Cat Tower With 6 Foot Scratching Pole

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About: Have pets

Intro: Cat Tower With 6 Foot Scratching Pole

Looking for cat furniture can be very frustrating. The smaller ones are too flimsy for rough cat play or can not fit more than one cat. The really nice large ones, can run you hundreds of dollars. They are still not perfect.
I searched everywhere for one that would fit our space and be large enough for two large cats.

We created the cat tower to fit a corner of a room with a window. It has four 2' x 4' levels and a 6 foot scratching pole.

First level we change. Sometimes it will be stuffed with papers, other times toys, beds etc... We change it to keep it interesting.
Second level is a feeding station.
Third level is a sitting/ sleeping/ grooming area.
Fourth level is a sleeping, lookout area and get away area.

This was not cheap to make but it is perfect for our space and customizable and easy to clean.

This is a one person build but easier with two.

Step 1: Design Your Cat Tower

My idea for a tower came from a used toy display that I purchased from a consignment shop. We had purchased a large cat tree for our new kitten. It just was not right. She was quickly out growing it. We wanted something like the toy display but larger and sturdy.

I used 3D Builder by Microsoft to design my cat tower. Measure your space where your tower is going. We wanted something to fit in a corner space. There is a window located there and we wanted the main area to be level with the window. We also did not want to see any bars from the outside when looking in through the window. The top floor is level with the middle bar of the window.

When designing think about your pet and what they like and how they play. My cat likes to hang off edges and she has several times rolled over off tables and beds. When we designed it we created a rail at the top so that she would not roll off. Our male came along and he loves the rail. He is always sleeping with his head resting on the rail.
They like to scratch but I could not find a cat tree that was tall enough so they could stretch out and get a good scratch in. The 6 foot pole can be accessed from any level. They scratch at each level and they love to climb up it.

When you are measuring your area and deciding on the design and length of PVC you want, take into account that each end of the PVC will slip into a fitting. Most slip in about 1/2" once hit with the mallet. The fittings themselves also add length to the design.

This is just a design, you will adjust the design as you build it. We added another step level in the final design.

Step 2: Materials You Will Need

This is not a cheap project. I am going to list the materials for a four floor 2' x 4' tower with a climbing pole and step levels.

Materials:

(13) 1” x 10’ 450 Schedule 40 PVC Pipe
(1) 1" PVC Tee Socket
(8) 1" PVC Slip Tee Fitting
(4) 1" PVC 90 Street Elbow
(4) 1" PVC 90 Slip Elbow
(8) 1" 3-Way PVC Elbow Fitting
(22) 1" 4-Way PVC Tee Fitting
(8) 1" 5-Way Cross PVC Fitting
(2) 1" 6-Way Cross PVC Fitting (you can purchase or make on your own)
(1) 1" PVC External Flat End Cap
(1) Charlotte Pipe 4" x 10' PVC Pipe
(2) Charlotte Pipe Reducing Coupling PVC 4" X 2"
(2) Reducer Bushing, SP x Slip, 2" X 1"
(1) Carpet Remnant (minimum 3' x 6', this will make sure you have enough to wrap around pole)
(2) thick Cardboard, wood, rigid plastic (Size will depend on your levels)
(1) Carpet Remnant (enough to cover your levels)
(3) OPTIX 0.22" x 24" x 48" Clear Acrylic Sheet


Tools needed
PVC Cutting Tool
Rubber Mallet
Tape Measure
Crayon or Marker
Utility Knife
Handsaw
Carpet Knife
Locktite Spray Adhesive (or similar product)
Heavy Duty Zip ties
Staple gun and Carpet Staples

Step 3: Pre Cut Your PVC

My project was custom made to fit a corner in my home. I am going to suggest a standard build in this instructable and you can customize to your size room.
My pictures of materials will be slightly off measurement since they were cut to my design. You will cut your PVC pipe to fit your design. For these instructions, I made all the support beams one length and the Level steps all one size. My custom measurements allow for the window area to be open. My support beams for my home design are 13"-15"-14" and my level steps, vary in width in length from 8" to 11", depending on location.

Materials:
(13) 1” x 10’ 450 Schedule 40 PVC Pipe

Tools
PVC Cutting Tool
Tape Measure
Crayon or Marker

Step 1: Using a tape measure, measure the lengths needed and mark with a crayon on the PVC where to cut.
Step 2: Cut PVC, if I have similar length pipes, I will label with the crayon what size it is.

When you are cutting your PVC to length, save all small scraps. You will be using 1/2"-2" pieces in the build.

