We often take the easy route and purchase cat furniture at the pet store only to find out that it does not last through many moves or cats, and often can not be repaired. Yes, constructing your own requires some basic tools that are not very expensive and you must be willing to do the work. Below is a step by step procedure for condo construction that will last a lifetime. Copper kettle Our estimated budget is set at $50-$75 range.
Steps for constructing a cat condo which also serves as a scratching post as follows:
Materials needed for a basic condo: 3/4 inch plywood you may have around the house or you can purchase at a lumbar yard. 3 pieces of 3′ by 3′, (top, bottom, upper piece), 4 pieces of 2′ by 3′, (sides of the base), 2 pieces of 2″ by 4″ by 8′ pine or 1 piece of 4″ by 4″ by 8′, (important notice you must double up the 2 by 4’s or 4 by 4’s if you desire a 5 or 6 foot condo), optional 4 medium to light duty rollers/wheels with bases, (to make the condo portable), 1 small box of number 8 galvanized nails, 1 small box of number 10 or 16 galvanized nails, 1 box of 9/16 staples for a staple gun, 16 wood screws 3/4 inch no thicker than the holes on the wheel base, wood glue, left over carpet or buy remnants from the carpet store.
Tools: hand saw, hammer, staple gun, Phillips screwdriver, hand drill, carpet knife or box cutter, and jig saw or coping saw.
1. Build the base first with the pre cut plywood using glue and number 8 nails. I like to join the 4 pieces of 2′ by 3′ into a square first. Glue the ends and nail at least 4 nails per corner. Careful to match opposite sides as to how the lumber overlaps so you end up with a near perfect 3′ by 3′ square. At this point you have the option to notch out an entry door or several doors using the coping saw on the bottom edge so choose which is the top and bottom edges of the square you made and mark them so.
2. Half way on one side of one 3′ by 3′ plywood, cut out a 4 inch by 4 inch notch the do the same cut out on the opposite side. That will be the top of the base and the uncut 3′ by 3′ will be the bottom. Join the 3′ by 3′ pieces top and bottom to the sides. The bottom or base 3′ by 3′ will join with the doors you cut out. Don’t worry about the sides being slightly shorter or longer because it will all be covered up with carpet. Key here is that the wood mates up enough to glue and again drive in at least 6 nails per side top and bottom.
3. This step you have to decide if you want a 4, 5, or 6 foot tall condo as noted above in the materials list. Caution, the taller the condo the more unstable it is with cats playing on the top deck so please do not go over 6 feet unless you plan to anchor it to a wall. Join side by side 2 of the 2″ by 4″ pieces to it is like a single 4″ by 4″ piece using glue and number 10 or 16 nails. Next take that piece and see if it fits down inside the box were you notched out the top. Notch more if necessary and remember blemishes will be covered up by carpet. Join the other 2″ by 4″ and check the other side. Now one at a time nail the 4″ post to the bottom by laying the square on its side with the notch area pointing up and insert the 4″ post then nail from the bottom base into the base of the 4″ post with at least 3 of the number 10 or 16 gauge nails. Next, nail from the side of the 2 by 3 into the 4″ post with at least 3 or 4 of the number 10 or 16 nails.
4. Now you can start cutting pieces of carpet. I like to cut for the sides of the base first allowing overlap the bottom 3′ by 3′ glue and staple in place with the staple gun. If some of the staples are visible the use the hammer to pound them in further. Use your carpet knife to remove carpet where the doors are then stable the carpet around the door. Next cover the top and trim around the 4 by 4 posts, and staple. Leave the posts bare for now.
5. With the last 3′ by 3′ piece cut out a 5 or 6 inch circle in the center using a coping saw then attach it to the posts with glue and at least 3 number 10 or 16 gauge nails. Now you can carpet the posts and top perch, (both sides please on the perch), and cut out the carpet to open up the hole/door to the perch. Staple around both sides of the door as well as all edges. On the posts I like to finish attaching carpet with number 8 nails at least on two sides but all four is best. Nail about 4 nails 10 inches apart on all four sides.