How to make a Cat Condo/Tree??

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Bleenie, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. Bleenie

    Bleenie Wyan-DO's

    In the next couple days, someone will be bringing me a pregnant cat that a friend of theirs cannot afford to care for. I would like to have a kitty condo/tree thing for her & the babies to play on after they're older & mobile. I have checked pet stores and even Craigslist seems so expensive lately. I have access to free, new carpet remnants & have plenty of scrap wood/lumber... I just have no idea how to begin putting it together!!

    I want it to be safe, like no protruding nails or screws [​IMG].. I have made ONE cat scratching Post in the past and it was just the basic post-type, was simple, served it's purpose but didn't last that long before it started getting flemsy. [​IMG]

    I would like the 'new' kitty condo to have a cabinet in the bottom for a "secret litter box compartment" and then most of the fun parts will be above that. I am mostly worried about attaching the posts so that they're good & sturdy. I can build all the plywood parts but the upright posts make me nervous. I would just hate to do all the work and have the dang posts fall or become unstable!!

    So have any of you built your own kitty condos or cat trees? how did you attach the upright/support posts??
    I was thinking Bolts but then they would be protruding..i am a little lost [​IMG]
     
  2. fl_deb

    fl_deb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In one I re-hab, the post had 2 lag bolts into the end of the post with liquid nails that held it verticle, and a half circle attached similarily at the top of post. the edge of circle was somehow glued to the inside of a barrel like the really old shipping barrels.

    everything was solid except the carpet I had to tear out and re-install. my sister's cats are still using that and it's been at least 5 years.



    Hope this helps somehow.[​IMG]

    ETA:

    From recent construction I have done, it is best to pre-drill holes into posts to prevent splitting, when using screw in type connectors, i.e. screws, lag bolts, etc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  3. StupidBird

    StupidBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    DS's went dumpster diving at the carpet store for scraps. Used 2x4 scraps for the posts, some leftover plywood for the bottom and top. Power stapled the carpet on, cut to fit. One was at a height to force up snug to the ceiling, but made sure there was carpet in contact with floor and ceiling too to keep from scratching up paint and floor. Just make sure it is stable enough not to tip over when your entire hoard of cats and dogs all hit it at the same wild moment.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Simplest (and safest) thing to do is take a piece of 2x4 or 4x4 -- probably only 4' high or so since there will be kittens involved. Also get a piece of "something" about 6-10" wide that you will use as a shelf/spacer between the top of the post and the wall -- you can use another piece of 2x4, or something a little wider, or tie into some existing piece of furniture or wall protrusion if you happen to have one handy. And you may (especially if floor is carpeted, or you rent) want to get a piece of board or plywood that is at least a foot square, to use as a base for the unit.

    Use a little metal L-bracket (not shelf bracket; the little things, maybe 2" long each leg) to attach the shelf/spacer part near the top of the post. Also use L-brackets, 2 or 3 of them, to attach the base (if any) under the bottom of the post, such that it protrudes towards the wall the same distance as the shelf/spacer does. So that both the shelf/spacer AND the edge of the base will touch the wall, when the unit is in position for use.

    Cut carpet to appropriate size, and affix to post. My suggestion is to use rope to VERY SUPER ULTRA TIGHTLY wrap the carpet onto the post, rather than trying to glue or staple it -- staples can come out or loosen enough to catch claws, and glue makes it way too hard to replace the carpet when it starts getting shabby. I like to use 1/2" sisal rope, but, you can use anything as long as it will be strong and durable enough. Strongly recommend a second pair of hands to help you get the carpet attached to the post! It is a little aggravating.

    Then set the post in place and use yet another L-bracket underneath the shelf/spacer to attach the unit to the wall (make sure you're screwing into a STUD, not just drywall!). If possible, it is also good to either screw the base to the floor, or use an L-bracket to screw it to the baseboard of the wall, or (if no base) use an L-bracket or toenailed deck screw to screw the base directly to the floor.

    When I make these, they are usually floor-to-almost-ceiling... but remember that the majority of cats suck at climbing DOWN, so you need to place the post somewhere they can access a route down (using sturdy shelves, furniture, whatever).

    Alternatively, if you want to glue the carpeting on, glue it to a super-heavy-duty cardboard roll (like from the centers of carpeting... ask at local carpeting store for discards!), using rope to temporarily bind it on til glue dries, then slip the carpeted roll onto the 2x4 before screwing on the top shelf/spacer. Then when it's necessary to replace the carpeting, unscrew the shelf/spacer from wall AND from top of post, remove and discard old carpeted tube, and install new one.

    (e.t.a -- to make a more complicated climbing setup, make multiple ones of these and connect by ramps/shelves/furniture/whatnot. And, to make tunnel-type constructions, you can buy Sonotube (meant for pouring concrete post footings) and glue carpet outside it, with or without extra holes cut for cats, and arrange as you wish, screwed to solid objects for stability)

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  5. PitterPaws

    PitterPaws Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What ever you do Don't use Treated lumber, it is poisonous if pets lick their paws after scratching the post.
     
  6. Bleenie

    Bleenie Wyan-DO's

    Oh yeah, no treated lumber will be used. Does anyoen know if theres a special kind of adhesive i need to use to put the carpet on? I am thinking Staples might be a little dangerous, might get pulled out and stuff, is there a safer way to attach the carpet?
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Just plain "liquid nails" or other non-butyl construction adhesive works fine. Make sure you let the thing sit (preferably outdoors) for a day or two if you glue, til it does not smell at all solvent-y anymore. However remember that if you glue the carpet on, you will not realistically be able to remove and replace it, so I would suggest doing that only when you are using a cardboard core or sonotube.

    For other (non-staple) methods of attaching carpeting, see my post above.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

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