How to Build a Cat Tree and Scratching Post

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON:
Now let's talk about home improvement for pets. You know those canaries, dogs and cats that we all live with, especially cats. You know, they can be really finicky. So I thought I'd try to design a cat tree that they would just love. This is it right here. Now I'm going to have some pals coming over in a little while from the Humane Society to check this out and they'll be here shortly, so we'd better get started.

Now some folks feel that the cat trees that you buy in stores don't really have stable bases. So we're going to make ours with a very large and heavy base out of 3/4 inch plywood, actually two layers of it, and we're going to hook these together by first glueing them and then screwing them.

So I'm going to apply the glue and since we've got such a large surface here, I'm going to roll it on with a paint roller. I'll take our second piece of plywood and just put this right on top. Okay. Then I drill some countersunk shank holes and drive in a few screws. Now that's a sturdy base. Now we're going to put a lip all the way around the outside here. All righty. Well, there's the base. Now we're going to start on the apartment complex.

Now cats love cozy spaces that they can crawl into and out of. So we designed kind of a two-story jungle gym here with plenty of entrances and exits. Now for small- to medium-sized cats, you want these holes to be about 6 inches in diameter.

And so I've set up my compass here to be 3 inches, which is half of that. All right, we'll put the sharp part on the cross line here and draw ourselves a 6 inch diameter circle. There we go. Now we're going to be cutting this out with a jigsaw, so I'm going to drill a starter hole just inside the line that we drew.

I'm going to drop that blade right into the starter hole and cut this circle out. [SAWING SOUNDS] Well, we've got all of our doorways cut, those cats have got plenty of ways to get in and out.

Now we're going to begin to construct the box or should I say the kitty cottage and we're going to be doing that by taking the sides, top and bottom and putting them together with glue and nails. Let's start by putting some glue on the side right here.
[MUSIC]
Well, our tower's finished. That will sit right inside the base, just like that. Now experts tell us that cats like to perch, scratch and climb. I'd say we've got the perch taken care of. Now we're going to deal with the scratch and climb by covering all of this in carpet.

I cut a piece here that drops right inside our base as you can see. I'm going to hold this in place with some staples. And there we go. That carpet's not going to go anywhere. Next, we attach carpet to the side and top of the soon-to-be kitty high rise.

Well, our carpet's on but those cats are going to have kind of a tough time getting to that door right now, aren't they? So we're going to have to cut a hole through the carpet. And the way to do that is to locate pretty much the center of the hole just by feel here — about right there, I would say, and take the knife, going to go all the way through.

We're going to cut out to the edge of the hole till the knife stops right there. And then make several sort of pie-shaped cuts like this, wedges, stopping at the edge of the hole, always going back to the center.

I give each section a dab of construction adhesive, fold them around the edge of the opening, then staple them in place on the inside.

Well, we've got a great place for our feline friends to curl up inside and a perfect perch. Now we want to add a gymnastic element. I'm going to take four pieces of PVC pipe and create a frame that will come up on all —from all four corners right here.

To attach that at the top though, I've got to put something into this hollow pipe, a piece of dowel. I mixed up some quick-setting epoxy and I'll spread it on the inside of the pipe.

Yeah, that's good. And then we'll take a piece of our dowel and just slide this right inside.

These dowels also provide a solid core to which we can attach a piece of sisal rope, a favorite scratching material.
JEAN:
Ron?
RON HAZELTON:
Hey, how are you?
JEAN:
I'm good, how are you?
RON HAZELTON:
This is my friend Jean, from the Humane Society.
JEAN:
Nice to meet you.

RON HAZELTON:
And our buddies here, huh? Who we got?
JEAN:
We have in here — this is Tina and Turnip.
RON HAZELTON:
Tina and Turnip, hey, guys.
JEAN:
These are two little kittens found in a dumpster.
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
RON HAZELTON:
Oh, aren't they precious. In a dumpster.
JEAN:
Mm-hmm [AFFIRMATIVE]. Ten, ten weeks old.
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
RON HAZELTON:
You're kidding.

