How to Build a Cat Tree

More on PawNation: cat, cat tree, cat trees, CatTree, CatTrees, how to build a cat tree, HowToBuildACatTree, pets
Cat's on a cat tree picture


Looking for a low-cost, family-friendly project? Consider building your own cat tree. Also commonly called a cat tower, these climbing structures provide indoor cats with an outlet for their frisky energy. They also make a great gift for the cat lover in your life. Professionally made cat trees retail for up to $600, so you're bound to save loads of cash by building your own.

Homemade cat trees are easily fixable if you make a mistake; if you find that one step or platform isn't working, you can always remove it from the rest of the structure and try positioning it again. Don't forget, there's loads of info online to help.

Here are some nuts-and-bolts pointers to keep in mind when constructing your cat tree, as well as a few suggestions for adding one-of-a-kind flair to your creation.
  • Start with a basic blueprint for your cat tree so if you go wrong, you can find your way back to a workable structure. There are plenty of cat tree plans available for free online, while some more extensive sites, like, charge about $10.
  • Pick building materials that combine sturdiness with thriftiness. Plywood is recommended for the base, platforms and steps. Not only is plywood a relatively inexpensive textile, but it's also easy to find small scraps of plywood for free from neighbors, on sites like Craigslist or even at Home Depot. Remember, a small step for a cat takes very little wood, so you might be able to build most of your tree out of no-cost scraps.
  • For the posts, consider PVC piping, readily available at any home-improvement store. (Wood would also work, though it may not have as much give.) No matter which textile you go with, surround the posts with carpet tubing, usually available for free at carpet warehouses. This will give your posts more surface area for scratching.

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