Make A Modern Cat Tree Out Of PVC Pipe

Skip the ugly carpet-covered cat trees you can buy at the store by creating your own modern version using PVC pipe. Not only will you save money, but you'll add some serious style to your living space. Your lucky kitty will have a sturdy yet sleek space to nap, play, and exercise.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Things You'll Need

  • 1-inch PVC pipe, 40 feet
  • Pipe cutter
  • 1-inch furniture-grade 4-way Tee PVC fittings, 14
  • 1-inch furniture-grade 3-way PVC elbows, 6
  • 1-inch PVC end caps, 4
  • 1-inch 2-hole pipe straps
  • 1/2-inch screws, 20
  • 1/2-inch plywood (enough to make five 18" x 18" boards)
  • Power drill
  • PVC cement
  • Spray paint (optional)

Tip: You may be able to find the 3-way PVC elbows in most big box hardware stores, but the 4-way fittings will likely be hard to find. I ordered these online from Amazon. Be sure to get furniture-grade fittings for both the 3-way and 4-way connectors. Also, ask the hardware store to cut your plywood into five 18" x 18" boards for you.

Step 1: Cut the pipes

Use a pipe cutter to cut the PVC pipe into the following lengths:

  • 19.5 inches x 10 pipes
  • 17 inches x 6 pipes
    1. 5 inches x 2 pipes
  • 12 inches x 10 pipes
  • 7.5 inches x 8 pipes
  • 6 inches x 4 pipes
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 2: Assemble the first level

You'll need two 19.5-inch pipes to form the long sides of the rectangle, two 12-inch pipes to form the short sides of the rectangle, and a 4-way connector in each corner as shown.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Apply PVC cement to each connector and pipe end as you fit the pieces together.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Next, insert a 6-inch pipe into each of the four corner connectors and place end caps on all four pipes. Be sure to glue each piece together as you go.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Once assembled, flip the piece over so it's standing on all four caps.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 3: Assemble the second level

You'll need two 19.5-inch pipes to form the long sides of the rectangle, two 12-inch pipes to form the short sides of the rectangle, and a 4-way connector in each corner. Glue as you go.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Insert two 15.5-inch pipes into two of the connectors on one side of the rectangle, and then insert two 7.5-inch pipes into two of the connectors on the other side of the rectangle as shown. Place an end cap on both 15.5-inch pipes.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Once assembled, flip the piece over and insert the 7.5-inch pipes into the connectors on the first level of the cat tree. The 15.5-inch pipes should touch the ground.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 4: Assemble the third level

You'll need two 19.5-inch pipes to form the long sides of the rectangle, two 12-inch pipes to form the short sides of the rectangle, and a 4-way connector in each corner. Glue as you go.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Insert two 17-inch pipes into two of the connectors on one side of the rectangle, and then insert two 7.5-inch pipes into two of the connectors on the other side of the rectangle as shown.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Once assembled, flip the piece over and insert the 7.5-inch pipes into the connectors on the second level of the cat tree. Insert the 17-inch pipes into the connectors on the first level.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 5: Assemble the fourth level

You'll need two 19.5-inch pipes to form the long sides of the rectangle, two 12-inch pipes to form the short sides of the rectangle, two 3-way connectors in two corners and two 4-way connectors in two corners. Glue as you go.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Insert two 17-inch pipes into two of the connectors on one side of the rectangle, and then insert two 7.5-inch pipes into two of the connectors on the other side of the rectangle.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Once assembled, flip the piece over and insert the 7.5-inch pipes into the connectors on the third level of the cat tree. Insert the 17-inch pipes into the connectors on the second level.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 6: Assemble the fifth level

You'll need two 19.5 inch pipes to form the long sides of the rectangle, two 12-inch pipes to form the short sides of the rectangle, and a 3-way connector in each corner. Glue as you go.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Insert two 17-inch pipes into two of the connectors on one side of the rectangle, and then insert two 7.5-inch pipes into two of the connectors on the other side of the rectangle.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Once assembled, flip the piece over and insert the 7.5-inch pipes into the connectors on the fourth level of the cat tree. Insert the 17-inch pipes into the connectors on the third level.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 7: Paint the pipes

This is optional, but if you plan to paint the cat tree, you'll want to spray paint the pipes now. Be sure to spray outside or in a well-ventilated area, and protect the surrounding surface areas with a tarp or newspaper. Allow to dry thoroughly in between coats.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 8: Attach the wood boards

Place an 18" x 18" wood board on each level of the cat tree. (I had the boards cut for free at the hardware store.)

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Secure each board to the pipes with pipe straps and 1/2-inch screws. You'll need at least two pipe straps per board (one on each side).

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Be sure the screws don't go all the way through to the other side of the wood.

Tip: You may find it easier to flip the cat tree over and attach the boards upside down.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Hang a couple of pompoms or feathers if you'd like, and you're done!

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse