I built this cat tower/house for our little kitty, and thought I would share my experience for any of you out there who would like to see how I did it, and hopefully make one of your own. The video above chronicles my entire journey from start to finish with step-by-step instructions. In case videos aren't your thing, I listed out the steps as well with pictures.
Pallet and Plywood
5 Gallon Bucket
Nails and Screws
Tools: Drill, Hammer, Saw (preferably a jig saw, a hand saw and a circular saw)
Sanders, Sand Paper, Planer, Staple Gun and a Sharp Knife
Step 1: Gather Supplies
The obvious first step to building a pallet cat house is to find a pallet that suits your needs. Ask around and you'll find some pallets that are free for the taking. In my experience, anywhere with pallets will be happy to let you take one off their hands.
Next you will need to take apart the pallet down to individual boards. This is no easy task, but with a hammer, some time and lots of sweat, you can get it done. Then you'll need to remove all the nails. You will also need a sheet of plywood for this project. I was able to find a pallet with a plywood top that turned out to be perfect (and free).
Step 2: Build the Structure
Cut your plywood into a rectangle the size that you want your tower. This is totally up to you, depending on what kind of space you have, how big your cat is, how many cats you have, etc. My piece of plywood already was lined with boards on the outside, but if yours is not, I would attach some board around the outside for extra support.
Next take the cross beams from the pallet, stand them up in a triangle and place your plywood on top. Then put a couple of screws into each beam to hold it all together. Now you can flip it over and you've got the basic structure.
The two notches cut into the beams (for forklifts) are curved, and you'll want the cut flat so the levels of your tower can rest on them. So take a hand saw and turn those curves into 90 degree angles.
Step 3: Put in the Levels
Measure your triangles (the bottom and the top one) carefully, then cut out the two triangles from your plywood. Lay your triangles on the back of your carpet and trace around it, leaving a few inches extra on each side to wrap around. Cut it out with a knife or box cutter, wrap it up and staple it down with a staple gun. Do this to both triangles, then you can set them into the tower and hammer then into place.
Go ahead and cut a rectangle piece of plywood just a bit smaller than your base, wrap it in carpet and hammer or screw it on to the top. Now you will have three levels. As you can see in the pictures, I added triangle blocks of wood beneath level 2 for some extra support.
Next I took two boards from my pallet and wrapped them each in carpet. Then I hammered them into the base and the two front beams, giving the kitty a way to climb up to the second level. It also added support to the structure.
Step 4: Build the House
I won't go into too much detail about building the house that I made for the top, because that is your chance to get creative and put your own spin on your tower.
I cut the sides to 10 inches and the back to 15 inches. Two boards for each side, because I stacked them to make the house tall enough. So, four 10 inch boards and two 15 inch. Then I attached all the sides with thin strips placed in each corner. I left the front open until I got the roof put on.
For the roof I attached two beams in the front and two in the back (see pics). I cut out small notches at the ends of these beams to rest on the walls, then I nailed them in place. Then I cut six boards to nail on for the roof, three on each side.
For the front I cut a piece of plywood to the exact measurements of the pentagon shape left to fill. Before I put it on, I went ahead and cut out the door with the jig saw. Then hammered it in place and the house was finished.
Totally unnecessary, but I added a door frame, a sign above the door, and shingles on the roof, Just to pretty it up a bit.
Step 5: Last Details
Almost done... Now I cut a hole in the top and carpeted a board down to the second level. It was a bit of a hassle to cut the carpet once I had already stapled it down, but once I got the carpet off, it was a breeze to drill holes and jig saw out the rectangle.
For the tube, I used a 5 gallon bucket we had laying around. I just drilled two holes in it to get my jig saw in there so i could cut off the top and bottom. The I wrapped the whole thing in carpet, using hot glue for this step because the staples weren't really holding well. Then I drilled a hole in the second level to put a screw through and a hole in the bucket. Slipped the bucket on the screw, put on a washer and a bolt and tightened it up nice and snug.
Finally I used a spool of sisal rope on one of the front legs. I just wrapped it around the beam really tight to give the kitty a scratching post. That was my only expense in this project, just a five dollar thing of rope. Not too bad.
Step 6: Enjoy Your Cat House
That's all folks. Place the tower where you want it and put the house on top. In the end, I did add a board at the very bottom, beneath the first level that connected the front two legs. This added lots of support. The house isn't attached at all, it's plenty heavy to stay up there all on its own.
Hope you enjoyed my instructable, it was my first one. Can't wait to get to work on my next project.