Building a Custom Cat Tree
How to Build a Cat Condo
Cat condos are different from cat trees in that they contain more cubbies for the cat to hide in. They are great for houses with children or dogs because they will give the cat a place to hide in. This article will show you a few ways of creating a cat condo. It will also give you a few tips on how to encourage your cat to use the condo.
Making a Simple Cat Condo
Find a cardboard box large enough to fit your cat.If there is a large cardboard box that your cat already likes to sleep in, consider using that.
Lay the box down on its side.If the box has a top part that folds down, cut it off using a box cutter. You can also fold the flaps inward and secure them with glue.
Consider painting the box or covering it with fabric.You can paint the box using spray paint or acrylic paint. You can also cover it with glue and fabric.
- Apply acrylic paint using a wide paint brush or a foam brush. To reduce brushstrokes, apply the paint in thin layers. Let each layer dry before applying another one.
- If you are spray painting the box, go outside or work in a well-ventilated area. Be sure to cover your work surface with lots of newspaper.
- To cover your box with fabric: Cut five pieces of fabric. Each one needs to be large enough to cover each side of the box. Cover the box with glue, and press the fabric down onto it. Work on one side at a time.
Place a towel or a fleece blanket inside the box.You can cut it down to fit inside the box, or just fold it. This will make the box more comfortable for your cat.
Consider draping a curtain over the front opening of the box.Cats love dark, private places. Cut a piece of fabric that is the same with as your box, and about ½ inch (1.27 centimeters) taller. Draw a ½ inch wide line of fabric glue along the top edge, closest to the opening. Press the edge of the curtain down into the glue.
- Consider gluing a ½ to 1 inch wide ribbon all the way around the edge of the box opening. This will not only hide the top edge of the curtain, but also give the box some contrast.
Place the cat condo in a place your cat will notice.To encourage your cat to use the box, scatter some cat treats or catnip inside the box.
Making a Cardboard Cat Condo
Find two cube shaped boxes large enough for your cat to fit inside.Both boxes need to be the same size. A great place to pick up boxes is at an art store, an office supply store, or a post office. You can also ask your local shops for any shipping boxes. Most stores toss them out once they unpack their products.
Use a pencil to draw a doorway in the first box.It must be large enough for your cat to craw through. Use your cat's whiskers as a guideline for the width. Cats will not go through anything they can't get their whiskers through.The doorway can be any shape you want, but make sure that it is as close to the bottom edge as possible. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Set circle and paw print shaped doors about 1 to 2 inches (2.54 to 5.08 centimeters) up from the bottom edge. Use a plate to trace the circle or paw pad. Use a small cup to trace the "fingers" of the paw.
- Set arched, square, and triangular doors right against the bottom edge.
Cut the doorway out using a box cutter.If your box came flat or unfolded, slide a self-heating cutting mat inside box before you start cutting.Be sure to erase any remaining pencil marks after you cut the doorway out.
Secure the top and bottom of the first box, if necessary.If your box came flat or unfolded, put it together first. Glue the bottom flaps shut using tacky glue, wood glue, or white glue.
Consider adding a window to the second box.Make it smaller than the doorway, and set it fight in the middle of the box side. You can make it any shape you want, but it might look better if it matches the doorway. Use a pencil to draw the shape, and a box cutter to cut it out. Carefully erase any pencil marks that are left over after you cut the window out.
- If your second box came flat/unfolded, slip a self-healing cutting mat inside before cutting it.
Secure the bottom of the second box with glue.Do not secure the top part just yet. Once again, if your second box came flat or unfolded, put it together first. Glue the flaps shut like you did with the first box. You are leaving the second box open so that you can add a crawl hole into the floor later.
Glue the second box on top of the first box and let the glue dry.Use a wide paintbrush or a foam brush to apply the glue to the top of the first box, and the bottom of the second box. Press both boxes together. The window and doorway can be facing the same direction, or they can be facing in different directions.
Use a marker to trace a crawl hole in the floor of the second box.Place a plate down in the corner of the box, about 1 to 2 inches (2.54 to 5.08 centimeters) away from both edges. Draw around the plate using a marker, and lift the plate away.
Cut hole out using a box cutter.You may need to cut around the hole a few times in order to get through all of the cardboard layers. The hole needs to be large enough for your cat to crawl through. If the hole is too small, make it larger.
