oscar’s cat castle

when i first moved to boston, i didn’t have a job. before i moved, i had mocked up a rough model of what i wanted the tower to look like. the proE model can be downloaded here.

cat tower model

during construction, i didnt hold myself to the exact constraints of the model, merely using it as a guideline.



base (bottom, top platform): 3/4″ plywood

middle platform: 1/2″ plywood

posts: 2×4 lumber

“cat palace” walls: 1/4″ plywood

“cat palace: support pieces: 3/8″ radius rounded molding

rounded surfaces: 1/4″ thick 12” diameter cardboard “quick tube”

“accoutrements” (if you will):

sisal rope (wrapped around 2/4s)

crappy blue rug

crappy brown shag rug

90 degree “L” brackets, 3″ (i think) wood screws, small nails, wood glue, carpet tape and staples (JT21)


mikita 12v handheld drill and circular saw, pencil, coping saw, hammer, box cutter, staple gun



the first step was to cut all of the material to the desired sizes. quick note: none of the cuts have to be perfect, because all surfaces will be covered with carpet or rope.

bottom base: 24″ x 24″ 3/4″ plywood square

bottom platform post: 2×4 cut to 6″ long

bottom round platform: 15″ long sonotube (this portion of sonotube is cut lengthwise. i didn’t cut it directly in half, opting to cut a little more away instead. this lead to it being a more open semi-circle).

middle platform post: 2×4 cut to 14″ long

middle platform: 12″ wide x 30″ long 1/2″ plywood. I rounded the end using the handheld circular saw.

middle platform roof: 18″ long sonotube (this portion was cut lengthwise, and more than half was used. i did it this way so that when it was attached to the base, it would be a little taller than if it was just cut directly in half.)

top support posts:  2 2x4s cut to 33″ each

top platform: 22″ x 24″ 3/4″ plywood

cat pagoda: (details below)

the next step was to assemble the main structure. I started with the base and the first 2 support posts. i wrapped sisal rope around the middle support post. to attach the posts, i put 2 screws into the posts through the bottom base, and then added an L bracket on either side for additional support.


next, i attached the final two supporting posts and the middle platform. to attach the platform, i first put two screws through the platform into the middle supporting post. then, to attach to the taller support posts, i used two more L brackets. I left a little bit of space between the posts and the edges of the platform to allow space to slide the roof in.


the bottom rounded platform is not attached as sturdily as i would have liked. i only used a couple of screws. because this is really close to the ground, though, i didn’t put too much thought into it.

to attach the roof of the middle platform, i first attached two L brackets to the back of the platform. then i inserted the roof into the slots between the platform and the support beams. i used screws from the inside of the cardboard to attach the cardboard tube to the support beams and the L brackets.


after one day, oscar was getting interested: IMG_2525IMG_2530

i wrapped the front taller support beam with sisal rope. because i did this after i assembled the middle platform, i had to leave a space (later filled in with carpet).

to finish the structural part of the tower, i added the top base.


with the structure complete, the next step was to assemble the “cat pagoda”.  the overall structure is 15″ deep, 18″ wide, 12″ tall at its shortest (because of the rounded roof) and 16″ tall at its tallest. I started by cutting the rounded guides for the roof. the back is just a solid piece of 1/4″ plywood. i didnt use the circular saw, because i was afraid it wouldn’t give me a high enough resolution curve. instead i used a hack saw.



the front was a little more complicated because of the opening. i used a piece of plywood that would make the opining to the house 10″ tall. the walls are 15″ wide by 12″ tall. to attache the walls together, i glued the rounded molding to the plywood, and added small brads for support. I also added pieces of molding to the bottom and top, as well as along the profile of the rounded portions of the walls for use when attaching the roof and the house to the base.IMG_2527

i added two pieces of 3-1/2″ wide plywood on the sides to make the opening 11″ wide. the roof is quick tube, (again, cut lengthwise not completely in half) 18″ long. i attached the roof using brads and glue.IMG_2540

at the end of day 2, oscar’s intrigue began to grow.


the last step was to cover the tower from top to bottom in carpet. i got a large cheap blue carpet and a very fluffy brown shaggy carpet.


there was a lot of complicated measuring and cutting to get the carpet attached the way i wanted. I left a lot of space to wrap the carpet around corners and edges to make sure everything was “cat safe”.  i used staples liberally, but made sure nothing was sticking out. IMG_2558



and the finished product:


i also added a couple of toys. overall, the project was a success. i would say it would have been a “huge” success if oscar would have used the sisal rope instead of our couch to claw at, but the top left side of the pagoda is oscar’s unquestioned favorite spot in the house, and that is more than i could have asked for.





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