Cat Palace number 2 needs replacing pretty soon whilst our twenty year old monster needs only "rewinding" with sisal rope. Whilst we decide whether we would rather replace expensively at four year intervals or build another D.I.Y. Palace at the cost of a few days labour and some cheap builders yard items, I decided to write a lens about how to make your own homemade cat tree. If you want to make your own cat condo, this lens may be a good place to start looking for ideas about materials and design.
If you lack the confidence to make your own huge cat tree, you might be tempted by the Kitty Mansions Cat Tree here. My cats would just love this! If you are VERY clever, you might make one like it....
Make your own homemade cat tree - or - Four Years Wear By Tiny Feet! - Cat towers need to be built to lastClick thumbnail to view full-size
What Do I Need To Make My Own Homemade Cat Tree?
Make your own cat condo
Well, it would be best of all to make it from natural tree wood and maybe recycled flat pack wood furniture with old carpet.
That would be the cheapest and most cat friendly option, but there are not many saplings being hewn down around the City of Lincoln so we may have to resort to buying materials. Keep your options open of course. We hope you will modify our simple design according to what is available. In any case, making your own cat tower is fun and a lot cheaper than buying a cat tree from a store.
Basically, we have a few suggestions we think will work:
Two centimeter (one inch) thick mdf or blockboard is probably easiest for the stages. A reasonable sized piece will do the base and stages 1 and 2.
We used a thick plywood board for the top platform. A recycled cupboard door or an untreated decking tile would serve as well.
Untreated landscape posts or thicker lengths of untreated kiln dried pine will serve for legs.
For that added luxury, we cut up an old Axminster to upholster the base and stages. Any natural carpet would do. Just cut it larger than the bases so you can trim and fold it in neatly underneath and tack it on with clout nails, carpet or upholstery tacks.
For the scratching posts, one or several posts can be would with very tight rings of sisal rope. Six millimeter thick is ideal.
Add to that a couple of safe cuphooks from which toys can be suspended, and some multi-purpose thick long screws and you have what you need.
I keep stressing untreated and natural. Remember your cat is going to spend many happy hours shredding your creation and artificial fibres could hurt his feet and cause possible respiratory problems. Fungicides, timber treatments and creosote are toxic to felines and might kill him.
KEEP EVERYTHING NATURAL.
Materials You Could Use - (GBP means Pounds Sterling)Click thumbnail to view full-size
A Few Tips
DIY Cat Furniture
Unlike the more flimsy plastic and cardboard tube commercial cat towers, this one's heavy timbers and thick mdf make it very stable indeed.
Ask for the mdf to be cut in store if possible. Most stores are used to making three free cuts for customers. You will have to trim stage 1 to fit in special notches between the poles. When you cut mdf, please do wear a mask as the dust is toxic. Keep cats WELL AWAY!
Before construction, you will need to upholster the stages with carpet. Just cut it three inches proud of the base dimensions, mitre the corners by cutting small sections out with a Stanley knife, then fit and fix with upholstery nails, clout nails or carpet tacks on the underside of each stage. Use a smaller offcut of mdf, or thick plywood, blockboard or an old cupboard door for the top stage. This will be fitted last, so attach its support pole before you upholster it, then the carpet will cover the screw heads.
Posts will need winding tightly with sisal rope before construction! First cut notches deep enough and wide enough to safely seat the upholstered stage 1. Put temporary wedges into these shelf notches.
We chose to cover all posts for our cats and the result was a longer lasting scratching post as wear was more widely distributed! Sisal rope is cheap on ebay. I checked out 30 meters of 6 millimeter thick rope at under Â£5 plus Â£4 post and packing.
Tie it, tuck it and wind over and over the tucked part a little like you might wind a guitar string. Wind all the way along as tightly and close together as you can. This is the most important bit to get right for your cat!
Once you have all the parts, you can begin to assemble your cat tower by drilling holes and screwing the base and stage 2 to the legs. Slide stage 1 into place. If you have heavy cats, you could add an extra support leg between the base and stage 1 otherwise stage 1 may rock a little when the jump up. Stage 2 gets great stability from the rigidity the notched legs and stage 1 contribute.
Complete the top platform, drill and screw in place from beneath.
You can add a cave, a hammock or hooks for toys as you wish.
The cost is approximately Â£30 if you buy new materials, plus your labour of course. A new cat tower could cost anything between twice and ten times the amount. It is hard work, but you may not have to replace it as quickly! The choice is yours!
Build A Cat Tower? - Where Do I Start?
Basic carpentry books for the beginner - you might just find building a cat tree leads on to other things!
Ultimately The Decision Is Yours....
Time is money, so they say, and it does take time as well as a little effort and money to make your own Cat Palace. I am thinking very seriously about restringing the old one, maybe adding an extension module or two. The question is always time.... The decision ultimately comes down to time rather than money as it was all those years ago. However at least we know it can be done!
I find it is obviously easier to buy the new Cat Palace's than make my own (having done both) but I am disappointed by the flimsy construction and poor balance of the last expensive commercial tower I bought. Perhaps you agree - or disagree - what do you think!