Secure top of the second box and let the glue dry.Glue the top flaps shut using tacky glue, wood glue, or white glue.
Consider painting the cat condo.You can paint both boxes the same color, or contrasting colors. If you want, you can even paint the inside rim of the windows and doorways a contrasting color. This will help them stand out more. You can use spray paint or acrylic paint.
- If you are using spray paint, be sure to cover your work space with newspaper. Paint outside or in a well-ventilated area.
- If you are using acrylic paint, apply the paint using a wide paintbrush or a foam brush. To get a smooth finish, apply several thin coats of paint rather than one thick coat.
Consider adding a fleece blanket or a towel inside the cat condo.You can cut the blanket or towel down to fit inside your box, or you can fold it. You put it inside either floor of your cat condo, or even both floors. Do not glue the blanket or towel down; you want to be able to take it out so that you can wash it from time to time.
- If you are putting a blanket or towel on the second floor, make sure that you are not covering up the crawl hole.
Set the cat condo down in a place where your cat will notice it.To entice your cat to use it, scatter some cat treats or catnip in both boxes.
Making a Cat Condo Using Tables
Find two coffee tables.One needs to be cube-shaped while the other needs to be rectangular. Both need to be about the same width. It is fine if the rectangular table is a few inches/centimeters wider, however. The rectangular coffee table will make the bottom of the condo, and the cube-shaped one will make the top.
- The cube-shaped coffee table should not have a shelf between the legs. It is fine if the rectangular one has a shelf, however.
Consider painting the coffee tables.If the color does not appeal to you, you can always paint the tables. The quickest way to do this would be with spray paint, but you can use acrylic paint and a wide paint brush as well. You can paint both tables the same color. You can also paint them using contrasting colors instead.
- You will be gluing rope to some of the table legs in a later step. You might want to leave those legs unpainted.
- If you will be gluing some carpet down to the top of the square table (or the shelf on the rectangular table), leave that part unpainted.
Place the square table on top of the rectangular table and secure it with wood glue or metal brackets.Position the square table at one of the narrow ends of the rectangular table. The other half of the rectangular table should be bare. This will create a shelf for the cat to sit on. If you left some of the legs unpainted, those legs should be facing the longer/bare part of the rectangular table.
- If you are using wood glue: paint the bottom of the square table's legs with a thick layer of wood glue. Place the table down on top of the rectangular table and let the glue dry.
- If you are using metal brackets: Take four L-shaped metal brackets, and screw them to the inside of each of the square table's legs. Set the table down on top of the rectangular table. Screw the brackets to the top of the rectangular table.
Wrap sisal rope around two legs of the square table.Make sure that the legs you are wrapping are facing the shelf/bare part of the rectangular table. Scuff the entire leg up with rough sandpaper, then paint the first few inches/centimeters of the leg with wood glue. Wrap the rope around the leg until you cover the glue. Paint the leg with a few more inches/centimeters of glue, and wrap more rope around it. Keep painting glue and wrapping rope until you cover the entire leg. Repeat this step for the other leg.
- Consider wrapping some of the legs on the rectangular table as well. You can wrap whatever legs you want. They don't have to be right next to each other, like with the square table.
- These rope-wrapped legs will act as scratching posts for your cat, and save your furniture.
Consider covering top of the square table with carpet.This will make it more comfortable for your cat. Measure the top of your square table and buy some carpet according to those measurements. Scuff the top with rough sandpaper, and paint the entire surface with wood glue. Paint the back of the carpet with wood glue, then press the carpet down onto the table top.
- If your rectangular table has a shelf, consider cover that with carpet as well.
- You can use any color of carpet you like. It can match the table color, or contrast it. For example, if your table is white, consider blue or teal for the carpet.
Set the cat condo down where your cat will see it.Give your cat some time to get used to the condo. You can also encourage your cat to use it by leaving some cat treats or catnip on it.
Making a Wooden Cat Condo
Get four cube-shaped boxes, each one 2 inches (5.08 centimeters) smaller than the last one.The largest box needs to have a top and bottom, but the smaller boxes only need a top. They don't need a bottom as they will be stacked on top of each other. The smallest box needs to be large enough for your cat to curl up inside.
