Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!

Learn How to Build Your Own Functional Cat Tower and Save Money!

In Blog, Decor, How To Guides, Projects for our fury friends by Megan Hodge4 Comments

Somehow, three dogs simply were not enough for Ian and I.  We decided it was time to add a sweet, adorable kitten to the mix.  Say hello to, Cleo, aka Cleopatra.  She is seriously the sweetest little thing I have ever met.  Cleo just wants to cuddle pretty much all of the time.  And, she is a purr machine!  The moment you start petting her, she is purring non-stop.  She also has a sassy attitude, which I totally adore.  I’m pretty sure this kitten in my soul animal. Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!

We actually got to meet Cleo the day she was born.  One of my good friends became a foster for cats, and she took in a pregnant cat that was due to have her kittens any day.  They were born on April fool’s day.  Go figure 😉

The other funny part to this story is Cleo’s first name was Toby.  We were told this kitten was a boy after it was born.  So for a long time, Ian and I envisioned having our first boy in the family, and we were trying to come up with all these names that would be fitting for a little boy.  My friend called me the day all the kittens were spayed and neutered, and she said she had some good news and bad news.  I told her to give me the bad news first.  My mind was racing with these thoughts that little Toby did not survive the surgery, or there was something wrong with him medically that required further surgery.  My friend said, “Toby is actually a girl.”  I just died laughing.  It would be Ian and I’s luck that the moment we try to add a boy to the mix with our three female dogs, we end up with another girl.  It was kind of a weird moment because we were expecting a male kitten and now it was female all of the sudden.  I wondered if this is what parents feel like when they have a baby and find out it is a different gender than what they were told after the baby is born.

I could not care less what gender our sweet little kitten was.  I was just so ecstatic to have a kitten!  Gender did not matter to me because we knew we were going to love, adore, and care for it.  We decided to name little Toby, Cleopatra, and it was perfectly fitting.  So here we are with our sweet, Cleo. 🙂

Since Ian and I had some time before we could bring her home between the time she was born and being spayed, we wanted to build her a cat tower.  This cat tower has a little bit of a twist to it.  We also wanted to make it functional for us.  We decided to place two shelves in the cat tower to hold Ian’s Xbox, as well as our DVDs, video games, and remote controls.  Our living room is a bit small, so making furniture that can serve several purposed is essential for us.  We also needed to do custom measurements, so it would fit in the area we wanted to place the cat tower.

Cat towers can cost an upwards of $100.  Our cat tower cost us around $45.  Plus, it is a custom piece, which makes it even more valuable. Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!

Here are the supplies and materials we used:

5 Ply Sanded Pine Plywood 15/32” (1)

2”x10’ PVC pipe (1)

Twisted Sisal Rope 100ft x ¼” (2)

1x6x10’ White Wood Board

Indoor/Outdoor rug we already had, but we were not going to use anymore (you can find the exact same one we used here).

Drill Driver

Screws 1 1/8

Wood Glue

Wood Clamps (6”, 36”)

Wood Filler


Staples (we used 1/4”)

Staple Gun

Super Glue

Vise Grip

Miter Saw


We already had the rug and all of the other supplies, so our expenses were wood, PVC pipe, and twisted sisal rope.

