Introduction: DIY Cat Tree House
Big cat trees are beautiful but really expensive. One day I saw this huge cat tree and the more I looked at it, the more I convinced myself that I could build one fornothing! Not even half of the price.
I already had all of the things needed to make this cat tree so I really had to buy nothing.
But still, if you are going to build one too and don't have all the materials, you can buy them spending just a few dollars.
Before buying anything though, make sure to look around and reuse what you can find:
the thick cardboard tubes I used were found near factories, ready to be thrown in the garbage. I got them before deciding to make this project because they are incredibly strong and can be used for many different projects.
So, this is my version of that cat tree. I ended up making a few changes and personalizing it a bit.
I really hope you like it, and if you do, I would really appreciate your vote in contests! :D Thanks!
Step 1: Materials and Tools:
- different sizes of wood (see the next steps)
- thick cardboard tubes - the diameter of the ones I used is about 7cm ( inches)
- 4 curtain wooden rods (or anything similar) - diameter: 3cm ( inches)
- a piece of thick styrofoam
- fabric - I used one that looks like velvet/plush
- thin upholstery foam - about 2cm ( inches)
- 12 screws
- thin nails - with nail gun if you have one, or just a hammer
- staples and staple gun
- upholstery batting
- lots of twine
- primer for wood and any paint you like
- black acrylic paint
- paint brush
- sheet of paper
- sewing machine
- super glue or hot glue
- white glue
- velcro pieces
- cutter or x-acto knife
- drill with hole cutter and forstner bit
- sand paper
Yes, they are a fewbut the main ones are not so many after all ;)
Step 2: Cut the Base Pieces
Let's start cutting the base pieces out of wood using a jigsaw.
The base is composed of 2 different pieces: a rectangle and a square.
The rectangle (A) is 55 x 40cm ( x inches) and the square (B) is 30 x 30cm ( inches).
Piece A needs to have 3 round holes that don't pass through. I used a forstner bit that is as big as the rods' diameter (3cm - inches).
This means that you must make a hole from the front side until about half of the wood's thickness. Don't let the drill's bit pierce the whole wood till the bottom! (see third photo)
Let's call them "half holes"! :)
Please look at the drawing in the first picture to see the measures for each hole on the rectangle.
The square (B) only needs one half hole right in the middle.
Make sure to sand each of your wooden pieces after you've cut them. Start with thick sandpaper and end with a fine one to smooth the wood.
Do this for ALL of your wooden pieces, including the ones in the next steps.
Step 3: Cut the Top Pieces
The top of the cat tree will have multiple top pieces:
- the cat house
- 2 round pieces ("C" in the drawing)
I will show you how to build the cat house in the next steps, let's prepare the 2 round pieces now.
Draw a circle on a piece of wood. The circle needs to have a diameter of about 40cm.
Cut it using a jigsaw. Cutting a round piece is a little complicated and you must be accurate, but it's not impossible! :)
Make another wooden disc just like this one.
Now make a "half hole" in the middle of each of them, just like the holes made in the previous pieces.
Step 4: Cut the Rods
The 4 rods will keep the whole structure up so they are very important.
- the shortest one is 85cm ( inches)
- the tallest one is cm ( inches)
- the 2 middle ones are cm ( inches)
I cut them using a jigsaw like I did before. To make sure that the cut turns out perfect and the rods won't shake while you cut them, keep both ends firm with something or ask someone to keep one side while you keep the other with your free hand.
These rods will be placed in the "half holes" you made in the bases (as you can see in the picture), but you'll do this at the end.
Step 5: Cut the Middle Pieces
Between the top and base of the cat tree there are other pieces of wood. All of them are mainly rectangles, but you can make different shapes too!
Here is how to cut them:
- Piece D is 40 x 30cm ( x inches) with 2 REAL holes on the sides.
- Piece E is 30 x 20cm ( x inches) with a hole on one side only.
- Piece F* is just like piece D (40 x 30cm) and one hole on the side. I decided to make its shortest sides round, just to make a different piece, but this is not necessary.
- Piece G (not in the drawing) is exactly like piece A on step 2. The only difference is that G has real holes instead.
Please keep looking at the drawing to see the measures for the holes.
Remember that all of these holes are regular holes (not half holes), but they are just as big as the others. For this reason you can use the same forstner bit you used before, or a hole cutter with the same diameter.
*Other than making it roundish, I decided to paint my F piece instead of upholstering it. I passed a layer of wood primer on it before painting it.
You are free to do this as well or you can upholster it instead, it's not really important!
Step 6: Upholster the Wooden Pieces - Part 1
It's time to start upholstering the round pieces (C)!
Cut a big piece of fabric (I used one that looks like velvet/plush). It must be big enough to cover the whole side of the disc.
Also, cut a disc out of upholstery foam that is about 1cm ( inches) bigger than the wooden disc, all around. I used a foam that is 2cm thick ( inches).
