Introduction: A Large Wood Outdoor Home for Your Cat (or Dog)
Hi. I began this project for my adopted cat, Üzüm,which means in Turkish 'grape'. My wife has given him this name because of his eyes.
Before we adopted him, I didn't know anything about cat care, woodworking, doing an instructable, and where to start. But after adoption and while doing this project, I understood that there is nothing to be afraid of or to hesitate.
Üzüm is a playful cat, and he loves staying and playing outdoor. Therefore, we try to set him free as possible as we can do. Because of this, I decide to do a safe, durable home for him.
Very first things you need at the beginning is a pen, paper, ruler and a compass (for round drawings). You should draw at least a draft and decide what your home's dimensions will be.
Here is my project plan and dimension.
• 2 x 84cm*60cm wood boards
• 2 x 60cm*60cm wood boards
• 2 x 80cm*60cm wood boards
• 1 x 80cm*56cm wood board
• 2 x 76cm*18mm*18mm wood rods
• 2 x 56cm*18mm*18mm wood rods
• 2 x 60cm*50cm*50cm triangular wood boards (for lateral walls of roof)
• 1 x 80cm*48cm wood board (for back wall of the roof)
• 1 x 80cm*46.5cm wood board (for front wall of the roof)
• Wood nails
• Enough paint
• Wood protector (not essential)
• Enough varnish (for bottom and inside the roof)
• Metal corner joints
• Safety glasses
• Saw (jigsaw or handsaw or anything else)
• A utility knife
• Brushes and rolls for painting and varnishing
Step 1: Preparing the Boards
As you see I have used naturel wood, but if you wish you can MDF,particleboard,etc. Alsa you can get them cut directly according to your dimensions. And you can draw your entrance and windows. As I made front door from two seperate board, I draw them seperately.
Step 2: Drilling Holes, Cutting Entrance and Windows
After drawing, we can begin cutting. I have used Dremel motor and its cutting set. You can use also scroll saw, jigsaw, etc. After cutting, I used sandpaper set of this handmotor for smoother surface. Because, as you see from the first picture, my cutting surface is very serrated because of my cutting method.
Now it is time to joining two seperate front board. First I have drill three holes symmetrically on the touching faces of the boards. For this, you can first mark one faces, put the other board on it and mark the second board. And you can drill them now and join them with wood rods to test. Maybe you need short the rod or deepen the holes. After test, you can glue the rods to improve joining.
Step 3: Assembling the Walls and Cover
After preparing front wall (the other walls has already ready), we are ready to assemble them. For this I have used metal corner joints and screws, but of course you can use nails, just screws or any other techniques.
First I nailed stave wood to upper side of front, back, right and left wall for the top cover. You can see them at third picture of this step. I do this because when we need to demount roof and the cover for cleaning or adding new feature in the future, we can remove the top easily. Stave woods are under 2 cm of the top of the walls.
After this, we can assemble walls to the bottom. I began from the back wall. Be careful about the angle between wall and bottom. It must be 90 as you know. And also the angle between two walls also must be 90 degree.
After the assembling walls, we can cover the top. As you the in the picture, my top is a bit long and I have to shorten it.
Step 4: Setting Up the Roof
Now I began to assemble the roof. First I drilled hole at lateral walls of home and roof for tie rod. I only glued the roof side of the rods to make the roof demountable.
After this, I nailed guide wood for back side of the roof. I use screws for joining lateral walls to the back. The board I used for the back was angled, and some of them was a bit up. To give the true angel, I pressed on it and then screwed. (pic. 5 of this step).
For the front wall of the roof, I used three pieces of board to make an entrance hole. Maybe Üzüm uses the roof as a terrace :)
After joining three parts of front wall, I screw it to the lateral walls again.
Step 5: Applying Wood Protector and Painting
Now, our cat home has just finished and we should prepare it for outdoor conditions, especially sun and water.
Before applying anything, you can sandpaper and fill knot and natural holes on the wood, but because I like natural
texture of wood, I filled a few holes(just for isolation) and didn't sandpaper much.
I prefered white color, therefore first I applied wood protector as two layers. You should wait enough time to dry between layers. Wood protector has a very dark color. If you wish, you may not apply it but it is necessary for especially resistence to moisture.
After wood protector, I applied outdoor wood paint. It is also two layers. After white color, I painted some paintings around the entrance and windows.
Note : If you prefer dark color for paint, you can paint without applying wood protector. After painting, you can apply yacht varnish. It is great protector against both sun and water. You can even wash the home. But it gets the wood yellower and changes the color, especially light colors. If you wish this method, you should add some thinner to yacht varnish when applying first layer to penetrate varnish to the wood.
Step 6: Adding Wheels and Last Modifications
After painting, we are very close to final. For mobility of home, I added four wheels. While adding wheels, be careful about balance of the bottom. I mean none of the wheels shouldn't be on air while stable position. You can adjust it while screwing.
Also I applied yacht varnish to the bottom and inner side of the roof to supply more resistence against water, rain, etc.
Step 7: Final and Future
Here is our durable demountable outdoor cat home. I am very happy to finish his home. I haven't taken any nice picture of him in front of home, because he gets out and go immediately when he hear anything.
You can add a bed, cup, toy or anything else inside it.
I plan to add some new features at future.
1. Doors for both roof and home entrance, probably automated.
2. Maybe glass for windows
3. Automated feeder and water system
4. Monitorization system (humididty, temparature, etc)
I hope you like the project.
Thanks for all view and comments :))