So I’ve been looking off an on at cat trees for Floyd and Puck but have never found anything from the big box stores that caught my eye. Most of them are expensive but made not to last.
I got some cool ideas after looking online. There were driftwood trees made in Canada that looked really cool and then there was a juniper tree company that made some cool looking stuff with the twisty wood. So then I thought about making one on my own but juniper isn’t really a native tree here in Austin.
I thought of mesquite but that wood is too hard and figured that would make it more difficult to work with (especially since I’m not really a carpenter). Then I found a guy in Oregon that sells it and can ship it. It was more than I really wanted to spend but I ended up buying some branches but I figured I’d get 2 trees out of it. They arrived on Tuesday and I began to work on it Friday.
The first thing was to find a base. I had an end table top I saw on the curb and was going to use it but realized my design would span out and therefore this particular base wouldn’t be sturdy enough. So Friday morning, I trekked over to the Habitat Restore and found a piece that was a counter top.
Yep $3. Couldn’t go wrong there. I bought 10 inch bolts to make sure the branches were sturdy. The problem was, the bolts were too flimsy and I should have stuck to lag screws instead. My impact driver drill had to go through several battery swaps and smelled like the motor was going to burn. 😦 Nope, not good.
My friend Mike stopped by on Friday and managed to get one bolt all the way in but the other one broke off. He suggested lag screws so I ended up back at the hardware store and bought them like I should have in the first place. (DOH!) I didn’t get 10 inch ones but 6 inch and they seem to hold up.
Saturday – woke up early and started to work on securing the first branch (yeah, spent all day Friday and couldn’t even get it fully secured). Managed to get 2 lag screws on in less than an hour using a ratchet.
Then had to find a second piece that would work and then go about in securing the thing down. Got that done before noon.
I went to grab some lag bolts to secure the third piece and grabbed some lunch. It took a while to figure out how to place the third branch so it could hold perches for the cats but I finally got it to work.
I was going to break and get a massage but lo and behold, my garage door wasn’t working and was actually hanging crooked. So I called an emergency service to come out since I couldn’t lower it to the ground, it just hung half way. While the guy worked on the door, I worked on the cat tree and managed to get it done and ready for an oil sealer (which I pretty much just slapped on – I’ll probably use butcher block oil or wax for upkeep in the future).
So Sunday is normally my run day but I was sore and had a bazillion bug bites from working in the garage. I decided to skip my run and go straight to finishing the tree by adding some cheap carpet and adding the perches. I probably should have installed the carpet BEFORE I attached the branches because the carpet is pieced in – like Frankenstein… not really impressive.
I got it to a stage where I could bring it into the house, and that was an adventure in itself. I had to maneuver it around but ended up removing the top branch in order to squeeze it through the front door. I’m sure it was a sight to see. Added carpet to some MDF boards I got for free at one of the big box stores in their lumber scrap bin. (YAY for Free!). Some of the boards, I painted the underside a turquoise blue just for some pizzaz. 🙂
Once I got the perches up, Floyd and Puck inspected it.
I ended up adding some sisal rope for them and Puck decided to demonstrate how to play with said rope.
(You might be able to see how the bottom carpet is pieced together – I’ve got a turquoise, fluffy blanket on the bottom now to hide it.)
Puck likes the tree and Floyd is slowly warming up to it. 🙂
The second one won’t be as elaborate and will only have 2 branches.