Building Cat Tree Furniture: Cat Tree Condo and Scratch Post

Cat on a post

Do-It-Yourself building of cat furniture has become very popular. The projects are relatively easy and most can be completed in an afternoon. The most sought after designs are for cat trees -- free-standing structures built specifically to satisfy a cat's desire to climb, scratch, claw, play and rest. Having a cat tree in your home gives your cats a place just for them, where they can use their claws and scratch to their hearts' content, saving your furniture from certain doom. Cat trees are pretty expensive to buy at pet stores or online, but with a bit of elbow grease and some easily found materials, you can learn how to build one. Do It Yourself instructions are not difficult once you make some basic decisions. If done correctly, it will become your cat's favorite structure that they'll love to use.

Cat Tree Furniture Designs

Before you begin building you'll have to choose a design. Hardware and pet stores sell planning sheets and books to use; you can also search online for pictures and plans.   

When building pet furniture, you must think about the area in which the piece of furniture will be placed. The tree can sit on the floor on a flat base or large box, topped with a pole and platforms at various levels. You could also build a tall, slim, rectangular structure with the platforms and cat poles enclosed in it. Consider the size of the space, and determine the appropriate dimensions for the structure.

Basic Materials

When you figure out what sort of cat tree you'll need, make a list of necessary materials. The following basic items could be used.

  • Plywood - Use this for the base and the top, or to make a large box. You can also use plywood to create supports for the perches.
  • Tubing - Use something sturdy and wide, like Sono Tube or PVC pipe. You can find both types of tubing at any hardware store. Cut the tubing in half lengthwise to create platforms, or cut a piece of the whole tube for a tunnel.
  • Find sturdy pieces of lumber, generally 8' x 2" x 4". Cut your posts to fit your design.
  • Bolts
  • Wood screws
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Corner brackets
  • Wood glue
  • Sisal rope
  • ld carpeting
  • Cat toys to hang (if desired)

You'll also need basic tools like a hammer, saw, drill, screwdriver, wood clamps, measuring tape and a pencil.

Tips for How To Make a Cat Tree

There are a few things to keep in mind while you build. If you're working from an existing plan or directions, follow them carefully for the basic structure. If you're creating your plan from your own imagination, consider the following:

  1. The base has to be strong and sturdy, especially if you have multiple cats in your household. Ensure that the structure won't tip or bend with the weight of your cat on the top, or if the cat decides to leap at the tree from a piece of nearby furniture.
  2. Cover the base, a couple of the scratching posts and the perches with carpeting to give your cat something to scratch and to provide comfort and warmth for those numerous catnaps. Secure the carpeting with a staple gun.
  3. Use brackets and plywood to reinforce the perches. These will give added strength to your cat tree condo. As you work, use both wood glue and wood screws with bolts to ensure the pieces will hold. Test each addition to ensure the structure remains properly strong.
  4. Wrap a couple of your cat scratching posts with sisal rope. Cats love to scratch this, and it's easily replaceable once it becomes worn and frayed. Make sure the rope is firmly attached to each cat scratch post.
  5. If you wish, hang favorite cat toys from the perches. Cats love to play and bat at the swinging toys. If possible, try to use toys that won't cause your cat to get her claws caught. You can also secure a length of brush bristles to one of the posts to help your cat groom himself.

We hope you have enjoyed learning about cat furniture and how to build a cat tree.  Not only have you saved money by doing it yourself, you have also created a special area for your cat to call her own.


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