How to Turn a Real Live Tree Into a Cat Tree W/Hose Clamps and Ikea Shelving




Introduction: How to Turn a Real Live Tree Into a Cat Tree W/Hose Clamps and Ikea Shelving

About: I am a former community manager here at Instructables. I'm interested in baking, crafty things, and learning new ways of making!

This is an Ikea hack so that my cat Lama can go out my window on the 3rd floor and get down from the roof via this cat tree. I haven't tried my hand at too much building, so it was great that I was able to knock this project out in a few hours of shopping and constructing. If you have more skillful ways with lumber, or a lot of scrap materials lying around, then by all means, use them! It'll cost you a lot less.

Step 1: Materials

I got these shelving brackets, decking platforms (shelves) and door mats at Ikea.

I used a couple different sizes of hose clamps, screws, phillips and flathead screwdrivers, a power-drill, a staple gun and staples.

Step 2: Hose Clamp the Shelving Brackets

Figure out where on the tree you want your first platform to be. Mine was about four feet off the ground.

Hose clamps are really easy to use. Loop them around the tree and through your shelving brackets. Tighten them up real good with a flat head screwdriver, adjusting the position as you go to make sure that the platform will end up where you want it and that the brackets will give even, level support to your shelving platforms.

Step 3: Screw the Platforms to the Shelving Brackets

Lay your platform on the shelving brackets, making sure that everything is snug, and use screws to secure the platforms to the brackets. On the first shelf I just used a screwdriver and went up through the pre-drilled holes in the shelving brackets, but the screws were too long and so I ended up having to cut them off. I used a power drill for the rest of my platforms and screwed down from the top.

Step 4: Staple the Carpeting to the Platforms

I didn't bother to trim the carpeting squares, they were thin enough to easily wrap around and staple to the underside of the platforms.

Step 5: Repeat Steps 1- 4 for Each Platform

By the third platform I'd run out of small hose clamps, so I wedged a spare cut piece of tree limb into the hose clamps. Hopefully you'll have a ladder handy for this project. I didn't and ended up climbing this little tree about 6 or 7 times.

Step 6: Optional Window Platform

I also added a platform outside my 3rd floor window to make it easier for the cat to go in and out.

Step 7: Try to Get Your Stubborn, Suspicious Cat to Use It

There was a can of tuna fish involved the first time. But now Lama goes out the window and down the tree quite happily every morning.



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    17 Discussions

    Amber, there's a high chance you'll girdle the tree. I know people don't want to drill and screw into trees. Only a thin outside layer is alive the rest of the tree is dead. Google girdling and you'll see what I mean. You might want to change your Instructable and screw the perch into the tree instead. The tree will thank you.

    While we do not have a cat and I probably will never do this project myself, I like usage of hose clamps very much. I am for sure will use this approach for some future projects. Many thanks for giving me the idea.

    It's a good thing your not a builder, means you come up with innovations. I know I totally over build most things. The last cat shelf I build will hold me (225lbs) which is a bit OTT when heaviest cat is only around 15lbs. I'm going to use lighter shelf brackets so Pauli can live on the roof more of the time. She likes to check things out from up there, when it isn't too cold so she's sleeping under towel (it does get below freezing in Florida, at least for a day or two in January - LOL)

    I lived at a place where they never let the cat out but I always did. They had a tree like that one and an upper level balcony porch. It was really funny watching the cat learn how to climb down the tree. Lol, those steps make it so easy. They look really funny but also you can tell cool people live in that house because they would do that to their tree:) And theyre not nazi worrier never let the cat out people. Some type of sytem like that could be good for making a treehouse. I made one once and felt bad nailing into the tree, not that I probably hurt it, and yes I realize that houses and stuff are like made out of trees but still..

    This makes me wish I had a tree near my window!

    i love this idea, i wonder what the clamps are made of? stainless or aluminum is good. steel probably not so much if you have chunky kitties like ours xD

    A great idea for your cat, but I have some concern for the tree. If temporary means, say, less than a year, this is probably okay. Given time, though, the hose clamps will girdle and kill those branches.

    Of course, if you are willing to adjust the hose clamps from time to time, there should be no problem.

    1 reply

    I was thinking of the same thing, but it looks like they would be easy to adjust since nothing is actually screwed into the tree or anything.

    Haha, very cute idea! Kitty looks quite happy with it. :)

    You are the smartest ever. Amazing! I'm favoriting this one so I can do it when we have a nice outside space. :D

    amazing Instructable, thanks for sharing! I'm sure your cat is now one happy camper!


    3 years ago

    I had a cat for sixteen years in the city and in never crossed my mind to let her out of the house. That said your design is awesome. I see multiple possibilities. If I had an atrium where I am and had a cat I would do something like this yesterday.

    unique.. and im pretty happy that you didn't drill the shelfs on the tree .. used the holders instead .. :)