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Building A Cat "Tree"

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi all,
I'm new and not completely sure where to post this.
My sister has two house cats and has been looking into buying a cat tree. However, they seem pricey to me, and, although I'm no master craftsmen, I enjoy the challenge of making something myself.
I'm going to be using 2x4s and plywood and would like to cover it with some sort of carpet or carpet-like material.

Can anyone give me any suggestions as to what I can use to cover it and whether to use a commercial carpet glue or some other method of fastening it to the wood?

Thanks a bunch for any help/info you can give me.

Zach
post #2 of 16
I don't know that it makes much difference...I've seen commercial cat furniture with both loop and cut-pile carpet. If you go with loop, though, I'd stick with the very small, tight loops. Less likely that the cats can snag a loop and pull it out.
post #3 of 16
I looked into doing this a bit myself (kinda gave up when I realized, I REALLY dont have room for a cat tree in my studio apartment)... but from what I've found (also, try googling) most people glue and/or staple the carpet down and also incorporate sisal rope into homemade trees.... if you look on ebay for cat tree plans, you can usually find a pack of like 6 - 10 different designs for about 10 bucks (US) and they tell you step by step instructions as well as all materials needed... then again, some people simply experiment until they find something that works... I know a few people on here have made their own and hopefully they'll speak up as well... definitely try googling though - I remember finding crazy amounts of sites regarding building your own tree
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
I guess I'll have to decide which carpet to go with. If they can rip it up they will!
I will have to try a google search. I think I'm leaning towards glue just because staples worry me a bit. I also do plan on just experimenting and see what I come up with. Making things that way just seems so much more rewarding even if it turns out to be a piece of junk!
post #5 of 16
I put some carpet on window perches. I used carpet tacks, because of my concern that with staples, I figured there was a higher possibility of a cat's claw getting stuck in one and/or pulling it out. I don't know if that's a valid concern or not, but the tacks did work fine for me.

PS - I'm sure cats will love it no matter how it turns out!! In fact, sometimes I think the more junky something is, the better they like it.
post #6 of 16
I re-apolster my cat tree all the time, well at least once a year when the kids have almost killed it. I use a heavy duty staple gun with at least 3/4 inch staples to attach the carpet. even if the cats rip through the carpet those staples are not coming out without a set of pliers
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by zwyatt
I guess I'll have to decide which carpet to go with. If they can rip it up they will!
I will have to try a google search. I think I'm leaning towards glue just because staples worry me a bit. I also do plan on just experimenting and see what I come up with. Making things that way just seems so much more rewarding even if it turns out to be a piece of junk!
I read an article once about how to buy a cat tree, and it stated that glue can be toxic and it's best to use the thin upholstery staples, and on the under side only. The condo I bought my Cupid has about an inch overhang under the perch, where the carpet is folded under and stapled. That way there are no areas that the edge of the carpet is exposed. I have seen trees that are glued and they said they "found a way" to glue it so it is non-toxic, but I think staples are better. I was worried about it too, but if they are on the underside, the cat's claws should never come in contact with them. The upholstery staples shouldn't be thick enough to do any harm should a claw drag across it anyway, or be so long that it could stick out the other side.

Of course, if you're making it yourself, you could make sure to use glue labeled as non-toxic. I'd worry about how well it would hold because I read that glue used to hold carpet to wood is toxic. If the glue didn't hold, the carpet could come off and hurt the cat, or create gaps between the carpet and wood that the cat's claws could get caught in.

There's so much to worry about, isn't there?
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sibohan2005
I re-apolster my cat tree all the time, well at least once a year when the kids have almost killed it. I use a heavy duty staple gun with at least 3/4 inch staples to attach the carpet. even if the cats rip through the carpet those staples are not coming out without a set of pliers
Building one today for my little monsters out of mdf and some castof carpet, not using staples but spray glue, no chance of them getting hurt on that.

Also get some sisal rope at homedepot and wrap the posts in that, they love it.
post #9 of 16
I got my dad to build a cat tree for me since he is more handy than I am. Carpet is great for bedding but it won't promot scratching. The best thing for this is to use sisal rope which you can pick up for fairly cheap from Home Depot. This tree was actually pretty inexpensive to make. Wood was used for the shelf perches. And some kind of piping was used for the body. The top actually connects into the ceiling which might be more complicated than you are looking to get into. However with some wood you and maybe some fo this piping you could build quite a nice tree. Any ramp or pole you can use sisal cording and for any place to lay down you can use carpet. Oh and the carpet we used we got from asking a carpet place for scraps and it turned out to match our carpet color nicely .


post #10 of 16
Ok my dad used a Schedule 40 PVC pipe for the maine tubing at maybe 4" diameter but I think it was wider. Pretty cheap. You can wind the sisal rope around it really easily, put a wood w/ carpet platform as a base and a top and it will be lots of fun for the kitties .
post #11 of 16
Its best to use 4x4's (or 2 2x4's nailed together) for the posts so its sturdier. Another good thing to use for sleeping areas is those concrete pouring tubes (about a foot wide) for tunnel beds. We spent many hours wrapping ours in sisal and they LOVE it
post #12 of 16
How do you attach the sisal to the wooden or plastic post? My cats LOVE sisal, I have a doormat rug in one bedroom, and they claw at it all the time.
post #13 of 16
I first glue the carpet to the posts and platforms with hot glue then follow up with 1/2" staples which, after stapling, I hammer in to make sure they are really embedded into the wood. To attach sisal, I use flat head nails to tack in the ends.

Don't get carpet with loops and don't use cheap carpet (like indoor/outdoor). You'll be replacing it sooner than you would like. I go to carpet stores and look for inexpensive remnants. For sisul rope, Home Depot is about the cheapest source and I use 3/8" diameter - any smaller and you go thru a lot of it and any thicker makes it difficult to wrap around the post.

For wood, a 4X4 is best for the upright but don't buy treated wood. If you can't find a 4X4 that is untreated, screw 2-2x4's together. Make the base broad enough so that as they fling themselves up the tree, it doesn't topple. Mine are always at least 24X24 if not bigger, depending on how tall the tree is and at least 1" thick. I use a strong bolt thru the bottom into the upright pole, and if you can't counter-sink the bolt, cover the bottom with duct tape or carpet to prevent scratching the floors.

I also put angle braces from the base to the upright post for really tall trees. It helps to stabilize it.

And even though it is more work, I like to put sides on the platforms so that it is a 3-sided box. The cats like to nestle against walls.
post #14 of 16
Thanks, MoM-I think with your directions, dh will be able to make me a cat tree. He was going to try to use a tree branch for the main post, but I think 2x4's wrapped in sisal will do just fine!
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckiboo
Thanks, MoM-I think with your directions, dh will be able to make me a cat tree. He was going to try to use a tree branch for the main post, but I think 2x4's wrapped in sisal will do just fine!
No problem - PM me if he gets stuck and needs more ideas.
post #16 of 16
Thanks. He rarely gets stuck mid-project. Getting him started is the hard part! LOL! And he will not start what he has no idea how to do. It seems odd to me, because he is SO handy, but he just needs a plan on how to do it!

Now I'm excited, because you gave the important info! I'll let you know when he gets it done, and will try to post pics!
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