Our cat is very fond of her cat tree which survived almost a year now and is on the verge of collapsing. Its the usual cat stuff you get from online sites made of MDF and covered with particle board & felt.
I am now looking to DIY the cat tree and want to make something more elegant which doesn't look monstrous in our living area.
My considerations are :
1. We have Jarrah hardwood flooring so looking for something which will blend in easily and look good.
2. Want to maintain as small footprint as possible while still making the structure stable- I know its a tough compromise !
3. Can have additional support from the ceiling, however ceiling is gyprock and I want the pressure to be as evenly distributed as possible so as not to damage the ceiling.
4. Prefer timber look, however parts of it maybe covered in sisal or carpet off cuts to keep the cat happy.
I am attaching couple of images so you get what I have in mind. I am hoping Bunnings has most of what I need (except the carpet of course) and looking for suggestions & material list. Design can vary a bit ( based on photos) but at this stage, just looking for broad suggestions on materials and how to go about it.
Thanks in advance !!
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This sounds like a fantastic project which your cat will love. Let me mention @redracer01 as I trust he'll like to offer some suggestions too.
You might like to create your base and platforms from SpecRite 405 x 18mm x 1.2m Pine Utility Panel. This can easily be cut into shape with a jigsaw, and you are free to choose your own design. On each platform, make sure to leave a section where a 44mm hole can be cut. This hole will allow your platforms to slip over the main 40mm vertical dowel. Start by drilling pilot holes through your base and into the end of the dowel. You can then screw the base to the dowel.
Take a length of Holman 50mm x 1m PVC DWV Pipe and cut it to match the height you would like the first platform to sit. Wrap sisal rope around the pipe, securing it with hot glue as you go. Slip this pipe onto the dowel and then place your first platform on top of it. The platform can be covered with carpet. Continue this method until you reach the top. Adding these pipes allows the platforms to spin freely around and provide a rigid structure to sit on. You could wrap the rope straight onto the dowel instead of using the pipe.
Once at the top, you might like to install a 3/8" T Leg Nut into the end of the dowel. This will allow you to screw in a 230mm Pine Round Furniture Leg or 48mm Pine Ball Furniture Leg. These legs can then be unscrewed to push up against the ceiling, wedging the stand in place. A felt pad can be placed on the ceiling to prevent damaging the plaster.
The unit can then be finished off with Jarrah interior stain to match your existing hardwood.
I look forward to hearing from our community members on their ideas for your project. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Below is a cat tower I've drawn up for you. I am aware that you wanted a ceiling mounted post type tower but I would ask that you have look and consider if this design might work for you. It is six levels seven if you count the bottom panel. It is made of 3 panels of 184x19x1800 premium grade pine and 3 posts of 42x20x1800 premium grade pine and the feet are just 50x50 at 300mm in length. Standard 8g x 40mm gold passivated timber screws hold the entire structure together except for the feet where you will need to use at least a 75mm length screw. After assembly you can stain and lacquer to match your floor. The posts are to be wrapped in sisal rope to provide the scratching area for the cat. Please have a look and tell me what you think.
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Thanks, thats brilliant and great for getting me started as far as the load bearing structure is concerned. Having leg nuts with felt pads also solves the ceiling damage concern. I hope the 40mm hardwood dowel can take the 5-6kg weight of the cat and her jumps. More so if the platforms will be cantilevered on it.
It looks like the load of the platforms will be borne by the PVC pipes to an extent but they will be free to spin around the dowel. How do you think I should secure the platforms on to the dowel - with a screw or hot glue?
With the frame sorted, I need to think of other frills to make the cat feel interested - the scratcher is definitely a good idea. I might also think of dangling toys, hammocks etc.
Will come back to you if I have further questions.
Thanks a ton again for making this sound easy
Thanks, you just gave me another option.
The benefit of this design is its stable base and thus no reliance on the ceiling gyprock to share any of the sideways load.
Flipside is there is a lot of timber and it might look a bit busy in the living area.
Any chance we can make this more minimalist pls?
Another question @MitchellMc , and I know its very subjective , what is the recommended size of the rectangular platform for an adult cat?
The hardwood dowel is more than strong enough to support the weight of your cat, even with the cantilevered platforms considered.
I actually thought that if the platforms were a snug fit on the post, they could be left free-spinning. However, after reconsidering, they might shift during a jump, and this wouldn't be optimal. I'd suggest running a single timber screw through the side of the platform and into the post, pinning it in position. This will allow you to easily adjust their positions when needed to keep the route up interesting.
Once the tower is built, you can accessorize to your heart's content. I love the idea of adding a hammock and dangling toys are a must!
A platform around 400 x 300mm should be more than sufficient. You might like to vary their sizes and create some organic shapes for interest. A jigsaw would be perfect for cutting out the curved edges.
I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
Amazing design, @redracer01! I'd love to see a couple of those shelves boxed into tunnels with entrance and exit holes. The sky really is the limit with your design, and there are so many options that can be included.
Many thanks for sharing.
Thanks @MitchellMc I like the idea of driving a screw through the panel board and rotating it to keep things interesting.
I will start looking at some accessories now .
How is your cat tree coming along? It would be great to see your progress.