First let me start by mentioning that I am not skilled at woodworking or any technical crafting. Anyone can do this and it only cost me about $40 with using some pieces I already had around the house. I also think this looks pretty unique and way cooler than your standard everyday pet store cat tree. It was recommended by my cheetoh breeder to have real wood around for scratching and not so many carpeted pieces. What could be better than using a real tree for the foundation???
So I’ve had my sights on this tree for some time. It is dead and I originally just planned on removing it from the property. However, after some creative thinking I decided I needed it in my house 🙂
I don’t have too many tools around so I had to settle for my garden shears and a blunt axe on the end of a hammer. Actually I found that after bending the trunk down a bit, it was easier to stand and sort of jump on it to get it to break. I’m sure I was a sight to see. This was the aftermath:
It took awhile breaking off the teeny tiny branches but I love that I had plenty to work with.
As you can see this sucker was super tall and needed to be shortened if I want to put it in the house. I’d love to eventually put it out on the “catio” but that will also take some time to build. So I tried to axe it myself, but it was taking forever and I barely made a dent. It was time to enlist the help of my hubby. I tease him for growing out his hair and beard all wild and in this shot he looks like a mountain man chopping a tree 🙂
Next came the most difficult part of all: attaching the tree to a base. The hubs had made a huge desk when we lived in Vegas, but it wouldn’t fit in the room we needed it in our rental. It was three parts and I took the smaller center corner piece. That is the reason for the bizarre shape. I’m sure you won’t have a piece like this lying around your house but any large wooden piece will do.
Next I took a trip to my favorite frugal fran store: The 99 cent store. I picked up these shelf brackets and used some wood screws from previous projects. You may notice some smaller brackets on the bottom as well. I started with that and quickly realized they were way too small and would not support the weight of this hefty tree.
There was also alot of green nature all over the branches. I was not sure if this would be harmful or not, so I decided it would be best to remove it. I used some sandpaper and gave a light sweep of the tree to remove the questionable stuff.
Next came adding some sisal rope to the base of the tree. It helps to cover the unsightly white brackets and gives the cat a fun place to scratch. The rope was $10 from Ace Hardware and I have plenty left over for more kitty projects. I also found great deals on three somewhat matching wicker baskets from Michael’s Craft Store. They were having a sale and the baskets varied from 40%-70% off. The baskets ended up totaling $30. So that is where I spent the majority of my money. I used some sturdy black rope to tie them onto the tree. After triple knotting each end of the basket, I reinforced the attachment with a nail through the knot and into the tree. I may need to add an additional support under the bottom basket as it is slightly leaning.
It was quite difficult hauling this in the house through the sliding doors but fortunately it remained in one piece. I used old T-shirts as cushioning in the baskets. I thought baskets would be fun since cats seem to love cozy small spaces, and they were way easier to attach than platforms.
The last problem was covering the brackets that attached the tree to the base. My idea was a makeshift tree skirt with a cozy throw. I had this draped on the side of my love seat, but was never actually used. The possibilities are endless with recreating this look and adding your own touches. I even contemplated taking a long piece of ivy that you can see outside the window, and wrapping it around the tree to add some greenery. I decided to keep it minimal for now, but I may try that after the cat gets used to climbing on the bark.
I am hopeful that my cheetoh will love this tree as much as I do and that it will support his weight. It should be strong enough while he is a kitten but because he might grow up to 25lbs, I will probably add additional support in the future. My plan is to take to small bungee cords with hooks and wrap the tree and fasten to the corners of the platform. It won’t be as pretty, but all this work needs to last. If the kitty gets crazy and scratches through the branches, I’ll just have to repeat this process with another tree.
Check out my short video of the finished product on my YOUTUBE CHANNEL