Standard 2' x 4' Cat tower with step levels
(1) 29" (Attaches to Cat Tower and Cat Pole)
(1) 25" Attaches to Cat Tower and Cat Pole
(17) 24" Cross Beams for the Tower (supports the platforms) & top rail
(6) 23" Fourth Level Support
(51) 14" Level Support, Sides, top rail
(2) 13" Top Level Support
(9) 10" Level Steps


Pole 1 (1) 29", (1) 25", (2) 24"
Pole 2 (5) 24"
Pole 3 (5) 24"
Pole 4 (5) 24"
Pole 5 (5) 23"
Pole 6 (1) 23", (6) 14", (1) 13"
Pole 7 (8) 14"
Pole 8 (8) 14"
Pole 9 (8) 14"
Pole 10 (8) 14"
Pole 11 (8) 14"
Pole 12 (4) 14", (1) 13", (5) 10"
Pole 13 (4) 10"

Step 4: Creating the 6 Way (Optional)

I ordered my 6-Way Cross PVC Fitting from an online PVC company. When it arrived I saw that it was not a solid molded piece but custom made. These are the items that were used to create it.

Materials:
(1) 1" PVC Cross
(2) 1" PVC External Flat End Cap
(2) Bolts
(2) Nuts
(4) External Tooth Lock Washer

I do not know what size bolts, nuts and washers were used.

Step 5: Photo Labels

All pictures of this project are going to be of My Custom build.
The PVC measurements labeled on the photos will be for a Standard build.
For this instructable, I made all the support beams one length and the Level steps all one size.

Step 6: Level 1

Materials:
Fittings
(5) 1" 3-Way PVC Elbow Fitting
(4) 1" 4-Way PVC Tee Fitting
(1) 1" 5-Way Cross PVC Fitting

PVC
(7) 14"
(4) 24"
(2) 10"

Connect the PVC pipes and Fittings. See photo for correct orientation of Fittings and location of PVC pipe sizes.

*Pictures are of My Custom build. Labels are for Standard build.

Step 7: Level 2 Support

Materials:
Fittings
(1) 1" PVC Slip Tee Fitting

PVC
(10) 14"

Connect the PVC pipes to Level 1 fittings. Slip the 1" PVC Slip Tee Fitting on the middle pole. See photo for correct placement and location of PVC pipes and fitting.

*Pictures are of My Custom build. Labels are for Standard build.

Step 8: Level 2 Fittings

Materials:
Fittings
(5) 1" 4-Way PVC Tee Fitting
(4) 1" 5-Way Cross PVC Fitting
(1) 1" 6-Way Cross PVC Fitting

Connect the Fittings. See photo for correct orientation of Fittings.

*Pictures are of My Custom build. Labels are for Standard build.

Step 9: Level 2 Support Beams

Materials:
Fittings
(2) 1" PVC Slip Tee Fitting

PVC
(4) 24"
(7) 14"
(3) 10"

Connect the PVC pipes to Level 2 fittings. Slip the 1" PVC Slip Tee Fitting on the step level poles to create a support for the step. See photo for correct placement and location of PVC pipes and fitting.

Disregard the zip tie in the photo. You will be adding the zip ties in a later step.

*Pictures are of My Custom build. Labels are for Standard build.

Step 10: Level 3 Support

Materials:
PVC
(10) 14"

Connect the PVC pipes to Level 2 fittings. See photo for correct placement and location of PVC pipes.

*Pictures are of My Custom build. Labels are for Standard build.

Step 11: Level 3 Fittings

Materials:
Fittings
(7) 1" 4-Way PVC Tee Fitting
(2) 1" 5-Way Cross PVC Fitting
(1) 1" 6-Way Cross PVC Fitting

Connect the Fittings. See photo for correct orientation of Fittings.

**You will notice in the photo that two of the 4 way fittings are angled differently. In the next step there will be no support poles in this area. I created an opening on one side for the window and the other to access the cats better.

*Pictures are of My Custom build. Labels are for Standard build.

Step 12: Level 3 Support Beams

Materials:
PVC
(7) 14"
(4) 24"
(2) 10"


Connect the PVC pipes to Level 3 fittings. See photo for correct placement and location of PVC pipes.

*Pictures are of My Custom build. Labels are for Standard build.

Step 13: Level 4 Support

Materials:
Fittings
(2) 1" PVC Slip Tee Fitting

PVC
(2) 13"
(6) 23"

Connect the PVC pipes to Level 3 fittings. See photo for correct placement and location of PVC pipes. Slip the Tee fittings on the two 23" poles near the step levels.

**You can adjust the height if you like. If you change the length of them, you will need to change, the cat pole length and pole support lengths. Be mindful of your ceiling height.

