My Real DIY Cat Tree!

8 Materials
$90
1 Month
Advanced

This is a project I'd wanted to do for a long time, and I'm thrilled with how it turned out.
For comparison, my main inspiration was selling for $800...no thanks! Here's the quick and dirty on mine.The base is made out of plywood that's been stained and framed out. I absolutely loved these trees and really wanted one, but I didn't want to (and can't) drop $800. Plus, these trees actually use faux branches, so I thought it would be even cooler and cheaper if I used real branches. Here's how I got started. I found some branches in the woods behind my parents' house. After letting them dry out, I scraped the bark off, sanded, stained, and sealed them. Next we attached the branches to the plywood base. Here are some progress pics:
I used pieces of scrap wood for the platforms. I loved being able to use these little pieces that had just been sitting around, waiting for a project!I also used wooden dowels and stapled/glued on sisal rope to create the scratching posts! (Don't worry, you can remove the staples after the glue has dried to prevent your kitty's claws from getting stuck.)
The kitties love it and spend a lot of time lounging on it looking out the window. I'm really glad they love it, because usually cats hate things that you put a lot of work in to or buy for them. :) For a full supply list, info on how I made the scratching posts, tons of tips, and really detailed explanations of each step, you can check out the full post at my blog below!

And if you love kitties, you must check out easy cat condo made out of cheap tables and my list of 20 best DIYs for your pets!

Suggested materials:

  • Lumber
  • Stain and finish
  • Sisal and glue
See all materials

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By Brittany Goldwyn

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

4 questions
  • Karen Beth Blatcher
    on Mar 26, 2016

    I would be concerned about the toxicity of the stain to the cats. If they scratch the branches like my cats do, then clean their paws they could ingest the stain. I asked you this before and you thought I was asking about you.

    • By Brittany Goldwyn
      on Mar 26, 2016

      Hey Karen! Sorry! would suggest talking to your vet since I am not an expert on what's toxic to cats, but I guess my kitties have been fine with all of the other stained furniture in the house, so I was comfortable with this. I've also never heard of a kitty being poisoned by wood stain. But everyone should do what they are comfortable doing!

    • Patty
      on Mar 26, 2016

      It would be no different than a stained dining room set or end tables you bought at a store.

    • Patty
      on Mar 26, 2016

      I forgot to mention how much I love this, and by the pictures I would say your kitties are very happy. Can you believe the money you saved wow! What great kitty parents.

    • 169756
      on Mar 26, 2016

      Love yours. The base of yours with the rocks is much prettier than the pricey ones.

    • Bernice H
      on Mar 26, 2016

      This is Sooo cool! Very satisfying to kitties and you!

    • Ramona
      on Mar 27, 2016

      I am still concerned about the toxicity problem. Our cats don't scratch the legs of our furniture. They tear up our carpets :( So, it is possible that their scratching the logs and other surfaces of the cat tree/house could create a health issue. Definitely talk to your vet about this.

    • Kecia
      on Mar 27, 2016

      Make your own stain. Look it up on Pinterest.

    • Syn
      on Mar 27, 2016

      I have a firm believe, when in dought don't. So in my opinion, don't stain, go natural, the cats still will love it, and it's still beautiful. Really like the rock idea, will do that for my next "cat tree", my cats love these, it's like a jungle gym in my "cat house". I work to keep my animals happy, in turn I am also happy. ;) .

    • Tammy
      on Oct 7, 2017

      How did you attach the branches to the plywood?
    • Lisa
      on Feb 18, 2019

      Absolutely purrfect! Definitely on my bucket list.

  • M. M..
    on Mar 27, 2016

    Do the twining vines ever catch the cats' claws as they jump/climb up and down past it?

    • By Brittany Goldwyn
      on Mar 27, 2016

      Nope! Sometimes they bat at them, but we try to keep their claws clipped so they won't get caught on things (and so they can do less damage to furniture)

  • Sno19399288
    on Feb 3, 2017

    Are the rocks loose or glued on to the platforms?

  • Kimmy Chancellor
    on Apr 12, 2019

    I'm thinking about making a similar one for my apartment this next semester, but my cat is pretty big. In what way did you attach the branches to the base? And do you think there are any changes you would make if you were to do it again? Yours looks really nice and classy, and I'm excited to find that there are cuter options are out there. :)

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