Cats LOVE tunnels, ledges, boxes, and hideaways. The also love perching somewhere higher than their humans so they can rule over their domain. We constructed this maze in our home in Wisconsin but when we sold the house and moved to sunny California, the maze, unfortunately, had to be taken down. Sad kittys. While most cat lovers probably don’t have the space or inclination to replicate a maze this size, there may be an idea or two in the Instructable that can be used on a smaller scale. For example, our cats enjoyed the tunnel and the cat condo even when the were sitting down on the floor during fabrication.
A 12' long cardboard carpet tube (ask for one at your local carpet store, most are tossed)
12' of 1x12 pine
10' of 1x2 pine
Step 1: The BIG Tunnel
We got the entire idea for this maze when we carpeted our house and the installers left behind a 12' cardboard core for the carpet roll. I drilled “windows” in the tube every 2 ½ feet with a 3" hole saw mounted on a hand drill. The tube is held up with 1x2 wood supports which are screwed to the underside of the beam. The tube is also screwed to the wooden beam with 1" washers to prevent the screwheads from pulling through. A 12' scrap of carpet about 5" wide was curved and glued to the bottom of the tunnel. The cats were afraid to go very far inside the tube when it was just smooth cardboard. The carpet allowed them to “grip” the walking surface so they could feel more secure.
Step 2: The Cat Condo
The condo is a 12" x 18" box constructed of 1x12 pine board. It has an opening in the top for the cats to access the tunnel and the walkway. It has two windows cut with a 3" whole saw. It also has a doorway on the back side (not visible in the photos) where the cats can exit and leap down a series of steps/shelves which are hung on the support post. A piece of scrap carpet is cut to fit the bottom of the box for sleeping and scratching.
Step 3: Skyway and Ledges
The skyway and ledges are made of 1x12 board and are hung using 1x2 wood supports screwed to the bottom of the beam. The maze starts at the top of an open stairway with a small perch on the outside of the steps (Photos 1 and 2). The cats then cross a “skyway” (Photo 3) which leads to a ledge attached to a large exposed beam. The ledge leads to the opening at the top of the cat condo (Photo 4). From the condo, the cats can either go down the steps attached to the support post or they enter one end of the big tunnel (Photos 5 and 6). At the opposite end of the tunnel there is a 3' platform for the cats to sleep on or to use as a turn around to go back into the tunnel (Photo 7).