How to Build a DIY Cat Tree

We love our pets around here (and we love to make them things, like durable DIY dog beds and pet car safety hammocks). After many months of discussion, the family has convinced me to adopt a cat. I suppose that all kinds of things that come along with that, and though it’s been awhile since I co-existed with a cat, I do remember how elaborate some of the toys could be. I also remember how scratched our furniture could become. With that consideration, we know already that we’ll build our own DIY Cat Tower (or cat tree, or whatever retailers label them these days), somewhere where the little guy can scratch comfortably and jump out of reach from our big, furry dog. Our inspiration? This one that our friend Marty at built.

Make a multi-tiered DIY cat tower using wood and carpet.

Cat lovers, I think you’ll be excited to know how easy and inexpensive it can be to make your own cat condo. Keep in mind that yours can be to any dimension that works in your home.

With just a few tools and materials, you can get started. Here’s what he used:

  • Table saw or circular saw
  • Drill
  • Pocket Hole Jig (optional, and requires the use of pocket hole screws)
  • 1/2” Stapler (an electric stapler will make it easy to secure layers of carpeting)
  • Utility Knife
  • 2’x4’x1/2” Plywood, Particle Board or MDF
  • (1) 2”x4”x8’
  • 50 ft. of ¼” or 3/8” Sisal Rope
  • 1 Yd by 12 ft Progressive – Natural Carpet (look for remnant!)
  • 2” Screws – wood or drywall, and also some kreg pocket hole screws if you own a Kreg Jig

The design required the use of only one 2′ x 4′ board, which kept costs and waste low. I like that. He started by planning out how all of the tiers of the cat tower would be sized, maximizing the available materials.

Planning the size of the cat tower stories.

He cut, predrilled, sanded, and built up the entire piece to ensure it was solid and attached securely.

Make a multi level cat tree using scrap wood and carpet.

Because he had done his test fitting with screws (not nails) he was able to disassemble it to wrap the surfaces in sisal rope and carpeting. Staples helped to secure the rope onto the vertical spans of 2×4, giving the cats a secure place to scratch.

Stapling wrapped sisal into place on the DIY cat tower.

The four tiers of the cat tree received a similar treatment, each wrapped individually with pieces of inexpensive carpeting and stapled securely into place to give the animals a sleeping surface that would withstand the wear and tear of cat claws.

Kitty Condo tower wrapped in inexpensive carpet.

Cat tree wrapped with carpeting.

The finished piece, once reassembled, lends itself as a tall, narrow piece with a wide base that could easily fit in an unobtrusive way in nearly any home. Planning your own? In addition to checking for carpet at the Big Box stores, look for remnants at second hand shops like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore to get a small quantity at a discount price.

For the full tutorial on how this specific piece was built, click here.

How to make a big cat tower tree for your pets.

Looking for other pet projects? Here are a few more ideas that you can make or buy to make your pet feel right at home.

Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Fazio is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at

42 Responses

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About Emily Fazio 


I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

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