I woke in the middle of the night to rustling and commotion coming from the direction of my closet and dresser within. Not wanting to care about it, I rolled over and went back to sleep. When I re-awakened in the morning, it was time to investigate. What I found really shouldn't have surprised me. One of my cats (the one above) had pulled out one of my dresser drawers and turned it and the clothes inside into his own private cozy cave.
It's hard to be mad when he was so clearly very happy. But kitty nest in my dresser clearly wasn't a good option long term, so my brain started chugging away on what I could build instead. I've often mulled the possibility of making a cat tree out of modular PVC pipe, cloth, etc. A small kitty condo was a perfect small scale project to test those ideas out. At about $20 and 20 minutes of work later, the PVC Kitty Condo was born.
Step 1: Materials
For this project I was able to get everything at my local Home Depot, but I'm sure any good hardware store should be able to get you set up. You'll need:
- 4x 18" x 1/2" Green PVC Sprinkler Riser
- 8x 12" x 1/2" White PVC
- 8x 1/2" PVC Connector *
- 1x Extra Large T-Shirt
- Heavy Duty Thread and Needle
All told this came to be about $20. But, I chose 2' pieces of 1/2" PVC and lopped those in half. If you went for a single 8' piece of pipe you could bring the cost down even further.
* These connectors have two smooth openings (for the while PVC) and one threaded opening (for the green PVC Sprinkler Riser). The official name is "Side Outlet 90-Degree Elbow".
Step 2: Assembly
Assembly is dead simple.
- Screw a connector onto the end of each green PVC sprinkler riser. Make sure the remaining openings point in the same direction (i.e. two facing up and two facing right as in the first picture)
- Insert the white PVC pipes into the open ends of the connectors
- You'll end up with a square of white PVC at the front and back with the green PVC running lengthwise
I press-fit everything hand tight which should be more than sufficient. You could glue everything if you anticipate heavy and hardcore usage.
Step 3: T-Shirt Covering
Take your t-shirt and center the bottom over one end the kitty condo. Slide it down evenly so you end up with the head hole centered at one end of the condo. This will leave you with just a bit of extra fabric at the other end. You may need to stretch the t-shirt a bit.
You can leave it at this point of even safety pin the hem around the PVC for easy removal of the t-shirt. I decided to make it a bit more permanent and used some heavy thread to whip stitch through the edge of the shirt and around the PVC pipe. This was essential after my cat decided that the top of the condo was a great place to hangout as well as the inside.
Step 4: Resounding Success
Both of my cats love this condo. As soon as it hit the floor they were inside, on top, chewing on it, fighting for control, happy cat stuff. This project fit exactly what I needed.
- It's crazy cheap, easy and quick to build
- If the t-shirt wears out or gets funky, you unstitch and either wash or replace
- It's customizable. If you have a tiny cat, go with smaller PVC pieces and a smaller t-shirt and you instantly have a condo more appropriately sized
- Oh yeah, and it keeps the fuzzy ones out of my dresser. Or at least I can hope it will
I hope you and your cats enjoy this project. It's been a lot of fun to put together.