Building Your Own Cat Tree
BY JUDY DePASSE, DePurrs Persians

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Multi-tiered, carpeted cat trees are often priced at between $100 and $200 dollars... but you can make your own five foot tall cat tree for a fraction of the price if you are even the tiniest bit handy with tools.

I designed and built this three-legged, 4 level, 5 foot high cat tree in less than a day.

It features:

  • three legs with sisal rope wrapped around them to about 2 feet high.
  • a carpeted tube on the first level.
  • a carpeted half round bed on the second level.
  • a carpeted enclosed "house" at the third level.
  • a top level of carpeted platform.

Basic Tools Needed

  1. Hammer
  2. Saw
  3. Utility Knife
  4. Tape Measure
  5. Power Screwdriver/Drill
  6. Heavy duty glue gun with glue sticks
  7. Spray Adhesive
  8. Level
  9. Miter Box


  1. The Base: 24" x 18" x 4" platform
  2. The Legs: 3 - 5 foot long 2" x 4" pieces of lumber
  3. Carpet: 1 piece of rug 9 'x 7' any color
  4. Quik-Tube: 4 feet of 12 inch diameter Quik-tube building form
  5. Sisal Rope: 3 rolls 0f 50' sisal rope
  6. Nails: 18 - 3-4 inch long nails to put the top, bottom & 2x4's together
  7. 5 Corner Brackets: 3 for the house, 1 for bed & 1 for tube
  8. Screws: 4 - 3 inch long wood screws to attach the round tube and bed to the legs.
  9. Plywood or MDF Wood: sufficient to build a "house" measuring 13" wide x 16" deep & 10" high with one side open at the front.
  10. Top piece: of wood 22" long x 25" wide x 1" thick
  1. Preparing the 3 Legs: Wrap the bottom 21" of each leg with sisal rope. Begin by nailing the end of the rope to the bottom of 2x4 then begin wrapping the rest around the 2x4 using your hammer and nail to fix it in position at 21".
  2. Adding Carpet: Glue carpet to the rest of each 2x4 making sure to cover the top nail holding the sisal rope in position with carpet .
  3. Carpet the Platform for the base and for the top.
  4. Connect the legs and Bottom: Nail the 2x4's onto base platform placing the two side legs about 4 1/2" in from the edge of the platforms and centering the middle leg against the back of the platform.
  5. Connect the Legs and Top: Put the top in place on the legs and hold it in place with lightly tapped nails. Making sure the legs are level and perpendicular, nail the top to each leg firmly.
  6. Making the House: For the house at the top of the tree I used a plastic drawer enclosure that I got from work for cheap but you can make it yourself by simply creating a square box with one open side.
  7. Carpet the House: Carpet the house inside and outside.
  8. Attach the House: Hold the house into place using corner brackets. I glued the top of the brackets to the bottom of house so the screws would not go through bottom and hurt cat. Then use screws to attach the brackets to the 2x4 legs.
  9. Quik-Tube: Measure a length of tube from one edge to 24" back and mark all around .
    Using the utility knife cut along the markings then cut that the piece in half lengthwise to make half a bed.
  10. The Bed: Cover the half tube "bed" with carpet.
  11. The Tube: Cut another length of Quick-tube about 19" long. Cut that tube down the center to make it easier to cover the entire tube with carpet. Once both sides are carpeted, overlap the carpet and glue the two pieces of tube back together.
  12. Connect the Bed: Position the bed where you want it and using a power drill put screws into the sides through bed and into 2x4 legs.
  13. Support Bracket: Put 1 corner bracket in the back leg to support the back half of bed.
  14. Connect The Tube: Use glue to put a bracket on bottom of the tube. Then put the round tube in position and drill through tube and into 2x4's.
  15. Finish: Glue small carpet pieces over brackets and you are done!

Of course, you can take this basic design and customize it to best suit your cat's "tastes".

You can make it shorter or wider or add a level. Be careful not to design a tree that is top heavy. It needs to be stable enough to withstand several adult cats scampering up one side without tipping over. Don't make the tree taller than 5 feet unless you attach it to the wall to prevent it tipping.

You can also add hanging toys, bells on a short string or a catnip toy - anything you think your cats will like best.

I do know that once you build your cat tree your cats will enjoy it as much as mine do.

Happy hammering!

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