Build Your Own Cat Tree

finished cat tree with cats

Cats love sitting in high places, and building your own cat tree can give them a place to perch as well as an appropriate spot to sharpen their claws. Buying a cat tree can be expensive, with some versions costing $100 or more. However, building a cat tree is an affordable, fun way to pamper you pet and protect your furniture.

Plan to Build a Cat Tree

Use these instructions to make a simple cat tree at home. You don't need a ton of woodworking experience, just some basic tools and supplies. Save money by using scrap lumber and carpet remnants.

Things You'll Need

Gather the following tools and supplies:

  • One 4-foot x 8-foot sheet of interior-grade 3/4-inch plywood
  • One 8-foot length of interior-grade 4-inch x 4-inch lumber
  • One 4-foot length of 1-inch x 2-inch lumber
  • One 18-inch-tall, 8-inch-wide cardboard tube used for concrete footings
  • 10-yards of sisal rope
  • Carpet remnant, at least 20 square feet
  • Feathered cat toy
  • Four L-brackets
  • 32 3-inch screws
  • Six 2-inch screws
  • Construction adhesive
  • Measuring tape, carpenter's square, and pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular saw or table saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Utility knife

How to Make a Cat Tree

  1. Begin by measuring and cutting the plywood for your base and perches. You'll need a 30-inch by 30-inch square for the base, as well as two 24-inch by 24-inch squares for perches. You'll also need to trace around the cardboard tube to create a plywood circle the same size or slightly larger than the opening. Use a jigsaw to cut this out.
  2. Draw an 8-inch circle midway up the cardboard tube. This will be an entrance for a cat hiding spot. Use the jigsaw to carefully cut away the cardboard.
  3. Affix the tube near one of the corners of the base using four L-brackets and construction adhesive. Use construction adhesive to apply the circle-shaped perch to the top of the tube.
  4. Cut two 24-inch pieces of 4-inch x 4-inch lumber. Use four screws to attach each post to the opposite diagonal corners of one of the perches.
  5. Cut another 4-inch by 4-inch post that is 4-feet tall, as well as a third 24-inch post. Using four screws, attach the tall post on one corner of the unused perch. Use four more screws to attach the shorter post to the opposite diagonal corner of the perch.
  6. Position the first perch on the base so that it is within comfortable jumping distance of the hiding spot. Affix it to the base using eight screws.
  7. Position the second, taller perch so that it is within jumping distance of the first perch. The shorter post should rest on the shorter perch. Affix it using eight more screws.
  8. Cut the 1-inch x 2-inch lumber into 2-foot sections. Use 2-inch screws to attach these to the upper edge of each of the two square perches. You only need to do this to one edge of each perch.
  9. Starting at the top of the kitty tree, begin covering each perch with carpet. Trim the carpet to fit using a utility knife and staple it in place as you go. You can also use construction adhesive to further adhere it if needed.
  10. Leave one of the posts free of carpet. Instead, wrap the sisal rope around this post to create a scratching surface for the kitty.
  11. Using a length of rope and a staple gun, hang the cat toy from one of the perches.

More Cat Tree Plans and Ideas

Looking for more ideas? In this LoveToKnow Cats article, learn how to make a rustic cat tree using items you already have around your yard.

Customize a Cat Tree for Your Kitty

There's no need to follow any plan exactly when you build a cat tree. Think about what your kitty enjoys doing, and modify your plans to accommodate your feline friend. You'll end up with a kitty perch that gets used frequently, and that's the best compliment you could receive for your work.

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Build Your Own Cat Tree