Cuts of Wood Needed and Construction

  1. You will make 7 cuts with your 5 ply Sanded Pine Plywood.
    1. For us, we needed to fill a space that was 18 ¾” W x 22” L x 40” H. This did not include the miniature staircase that wrapped around.  Including the staircase, our cat tower was 24” W total.
    2. We cut 5 pieces at 17 ½” W x 22” L. All of these pieces form the top platform, 3 shelves, and bottom piece.
    3. Then you need to cut 2 pieces for the side. These pieces measured 22” w x 40” L.
  2. Glue and clamp your top platform piece to the two long side pieces of plywood. Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!
    1. It is helpful to have someone hold the wood together while you glue and clamp. Go ahead and insert one of your shelf pieces to provide some support, while you glue and clamp.  We used our 36” wood clamps to get a good hold for the top and side pieces.
    2. Be sure to wipe off any excess wood glue after clamping!
    3. Wait about 30 minutes to 1 hour to ensure you got a good hold with the glue. Then use your drill driver to add 6 1 1/8” screws to the top piece and the side pieces. Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!
  3. Glue and clamp your next shelf under the newly attached top piece. Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!
    1. Decide how much space you want for your shelf. For us, this was 5” to accommodate Ian’s Xbox.  Use a tape measurer to find where you should place your shelf.  Add another shelf piece lower to continue to provide support for the newly attached top shelf and sides.  Place wood glue on the shelf you are about to attach, and position that shelf piece at your desired spot below the top piece.
    2. Once again use wood clamps to secure the new shelf at your desired spot.
    3. Wipe away any excess wood glue that seeps out.
    4. After about 30 minutes to an hour, place a total of 4 screws on the new shelf. So, two screws on each side of the shelf.
  4. Cut 3 pieces of PVC pipe for your scratching posts using the Miter Saw
    1. Our posts needed to be 13” h. We put one on one shelf and two on the very bottom shelf.
    2. Drill a hole about 1/16-1/8 away from the edge of the top and bottom.
      1. The bit size should be the same size as the rope.
      2. We placed the piece of PVC in our vice to hold it steady while drilling.
    3. Pull enough rope through one of the holes so you can tie a knot.
      1. This will allow you to pull hard on the rope to get a snug coil.
    4. For the first few wraps of rope, use a good bit of superglue so the bottom is very secure.
      1. We left the piece in the vice for this as well so we could give the rope a really good tug.
    5. Once the first few wraps of rope are dry, you can lay one strip of superglue down the piece of pipe (we did about 4” at a time) and start wrapping, making sure to get the rope tight and bunched together.
    6. Once you get to the last 2” of the pipe, repeat what you did in step 4 and use more superglue for a secured end.
    7. With the remaining portion, pull it through the hole on that end of the pipe, tie a knot right on the edge, and cut the remaining off.
  5. Repeat step 3 for your other shelves. Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!
    1. Our next shelf was 61/2” below the new shelf to accommodate our DVDs and video games. Then our other two shelves had 13” of space between them.
    2. Before you place the shelves, cut your rug or fabric to fit the bottom two shelves. Attach the fabric or rug with a staple gun. Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!
    3. For the bottom shelves, we wanted to place scratching posts with our PVC pipe and twisted sisal rope.
  6. Cut your stairs. Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!
    1. With the 1x6x10’ white wood board, we cut our stairs in 2” pieces. So, one stair has a 2” ledge and 2” support.  In order to get the stairs from the bottom of the cat tower to the side, we needed (19) 2” pieces.  Then we needed a side platform to connect the front stair to the stairs that wrapped around the side of the cat tower.  The platform piece was a 5 ¼” x 5 ¼” square.  Then we needed another (19) 2” pieces to go along the side of the tower, with a final 4 ¼” x 5 ½” landing before reaching the top of the tower.
  7. Glue and Clamp the front stairs. Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!
    1. This part takes a bit of time. Take one 2” piece and stand it up.  Lay another 2” piece on top to form a stair. Attach with wood glue and 6” wood clamps.
    2. Allow this to dry. Then attached another 2” piece to the top edge of the previous 2” piece.  Continue this process of gluing and clamping, until you have all 19 pieces secured.
      1. Make sure you are occasionally placing the steps on the tower to see how level the steps are and that everything is looking like it will work as expected
    3. Once you have all 19 steps done, use wood glue to attach the steps to the tower
      1. Use the glue only where the steps contact the tower so you do not have a mess on your hands
      2. Line up the back of the highest step with the outside edge of the tower
  • Use wood clamps to hold the steps in place while the wood glue dries
  1. Now, attach your 5 ¼” x 5 ¼” platform piece to the top of your set of stairs.
  2. That is the front steps done!
  1. Glue and Clamp the side set of stairs Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!
    1. For these stairs, you will glue each piece onto the next that is already attached to the tower
      1. So, you will not be building the whole stair then attaching it to the tower, but attaching it to the tower piece by piece
    2. For extra support on the side steps, add the 1/8 screws from inside the tower into the steps on a few steps
      1. This will ensure these steps will not fall off
    3. Make sure to use the wood clamps for each step
    4. Once you get within a step of the top level, cut a platform that extends to the back of the tower for a clean finish to the steps
  2. Cut and glue your stair railing.
    1. We decided we wanted to make the cat tower look like a real stair case with a little railing.
      1. You will definitely want to do this after the stairs are made and attached.
    2. If you cut the stairs 2”, you will be able to use a 1×4 board.
    3. Using the miter saw, cut off the end at a 45° angle.
    4. Place the board against the front stairs (with the 45° edge on the ground).
    5. Using a pencil, mark where the platform reaches on the board.
      1. The line should be at a 45° angle to the edge of the board.
    6. Cut the board along your marked line.
      1. This should create another 45° angle.
    7. Glue the board to the stairs and clamp it nice and tight.
    8. Repeat this for the side steps as well for the full look!
  3. Take your rug, or fabric you want to use for your cat tower.
    1. We covered the top of the platform, and the two bottom shelves that held the scratching posts. Measure the area you need to cover before you cut!
    2. Use a staple gun and secure the rug or fabric to the shelves you want covered. We chose my outdoor rug because it was durable and would hold up well to scratching and kneading.  We also had no intention to use it again, so it made sense to use it for this purpose! Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!
    3. Cut out 2” pieces to cover all of the tops of your stairs, as well as pieces to cover the 2 platforms that attach the stairs. Use a staple gun to attach.
  4. Squeeze in your scratching posts.
    1. They should hold up well and be stable if you measured correctly.
  5. Place in your desired location! Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at! Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!

How cute is that?!  Cleo loves using the stairs we made, and she is constantly on her cute cat tower!  Eventually we want to add on to the tower, so she can sit higher up if she wants to.  But, that is the beauty of custom!  You can add as you go along.  It does not always have to be done at one time. Do you ever wonder if you could build your own cat tower? Learn how at!

Ian and I already have plans for another custom cat tower to put in our guest bedroom (it has pretty much become Cleo’s room… Sorry, not sorry, any future guests!).  For future pet projects, we have homemade dog beds coming up as well as a window seal perch for Lady, our border collie Pitbull mix, because she LOVES looking out the window during the day.  Any side tables we own become completely taken over by her if it is by a window.  We love our fur babies, and we want to share the love through sharing our projects we create for them! Our next post goes back to another McDodge recipe, so look forward to that!

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