Cat Furniture, Cat Toys

How to Turn Furniture into DIY Cat Trees

1 How to Turn Furniture into DIY Cat Trees - Cats Will Play

You love your cat and you love do-it-yourself projects... or maybe you're just handy and dissatisfied with the quality of pre-made cat furniture. Either way, there are lots of ways that you can create beautiful, functional and, most importantly, sturdy all by yourself. In this article, we will discuss how you can make DIY cat trees and modify existing pieces. We will also recommend useful tools and cool furniture options. So let's get to it!

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Why Should You Turn Furniture into Cat Trees?

Why would you want to turn a piece of furniture into a cat tree? Well, to begin, your options are nearly endless. For example, using a desk you can turn desktops into beds, shelves into perches, cabinets into cubby holes. Another important point is that, although there are tons of great choices available, many pre-made cat trees can be wobbly and weirdly-built. On the other hand, a bookshelf intended for a child is meant to be sturdy in order to prevent injuries. If you use a hearty piece of furniture, then you reduce the risk of your raucous little feline pulling down his tree during a particularly frisky play session.

How to Turn Furniture into Cat Trees

There are plenty of ways to turn your furniture into kitty play places. To start, consider both your furniture and your living arrangement. What do you want to use: An end table? A book shelf? A desk? How many cats do you have in your house, and how old are they? How much space do you have to work with? Once you have answered these questions, you can get to work. Here are a few examples you can use to get you going:

End Tables

Small end tables are excellent for creating DIY cat trees if you're limited on space, but still want to put together a fun spot for your kitty to play. In most cases these simple tables boast both an upper tabletop and a smaller platform below. For the upper portion, you could easily create a small, upholstered cushion for sleeping, or simply install carpeting for kitty to scratch on.

Below, you could hang toys, create a leaning scratcher along the side, or install a puzzle. If you don't mind doing a bit of disassembly, you could also move the lower platform up a bit, cut a hole in it, and attach a cat tunnel. Finally, don't let the columns go to waste; wrap them in sisal and let the shredding begin!


Sauder North Avenue Side Table


Desks are some of my favorite pieces of furniture to turn into DIY cat trees! Why? Because they are so immensely versatile, not to mention surprisingly rugged. So what can you do with a desk? Of course, it depends on what type you have, but if you have a proper study-style desk, you can do just about anything. If your setup has cabinets, cut holes in the doors and create cozy kitty caves, or leave them intact and use them for cat toy storage. Built in shelves? Perches galore! Desktops make for excellent cat beds and horizontal scratching pads. Hang things from the shelves, install cat grass planters or food dishes. Really, you can do just about anything your creative soul desires!


Utopia Alley Collapsible Fold Down Desk

Coffee Tables

Coffee tables may not seem like the most useful pieces when it comes to creating DIY cat trees, but you might be surprised. Although they're fairly simple in design, there are still plenty of things you can do with them. For instance, you can create a small cat house along the top, or – if you're really good with woodworking – you could easily install a fun tabletop puzzle, maze, or whack-a-mole-style game.

If your coffee table has a lip around the bottom, you could easily slide in a piece of wood, thus allowing for a “second floor.” In some cases, coffee tables come with a lower deck already installed. In either instance, this secondary spot would make for a perfect hidey hole for your furry little friend. If those options aren't available, however, you can still put together a nice cozy space with your coffee table by tacking up walls around each section, then cutting out kitty-sized holes, or even installing small cat doors.


VASAGLE Retro Coffee Table


Bookshelves are a fantastic option for DIY cat trees. For one thing, they're pretty sturdy – I mean, think about it... they are made to hold numerous hefty tomes, so why not your tiny feline friend? Another thing to consider is that they are typically pretty slim, so there's a good chance they will fit into homes with limited space. Finally, they are easy to customize. Depending on the bookshelves you select, you may be able to move the shelves themselves to allow for a variety of heights. You can also cut cat-sized holes and install small ramps, thus allowing kitty to roam around freely between the various levels.

To turn your bookshelf into the ultimate DIY cat tree, arrange the holes and ramps as you see fit, then install pieces of carpet or sisal around some or all of the shelves, use animal-safe glue to position cardboard pieces against the back walls for scratchers, place some beds around, and hang dangling toys.


Homfa 6-Shelf Bookcase

TV Stands

TV stands, much like desks, are great pieces to use for DIY cat trees. There are plenty of very simple options on the market, which are ideal for smaller homes or apartments; however, if you have the room, the large entertainment consoles cannot be beat for versatility. That little DVD nook can easily be transformed into a cozy hiding spot, while toys can be hung from the TV rack. Carpeting can cover the whole expanse, while sisal fabric can swath the shelves. As with anything, use your imagination, and remember what your cat likes. With a TV stand, your options are pretty much unlimited, so take advantage!


Walker Edison Furniture Company Entertainment Console

A Note of Caution:
test the strength and steadiness of your chosen furniture prior to creating your cat tree. Although these suggestions can be a ton of fun, they are simply no good if they are unsafe. Give your piece a good shake and wobble to see how much harassment it can take before tipping. Place weights, bricks, or heavy stacks of books to test its strength. Also be sure to watch out for any sharp pieces, projecting hardware, or nibble-worthy patches, and repair or replace parts as necessary.


As you can see, there are plenty of ways to turn furniture into DIY cat trees. So if you're hankerin' for a fun project, then get to it already – you're kitty will thank you for it!

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Image via Piqsels under CC0 1.0

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