Lay your piece of fabric with the front facing the table and place the foam disc on it.
Finally place the wooden disc on it with the half hole in front of you. The side of the wooden piece with the half hole is its bottom.
Start folding the 4 sides of the fabric on the wood and staple them using a staple gun, pulling the fabric a little to keep it tight.
Keep stapling the fabric all around the wooden disc. Make sure to always pull it so that there won't be too many bumps all around it.
When you are done, cut out the exceeding fabric.
Step 7: Upholster the Wooden Pieces - Part 2
The bottom of the discs will be visible too because they will be lifted from the floor. For this reason you should cover it too.
To do this, cut a smaller piece of fabric that is about as big as the disc. Make it round too, but it doesn't need to be perfect.
Lay it on the wood trying to center it, and staple it all around the disc folding the edges on the inside, as you can see in the second photo.
As usual, make sure to start stapling the 4 sides, then proceed with the rest.
Do all of this for your other wooden disc too. These will be the only soft pieces. I decided not to put any foam on the other rectangles, but you can do that if you prefer.
So, upholster all of the other wooden pieces just like you did for the round ones and without the foam.
The rectangular pieces are much easier to upholster than the discs: simply staple the straight sides, finally pull the angles and staple them too.
The bottoms of the 2 base pieces (A and B) don't need to be covered with more fabric because they will be hidden. I decided to still cover them using a scrap of thinner fabric, but it's not necessary.
When you are done upholstering all pieces, make some cuts where the holes and half holes are to free them from the fabric.
Step 8: Prepare the Cardboard Tubes
All the wooden pieces are ready now so let's work on the tubes.
You need to cut them with a jigsaw because they are really thick. Make sure to follow the advice I gave you on step 4 about cutting rods.
These are the sizes:
- 6 tubes are 40cm ( inches)
- 1 tube is 82cm ( inches)
- 2 tubes are 35cm ( inches)
- 1 tube is 46cm ( inches)
- 1 tube is 38cm ( inches)
If your tubes are shorter than that, join 2 together with some scotch tape. I did that to create the longest tube I needed.
My tubes have a hole inside that is bigger than the diameter of my rods, so I cut some discs out of styrofoam using a drill with 2 different hole cutters: one is as big as my tubes' hole, and the other is as big as my rods' diameter.
I made many of these and inserted a couple of them inside each of my tubes. This way the whole structure wouldn't shake too much at the end.
Step 9: Cover the Tubes With Twine
Every cat scratch post has twine all around itso that's the way I decided to cover my tubes too! The thicker your twine is, the faster this step will be.
You need a lot of twine and patience so watch your favorite movie on tv while you do this :D
The first thing you need to do is to secure the tip of the twine on the edge of the tube. I used some scotch tape, but you can use hot glue if you prefer.
Now I tried 2 different methods to roll the twine around the tube:
roll the twine around the tube applying white glue (or hot glue) every now and then. Make sure to have all rounds very close to each other, moving them a little next to the other if there seem to be holes between them.
stick a couple of long strips of double sided tape on the tube's length. I actually put 3 strips because they were really thin. Roll the twine around the tube pressing it on the sticky strips, always making sure that there are no holes between each round.
Keep rolling and rolling until you reach the other end of the tube. Cut the twine and secure the tip with more glue.
Do this for ALL of your cardboard tubes so that they are all covered with twine! :D
Conclusion: I realized that the second method was much faster to me. The first one took forever.
Step Cut the Cat House Pieces
It's finally time to build the cat house!
The cat house is composed of 5 pieces:
- the bottom is 50 x 36cm ( x inches) and one of its shortest sides is roundish. That round part won't be part of the "box" so consider 38cm ( inches) from the other side (see drawing).
- the 2 sides are 38 x 23cm ( x 9 inches). These pieces will end up closing the box so the side would be 20cm instead, but I considered it 3cm longer because the thickness of my wood pieces is about 1,5cm (x2).
- the top is 38 x 36cm ( x inches), which is exactly like the bottom without the round side.
- the back is 36 x 20cm ( x inches)
- the front is just like the back piece with a round "door" in the middle, as you can see in the drawing.
Please take a look at the drawing to see exactly what I mean and read every measure.
As usual, make sure to sand every piece of wood.
Upholster all of these pieces too, like you did for the previous ones, except the front piece.
Actually, you can upholster it too if you want, but I decided to paint it instead.
To do that, apply a layer or 2 of wood primer, let it dry, sand it a little with fine sandpaper and paint it with the color you like.
Let it dry completely.
Step Decorate the Front
You may think that the front of the cat house is done butit wasn't enough for me! :D
I decided to decorate it and personalize it with stencils of cats paws and my cat's name :)
You can either draw the paws and name or print it. I printed them on paper, trying to adjust the size to my front piece.
