Two Platform Sisal Rope Cat Tree




About: Me? I just love building this, fixing that, and on the rare occasion creating stuff. I really enjoy repurposing the things I find and collect while working. Pre-enrolled into the Ohio State Engineering ...

  Well I have just moved cross country from Colorado to Ohio.  My condos front window offers my cats a wonderful view of birds and SQURRELS of which we didn't have many in Colorado.  The problem is I can't fit two cat seats and my chair in the front window, so I needed to make a single two seat-er window seat for Clyde and Kitty.
  I've been meaning to post an instructable showing an awesome, inexpensive, easy to make cat seat/ scratch post that I came up with a while ago.  For as little as 15-20 bucks you can create something you and your cats will love.  This particular example is more expensive because of the sisal rope, but a nice fabric substitute will lower cost and not the aesthetic value or appeal to your cats.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies


- pencil or marker
- power screw driver, or Phillips head screw driver
- jig saw
- heat gun or propane torch, a hair dryer might work (never tried it)
- caulking gun, optional

-3 pieces of 3/4" particle board or plywood
-4" PVC pipe,   I use drainage pipe which is lighter and cheaper, find it at Home Depot at $8.00 for a 10 foot piece.
- 250 feet sisal rope  $8.81 per 50 feet.  If this doesn't fit your bill or your taste, buy a length of fabric that you like, it will be cheaper and just as appealing to your cats.  A couple yards should do.
- 4" PVC pipe end caps
- 3/4" gold screws
- glue,   I use construction glue that comes in a caulking tube.  Hot glue will work well.  White glue will work as well.

Step 2: The Base

  The base of the cat seat will be made of 3/4" wood and can be cut to whatever shape you like.  For this example using sisal rope, a circle will work the best.  If you'd rather use fabric, a square or rectangle will work better.
  Draw the shape you prefer on a piece of wood, remember that it needs to be large enough to provide a solid base, I'd say at least 1 1/2 feet for one cat and at least 2 feet for two cats.
  Use the jig saw to cut out your shape.  For this tree I cut a circle because I wanted to coil the rope from the center to the outer edge.  If you are using fabric, a square or rectangle will be easier to cover nicely.

Step 3: The Posts or Post

  This example is for a two seat-er, but you can make a single if you want to.  First judge how high you'd like it.  My cats are used to jumping to about 3 feet, which will accommodate most windows.  I chose to make a lower seat of about 2 1/2 feet and an upper seat of about 3 1/2 feet.
  If you are making a two seat-er, cut the shorter seat length from the PVC pipe first, about 2 1/2 feet. 
   With the remainder piece, you will want to bend it to make the taller seat.  Mark the PVC at about 1 1/2 feet, and then at about 2 1/2 feet with your pencil or marker.  Heat one side of the pipe until it's soft with your heat gun and then bend it to an approximate 45 degree angle.  Hold the pipe in position until it cools.
  Heat the pipe on the opposite side, at the second mark, until it's soft and bend it to an approximate 45 degree angle.  Hold the pipe until it cools.
  You should end up with a pipe that bends to one direction and ends pointing straight up.
  Measure and cut this piece to about 3 1/2 feet tall.  Measure it as it stands on the ground.

Step 4: Attach the End Caps

  Find the center of your base.  Screw two of your end caps side by side to the center of your base, or just one if you're making a single post.

 - NOTE:  If you want to use fabric on the base, fit and secure the fabric on the base before attaching the end caps.  See step 9 for instruction on that.

Step 5: Coil Some Rope

  Unwrap some of your sisal rope and load the construction glue into your caulking gun.  Screw or staple the end or the rope to the wood in the center next to the end caps.  Squeeze an amount of glue in a circular pattern out from center and use your putty knife to smooth it out to a shallow layer in about a 6 inch radius.  Start coiling the rope down in a circle around the center making sure to press the rope into the glue.  Add glue to the base as you get further out and then to the outer edge of the wood. 
  There will be an uncovered space on either side of the end caps.  When you've coiled all the way out to and around the end of the wood,  Measure and cut small pieces of rope to fill in these gaps.
  50 feet doesn't go as far as you might think so you will probably need to start a new rope a some point when coiling the base.  I chose to add a small length of rope at this point sticking straight up as a play toy for the cats.

Step 6: Attach the Pipes

  Take your cut pieces of pipe and fit them into the end caps on your base.  I glued them in with Gorilla Glue but they should fit tight enough that you shouldn't have to if you don't want to.  Not  gluing them into place gives you the option of taking it apart to store or move as needed.

