Instructables
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We recently took in a stray kitten and to save our furniture we decided he needed his own to climb on.  After looking online and in stores, we decided we could make one for a bit less money.  As a fan of Instructables, I searched the site, but didn't find anything like what we were looking for.  A search found some sites selling plans, but we reverse engineered some pictures and designed a plan of our own for a carpeted, four-level cat tree (five if you count the base level).  We went to the hardware store (we have a Home Depot right down the street) and purchased lumber, carpet, sisal rope, a hook for hanging a toy on a string, and some spray cans of adhesive.  We were unable to find dowel screws, so a trip to another hardware store, Menard's, netted us some more (and cheaper) rope and some dowel screws to connects the pole sections together.  We already had the wood screws for attaching the poles to the base and the top, but those can be purchased as well.  Our total was a little more than $100.
 
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Step 1: Materials & Tools

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Materials:

  1 - 4ft x 8ft x 3/4" Particle board for the base and two rectangular levels
  1 - 2ft x 4 ft x 1/4" MDF board for the triangular levels
  4 - 2" x 2" x 8ft boards for the posts
  3 - 50ft of 1/4" - 3/8" Sisal rope to wrap around some of the posts
  1 - 3ft x 12ft piece of carpet
  2 - cans of spray adhesive for gluing carpet platforms and poles
  9 - 2" or 2 1/2" long dowel screws (the 2" long ones were labeled hanger bolts, and we only got them because the store didn't have enough of the longer, dowel screws)
18 - 2" wood screws

Tools:
Tape measure
Electric drill & drill bits
Utility knife
Circular saw
Pliers

We had the lumber cut into the following sizes by the staff at the store for free to make it easier to transport home:
Particle board cut into 30" x 4ft sections, with a little left over
MDF board cut into a 18" x 24" section with some left over
The 2x2's cut in half, to make 8 - 4ft boards.
katerlyn2 years ago
I am pulling up many rooms of carpet and think maybe the underlayment particle board would be good for cat trees. Thanks for ideas and thoughts...Costco sometimes has very nice cat trees for $70...but not all the time. If you can use old materials or materials from Restore, Habitat for Humanity store, this might be more affordable.
starrymirth3 years ago
Great idea, especially since commercial ones cost a small fortune. Will forward this to my neighbours, as they are planning to make one for their cats.

As an addition:
I've noticed cats love to lie in shallow cat-sized boxes (like A4 size), especially up at the top where they can 'survey' their territory. You can line it with softer carpet (or a removable one, which you can wash easier).

My boyfriend's father has one of these with a shallow box up at the top, and it's positioned right under a warm lamp. There is permanently a cat in that box.
(It may help that they are South African cats, living in Germany, and they do not like the cold.)

Great 'ible!
MeVirtually (author)  starrymirth3 years ago
That's a great idea! We've been having ideas for upgrades to the cat tree, like boxing off an area underneath the top level for the cat to hide in. Figuring that we know how it was put together, it can easily be changed. Putting a padded cardboard box at the top sounds a great deal easier.
flaxxy3 years ago
No offence but online you can get a much sturdier one without all the effort for around $70 with hammocks, tunnels and stuff. Try zooplus, if you want toys and things they have great prices on most things.
MeVirtually (author)  flaxxy3 years ago
The ones that we originally found online after a quick search may have been cheaper, but shipping was expensive, and brought the overall price up near the prices in retail pet stores.

Also, I just looked at zooplus, and it would appear that they only ship to 15 European countries. Great for those countries, not the rest of the world.
Great ible! I've been looking for a cat tree I could make for my two furry children. Maybe this will keep them off the top of the tv stand.
Dr.Bill3 years ago
mEOw
ChrysN3 years ago
Happy cat!