Build a Kitty Condo

Cats can enjoy playing in high-rise structures known as kitty condos, the article includes how to make feline playground, diagrams, materials, plywood and carpeting instructions.

| November/December 1986

Even cats can enjoy high-rise living in a kitty condo.

How to Build a Kitty Condo

My cats, Dusty and Zing, spend hours climbing, scratching, and playing hide-and-seek in my house every day. They amuse themselves on — and in — their own 5 foot-tall, carpet-covered kitty condo. Their favorite place to nap is in the penthouse. (See the kitty condo diagram in the image gallery).

The kitty condo takes only a few hours to build. A saber saw or jigsaw makes cutting the floors and doors easier, but you could do the job with hand tools. Material requirements are small too: a 5 foot cardboard tube between 14 inches and 16 inches in diameter, about 3 yards of scrap carpet, and 16 square feet of 5/8 inch or 3/4 inch plywood that's at least 2 feet wide. To assemble the kitty condo, you also need construction adhesive, carpenter's glue, a generous handful of U-shaped tacks, and a 1/4 inch by 1-1/4 inch bolt and T-nut.

Cardboard Tubes

There are at least two good sources for cardboard tubes. Sonotube, a cylindrical form used for poured-concrete piers, is available from concrete contractors, but the minimum purchase is usually 10 feet to 14 feet . At about $4 per foot, you'd have to find friends to go in on the purchase, or sell one or two extra kitty condos, to justify the expense.

Cardboard barrels, used to hold sweeping compound, are an alternative. You've probably seen at least one such empty barrel serving as a makeshift trash can. It may take a couple of dollars to pick up a pair, but that's still less expensive than buying 10 feet of Sonotube. Be sure to get the smaller size, which is 15-1/2 inch in diameter and anywhere from 19-1/2 inches to 25-1/2 inches tall. The barrels should be stripped of their metal and glued and duct-taped together.

The doorways are 6 inch-diameter holes placed in the center of each of the four stories. Find their positions by dividing the height of the tower by 8, positioning the first hole that distance from the bottom, and placing the others twice that distance apart. For example, if the condo is 48 inches tall, place the first hole 6 inches above the bottom, the next 12 inches above that, and so on.

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