Reclaimed & Recycled "S" Shaped Cat House/Tunnel




About: I have an unhealthy relationship with pallet wood. I make fast paced and entertaining build videos on my YouTube channel that are made for everyone, but with the ultimate goal to get the younger generations ...

"S" is for our cat Sarah. You'll have to read all of the way through the build album for photos of her though... I'm a tease. This is her new cat house that is lined on the inside and outside with recycled carpet and finish with a cladding of pallet wood. It took her a little while to get used to the house but she absolutely loves playing in it and, even more, she loves sleeping on it. Overall it ended up being 3' tall, 2.5' wide, and 1' deep.

Step 1: Materials & Tools Used on This Build


- (1) sheet of 3/8" plywood

- 3/4" wood scraps

- Wood glue

- Carpet

- Spray adhesive

- Boiled linseed oil


- Tape measure

- Drywall square

- Compass

- Combination square

- Circular saw

- Jig saw

- Bench top belt sander

- Router

- Pattern router bit

- Table saw

- Miter saw

- Brad nail gun

- Staple gun

- Air compressor

- Bandsaw

- Wood rule

- Random orbital sander

Step 2: Sketching and Cutting the "S"

I start with a scrap piece of wood, drawing a scaled down sketch of the shape. This helped me to determine the right proportions where our cat can play in/on it while the ratios look attractive as well.

The winning shape is chosen from my sketches and I scale it up and transfer it onto a piece of plywood. I use a piece of 3/8" thick plywood for this since it is just going to be the frame and will have another skin of finished wood attached onto it. I use my squares to draw all of the straight lines and a string with a pencil on the end as a quick and dirty compass for the larger curves.

With one of the S's draw out, I use my circular saw to cut out all of the straight lines and my jig saw to cut the curves.

I sand the edges smooth with my belt sander and then use the first "S" as a template for another one. They are temporarily tacked together with some brad nails and a pattern bit is used in the router to cut the 2nd "S" to shape

Step 3: Installing the Structure

The two S's are first held apart along the straight edges of them. I cut pieces at 12" wide and the length of the straight edges and then cut dados in them so they fit over the edge of the other plywood. You can just see the groove at the bottom of the panel here, it has a little bit of overhang for the carpet that you will see later. These are attached in place with blue and brad nails.

Now to go around the curves, I just get some pieces of scrap pine that are about 2" wide and install those in place with glue and staples in the end. I want to install carpet on the interior still, so I leave off a few of these pieces on the back side to allow me to still access the inside.

Step 4: Installing the Carpet

The inside carpet layer goes on first. I have an old stained carpet that the cats will love, so I first cut it down to the correct width and then spray the back of it and the support pieces inside the S with spray adhesive. Once that is tacky, I can put the carpet in place and I tack it along the edges with brads to help hold it in place.

With the carpet all laid down on the inside, I install the rest of the pieces of of wood in place and then proceed to the exterior surface of the S. I do the same with the carpet on the outside (this is all done in ~4' strips). This time though, I cut the width of the carpet so it overhangs each side by an inch so I can roll it over later.

Step 5: Installing the Pallet Slat Cladding

The installation of the pallet wood paneling comes next! (my cat love pallet wood). Each of the pieces has to be custom marked and cut to around the profile, but I hold the pieces at a 45 degree angle and start at one end. The extra carpet on the edges is doubled over and tucked in on the ends with each piece that I install. They pallet slats are simply installed with glue and brad nails.

Then it's just a matter of working my way around the S shape with the pallet slats. This includes: marking the pieces, cutting them to size, applying glue and rolling the carpet edge over, rolling the carpet edge over after it pops up, carpet why aren't you cooperating?!, and then brad nailing the pieces in place. And then I do the same thing on the back side...

Step 6: Cutting and Sanding the Holes

Now to get the kitty access to the inside of the S, I mark out a circle at each level with my compass and then cut them out with a jig saw.

I cut 2 holes out at first, but decided to cut one out of the center later as well. The outside surface is all sanded smooth and the corners of all of the openings are rounded over to take away all of the sharp edges.

Step 7: Finishing

For finish, I apply linseed oil to the outside of the front and back to darken and protect the wood. Once the finish dries I can bring it up into the house so the kitty can likely sniff it once and never look at it again.

Step 8: Glamour Shots

Surprisingly enough this is actually one of her favorite things ever! She loves running and jumping into the holes and then sliding between the layers while she sticks her paws out of the holes. She also loves sleeping on top of it, but now that I think of it, that's mostly what she does.

Thanks for checking out the build, but check out the build video too for the full experience:


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Twitter: Riveting thoughts, in very small doses


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    11 Discussions

    Penolopy Bulnick

    1 year ago

    That looks fantastic and I'm glad your cat likes it! It always seems like cats show no interest in things people spend a lot of time making for them so it's nice to see a cat appreciate hard work :)

    2 replies

    No kidding! That's seriously a gamble. I got lucky I guess, she's pretty tolerable of me

    What you probably have to do is rub their smells on the new stuff cause remember cats mostly go by smell. ;)


    1 year ago

    That is awesome. Really great design! Your cat seem to have great taste... in pallets. :-) Well done!

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    I love this design!! Looks so much nicer than the cat condos you can buy :)

    1 reply

    Question 1 year ago on Step 8

    Nice. Is the bottom weighted? It looks like it could tip over with some enthusiastic cat-tivety.

    1 answer

    Answer 1 year ago

    Not weighted at all, but after she played on it a little while, we put a cat toy under the right side off it. Conveniently enough it works just like a chock block.