Anybody build a nice cat tree?

I’d like to build a really nice, tall cat tree for Dewey and Eddles (Dewey has one love in his life - to be higher!) but I don’t want to spend a lot of money or build an ugly cat tree. I really want a cool, sexy cat tree like this bad boy, but I’m not an experienced woodworker and I’m concerned that I’d have to overbuild to make sure it’s stable.

Has anybody built a nice-looking cat tree? Suggestions? The plans online are more of that “PetSmart” look, whereas I’d like to have more of a “dinner party” cat tree.

Be sure to place it near a window.

I went home for lunch today and while I was standing there looking at the mail the damned cat made a mad leap for my back, climbed up to my shoulders, and used me as a platform for his back legs so he could put his front legs on the door and look out of those little high door-windows.

That’s a nice tree. I’ve been planning to make one for my kitties, too. I’m not much of a builder but I think the curved wood would be a little tricky for a novice. I found one in the back of Cat Fancy that looked a lot bigger but might be easier to copy but I can’t find the website for it right now.

Cats love bookcases, maybe you could just get a cheap bookcase and bolt it to the wall then drill a couple holes for climbing up or looking out and cover part of a shelf or two for a hidey hole.

I made one a few years ago (actually, my father and I did). Nowhere near as fancy as that one, but just as good (IMHO) as the $200 kind you can find at a big box pet store.

I think overall it cost me about $50 for the wood, carpet scraps, sisal rope and screws.

I built one for my ex-g/f (well, for her kitties). I had a 4x4 post, some scrap plywood and some clean carpet remnants sitting around, it took an afternoon to fasten it all together. The hardest part was getting the carpet held to the wood nice and tight, I wound up using a pneumatic stapler to do it.

It was pretty basic - 4x4 on a nice big base with two “shelves” on opposite sides at the third points of the post and a top platform. Everything carpeted. Cats loved it by the standard formula equating “kitty lurv” with “hair shed all over the thing”.

I have a roll of sisal rope and I’m planning on building some structures for my cat now.

Or similar.

Thanks for the reminder. Jumpie The Warehouse Cat, on trips to my home, loved the kitchen cabinets. Floor to table to countertop to refrigerator to top of cabinets that wrapped around the kitchen.

Yes, height is more important than design.

Height is more important than design to the cats. Dewey’s a kitchen cabinet man, too, when he can get up the nerve. Lately, though, he’s been into the tops of doors. I don’t know how he does it. I mean, I’ve seen him do it, and I still don’t know how he does it. He jumps up there without moving the door every time, five feet sometimes. Has a hard time getting down occasionally, though, but I’ve never seen him fall.

Yep, I have. (Well, that is, SpouseO did most of the work, but I helped!) Because my cat is supremely spoiled, however, I’m not certain we really saved any money.

Our tree is about 5.5 feet tall, and we made it look like a tree - it has a round trunk, covered with brown corduroy fabric, three “branches” that are really platforms that are covered with mottled green fabric, a top platform, again, covered with mottled green fabric, and a low standing mushroom next to the trunk (so she can get to the first branch).

For the platforms, we cut kidney-bean shaped forms out of, well, not quite plywood but something similar - it was about 1/4" thick. The trunk is made out of 2x4s, I think 4 total. The trunk’s attached to two 2’ x 3’ish sheets of 3/4 plywood for stability. SpouseO’s an engineer, so I believe he cut an outline of the trunk in the first plywood sheet, fit the trunk into that, then screwed and bolted it into the bottom sheet (again, for stability. I’d read that cats won’t use something they don’t think is stable, but we probably went overboard on the stability issue. Then again, it’s certainly very, very stable - I’ve had 12-year-olds playing on the stupid thing.)

The branch platforms were attached to the trunk with simple 2x4s cut at angles, then the whole thing was wrapped with foam, stuffing, and fabric. The foam went around the trunk to make it more roundish, sheets of batting went around each platforms’ tops to make them comfy, then the fabric - polartec fuzzy stuff for the platforms’ tops (again, for comfyness - clearly my cat is way spoiled), green fabric stuffed with fiberfill to make the branch platforms’ bottoms look more “treeish” (as well as making a bolster on the top platform for leaning), and the brown stuff for the trunk. All fabric and foam was secured with a staple gun; all wood attachments with screws.

The mushroom is a simple round cut out of the 1/4" stuff, secured to a 6" diameter (or so) heavy cardboard tube (I think) and attached to the base. It’s covered with silvery gray fur - like you’d use for a costume, along with the requisite stuffing and batting and foam. The base is covered with a carpet scrap.

All-in-all, the thing probably cost us $200 (again, because we spoil the cat) and about a weekend’s worth of work. But it’s cool as hell, it really looks like a tree, and for its size, it’s a good deal cheaper than we could’ve spent buying a pre-made one. (We used fabric because we could; our cat’s declawed in front. We got her that way; no flames please. She’s a strictly indoor cat.) And she loves it, so it’s all good. We’ve even thought of making them for fun and selling them on eBay, but shipping for that monster would be a fortune. Did I mention it’s stable?

Pix, pls!

I guess my end advice (after that monster post) is to use the plans and pictures you can get online as a jumping off point, and design your own. The actual woodworking is pretty simple - I’m no tools expert, and I think I could manage it all on my own (even the circular saw!). If you’ve a handy friend or family member, even better.

SpouseO’s an engineer, so I’m certain that mine is over-engineered, but it’s not a hard project. Just time-consuming, more than anything else. I’m certain you could definitely pull it off.

I think you could probably design and build one fairly easily but without a lot of wood working experience, it’ll be tough to have one look as cool as the one you linked. It’s a lot but if that’s the look you want, I’d save up and get it. It’ll probably last you through multiple cats. I finally got a nice custom built wood litterbox cover and it was a good purchase. Looks awesome and will last for a long time.

I had an ugly cat tree that my large cats didn’t use much so I gave it away. I did splurge on this amazing but expensive cat scratcher and it was totally worth it. Six months later it still looks good (even scratched up) and the cats luuuuurve it.

And I just want to add, that this cat bed from your link is brilliant. If I still had a desk, I’d totally get one…

The desk bed is brilliant! I love the before and after pictures, but somehow I think my cat would still end up on the keyboard.