Introduction: Cat Condo
My cousin and I were looking at cat condos for his cat, and we found out that even the cheap ones were still kind of expensive. None of them were really what he was looking for either, they were all really complex. So we decided to look to instructables to see if anyone had built one. We looked around, and we didn't find anything, so we decided to make one our selves, and share it with everyone. So, this instructable will help to guide you in building your very own cat condo, one that will provide your feline with endless entertainment.
Carpet (amount depends on size of condo)
Cardboard Masonry Tube
Radial Arm Saw (a Table Saw or Circular Saw will work just fine)
Step 1: Cutting and Marking
Once you have your tools and materials gathered, the first thing you want to do, is cut the plywood for the base and the top of the cat condo.
The cardboard tube that we used was 12 inches wide, so we decided to make the base 20 inches square. We measured it off and marked it with the black marker. We then used the radial arm saw to cut the square. We also marked off the top part of the cat condo, ours was 18 inches by 13 inches. You can make the top part the same as the base if you want, we were using left over wood, and needed to adjust the size a little bit, to make it fit.
Once you have the base and top cut, you need to center your cardboard tube on each of them, and trace around it with the black marker. You can then use the drill, and drill a hole inside of the circle you just traced on both pieces of wood. This will give you a place to start the jigsaw, so that you can cut the circles out, remember to cut the holes a little bit bigger than the tube, because you will have the added thickness of the carpet to go inside of the holes also. The amount of extra you need to cut, will all depend on the thickness of your carpet.
Step 2: Carpeting
Now it is time to cover the inside of the tube with carpet. The inside of the tube is hard to carpet, since it is hard to work inside of the small space in the tube. What we did, is first we measured to see how much carpet we would need to cover the inside, and cut it to size. Next, we put it inside to see if it would fit. Once we had a good fit, we put glue around the top and around the bottom of the tube. Next we rolled up the carpet, and stretched it out inside the tube, so that it was snug, next, in order to keep it in place while the glue dries, and to help tack it down even more, we used the staple gun, to put staples around the top and bottom, and all the way down the seam of the carpet. The staples will bury themselves deep into the carpet, and are pretty much invisible, so you can just leave them.
Now you are ready to cover the outside of the tube with paste. Lay out a big piece of carpet, enough to cover the tube. Now lay the tube on top of it, and make sure one of the edges of the carpet is straight. You can take the paint brush, and cover the entire tube with the flooring adhesive. Next, start rolling the carpet with the edge of the carpet lined up with the edge of the tube. Once you have the carpet rolled around the tube, put it somewhere to dry for a few hours, or even overnight for best results. Once the adhesive has dried, you can cut the extra carpet away from the tube. Once the tube is covered with carpet, it is time to attach the base.
Step 3: Coming Together
First, take the base and put it over the tube, and when you have it just over the edge, so that the bottom of the tube is flush with the bottom of the base, take some small nails and tack the tube to the base all around the inside.
Step 4: More Carpeting
Now you can cut the carpet for the base and the top. To do this, you need to cut a piece of carpet that is about 1 inch bigger on each side, than the base and top. So if your base is 20 inches by 20 inches, the piece of carpet you cut should be 22 inches by 22 inches. This leaves enough carpet to cover the edges of the wood. You dont have to worry about leaving any extra inside of the hole, because the cardboard tube will fill it in. Once you have the carpet pieces cut, you will have to also cut another piece to cover the other side of the top piece of wood. For this, just trace the top piece of wood on the carpet, and cut it out. Once you have these pieces of carpet cut, you need to also trace the circle in the center of each, and cut them out.
Now you can cover the base and the top with the carpet. You can use the adhesive on these, but you do not have to. Staples will work just as well. Just line the pieces up and tack the edges on the inside and outside, with the staple gun. Next, pull the carpet over the edges of the wood, and tack the carpet to the edges of the wood with staples. Make sure to cut the corners out of the carpet, so you do not have extra on the corners. Now, attach the carpet to the other side of the top piece of wood. This should leave you with all sides covered on the top piece of wood, except for the edges inside the circular hole, and the carpet inside the tube should cover these. This should also leave you with just the top and outside edges of the base covered as well. Do not cover the bottom of the base, because it will sit on the floor.