By the way, you could also paint all of these by hand directly on the wood if you want to! I am not that good at it so I made my own stencilsand yes, I love creating stencils! :D
If you are making a stencil too and your letters have holes in the middle like my "R" and "e", make sure to draw some "bridges" (see first picture) to keep those holes attached to the rest of the paper around the letters. If you don't do this, you end up having too much space on those spots.
Carefully cut out all of the letters using a cutter or x-acto knife, being as accurate as possible.
When you are done, lay your piece of paper on the wood piece where you want the stencil to be, and keep it firm with a piece of scotch tape, to make sure that it won't move while you paint on it.
Now put some black acrylic paint on a piece of sponge or foam and dab it on the stencil. Too much paint may filter through the paper ruining your stencil so make sure not to put too much and be careful.
When you are done with the stencil of the name, carefully remove it and paint the spaces left free by the stencil's bridges using a tiny paint brush and paint. Also correct any mistake that may have been caused by too much paint.
Do the same for the paws and let everything dry.
Step Compose the Cat House
All of your cat house pieces are ready so you can finally build it! :)
Compose the "box" joining the pieces together with thin nails on the borders. I suggest you to join the back piece with the bottom and top first. Add the sides to close the structure and finally the front.
This cat house is very large and comfortable so my cat loves it!
Step Make a Ladder
The cat tree I saw had a small ladder too. I decided to make one too buttaller!
The ladder is very simple and fun to make.
Cut 2 identical strips of wood that are 95 x 7cm ( x inches) using a jigsaw.
Make an identical oblique cut on one side of both strips.
I decided to make the other side a little roundish.
Make a smaller cut that looks like a long oval close to the round side (see first picture).
These cuts must match with the middle "floor" of the cat tree to be able to hook it and keep the ladder firm. For this reason, you may want to do this at the end when you can put the ladder next to the already-built cat tree.
Sand everything as usual.
Now divide both strips in 6 sections making 5 signs on their length. These 5 signs are the spots where the pegs of the ladder will be.
Make new "half holes" on each of them using a forstner bit, just like you did for all of the other half holes. The diameter is the same one.
Take another rod (you can use pieces left from the ones you cut previously) and cut 5 identical smaller rods out of it with a jigsaw. They need to be 22cm ( inches) long.
Lay the 2 strips of wood next to each other with the half holes facing each other, and insert the rods in them.
Secure the first and last rod of the ladder with 2 screws each, one on the right and one on the left.
All of the others will automatically be blocked thanks to the half holes so you don't need to add other screws :D
Step Twine and Stencilagain!
Glue some more twine around each rod of the ladder, just like you did on the cardboard tubes.
I decided not to paint the rest of the ladder because I like that wood so I simply decorated it with more cat paws on the whole length of the strips :)
Again, I printed, cut my own stencil and dabbed it on the ladder with black acrylic paint. I only made a 4-paws stencil so I kept replacing it following the 2 previous paws, until I reached the other end.
The ladder is done!
Step Secure the Base
I used a particular kind of screw that has a piece with it that can be used to better secure the screw. I am not sure what it's called, but you can see it on the first photos.
This is not really important anyways, you can use regular screws too!
Another thing I made is cutting some thin discs of wood to put under the base pieces, but that's not so important either.
What is really important is to insert the rods in the half holes of the base pieces and secure them from the bottom with one screw each.
This is the way the rods should be placed:
- the 2 middle rods are in the 2 close half holes of piece A
- the tallest rod is alone on the other side of piece A
- the shortest rod is in the square base
Step Compose the Cat Tree!
Yes, it's finally time to compose everything! How fun! :D
Make sure to look at the pictures to understand exactly what I mean:
- insert the 82cm tube in one of the middle rods
- insert the 40cm tube in each of the other 3 rods
- insert piece E in the tallest rod
- insert piece D in the middle rod (the one with the short tube) and in the shortest rod
- insert the remaining 40cm tubes in the tallest rod, in the shortest rod, and in one of the middle rods (on piece D)
- insert piece G in the tallest rod and in the middle rods, right on base A
- insert the two 35cm tubes in the middle rods
- insert the 46cm tube in the tallest rod, then add piece F on it and the 38cm tube on top of it.
Step Add the Top Pieces
Add the round pieces on top of the tallest and shortest rods and secure them with screws, making sure to insert the rods in the half holes at the bottom of the round pieces.
Finally, lay the cat house on top of the two middle rods, making sure to center it, and make a sign on the bottom of the cat house where the rods touch it.
Make holes on the 2 signs using a drill, then lay the cat house on the rods again and secure everything with 2 screws in the holes.
The structure is done!
Step Sew the Pillow
You may think that it's donebut there is one more thing I want to add!
The original cat bed had some round pillows on the round tops, and they are really easy to do.
Cut a long piece out of fabric (always the same one) that is as long at the round top's circumference, and about 30cm ( inches) large.
