How to build your own cat tree free

Updated February 21, 2017

Cats are curious creatures that like to play and explore and will often climb trees when allowed to play outside. However, it can be dangerous for your indoor cat to explore the great outdoors on his own. You can purchase a cat tree for your feline friends to play on, but they can be costly. You can build your own cat tree for free with just a few materials.

Measure out two four-foot-long by 4-foot-wide sections from your plywood scraps, cutting them out with your saw. One of these sections will form the base of your cat tree and the remaining section will be the floor of the second story. Most home improvement stores give away free pieces of broken or cracked plywood that will work for this project.

Lay your plywood sections on a flat surface and cover each with a piece of carpet, stapling them together with the staple gun. The carpet will give your cats traction while exploring the house and will give them a surface of their own to scratch on.

Cut four 36-inch-long sections from the carpet tube. Coat two of the tube sections with a thin layer of glue and wrap each in a piece of carpet remnant, trimming the excess away with a pair of heavy-duty scissors. You can find free carpet tubing and remnants at most flooring supply stores.

Add a coating of glue to the outside of your remaining tube sections and wrap them with your rope. The rope is abrasive and will give your cats something to rub against and scratch their claws on. Allow all four tubing sections to dry overnight to give the glue time to set up and harden.

Trim a small archway into one side of your cardboard box to allow your cats access to the box. Tape both open ends of the box shut and apply a layer of glue, pressing your remaining carpet scraps along each exterior surface of the box.

Set one tubing section in each corner of your base, screwing each to the base with your drill. Set the screws at an angle so that they pass through the tubing and into the base to hold the tubes upright. Add the second platform to the top of the tubes, attaching this piece by passing screws downward at an angle through the base into the top of the tubes. Four screws evenly spaced around the outside of each tube will keep the pieces from falling apart when your cats climb on them.

Screw the box to the top of the second platform, using two screws to hold it securely against the platform. Set the box in the centre so your cats can play around it and climb on it while they explore their newly constructed cat tree.


You can find plenty of free supplies for your cat house by speaking to a supervisor at your local home improvement and flooring stores. Companies often have to pay to have scraps hauled away and will gladly give it to you for no cost.

Things You'll Need

  • Plywood scraps
  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • Carpet remnants
  • Staple gun
  • Cardboard carpet tube
  • Glue
  • Heavy scissors
  • Tape
  • Cardboard box
  • Rope
  • Drill and screws
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About the Author

Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.