*Pictures are of My Custom build. Labels are for Standard build.

Step 14: Step Level Top

Materials:
Fittings
(2) 1" PVC Slip Tee Fitting
(2) 1" 3-Way PVC Elbow Fitting

PVC
(2) 14"
(2) 10"

Connect the PVC pipes and Fittings. Place the 3-Way PVC Elbow Fitting on top of the 13" PVC poles.
Connect the (2) 10" PVC poles to the elbows facing towards the tower. Slip a PVC Slip Tee Fitting on each of the 10" PVC poles. Connect a 14" PVC Pole between the (2) 10" PVC poles using the Slip Tee Fitting. Attach the (2) 10" PVC poles to the Slip Tee Fitting on the 23" PVC poles. Connect a 14" PVC pole in between the 3-Way PVC Elbow Fitting on top of the 13" PVC poles.

See photo for correct orientation of fittings and location of PVC pipe sizes and fitting locations.

*Pictures are of My Custom build. Labels are for Standard build.

Step 15: Level 4 Fittings and Support Beams

Materials:
Fittings
(1) 1" PVC Tee Socket
(6) 1" 4-Way PVC Tee Fitting
(1) 1" 5-Way Cross PVC Fitting

PVC
(6) 14"
(4) 24"

Connect the PVC pipes and Fittings. See photo for correct orientation of Fittings and location of PVC pipe sizes.
**A close up of the back corner 4-Way PVC Tee Fitting for correct orientation.

*Pictures are of My Custom build. Labels are for Standard build.

Step 16: Secure Fittings

You are almost finished with the structure build. Check to make sure if fits the area it will be located. Remember you have not secured the fittings so if it is off slightly, that is OK.

Using a Rubber Mallet, Bang all joint areas from each direction to secure structure.

Tools
Rubber Mallet

Step 17: Tower Support

Materials:
Fittings
(1) 1" PVC Slip Tee Fitting
(1) 1" PVC 90 Slip Elbow
(1) 1" PVC External Flat End Cap

PVC
(1) 25"
(1) 29"
(1) 14"
(1) scrap pieces of 1" PVC


Connect the PVC pipes and Fittings. See photo for correct orientation of Fittings and location of PVC pipe sizes.
In the back corner, you will stick a scrap PVC piece in the 4-Way PVC Tee Fitting and cap off with the External Flat End Cap.

**In the photo we have attached a rug strip with zip ties along the PVC Poles on this side. When the cats would play, the poles would bang up against the wall.

*Pictures are of My Custom build. Labels are for Standard build.

Step 18: Safety Rail

Materials:
Fittings
(1) 1" 3-Way PVC Elbow Fitting
(2) 1" PVC 90 Slip Elbow

PVC
(1) 14"
(1) 24"
(3) scrap pieces of 1" PVC


Connect the PVC pipes and Fittings. Place the scrap pieces of PVC into the fittings. See photo for correct orientation of Fittings and location of PVC pipe sizes.

**In the photo we have wrapped the 14" PVC pole with Sea Grass coil.

*Pictures are of My Custom build. Labels are for Standard build.

Step 19: Climbing Pole, Attach Rug

We wanted a 6' climbing pole for our tower. We have 7 1/2' ceilings. When measuring and cutting, take into account that you have to attach it to the tower and those fittings will add to the height of your pole.

Materials:
(1) Charlotte Pipe 4" x 10' PVC Pipe
(2) Charlotte Pipe Reducing Coupling PVC 4" X 2"
(1) Carpet Remnant (minimum 3' x 6', this will make sure you have enough to wrap around pole)

Tools:
Tape Measure
Crayon or Marker
Handsaw
Carpet Knife
Locktite Spray Adhesive (or similar product)
Zip ties

Step 1: Measure out the Pole. Using a tape measure we measured and marked on the pipe with a crayon 78" (some of the pole will be slipped into the coupling). I recommend measuring and marking the pole on several sides to keep your cut even.
*Depending on your design, You will cut your 4" PVC pipe to fit your design.

Step 2: Using a Handsaw, trim the pipe

Step 3: Lay out your carpet along the pole. Attach the Charlotte Pipe Reducing Coupling PVC 4" X 2" to the ends. Trim the ends of your carpet so that the carpet fits along the pole between the couplings.

Step 4: You may want to have extra hands for this step. Spray an area down the pipe with the Locktite spray. Adhere the carpet to the pole. Roll the pipe slowly and spray more adhesive, holding and stretching the rug so it wraps tightly around. Continue this till the carpet overlaps.

Step 5: Zip tie the rug to the pipe. Let Dry.