Fold it in half lengthwise with the back side on the front and sew alongside the two edges, to join them together.
Reverse the piece of fabric so that the seam is hidden inside and the front side of the fabric is back to the front.
Step Fill the Pillow
Fill the piece of fabric with upholstery batting, a little at a time. Make sure to leave some free fabric at the top and bottom.
When you are done, insert one of the sides inside of the other forming a ring.
Fold the edges a little on the inside and join the two sides together with some glue. You can even sew it if you prefer.
Step Place the Pillow on the Cat Tree
Cut 4 strips of velcro and glue them on 4 sides of the pillow ring.
Glue the other side of the velcro pieces on the round top, laying the whole ring on it.
This way you'll be able to keep it there or remove it whenever you want to! :)
I made only one of these for the tallest top, leaving the other round one free. This can be made for both of them though, so I leave the choice up to you!
Your cat tree is finally done!! :D
Don't forget to add the ladder to itand let your cat explore it!
The small base (the short piece of the cat tree) can be moved. This way you can keep it on the side, or form an angle that doesn't require that much space (as you can see in my pictures).
It was a lot of work but definitely worth itmy cat loves it! :)
Please vote for it in contests if you like it! Thanks!
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How Can I Teach My Cat to Love Her Cat Tree?
Q. I bought a new cat tree for my kitty to climb on, but she never goes on it. Are there ways to get her more excited about the climbing area?
A. It’s frustrating when we save up our money to purchase a deluxe item for our felines, but rather than using it, they are still more likely to climb up on the back of the sofa to rest. You can teach your cat to like her climber in a few simple steps. Of course, if your cat has difficulty climbing or seems to have pain when jumping, contact your veterinarian, as she may have an underlying health issue that is making climbing, jumping or balance difficult.
Teach Your Cat to Love Her Climber
I recently underwent a similar challenge when I tried to move my three-legged cat, Nemo, from his favorite resting place on the computer desk to his new cat tree. Despite having only three legs, Nemo, like most cats, enjoys scaling heights and looking down on the world from a high vantage point. The three-leveled cat tree we built and placed next to my desk seemed like the perfect alternative. But he wasn’t nearly as excited about the transition as I was and was more inclined to hang out on his old resting spot.
The cat tree has become Nemo's preferred place to explore and rest, but it took a little training. Here's what worked for Nemo — and me.
Five Simple Strategies
Choose your location carefully. Put the cat tree in the part of the house your cat frequents most. In my house, this was the computer room. If you have multiple cats, they may not always share fairly, and you may need to look at getting another climbing structure and placing it in another area of the house so that all your cats can have equal access to climbing areas.
Make the cat tree a center of attention. If your cat has a close relationship with you and enjoys your interaction, one of the best ways to encourage her to use the climbing area is to give her affection, praise and petting while she's on the climbing area. If your cat enjoys being petted, you can save the kitty massage for the times when she's on the cat tree. Minimize the amount of attention she is given when she's on the ground or in her old climbing areas.
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Bad Idea: Buying Cheap Resale Items Used by Other Cats
Wonderful treasures are found through Craigslist, Freecycle, garage sales, flea markets, and other resale venues. Additionally, in economically challenging times, these resale communities are choice for finding utilitarian objects at bargain prices. Although its enticing, leave behind all secondhand cat-centric items that were used by unfamiliar felines. They can cause your kitties to become ill or stressed, and also develop behavior issues.
Here are the reasons that pre-owned cat items including scratching posts, cat trees, litter boxes, cat carriers, grooming tools, and toys should not be introduced to your kitties:
Olfactory clues can cause stress
Cats have highly developed senses of smell it is paramount for their survival. Olfactory clues help cats navigate their environment, and it functions as a means of communication. Scent also identifies a cats family and friends, and it helps cats avoid rivals and potentially dangerous situations. Cats also use scent to mark their territories and for signalling sexual availability. Olfactory signals last scent can be detected long after an object has been marked. Although you probably cant detect other cats smells on gently used bargains, your kitties certainly can. The scent of feline strangers can disrupt and threaten your established household cats. They don’t know whether a rival has invaded their territory.
Cats distribute their scent a number of ways. Pheromones are secreted through glands located on different areas of their bodies. Scent glands on the bottom of the paws release pheromones whenever objects are scratched marking territories and broadcasting information about the scratcher. Every time cats scratch, they leave little territorial messages for other kitties. They also mark and claim ownership by rubbing their cheeks and heads on objects such as cat furniture and toys. Olfactory clues left by scratching, head bunting, and cheek rubs linger long after they are deposited.
