Home Lifestyle How to Build a DIY Cat Tree
Image: Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

How to Build a DIY Cat Tree

by Cristina Oprean
4 min. read

If you’re sharing your home with a feline friend, it’s worth treating them to their own entertainment system. A cat tree provides all a kitty could wish for in one handy place. As such, they’re less likely to get bored and start scratching your furniture! In this guide, we’ll show you how to make your own DIY cat tree at home.

What Is a Cat Tree?

A cat tree is a way for a kitty to indulge in all her favorite habits: climbing, scratching, observing her domain, and of course, lounging. Typically consisting of a base with several vertical uprights and platforms to climb onto, they can come in all shapes and sizes with various additional elements, such as an inbuilt feeding area or a cozy hammock.

Buying vs. Building a Cat Tree

You can buy a cat tree, but in doing so, you’re limited to the available models in the store. However, when you build your own, you’re able to fit it in any space you wish. You can also adapt it to your cat’s personality.

Store-bought cat trees go up in price the larger they get, whereas the costs for building one don’t increase all that much whether you’re making something large or small. So if you want to treat your pet to a giant cat tree, it’s much more cost-effective to create your own.

Building a Cat Tree

Building your own unique cat tree is a fun way to create something tailored to the needs of your feline friend. The following steps will help you come up with ideas and get the basics underway.

1. Choose a Location

Placing your cat tree by a window is a nice touch, as it allows your cat to enjoy a high perch while watching the world go by. Otherwise, you might want to incorporate it into another part of the house, a bare corner, for example, or fit it in with some empty floating shelves.

2. Decide Which Elements To Include

Take a minute or two to think about what elements and features you’d like to offer your cat. This often depends on its personality. For example, if your cat is a climber, it’s nice to build a taller tree for them to explore. Or perhaps your cat is shy and would appreciate a place to hide. Here are some common features:

  • Scratch post
  • Lounging place
  • High platforms
  • Hiding place
  • Hammock
  • Feeding area
  • Tunnel

3. Think About Materials

For the uprights, 2 x 4 lumber is a good choice, or you can try using PVC pipes. Some cat lovers also like to use natural branches. While adding a nice touch, they do need a bit more preparation and can be challenging to work with.

For the base and platforms, plywood is an affordable and sturdy option. A concrete form tube can be ideal for U-shaped perches and is also great for tunnels. For a simpler build, you can fix baskets to your uprights using metal L-profiles. Always make sure that the platform provides sturdy support. If the tree is wobbly, your cat might end up avoiding it.

Sisal rope is the best for scratch posts, and ideally, you’ll want to cover at least the base and platforms in carpet. Avoid that old carpet you found at the thrift store. It may contain dust mites and other pests you don’t want to bring home.

4. Draw Out Your Plan

Measure up your space and start drawing out a plan. This doesn’t have to be too technical, but it’ll ensure your cat tree fits nicely in the location you have planned for it. Think about your cat’s ability to climb and jump, and try not to make it too difficult or too easy to reach the top. Sketch in all the features you want to incorporate.

For the base, make sure it’s at least 24-inches square to provide enough support for the platforms. You’ll need an even larger base if you plan to build a higher cat tree.

5. Build Your Cat Tree

Cut each piece to size and fix everything together without glue, first of all, to check for stability. If you’re covering any parts in carpet, it’s much easier to cover the individual pieces beforehand. Then, once you’re happy with the construction, you can glue and fix everything securely in place.

Make sure that no screws, nails or staples are sticking out and that any rough edges have been sanded down to keep your feline friend out of harm’s reach. Scratch posts can be made by simply wrapping an upright in sisal rope.

Finish off the construction by hanging up some toys and enjoy watching your cat get to grips with its new playground!

You may also like