How to Build a DIY Cat Tree in Six Easy Steps

You can get as creative as you want when making a DIY cat tree — your kitty will be grateful.

Cats love to climb and hide, so why not gift your loveable feline a new cat tree? Sure, you could just buy one from the store, but making it yourself keeps costs low, and you can design it based on your own space. As long as you have the proper tools, this is a pretty straightforward construction project, just follow this guide and you’ll be set.

Tools Needed

  • Lumber, like plywood boards
  • PVC pipe, dimensional lumber, or heavy cardboard tubes
  • Carpet
  • Sisal rope
  • Wood glue or screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Scissors

1. Get Inspired

Your first step is to scour pet stores, or the internet, for ideas. You can go as simple or as elaborate as your heart desires — your imagination (and maybe gravity) are the only limits. Your structure could go all the way to the ceiling, or have multiple towers for more than one cat, and think about where you want to put your cat tree, too. If your pet loves to lounge in the sun, for example, build it to be the proper size and height to catch the rays from your window.

2. Sketch a Design

Next, you’ll need to plan out a design. Make sure that the base of your cat tree is larger and heavier than any platforms, so that it can’t tip over. The wood you use for the base should be thick, too — you can glue multiple pieces of wood together. If you’re inexperienced and worried about making it structurally sound, feel free to find an exact blueprint online so you know how big to make your pieces.

3. Prep Your Lumber

Before you start building, it’s a good idea to get all the pieces ready so that you’re prepared. Carefully use a hand saw or table saw to cut the wood into the sizes you’ll need for the base. Platforms should also be made with plywood panels, which will be attached together to form a bed shape. For the posts, you could use dimensional lumber, PVC pipes, or even heavy-duty cardboard tubes.

4. Build the Base

Start by working with your base. Cut out a piece of your chosen carpet, which will cover the base, a few inches longer on each side than the wood. Cut out notches at the corners, so that it can fold smoothly, and staple the carpet along the bottom, out of sight.

5. Attach the Vertical Supports

Start by wrapping your supports in either sisal rope or carpet and add staples along the bottom or inside to secure it. Then, attach the post to the base using either wood glue or screws — you’ll likely need to cut out an exact hole from the top of the carpet. You could also carpet the base last, but your cutting will need to be more intricate to wrap around the post.

6. Secure the Platforms

Now is the time to secure any platforms you’ve built onto the vertical supports, using either glue or wood screws depending on your design. Cover each platform with carpet after putting it together, so that any screws in the wood will be hidden and won’t harm your pet, and then secure it by stapling it underneath.

Finishing Touches

Following these steps will result in a wonderful cat tree, but there are some optional additions you could add to make it even better. Consider making a double posted cat tree and hanging a hammock in between, so your cat has a soft bed to sleep in, or you can build some steps so your cat can get to the top more easily.

Photo credit: LeDarArt/Shutterstock

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