Scent also binds individuals in a clowder together. (A clowder is a group of cats.) Ferals as well as kitties in multicat households form groups. Developing a group scent is important helps individuals recognize family and friends and identify potential rivals. This group scent is established through allogrooming and rubbing and is also distributed on shared resources. Although disputes sometimes happen, kitties who live together will use communal litter boxes, relax on cat trees, and play with the same toys. Introducing cat-centric objects that have unfamiliar cat scents on them can disrupt the dynamics of the group and stress the individuals.
Used litter boxes, even if gently used by a stranger, shouldn’t be brought into your home either. Smelling an unfamiliar cat can upset the residents, sometimes to the point of avoiding the litter box.
Used items can carry disease
Olfactory considerations aside, used cat items have other built-in unknowns. The previous cat might have been ill. Some pathogens that are shed by sick felines survive in the environment for weeks, months, and years. Panleukopenia, a fatal and highly contagious virus, can exist for years at room temperature on objects. Ringworm, a fungus, is contracted by spores that are shed it can easily live on grooming tools, cat furniture, and beds for as long as two years. These pathogens are robust, and decontaminating the objects can be difficult. For your cats sake, it’s better to overlook the used bargains and invest in new.
No matter how attractive and alluring secondhand cat items are, pass them by and buy new. Don’t take a chance on them, theyre risky. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on cat stuff you can make your own. You can also build cat trees and put shelves up for climbing and perching. Instead of used litter boxes, buy large, plastic storage containers. Theyre inexpensive and double perfectly as litter boxes. Buying new items or making your own will ensure your kitties aren’t stressed by the smells of felines they’ve never met, and it will help minimize exposure to potentially serious pathogens.
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Do you have a cat behavior question for Marilyn? Ask our behaviorist in the comments below and you might be featured in an upcoming column. If you suspect a behavioral problem, always rule out any possible medical issues that may be causing the behavior by first having your cat examined by a veterinarian.
Marilyn, a certified cat behavior consultant, owner ofThe Cat Coach, LLC, solves cat behavior problems nationally and internationally through on site and Skype consultations. She uses positive reinforcement, including environmental changes, clicker training and other behavior modification techniques.
She is also an award winning author. Her bookNaughty No More! focuses on solving cat behavior problems through clicker training and other positive reinforcement methods. Marilyn is big on education she feels it is important for cat parents to know the reasons behind their cat’s behaviors.
She is a frequent guest on television and radio, answering cat behavior questions and helping people understand their cats.
Me near used towers cat
Image via iStock.com/gollykim
By Nancy Dunham
It’s not unreasonable to want to save some money by shopping for used pet supplies, but it might not always be wise to buy secondhand dog houses, cat trees, pet apparel and other items.
Almost anyone who visits a yard sale will find all types of used gear for dogs, cats and other pets. And of course, there are websites where you can buy and sell secondhand cat trees, dog houses and other pet supplies.
Some veterinarians think it’s fine to buy such supplies, while others have an opposing viewpoint. The vets interviewed for this piece agree that it’s vital to take some precautions if you opt for secondhand pet goods.
“I’m a vet, so I’m well versed in the subjects of microbiology, parasitology and transmission of disease. Excuse me if I appear to be a germophobe, but I would tend to err on the side of caution,” says Dr. Jeff Levy, DVM, of House Call Vet NYC, New York. “I would prefer to start with items that are as hygienic as possible. We have to be careful about introducing fleas, ticks, mites and pet illnesses and diseases.”
Does that mean you shouldn’t ever use secondhand pet supplies and projects? No, but some precautions are necessary to keep your pet safe, and some items should just be avoided. Consider these cautions from veterinarians:
Thoroughly inspect seemingly solid objects. Before you buy a small pet carrier, dog crates or other items, make sure that the item is in good shape. “I think as long as the integrity of dog crates is checked, all screws or securing devices seem stable, and there are not any obvious cracks or other damage to the crate, they should be fine to purchase secondhand,” says Dr. Taylor Truitt, DVM, founder and CEO of The Vet Set, New York, adding that the items must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before use.
“I would advise purchasing crates used for plane travel to be purchased new,” she says. Crates and carriers take extra beatings during travel, so new is preferred. And, of course, make sure your carrier is approved for boarding.
Thoroughly clean items before use. If you find a secondhand dog crate or similar solid object (like hard plastic pet carriers) that is in good condition, take Dr. Truitt’s advice and disinfect it before your pet uses it. Start by wiping it down thoroughly with a detergent to clean organic material and debris from the surface, says Dr. Justin Shmalberg, DVM, whose affiliations include clinical associate professor at the University of Florida. “The owner should then … disinfect the item for pathogens. If the object can be left outside, placing it in direct sunlight can also reduce the levels of some pathogens,” he says.
Make sure that the cleaning agents you use are safe for pets. Nature’s Miracle Oxy Pet Stain & Odor Remover and Weiman Carpet Cleaner are just two of the many available pet-safe products.
Look twiceat used food dishes and water bowls. “Bowls, especially metal and ceramic, will generally be fine [if they are cleaned] with detergent, but bleach or another disinfectant is not a bad idea if used recently,” says Dr. Shmalberg.
