Cat trees are a really fantastic apparatus for your cats to spend hours enjoying and offer so many benefits both physically and mentally. However, they can be so pricey, and if you are shopping on a budget, there may be alternatives out there which can help you out.
One of those alternatives is a homemade cat tree, which, with a little DIY knowledge, can easily be made in the comfort of your own home with a few cheap tools and online how-to’s (such as this one). If you are a crafty individual, or even if you aren’t but interested in learning to make a homemade cat tree for your furry friend, then read on and we will show you exactly how to build a cat tree.
Steps to Building a Cat Tree
Step 1. Design the Cat Tree
Before you start hammering away, you will want to create an initial plan of what you want to create. Get a pen and some paper and start drawing a vision of the cat tree. What do you want the final product to look like? Perhaps look online at other cat trees and their designs, and this way you can find some inspiration. Also consider some of the main points below.
You will have to start by considering the space limitations
Decide where you want to place the cat tree and if it will fit without any issues. It would be wise to start taking measurements at this stage to make sure you don’t over do it.
Think about your individual cat and what they enjoy doing
Do they like climbing? Or are they terrified of high places? This will determine how high you actually need to build the perches and think about what your cat will prefer.
Keep it simple
If you have never built anything in your life try to keep your design as simple as possible, and that way you won’t become overwhelmed with it.
Step 2. Buy the Necessary Tools and Materials
If you do your research on cat trees, you will see that most cat trees are crafted using different types of wood and carpet. Use your design to determine the exact materials you will need. In terms of horizontal platforms, plywood often works well, whereas cardboard or PVC pipe can be useful for the vertical supports to keep them upright. Carpet is probably one of the best materials for covering the wood and cats love it! You may also require a few extra tools for the assembly including:
- A drill and screws
- Handsaw or table saw
- Carpet knife
- Powerful adhesive glue
- Electric stapler
Step 3. Cut Materials to Size
The next step is to use your tools and cut the materials to size. When cutting dimensional lumber, a hand saw may work well, whereas a table saw may be easier for plywood sheets. Any rough edges can also be sanded if needed. It’s important to make sure you plan the sizes well as you will want all parts to fit and not look strange.
Step 4. Build the Base
One of the most important parts of the cat tree is the base. This is the part which keeps it steady and stable, and if it isn’t strong enough there is a risk your cat could damage themself when using the cat tree. Therefore, it is crucial that you design a base which extends out further from the center than any other platform on the tree to prevent it tipping over. In order to make the base, it is recommended to cut 2 squares of plywood and glue them together. This will give it an extra layer of thickness and strength. The taller the tree, the larger the base needs to be in order to support it.
Once the base is built, a good idea is to cover it with carpet. Simply cut the carpet a few inches longer on sides and staple it in place to the base.
Step 5. Attach Vertical Posts
The vertical posts which hold the platforms up are the next thing to be attached to the base. These can easily be attached using nails, screws or a strong adhesive wood glue.
- Simply flip the base upside down and drill holes through the base where you want the vertical posts to be. Then attach the posts by inserting small nails or screws and drive them into each one
- It may be handy to cover the posts with carpet prior to attaching them to the base as it may be easier than doing it afterwards
- In order to have a scratching post for your cat, wrap some pieces of sisal rope around each post. You can secure them with staples to ensure your cat won’t remove them when scratching. Just remember to hammer them in so they don’t stick out and harm the cat
Step 6. Attach Perches to Posts
Once your posts are securely in place, all that is left to do is attach the perches where your cat will sit. These can be attached using screws or strong glue. Once they are attached you can wrap them in fabric or carpet to hide the screws.
Step 7. Customize!
Once you have the main frame up, you can start to add any extras as you go along. This could be for example some small condos for your cat to hide in. Or perhaps you would like to add a hammock, a toy mouse for them to enjoy or even some stairs. The sky is the limit when it comes to customization, and it all depends on what your cat will like!
Making a cat tree by hand is not really such a difficult task, and just takes some concentration and the right tools and materials. We hope this article has given you some inspiration to make one for your cat! And hopefully they will be able to enjoy it for years to come.