By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 18 April 2011)
Scratch posts, cat trees (also known as cat towers), and other cat furniture can be extremely expensive. Building cat trees and furniture from scratch saves a significant amount of money and enables the builder to match their design and colour with the decor of the room in which they will be placed.
Cat Tree Designs and Patterns
Creative builders may wish to design their own cat trees and furniture, or visit a pet supply store to get ideas and then adapt those designs to their own specifications. For those who want a simpler option, there are free cat tree plans available online. These plans include pictures, lists of required materials, and cutting and carpeting instructions.
Most designs for cat trees and basic scratch posts require the following supplies:
- Plywood pieces for the base, platforms, and “penthouses”
- Posts (can be made from PVC pipe or wood)
- Screws and L brackets
For a more artistic or natural look, thick pieces of polished driftwood or logs can be used as posts. Builders may also wish to purchase a few rolls of sisal twine to wrap one or more of the posts, as cats enjoy scratching sisal. Cat toys can be hung from various platforms if desired.
In addition to materials, builders will need a set of basic tools, including a hammer, staple gun, saw, drill, screwdriver, and measuring tape. More elaborate or artistic cat trees or furniture may require additional tools and materials.
Cat trees that are relatively light or wobbly should be secured to the wall or floor before letting cats use them because if an enthusiastic cat knocks one over, he may become phobic of it and never go near it again.
Do-It-Yourself Cat Bed
For those who find the idea of building a cat tree intimidating, there are less demanding cat furniture crafts. Jennifer Crutcher offers step-by-step instructions for making a simple, attractive cat bed that can be created in any colour and style to match the decor of the rest of the room. The base basket can be purchased, but the coverings require some sewing. Creative individuals could easily adapt the design to make other types of cat furniture, such as cat sofas, by building or purchasing small wooden furniture and sewing the covers.
Those who have yard space and enjoy building things outdoors might want to try creating a cat enclosure, which can be large or small and simple or extremely elaborate, depending on space and preference. Cat enclosures enable cats to go outdoors without facing the dangers that free roaming cats can fall prey to. Some very talented individuals with a creative flair have developed cat enclosures that are true works of art, with driftwood habitats, fountains, rockeries, and other decorative items to make a space that both humans and cats can enjoy.
For more cat-related building and craft ideas, see Gifts for Cats and Cat Lovers, Free Cat Sewing and Quilting Patterns, Free Cat Knitting Patterns, Free Dog House and Cat Enclosure Plans, and How to Make Cat Toys.