Of course, you need to thoroughly rinse the items to ensure no residue from the detergent or other cleaning agents remain. It’s likely best to avoid used plastic dishes and bowls as a rule. These can collect debris that can seep into the food and water.
Take extra care with clothes. Sure, dogs and cats look cute in little costumes and collars. Still, Dr. Truitt advises owners to first wash them in hot water and detergent before trying them on your pet. You want to make sure these items are free of fleas, ticks and other parasites.
Pay attention to items with porous materials, such as carpet or fabric. “I’d first apply an odor test to the item and make sure it isn’t obviously soiled (remember some cats and dogs have a habit of marking objects, which may be why something is by the side of the road!), says Dr. Shmalberg. “If it passes the odor test and has a solid surface without a lot of nooks and crannies, then it’s probably ok to pick up the item.”
Don’t forget, though, that viruses, such as those that cause upper respiratory tract infections, can persist in their environment for as long as 30 days without cleaning or disinfection, he added. Parasites favor carpet and fabric because they are tough to detect in those places.
“Used objects that have carpet or recessed areas can be a haven for fleas, and that’s not something fun to bring into your house or yard,” says Dr. Shmalberg. “Long story short, if the item isn’t coveted for its unique style, it might not be worth the effort.”
Another reason to avoid used cat trees and similar items is that they may cause adverse reactions in your cats and other pets. “I wouldn't use cat trees secondhand as they'll have the odor of the other cat, and the cat now using it could start urine marking it,” Dr. Truitt says.
“No one knows how common it is for pet parents to bring in something that might have virus, bacteria or fleas, but it certainly does occur,” says Dr. Shmalberg. “It’s better to be safe.” When in doubt, don’t buy or use the item. If your pet can get an illness or disease from such an item, that’s clearly no bargain.
Cat trees came into existence in the year by Frank Crow. His primary goal was to give cats their own “special space” to claw, play, lounge, and sleep.
The invention took off fairly quickly, and since then, many manufacturers have created bigger, grander cat trees. Some are even decorated with plush sleeping hammocks, ladders, and hanging toys! It’s just like Disney World, but for cats.
Many cat trees are eco-friendly, as well, made from sustainable wood, faux fur, and sisal rope.
But what happens to the tree when it’s time to replace it? Are cat trees recyclable? Can you donate or give away your cat tree? Let’s find out!
How Cat Trees Are Made
When answering the question, “can you recycle cat trees?” we first need to know what your cat tree is made from.
There are a ton of different materials used to construct a cat tree. Today, I’ll be discussing some of the most commonly used, which include solid wood, plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particle board, and corrugated cardboard.
A lot of cat tree manufacturers opt for sustainable wood that comes from sustainably managed forests. Solid wood is ideal for those who are looking for a strong, durable cat tree that’ll last for years. It’s much stiffer and hardier than plywood.
Wood can be recycled in multiple ways. Some of which include:
- Reusing it to make other materials, like shelves or wooden toys
- Adding it to your compost heap, like you do with sawdust and wood shavings
- Taking it to your local civic amenity site for recycling
Medium-density fiberboard, or MDF, is a type of wood product that’s made from wood chips, plant fibers, and other related materials. To stick it all together, resin, a synthetic organic polymer, is used.
Before recycling MDFs, it’s important to note that they contain potentially toxic products. If not handled properly, they can be quite hazardous.
Most fiberboards contain urea-formaldehyde. This chemical poses as an odorless gas that’s released during the sanding or cutting process of MDF. It’s toxic when inhaled or absorbed through the skin, and may cause eye and lung irritation when exposed directly.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that recycled fiberboard can be safely transported to agricultural lands. Nonetheless, it’s best to check your area’s local recycling regulations to see if you can recycle fiberboard, or if it’s better to throw it away.
Although plywood is classified as an oriented strand board, it’s entirely recyclable. Just like MDFs, plywood is made of little wood pieces that are held together to be as strong as lumber.
As long as your plywood is untreated, unpainted, and unstained, you can have it recycled. You can also reuse plywood for your DIY projects!
Compared to other cat tree materials, particle boards are less resistant to weight and scratches. Moisture damages them quite easily, as well.
Unlike wood and plywood, it’s difficult to reuse and recycle particle boards. This is primarily due to the off-gassing of formaldehyde gas when cut.
Plus, particle wood can’t be planed or cut without exposing its chips. As such, it makes them virtually useless when it comes to DIY products.
As such, the only way to recycle particle boards is by incineration.
Remember NOT to do this yourself to avoid being exposed to toxic fumes. You can either dispose of it entirely (throw it in your trash bin) or go to your local recycling center so they can take care of it themselves.
Although corrugated cardboard is the “weakest” cat tree material, it’s fairly lightweight and budget-friendly.