We've come up with a timesaving way to wrap the rope around the PVC, using my drill to spin the pipe while Jean guides the rope into place.

Excellent, right. So now — okay, we're going to have it for you. [KITTENS MEWLING] They're really impatient. They're anxious to try this out.
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
JEAN:
I know.
RON HAZELTON:
Jean, could you hand me that last one there.
JEAN:
Sure.
RON HAZELTON:
We'll set this in place and then if you can kind of align those marks up for me right there, I'll put the screws in.

Finally, we join all our poles together by driving screws through the plastic pipe and into the wooden dowels I inserted earlier.

Okay.
JEAN:
Well, little guys — let's see what we've got for you.
RON HAZELTON:
I think — look, look, look. She loves it, she loves it. Wow.
[MUSIC]
[LAUGHS] Jean, thank you so much for bringing them over, they were fantastic.
JEAN:
You're very welcome, they're having a great time.

Construct a Carpet-covered Cat Tree with a Scratching Post and Tower

Construct a cat tree with a scratching post and cat tower that doubles as a sleeping and play area. Add a wide stable base made of two panels of 3/4-inch plywood. The tower is two-stories tall and has openings on all side. Cover the plywood surfaces with durable carpet and finish with four sisal-covered posts for climbing and scratching.

Draw the Plan and Dimensions for Your Cat Scratching Post
Step 1

Draw the Plan and Dimensions for Your Cat Scratching Post

Plan the size and layout of this cat furniture on paper to confirm the dimensions and materials. This one uses plywood for the base and tower, both covered in carpet, and PVC pipes covered in sisal rope.

Make a Wide Stable Base to Prevent Tipping
Step 2

Make a Wide Stable Base to Prevent Tipping

Use two 3/4-inch plywood panels for the base, glued together with carpenter's glue. Drill countersunk shank holes and drive in screws to secure the panels and wooden strips as a lip around the perimeter.

Cut Holes for the Sides and Top of the Tower
Step 3

Cut Holes for the Sides and Top of the Tower

Position and cut two 6-inch holes on each plywood side panel and one on the top panel for the hollow 2-story tower. Mark the holes with a compass, drill to start them, and finish cutting with a jigsaw.

Assemble the Tower with Glue and a Pneumatic Nail Gun
Step 4

Assemble the Tower with Glue and a Pneumatic Nail Gun

Assemble the four side panels and the top with glue and nails, using a pneumatic nail gun. Insert the dividing panel for the floor between the two stories before attaching the last two sides.

Cover All Visible Surfaces of the Base with Carpet
Step 5

Cover All Visible Surfaces of the Base with Carpet

Cover the edges of the base with neat corners. Cut and staple a square of scrap carpet to fit the floor of your cat furniture. Staple it along the perimeter and in the center to hold it securely in place.

Cover the Tower with Carpet and Then Reopen the Holes
Step 6

Cover the Tower with Carpet and Then Reopen the Holes

Cut and staple carpet panels to cover the cat tower. With a utility knife, cut the carpet over the holes into neat pie-shaped wedges from the center to the wooden edge. Apply glue, fold the wedges inside, and staple them.

Create a PVC Pipe Frame for the Cat Tree
Step 7

Create a PVC Pipe Frame for the Cat Tree

Cut four pieces of PVC pipe to length and glue wooden dowels into one end of each with epoxy. Drive a screw through the PVC pipe, the end of a piece of sisal rope, and into the wooden dowel.

Wrap the Sisal Rope around the Pipe and Tie It
Step 8

Wrap the Sisal Rope around the Pipe and Tie It

Spin the PVC pipe with an electric drill and bit stuck in the wooden dowel while a helper guides the rope in tight wraps.

Position the PVC and Join Them with Screws
Step 9

Position the PVC and Join Them with Screws

Place the PVC pipes in the four corners of the tray and bring them to a single point above the tower in a pyramid-like shape. Drive screws through the pipe and into the wooden dowels inserted earlier.