Repurposing An Old Cat Tree

 

IMG_2516Breathing new life into something old…My first instinct is how can I fix it. Tossing stuff out and buying new is always easier, but not always easier on the wallet, and besides that, I don’t always find the “new” better than what I already have. They just don’t make things like they used to. All too often I find that statement is so true. Though in this case, my cat tree is nothing special and yes, you can find this style and probably better, but my cats like it and that’s most important. So I’m going to spiffy this one up.

Before I show you what I did, remember when I made a cat tree/bed out of a wooden spool? You can see it here… That was when I found out how much they really liked to scratch on sisal. Which is why I chose to use sisal to freshen up this tree instead of wrap more carpet around it. I may do carpet again another time, but I have a few rolls of sisal, so sisal it is! Here’s what I did…

Supplies:

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one old cat tree

sisal rope

hot glue gun

glue sticks

scissors

vacuum

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Vacuum the tree really well. I usually get to it about once a week to help keep the hair down in the house. If I didn’t vacuum the house a few times a day, it would look like I live in a “hair” house! Ack!!!!

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Cut/trim off any strings or carpet strands. See the hair? That’s because I had helpers while trimming, hence the need to vacuum a lot! Good thing I can vacuum the cats too. I put on the brush attachment and go at them. They actually like it! 🙂

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I really let this tree go! You know, “Oh I will get to it later?”…

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After trimming loose parts, I hot glued down carpet parts that have loosened. (That’s Evan the dog. He is one of the sweetest pups I’ve had the privilege to have in my life. He’s got the most unique fur. I will feature him in a post one day. He’s so cool, he has his own instagram!)

Depending on how your tree was originally made… I found the carpet was stapled along the seam. That’s fine, but if the cats scratched it loose around the stapled part, then the whole carpet piece was loose. I cut parts of the carpet off. Later on, I realized I could have left it. Either way I found it worked whether I left the carpet loose or cut it off.

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Choose a good place to start. I hot glued at the beginning of the sisal rope and then as I wound the rope around I added more hot glue. I wanted this good and tight as I know my cats and they really, really love to scratch on sisal. 

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Here you can see I decided to cut off the carpet. I didn’t see the sense in leaving a little piece here and there, though I doubt it would have made a difference under the sisal. BTW, that’s Chaz. My helper for the moment. 

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Chaz didn’t move at all. I guess he found what I did interesting.

Find another section that needs sisal and keep on hot glueing around and around and around…

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and around…

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That’s Spencer at the top this time and Eva peeking through! One more leg to go…

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The last leg! Finally.

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Done!

Easy project. This did take longer than I expected. I think having “helpers” added to the time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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This time, at the top, is Sherlock. Aptly named as he is our most curious cat! And Chaz who is always good for relaxing “down at the club”. 

Tree looks much better! The best part is, the cats are happy to use it!

Tips:

Hot glue is HOT so be careful. You can use a chop stick or a screw driver to hold the sisal in place for a few seconds as it dries.

Sisal can poke into your skin. I had to tweeze out a couple “splinters”. You can wear leather gloves. I just sucked it up! Hahaha. I don’t do well with gloves. Which is why I have to deal with poison ivy on my hands when I’m out doing yard work.

You can hot glue a section and just wrap the sisal around a few times and then glue another small section. You don’t really need to glue every inch as you go along.

If your cat prefers carpet, home improvement stores carry carpet remnants. Rugs are also great and you can buy them at places like Target. They are smaller and easier to handle. I’ve used a good razor blade knife (be super careful) and cut the sizes I need.

The sisal I used for this project I bought at HomeDepot a couple of years ago. I did a check and they still carry sisal. Make sure it’s all natural, free from chemicals. This one states:  Safe for use with pet toys like cat scratching posts. Natural fiber-twisted rope is biodegradable and economical. Home Depot also ships! Since this project used up the last of my stock, I will be getting more. Sisal is really handy and I use it for many projects.

We know how finicky cats can be, so I hope this gives you an option to redo a cat tree your kitty already loves!

You are FABULOUS for reading this far! And I thank you so much for doing so! I hope you have a purrfectly happy day!

Koko

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DIY Cat Tree, House and Scratching Post

Spencer, King of everything!

Spencer, King of everything!

I was given a great spool. You know the giant spools electricians carry massive amounts of wire wrapped around? Well I was given one, and not gonna lie, the array of ideas that invaded my head of all the things I could do with said spool. This is what I came up with…

Cat tree...bed and scratching post. See they love it!

