When we got the cats, we bought a cat tree so they would have something to play on immediately. But every time I walked but it, I thought it would be a fun project to attempt on my own. After doing some research and getting a ton of inspiration from this video by Matt Weere, I decided to jump in.
I started by drawing it out in Sketchup. This is pretty much a direct copy of the one in the video but since there were no plans, it helped to at least do a rough drawing first.
The carpet was always the biggest blocker when I thought about the project. Buying remnants is the cheapest way to go, but where can I get just the right amount and not end up with gobs of extra (or too little.) I found out that you can buy carpet from Home Depot by the foot. It comes on 12′ wide rolls but you only need to buy one 12′ strip at a time. I went there with the intention of doing that but ended up getting a 6’x9′ piece of indoor/outdoor carpet like what you would lay outside of a camper. I thought that was a smart move because it was cheaper and easier to work with.
It wasn’t a smart move. While it was cheaper and easier to work with, it doesn’t look as good because you can’t hide staples in it, and you can’t join the fibers together at the seams.
That being said, it did work out ok. It just doesn’t look as nice as I had hoped it would. I used 12″ carboards tubes (meant for doing concreate work) for the various circles in the project and the rest was just a few 2x4s and some 3/4″ plywood.
The cats were hesitant about the new structure but quickly warmed up to it and they can regularly be found sleeping on it. The circles on top of the posts are probably a few inches too small (our cats are 10-11 pounds) but they don’t seem to mind and they love having another view out of the window.
If I was going to do it again… I wouldn’t do it again. Covering shapes with carpet is tough and it would have been even more work with shaggy carpet. I won’t mind paying for the next one as much now that I know how much work goes into making one. I do have some other cat projects in mind, but I don’t think it will be another tree.