Ten dollar cat tree

October 22, 2012


The past few weekends I have been lurking at the pet store, eying the cat trees. They just look so fun! I kept thinking that really should be fairly easy to make one…. except for all the doo-dads, carpet work and ‘careful measuring’. I’d leave PetSmart, only to come back the next week and stand there staring, avoiding eye contact from the store employees who have put me on their ‘probably going to shoplift a cat tree’ list.

Well, Saturday night I threw caution to the wind and used up some of the junk lumber in my Hoarders basement!

It began with a two-by-four:

I have no memory of buying this.

Chopped it up, then looked around for some pieces of particle board to use as shelves. I felt particularly clever when I realized that if I cut a hole near the middle of it, I could slip it over the two-by-four and have shelving all around!

Hooray! Drill a pilot hole and get out the jigsaw!

Good ol' pilot hole.

Now…. get out the jigsaw!

The jigsaw!


The jigsaw is at school.

Dang it. I looked and looked and looked through the piles of junk that is my ‘workshop’ and there was no jigsaw to be found. Even though Lloyd was upstairs watching television, I could hear his soul mocking me for taking everything we own to school.

Hmmph. I don’t need a jigsaw.

What would this be in Braille?

I have a chisel! Didn’t the great Japanese wood artisans make all kinds of amazing things with chisels and awesome saws?

This chisel has never been used for regular chisel work.

Great, now I kept hearing the souls of ancient Japanese artisans saying, “Yeah…. please don’t mention our craft in the same sentence as your work.”

Onward and upward! I was determined to not use L-brackets (I know!), so I used blocks of wood.

Second screw-up. Dang it, Lauren! How are you going to thread that shelf on now?

I would have done this differently in retrospect.

Dang it. Take off the top blocks, thread the shelf, reattach the blocks. Grumble grumble grumble. At this point I have to mention that I ran out of my trusty 2-inch drywall screws.

Ok, other shelves attached, bottom shakily attached, and I took it upstairs for a dry run with the kitties.

That was enough for one night. The cats sniffed it, wandered off, then took a nap. Hmmmph. I just kept telling myself, “It’s free. It’s free. Old lumber. No love lost.”

Hmmmph. I was a little hurt.

The next day at Walmart we bought five crummy two-dollar rugs that amazingly were just enough to cover it all! Not in a stylish wrap-around way, but in a ‘good-enough-for-who-it’s-for’ kind of way.

I had to add more lumber to the main post to make wrapping it easier, and in the process I broke off a drill bit. I guess that brings the cost of this thing up to 12 bucks. Rats.

So, it’s done enough. I painted the exposed edges with some paint, because that totally makes it look like those edges are carpeted.

I don’t know. There’s an awful lot of weird stuff in the living room now. It might be time to purge.

Need an exercise bike? Weird lamp? Cat tree?

At least they sit on it occasionally.

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

View all posts by Lauren

5 Responses to “Ten dollar cat tree”

  1. Brad Said on:

    It looks cool!

    I was chuckling when you wrote about the jigsaw, because it was such a familiar feeling. My projects always come with decisions like that: How long will it take to drill those holes and chisel out the wood? How long would it take to just go to school and get the saw? Will I lose momentum if I go?


  2. Deborah Said on:

    I’m sure you’ll leave some sort of camera running to document how much they play on it when you’re gone. I’m sure you will.


  3. Peggy Said on:

    That thing is AWESOME!! You’re skills are amazing! And Sarge sure seems to be enjoying it!

    And they’re just kittens….it may take them a little bit to realize they have the cadillac of cat trees!


  4. Kristi Said on:

    They appear to be the welcome committee…or anti-theft patrol.


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