- For a standard-sized cat, start with18 inches (45.72 centimeters) as your largest box. The other three boxes are as follows: 16 inches (40.64 centimeters), 14 inches (35.56 centimeters), and 12 inches (30.48 centimeters). If you have a large cat, such as a Maine Coon, you will need bigger boxes.
- The boxes can be made out of wood or cardboard. Wooden boxes, however, will be more durable.
- You can buy the boxes, or build them yourself using cheap wood or particle board. Use nails or wood glue to put the boxes together.
Cut doorways and windows into the sides of the boxes using a saw.Each box needs to have at least one doorway. Use the width of your cat's whiskers as a guideline for cutting the doors. Cats will not crawl through anything that is narrower than their whiskers.
- You can make the windows and doors any shape you want, but circles and paw prints are the most popular.
- If you are adding windows, make them smaller than the doorways.
Cut a crawl hole into the top corner of the three largest boxes.Use a small plate to trace the hole, and a saw to cut it out. Make sure that the hole fits inside the smaller box on top of it. Also, make sure that the craw holes are not in the same spot; you want them to be staggered.
- Keep in mind that you will be stacking these boxes. You don't want the holes to be peeking out from under the upper box.
Paint outside and inside of the boxes.You can paint them using acrylic paint or spray paint. If you are using spray paint, wood outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. If you are using acrylic paint, apply the paint using a paintbrush or a foam brush. Apply the acrylic paint using many, thin layers rather than one thick layer. This will prevent any brush strokes.
- You can paint the boxes all the same color, or contrasting colors.
- You can paint the inside of the boxes the same color as the outside. You can also paint the inside a different color.
- Consider painting the inside rims of the doors and windows using a contrasting color. This will help them stand out more.
Stack the boxes and secure them with wood glue.Place the largest box down on the floor. Cover the bottom edges of the second largest box with wood glue. Place the box down on top of the largest box, making sure that one of the corners and two of the sides are aligned. You will end up with a thick ledge around the smaller box. Repeat this process of the other boxes. Make sure that all of the boxes are aligned on the same corner.
- Make sure that the doorways are facing the ledges.
Consider glue carpet down onto the boxes.This can make your cat condo cozier and more comfy for your cat. You can glue carpet down to just the inside floor of each box, or just the ledges. You can also glue carpet down to both the inside floor and the ledges. #* Consider gluing carpet down to the top of the smallest box. Your cat will likely perch on top of this box at some point. You might as well make it a comfortable perch.
Place the cat condo in a place your cat will frequent.To encourage your cat to use the condo, scatter some catnip or cat treats inside it.
QuestionI made my kitten a condo and lined it with a blanket so I could wash it. He loves his blanket, so how do I replace it while I'm washing it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI would try to find another blanket that your kitten loves and use that to cover the condo whenever you need to wash the first blanket. That should keep your kitten happy and calm until the blanket is ready to be placed back on the condo.Thanks!
- Place the cat condo in a place your cat frequents. Your cat will be more likely to notice the cat condo. It may also help your cat that it is for her.
- Some cats will need a little more time to get used to the cat condo.
- Make your cat condo comfortable by leaving a soft blanket or towel inside. If your cat has a certain blanket she likes, consider putting that inside the condo as well.
- Consider painting your cat condo. You can paint it a solid color, or add pretty designs to it. You cat may not care about what it looks like, but doing this might help it match your room decor.
- Encourage your cat to use the condo by leaving some treats or catnip inside it.
- If your cat refuses to use the cat condo, consider selling or donating it.
- Encourage your cat to use the condo with toys. Consider leaving your cat's favorite toy inside the condo. If your cat likes to chase string or cat teasers, consider guiding your cat into/onto the cat condo with it.
- Reward your cat when she uses the condo with affection and attention. It may take some time before your cat uses her condo. When she does, give her lots of attention. If she likes getting scratched under the chin or behind the ear, do that. If she likes a certain cat treat, give her a few.
- Be careful of the types of toys you leave inside the condo. Don't leave anything that will come apart easily or that your cat can choke on.
- Make sure no cats are nearby while you make this. Cats are curious creatures. The last thing you'd want is to get paint on your cat.
- Do not force your cat to use it. If you do, your cat will start to associate bad things with it and avoid it.
- Some cats just don't like cat condos. If your cat does not use the cat condo, try scattering some cat treats or catnip inside.
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