Cat tree…bed and scratching post. See they love it!

Off to my wood pile I went…

I went to my scrap pile and found some 1×6’s. It would do nicely to make the “lid” or rather the top to my kitty condo. I laid out three pieces of 1×6 boards and drew a circle using the “spool” as the template. You can use any size width wood and lay however many pieces it takes to get to the size you need. You could also use a piece of plywood and cut a whole circle instead of using the tree boards. But as I mentioned I wanted to use up my scrap wood. 😉

I clamped down each board and used my jigsaw to cut the shape.

I clamped down each board and used my jigsaw to cut the shape.

One more to go!

One more to go!

All cut out.

All cut out.

Finishing the lid, I used 1×2 to connect the three pieces together. I wish I had a kreg jig to make pocket holes. But this method works too. 🙂

As you can see I used a lot of screws!

As you can see I used a lot of screws!

I set the lid aside and started to assemble the sides. Again going to my scrap lumber pile I was able to find 1×4’s.

Sanding all the pieces…I had to sand quite a bit, to rid them of the dents and discolorations. After sanding the boards I used a chop saw to cut the boards the height I wanted the “cat house” to be.

I contemplated using “L” brackets to hold the boards in place while I screwed each 1×4 to the top of the spool, however I ended up just screwing them straight to the spool using two screws per board.

I screwed two screws per board from the bottom. See the "L" bracket? I removed it as I found it wasn't necessary and the clamps really didn't help much either! :)

I screwed two screws per board from the bottom. See the “L” bracket? I removed it as I found it wasn’t necessary and the clamps really didn’t help much either! 🙂

You can see from this pic that the boards are wonkie. Don't let that discourage you! It will all work out in the end! Promise.

You can see from this pic that the boards are wonkie. Don’t let that discourage you! It will all work out in the end! Promise.

After all the boards are screwed from the bottom, I put the lid on and began to move boards into place so I could screw down from the top of the “lid”.

The wonkie boards will come together...wait for it...

The wonkie boards will come together…wait for it…

I knew the screws would be showing. So I spaced them apart to be appealing to the eye!

I knew the screws would be showing. So I spaced them apart to be appealing to the eye! And see all the wonkie boards are in place as promised!

Onward!

To the base of the tree…I used sisal to give the kitties an awesome scratching feature! I achieved this by using hot glue and good rope. You don’t have to glue the entire base. You can glue a few inches, wrap the rope, glue a few more inches, wrap rope…and so on…Keep going until you’ve reached the desired look!

This is the rope I used. It's sisal; a natural fiber. There was no odor on the rope. I've bought sisal before via online and gosh was that a mistake! The smell was so awful that no amount of soaking it in any type of solution would get the stench out! I make a point now to only buy rope if I can touch it/smell it. This was from HomeDepot.

This is the rope I used. It’s sisal; a natural fiber. There was no odor on the rope. I’ve bought sisal before via online and gosh was that a mistake! The smell was so awful that no amount of soaking it in any type of solution would get the stench out! I make a point now to only purchase rope if I can touch it/smell it. This was from HomeDepot.

I started right under the sleeping quarter.

I started right under the sleeping quarter.

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My helpers!

Glue and wrap, glue and wrap.

Glue and wrap, glue and wrap…

Another helper...

Another helper…

I stained the whole thing with dark walnut left over from a flooring job I did.  I put three coats of water based poly after.

I stained the whole thing with dark walnut left over from a flooring job I did. I put three coats of water based poly after.

As you saw I stained the piece before I added the sisal. If I were to make another I would probably stain and seal beforehand. Though in the end, I was careful not to get any on the rope. This was an easy project that really didn’t take long at all. Maybe a couple of hours? The longest part was waiting for the stain to dry and the smell to dissipate.

The kitties really like it and this piece doubles as an end table! Remember the lamp shade I made? Here I staged the lamp on that. But since then, I’ve moved it about the room where ever an end table is needed!

This was a fun project and I was happy to create something for my furry friends. They really do like it and love scratching their claws on the sisal. I hope you enjoyed this post and it inspires you to make something for your pets too!

And as you can see...not just for cats!

And as you can see…not just for cats!

Please like, follow, and share, your support means the world to me. It really does! ❤

From my furry friends to yours…All the best, Koko❀