Following any set of cat tree plans will require you to have access to building materials.  Most cat trees are fairly simple to build and the materials are in good supply and easily purchased at a local hardware store.  They aren’t expensive, but shopping around can help you get the most value for money.  In this blog post, I will provide you with a quick run down of the materials you will need to build a cat tree.

For complete, illustrated and photographic instructions on how to make a cat tree, I recommend ==>  Best Cat Tree Plans

Plywood And PVC

Plywood makes an excellent material for building the base and shelves of your cat climbing tree.  Stick to a thickness of around 5/8″.  For most designs, you’ll need between 15 and 20 square feet, but the most economical way to purchase the material is to buy a full 4 x 8 sheet (32 square feet) and cut it yourself since buying pre-cut sections is generally more expensive.

Plywood is a strong material that also has a bit of weight which will make the cat tree much more sturdy and suitable for larger adult cats and larger cat breeds such as the Maine Coon.

Posts can be made by using 3″ PVC or they can be constructed out of solid wood.  I’ve found PVC provides more options when creating posts and I also like the round, finished appearance they give.

If you choose to use PVC, you’ll need wooden 2×4′s that can be used to cut plugs for attaching the PVC to the base and shelves.  For an average sized cat tree, you’ll probably need around 200″ of material regardless of whether you go with PVC or wooden posts.


Carpet will be used to cover the base, shelves, and posts.  It can be purchased off the roll or from scrap bins at many carpet outlets.  Choose whatever color you desire.  For an average cat tree, you’ll probably need around 60 square feet.

When picking carpet, stick to a type that is non-loop so your cat’s claws won’t get snagged and opt for medium pile and medium weight carpet.  Pile simply refers to the length of the carpet fibers and the weight is how thick the carpet is.

Most plans for cat trees recommend medium pile (3/8″ to 1/2″) and medium thickness because if the fibers are too long or the carpet is too thick, then it will be difficult to work with and attach.  Similarly, if the carpet is too thin or the fibers are too short, then you’ll be able to see the backing when you fold it around the corners and edges of the shelves.

Tools And Hardware

During the construction process, you’ll need a variety of tools and hardware for cutting, shaping, and attaching the various parts of the cat climbing tree.  For example, you’ll want a hand saw, table saw, jig saw, or skill saw for cutting the base, shelves, and posts as well as a drill to attach them.

The hardware you decide to use to attach everything can be left to your own preference, but you will need things like:

  • #12 and/or #14 wood screws or nails (I prefer screws so you have the option to disassemble the tree if necessary)
  • 1/4″, 7/32″, and 11/32″ drill bits
  • 4 1/2″ x 5/16″ metal dowel screws or 1/4″ diameter bolts with threaded nut inserts for attaching middle shelves
  • Belt sander (or alternative) and a 3 1/4″ hole saw for creating wooden plugs if you choose to use PVC for your posts
  • Utility knife and straight edge for cutting carpet as well as 3/8″ staples for attaching it
  • 1/4″ Sisal rope for creating scratching posts

Building your own cat tree from a good set of cat tree plans can be a fun weekend project, and even if it takes you a little longer, your cat will still love you for it.

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