You can also attach the top peice of wood to the top of the tube, using the same method we used for the base earlier.
You should now have what looks like a giant scratching post.
Step 5: Holes and More Holes
Now it is time to make it look like a cat condo. It doesnt really matter where you put your openings, but I will tell you where we put ours. First of all, we decide that 7 inches square would be a good sized opening, based on the size of the tube, and the size of the cat that it is being built for. So we wanted two openings on one side, and one opening on the other side. This way, it would leave the back and front untouched, so that it could be placed against a wall, without any trouble. We decided that we wanted our openings about 9 inches from the edges on the one side, and the other side, we wanted the opening in the center. So we marker on the first side with the black marker, about 9 inches up from the base, and about 9 inches down from the top. We then measure 7 inches across, and marked it. And then we measured out the rest of the 7 inch squares and marked it with the black marker. On the other side, we just took the length (48 inches) and subtracted the 7 inches for the opening from it, and that left us with 41 inches. Then we took that 41 inches and divided it by two, to give us 20.5 inches. So we made a mark 20.5 inches up from the base, and 20.5 inches down from the top, to give us the top and bottom of the opening. We marked off the 7 inch square on that side with the black marker too.
Now that the holes are marked, we are ready to cut them out. Basically, we just used a really sharp utility knife, and kept scoring the carpet on the lines, until it cuts through the carpet and part of the cardboard, and we just kept cutting along those lines, until it was cut all the way through the top layer of carpet and the cardboard, and then we used scissors to cut away the rest of the inside layer of carpet. We did this for all three of the openings we made.
Step 6: Attaching the Shelves
Now it is time to attach the L brackets to the bottoms of the holes. The L brackets will provide support for the shelves. We purchased brackets that are 1.5 inches, but longer might be better. What we did, is we tore away some of the carpet at the bottom of the holes, on both the inside and outside of the tube. We then marked where we needed holes for the brackets, and used the drill to make these holes. We found some small bolts, and nuts to fit these bolts, and attached the brackets with them. We then glued the carpet back in place, to cover the brackets and screws, leaving just the tops of the brackets exposed.
The next thing we did was cut the shelves. This was easy enough, because ours were all 7 inch squares. We used the radial arm saw to cut them. Once they were cut, we cut carpet for them also. We left enough extra carpet that it can cover the outside edges of the wood, just as we did on the base, but on one outside edge, we left enough carpet to cover the bottom of the shelf as well. So we attached the carpet to all sides of the shelf, except for the bottom. Next, we placed the shelf on top of the L brackets that were sticking out of the hole. We pushed the shelf about an inch inside of the hole, to make it a little sturdier. We then drilled holes in the bottom of the shelf, for the brackets, and we attached the brackets to the bottom of the shelf with small screws. Then we took the extra carpet, and pulled it tight against one edge of the shelf and tube, and then in the middle, and then the other edge, and made marks, so that we could cut it in a semi-circular shape. Then we used the staples to attach it to the bottom of the shelf. We repeated these steps for all three shelves.
Step 7: Making It Fun
Now it is time to make it fun for the cat. We took some fake mice, and other misc. cat toys and tied them to elastic. We took the elastic and stapled it into the wood of the cat condo so that there is a toy dangling above each of the shelves.
Step 8: I Think She Likes It, Maybe a Little Too Much!
The cat really enjoys playing on the cat condo, maybe a little too well. She will only stop playing on the cat condo if it is to eat or get a drink, or use the litter box. If she isnt doing any of those, she pretty much doesnt leave it; she even sleeps inside of it. Also, she has a favorite shelf, and because she is constantly on it, it is becoming a little weak. So we decided to add an extra support.
To add the extra support, it is really simple. We found a small block of wood, and cut to the length we needed to reach from the base to the bottom of the shelf. We covered it with carpet on three sides, by using the staple gun to attach it to the wood. Then we pushed it into place, directly under the shelf, and we put a screw into it from the bottom, through the base. We also put two more screws into it, from the inside of the tube, into the un-carpeted side that is against the tube. The screws bury themselves into the carpet and are not noticeable, so we may actually do this for all of the shelves.