Corrugated cardboard is made up of 50% recycled fiber, which makes it completely safe to recycle. Place the corrugated cardboard in your Green Bin so your local haulers can pick it up and transport it to the right location.
The majority of cat trees are covered with carpet because its texture allows a cat to scratch and claw on it. Plus, it’s soft and provides enough cushion for cats to lounge on.
Most of the time, a used and damaged cat carpet can’t be recycled due to its worn state. You can, however, take it to your nearest recycling location if you own a lot of it instead of throwing it away.
Faux fur is softer and finer than the carpet. It has a silk-like feel to it, making it quite comfortable for cats to lay on. Most faux fur is made of sustainable materials, largely using recycled polyester.
I don’t recommend you to use a cat tree’s faux fur to DIY projects for sanitary reasons. You can, however, recycle them. Just like corrugated cardboard, throw them in your Green Bin to be transported correctly.
Sisal rope is made from organic plant fibers, which makes it highly compostable. Due to this, you can safely throw it in your Green Bin.
DIY Cat Tree Recycling Ideas for Wood and Plywood
If you’re big into DIY and recycling, here are some ideas on how to reuse/repurpose an old cat tree!
A lot of cat trees are made from wood, reclaimed materials, bamboo, and plastic. So instead of throwing away your cat tree, why not turn it into a bookshelf instead?
To do this, you’ll first need to completely discard the cat tree’s carpeting, and polish the plank well to remove chips or rough surfaces. If needed, paint the outer layer of the material with a color that suits your aesthetic needs. Better yet, choose one that matches your current furniture.
Once dry, you can just simply screw the plank on an empty wall and use it to hold whatever you want, whether it be a book, plant, or a standing picture frame.
If you own a cat tree that’s made entirely from wood, you can turn it into wooden toys for your kids. Here are some ideas:
- Block Stacker
- Puzzle Piece
- Rattles and Teethers
- Tic-Tac-Toe Blocks
Picture frames are super easy to make! Once you cut the pieces to the right length, all you’ll need to do is to glue the frames together.
Just like wooden shelves, you can paint it once you’re done. Cut a single-strength window glass or clear plastic for the picture frames to beautify it even more.
Is It Safe to Buy a Used Cat Tree?
A great way to give back to the environment is to purchase second-hand products. But although this is true for household furniture and clothes, is it the same for cat trees?
Research believes that used cat toys, cat trees, and other pet-related items can trigger anxiety and disease. Cats have a highly developed sense of smell, so they’ll know if the cat tree has been used by another animal before.
Furthermore, cats are increasingly territorial over their living space. There’s a possibility that they won’t use the cat tree if they know it belongs to another cat. Read this article to find out why some cats won’t use their cat tree.
But even without that, there is sanitation to consider. I myself am a bit paranoid with my cat being in contact with a different cat’s old urine, saliva, etc, so I rarely buy used pet products.
However, as long as you completely disinfect and sanitize the cat tree you’ve purchased, and replace the more important aspects with something entirely brand new (carpets, plush toys, mats), you should be fine!
So can you recycle and reuse a cat tree? Yes, you can! But before you decide to dismantle and recycle your cat tree, consider donating it to a local cat rescue center instead. Especially if it stands strong and looks fairly new!
Alongside used toys, cat trees are among the best things to donate to your local cat shelter. Happy recycling!
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Cats are among the most well-known apartment companions at present. We keep them in mind as part of our families. Considering cats give a sanctuary of calmness and warmness. Being cuddly and lovely is just half of what they are.
Buying a used cat scratching post is generally not a good or safe idea. It can cause stress, illness, and behavioral issues to your pet. Scratching posts can also cause anxiety; consider buying new or making your own.
Since cats have sharp claws, and [annoyingly] scratch a lot, to make co-dwelling smooth, house owners introduce cats to scratching posts. But let’s dig deeper into finding out about the risks of buying a used cat scratching post.
>> Want to see more? Read our reviews of the best cat scratching posts.This guide took us 10+hours of extensive research & you will find everything you need to choose your next scratching post!
Cats are low-maintenance pets. They do not eat too much and rarely become obese, don’t require to be walked as they use a litter box when they have to go no. 2 and other good reasons why you would want to own one. Aside from of relieving your stress and making you feel good every time you cuddle with them.
Having a cat comes with responsibilities, too. As a cat parent, you have to ensure it maintains healthy well-being.
What is a scratching post?
A scratching post is a simple piece of pet furniture. Which can either be made out of plastic or wood wrapped with a rough material like a knit rope, often sisal rope, with an abrasive and sandy texture.
To divert a cat’s urge to scratch you, your furniture, and other valuables, a scratching post is used. It acts the same as a pacifier for when a baby starts to suck his or her thumb.