Step 7: Wrap the Posts

  Staple or screw a rope end to the base near the center.  Squeeze a line of glue up two sides of each post at about a foot.  Start wrapping the rope around the posts from bottom to top.  I say rope but if you choose a fabric, cut the fabric to fit and glue it around the posts.  At the splitting point continue up the straight post and start a new piece for the other post.  Remember to add some glue first.  Stop wrapping about 2 inches from the top of each post to give room for the seats to fit on.

Step 8: Cut the Seats

  Measure and cut out the seats from the two remaining pieces of wood.  Square pieces are the easiest to cover but if you're handy and motivated, other shapes can be more aesthetically pleasing.  I've found in the past that a "peanut" shape is nice to look at and is the perfect shape for a cat lying down the way cats lay down.  If you're a cat lover, you know what I mean.  The peanut shape is difficult to cover nicely though, it takes a lot of small cuts in the fabric around the perimeter.

Step 9: Wrap the Seats

Apply some glue to the seat wood and wrap it with your fabric, or wrap the fabric around and staple it to the seat.  As I said, a square or rectangle is easiest to cover.  If you choose a more rounded shape, make many cuts around the perimeter and glue or staple each one over the edge and around to the bottom.  Then glue a single piece on the bottom side over top of all the ends.

Step 10: Screw the End Caps to the Seats

  Position and screw the PVC end caps to the seats.  Center them or move slightly off to one side.

Step 11: Attach the Seats and Finish Wraping the Posts

 Fit the seats onto the pipe ends, with glue if you like.  Apply some glue and finish wrapping the rope or fabric around the remaining ends of the posts.  You will also want to cut some small pieces of rope to fill in any gaps at the bends of the taller post.

Step 12: Sit Back and Enjoy

You now have a sturdy cat seat that your cats are sure to love.  My cats fight over the seats I've made them and although it's probably frustrating for them, it's very satisfying to me.  I hope you will enjoy the same satisfaction.



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    8 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I know I am late to the party here ... it occurs to me, to add some bottom weight to offset the cat force hitting up high, what about putting sand or small stones/pebbles/gravel into the tubes -- at least half-way up? This also gets much closer to my ongoing search for a good method of creating a weather-resistant cat tree, for use on my screened patio. It's covered by a roof, but rain can and does blow in across the floor quite often. So typical cat furniture made from pressed wood or MDF doesn't last long .... I'm thinking perhaps by polyurethaning the base and the landing pads, and sealing wherever any screws go with silicone, maybe this would be pretty long-lasting. I also thought I was going to see PVC elbows instead of just some simple heat molding -- clever and cheap your way! Thanks.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Never too late for a comment :). Ok, to answer your last point first, using elbows would definitely be most peoples first thought and would be a good way to do the project, I wasn't sure at the time I made it what angle degree I was going to want and I believe they only sell a 45 and 90 degree bends. The bends I made are sturdy enough and when made in real schedule 40 or 80 PVC, it's very strong. I suppose, looking back, I should have just bought a couple elbows, it would have been simpler.

    If you want yours to be super stable then adding sand or gravel sounds like a great idea. I would also use schedule 40 PVC because of its weight and durability. For a little more money, schedule 80 is even heavier.

    As a painter, former painter, I wouldn't recommend polyurethane for the base. It does not do well with whether and water and will break down quickly. SPAR varnish might work, but I suspect even that might deteriorate. I suggest buying a couple tubes (Caulking Tubes) of clear construction 100% silicone. Squirt out some lines on your wood and then use a spackling knife to spread it out into a solid coating of your wood, the silicone will also hold the sisal nicely. You could also try plasti-dip in a spray can but that might be expensive.

    Anyway thank you for your comment and for your interest in my project. I hope yours turns out well and I would really love to see a picture of the finished project if you think about it :). Nice to talk to you, thanks.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I like your thought about spreading silicone caulk on base & as you say it will also hold rope. I actually have a couple of cans of the spray. I got to use on back of some runners (carpet, not marathon!) instead of using non slip pads. I know there is marine plywood (I'm in Florida USA) but talk about $$$$$) but that seems extreme. I've been designing an outdoor cat tree out of PVC in my head for years. With your project as a take-off point maybe I'll get there yet. If I ever do build something I'll happily share. Thanx for such a thorough response.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    super! Recently I've done similar, but whit house for cat as a stand.
    I caught some sort of toy still here hanging on a string...


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. I know, I love my cats but come on! This stuff is too easy to make for them to charge so much. I hope your kitties love what you make for them.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Fantastic build! I've always wanted to make one of these, but have never really understood quite how. Construction glue sounds like just the thing. And my cats would love those extra little coils of rope!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you, I'm glad you like it. It took my cats a while to figure out what the little coils of rope were for, but now they go crazy with them.