Step 6: Using a Carpet Knife trim the carpet so the ends meet around the pole. Spray Adhesive along the pole where the rug meets. Mine stayed together, but you can zip tie if you like.

If you view our finished product you will see two Zip ties on our pole. They are to secure the pole to the tower.

Step 20: Cat Pole Top

Materials:
Fittings
(1) Charlotte Pipe Reducing Coupling PVC 4" X 2"
(1) Reducer Bushing, SP x Slip, 2" X 1"
(1) 1" PVC 90 Street Elbow
(1) 1" PVC 90 Slip Elbow

PVC
(1) Carpeted Cat Pole
(1) scrap pieces of 1" PVC

Connect the PVC pipes and Fittings. Attach Charlotte Pipe Reducing Coupling to Carpeted Cat Pole. Attach the 90 Slip Elbow to the end of the 29" PVC pole. See photo for correct orientation of Fittings and order.

Step 21: Cat Pole Bottom

Materials:
Fittings
(1) Charlotte Pipe Reducing Coupling PVC 4" X 2"
(1) Reducer Bushing, SP x Slip, 2" X 1"
(3) 1" PVC 90 Street Elbow

PVC
(1) Carpeted Cat Pole
(1) scrap pieces of 1" PVC

Connect the PVC pipes and Fittings. Attach the Charlotte Pipe Reducing Coupling PVC to the Cat pole. Attach the fittings to the coupling. See photo for correct orientation of Fittings and order.

Step 22: Attach Cat Pole to Structure

Materials
Cat Pole with attached fittings

Tools
Heavy Duty Zip ties

This step is easier with two people. I found it easiest to attach the bottom first. Attach the 90 Street Elbow from the bottom of the cat pole to the Slip Tee Fitting near the bottom of the structure that is in the corner of the tower and level steps. You can place a zip ties near the bottom and top of the pole to help stabilize the pole. Attach the scrap PVC from the top of the pole to the 90 Slip Elbow at the top of the 29" PVC pole. You may need to adjust the length of the scrap PVC at the top. Once you have the Pole where you want it, you can secure it with the zip ties.

Step 23: Fully Assembled

Views from different sides. You can now move the Cat tower into place.

Step 24: Platforms

Materials
(3) OPTIX 0.22" x 24" x 48" Clear Acrylic Sheet

Slide each of the sheets into the platform levels.

Step 25: Shelving

Materials
(2) thick Cardboard, wood, rigid plastic (Size will depend on your levels)
(1) Carpet Remnant (enough to cover your levels)

Tools you may need
Tape Measure
Marker
Utility Knife
Handsaw
Carpet Knife
Locktite Spray Adhesive (or similar product)
Staple gun and Carpet Staples

Measure the Step Level areas. Cut the item you are using for the step levels. You can cover with carpet if you like.

Step 26: DONE! Make It a Home!

You are done.

We purchased large bath mats and covered the two top platforms. We added blankets for extra comfort.

You can wrap the PVC in Sisal rope or Sea Grass coil.
You can paint the PVC
You can remove the writing on the PVC with a nail file and magic eraser

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    16 Discussions

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    Kink Jarfold

    12 days ago on Step 26

    THIS WAS EXCELLENTLY LAID OUT AND EXPLAINED. Very impressive. So precise. Easy enough for a layman to follow. Great job. Something like this would probably stop my Smoochy from using the blinds as her climbing post. KJ

    Calvin-and-Hobbes.jpgSMOOCHY 1.JPG
    1 reply
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    flyinggemsAnandM54

    Reply 12 hours ago

    Thank you. My kids like Legos so they like putting things together.

    My cats LOVE boxes too. I order from Chewy and they love the shipping papers that come with the order. So I save them. The bottom of the tower I change up often. Using the shipping paper, paper bags, or a box from Chewy.

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    jessyratfink

    7 days ago

    Such a great use of materials! When my cats eventually destroy the tower they have now, I might just need to try something like this. :)

    1 reply
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    flyinggemsjessyratfink

    Reply 12 hours ago

    That is the great part about this tower is that you can customize to your space and needs and they really can not destroy it. My previous cat shredded the carpets on store bought cat trees.

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    flyinggemsbillbillt

    Reply 12 hours ago

    They do. My black cat loves to come running into the room and climb up the pole. I think he pretends he is being chased.

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    Billlaurie

    2 days ago

    Great directions but I expect this was very costly to build. Also, I suggest removing PVC writing with acetone. Make sure your in a well venatlated area when using acetone.

    1 reply
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    flyinggemsBilllaurie

    Reply 12 hours ago

    Thank you for the acetone suggestion. It was pricey to build but worth it.