The rough texture of the scratching post will ensure that the cat’s nails and claws get polished and strengthened while also satisfying their urge to scratch. This serves as a healthier alternative than having them scratch anything else.
Also Read : Best Material For Cat Scratching Post
However, you also have to make sure that the texture is not too abrasive so as not to sharpen their nails any further. On the other hand, a very blunt texture will not stimulate them to scratch on the post.
Why Getting a New Scratching Post Is Important?
There are just enough reasons why you should get your cat a scratching post. Here are some of them:
1. Domestic Reasons
In the past, cats used to hunt, roam free, and socialize outdoors, but they are much more domesticated these days. Today, most cats they stay mostly inside a closed house with little or no outdoor activities.
2. Natural Instincts
Regardless of the type, age and size of your cat, they all share similar instincts and traits. If you are a cat parent or want to be one, then clawing and scratching are their primal instincts you should get yourself used to.
Every time they entertain themselves and play by scratching your furniture, you should know that they do it purely out of instincts, and it makes them feel good. Aside from liking the sensation it produces, it also helps tone their muscles. Simply put, scratching is like their exercise, keeps them healthy.
3. Physical Discomfort
Like most of us, cats treat their manicure as a big deal. They feel uncomfortable too when their nails overgrow and are not trimmed for a long time. This, in turn, affects their movements and natural walking. Their nails also tend to curl inwards, and overgrowth can hurt them and interrupt their hunting performance.
Apart from damaging your valuables when they scratch, they can also end up injuring and hurting themselves due to sharp claws. They can also claw and scratch themselves on purpose due to health issues and stress, and it could be devastating because aside from the pain, they can also have infections, fever, and more. On a side note, in a world where veterinary medical treatments can rack up bills some pet owners opt to get pet insurance for their animals.
Whether you have a kitten or a senior cat, this resource helps you quickly identify potential problems, take proper steps in emergency situations, better understand diagnoses and treatment options, and communicate more effectively with your veterinarian.
If they don’t take out their boredom or stress on something then chances are they will claw and scratch anything else around, from your shoes to your TV and your sofa. They will surely mark and scratch every inch of whatever is front of them because they have to satisfy that urge. Not only will these marks ruin how your place looks it will be expensive to get them replaced or repaired.
This may be the best reason for wanting to get a scratching post.
Declawing your cat is like having your nails removed. Claws define cats and removing them is the same as clipping the wings of a bird or robbing them of their identity which is just plain cruel.
Is It Safe to Buy Used Cat Scratching Post?
Buying used stuff is okay, even for us humans, given that it is done with proper precautions. It is economically wise, especially when you think that there are other important things you can spend your money on.
However, using second-hand cat items like cat trees, scratching posts, litter boxes, grooming tools, cat carriers, and toys can cause stress, illness, and behavioral issues to your pet.
Before you consider buying a second-hand scratching post or any other items for your cat, consider these factors:
Cats have a highly developed sense of smell which is paramount for their survival. It helps them:
- communicate with other cats
- navigate their environment
- avoid dangerous situations and rivals
- identify friends and family
- determine marked territories
Even when you do not detect the smell from other cat’s items, your cat can, and a stranger’s scent can threaten your pet by thinking that a rival has invaded its territory.
Cats leave territorial messages every time they scratch, and they stay behind to make sure other cats receive these messages as a sign of ownership.
The scent also binds cats and allows them to identify who is part of their group or family. Introducing used items with unfamiliar scents can stress your group of pet and disrupt their dynamics. Making them use or even smell second-hand items can also upset them which can result in avoiding the post entirely.
Carrier of Diseases
Because the items have been used, they have built-in unknowns. Some pathogens can survive in the environment for weeks or even months and years. If previous users have been ill, then there is a high probability that the disease can easily be transferred to your cat.
Even if an item was gently used in the past it could still contain viruses or fungi which you do not want your pet to get.
Can cats share a scratching post?
When owning more than one cat having two or more scratching posts will eliminate stress and their desire to create their own space to scratch furniture, walls, or carpeting. Most cats are territorial and are happy when they get to have something all to themselves.
Is there a product that keeps cats from scratching furniture?
There are sprays and natural remedies to keep cats away from your furniture. But the best product to buy is a scratching post to give her a place to sharpen her claws, mark her territory, and release her scent glands.
Parting Words On Buying a Cat Scratching Post
So, is it safe to buy used cat scratching post? Well after thorough research; we can say that it is always better to buy new ones no matter how alluring and attractive the second-hand items are.
If you think about it, spending a bit more or making adjustments to your budget might not be as expensive as when your cat gets stressed or sick if you take the risk of getting them used items.
Top Recommended Products
SmartCat Pioneer Pet Ultimate Scratching Post
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If you want to make sure that you are getting a durable scratching post that is going to hold up well, even in a multi-cat household, this is a great option
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This scratching post is an activity center for your cat, as well as a comfortable place for them to have a nap.