DIY Cat Tree That Looks like Real Tree – 6 Ideas To Get You Started

DIY Cat Tree - Real Tree

Tired of seeing the same-old-same-old cat trees?  Are you yearning for something unique, special, unusual, and crafted to last? Tired of seeing poor workmanship or just ho-hum designs? Have you thought to yourself ‘’I could do better than that?’’ 

If you have the talent and the will to create something amazing, but want a bit of inspiration, we’ve put together some ideas to get you started on you’re DIY cat tree project.

These cat trees were built using real trees. Not only will your cat love them, but they also look really nice!

If you don’t have the time to build one, there are cat trees that kind of resemble real trees that you can find for sale online. They include artificial leaves and tree like features, which can be a nice addition for your cat. Check out the best ready made cat trees that look like real trees. 


Twisted Juniper Cat Tree

cat tree made from real tree

Get full instructions here. 

A couple from Oregon didn’t want the same-old-same-old cat tree and so they created a one-of-a-kind.  They used Juniper because if was strong, attractive and very plentiful in their area. Once the perfect limb was found they took it home and began the work of crafting it into a cat tree.

Using a chisel and a stiff wire brush they cleaned the limb up and revealed a very attractive layer of red bark.

That done they crafted a very sturdy 18’’x 18’’x 5.50’’ wood base and attached the juniper limb to the base with lag nuts, a 5/8″ x 24″ all-thread, and construction glue.

A dark stain was applied to dead sections of the limb and then multiple coats of polyurethane which protected the limb.

Next platforms were cut out of wood and were made comfy with padding and fleece fabric glued onto the wood.  A mixture of deck screws from 1’’-6’’ where used to attach the platforms to the tree limbs.

The tree is an attractive part of their décor and is even used to provide some holiday cheer as well.


A Unique Cat Tree That Didn’t Cost a Paw and a Leg

cat tree that looks like a tree

Get the full instructions here. 

The creator of this very unique cat tree suffered sticker shock while shopping for an attractive cat tree for their smallest family member. So, he decided to build it on the skinny.  He not only wanted something that wouldn’t make his debit card recoil in horror but a cat tree that would be a credit to their interior design.

The limbs were gifts from Mother Nature and the rest of the materials were not expensive ranging from furring strips for $1.67 each to the most expensive at $15.58 for 1/4″ 4’x4′ birch plywood for the base and two roomy seats.

He selected the limbs he wanted to use and cleverly built the platforms around them. By experimenting with placement, the platform sizes could be based on the natural limb positions.

Selecting a good sturdy, thick branch to create the trunk is vital so the tree will be stable.  This was attached to a 17’’x 27’’ base covered in carpet.

The base was built using furring strips and wood glue and screws to make a frame. The trunk was attached with long screws that run up the middle of the trunk to hold it securely in place.

Notches were cut in the limb to help support the platforms. The platforms themselves were cut from plywood, covered in carpet and the wood frames painted.

Holes were drilled around the size of the very realistic looking faux green branch ends and the branches were attached.

And a one-of-a-kind cat tree was created out of very inexpensive materials—many found around the house without so much as a whimper from his bank card.


A Living Outdoor Cat Tree

out door diy cat tree

Get the full instructions here. 

When Lama the cat needed a secret escape route from a 3rd story window for whenever the mood struck, his owner decided to get super creative. However, like most of us Lama’s owner didn’t have a lot of building experience.

Using shelving brackets, shelves made from decking platforms, inexpensive door mats, staples and a staple gun, screws and a few screwdrivers, a power drill and, believe it or not, hose clamps. And the whole project only took a few hours.

Hose clamps fit around the tree to hold the shelving brackets nice and tight. Next, the platforms were laid on the brackets and screws were used to attach them.

Then the door mats were laid on each platform, sides folded under and stapled to the bottom of the platforms.

A landing platform was placed at the top outside of Lama’s favorite window.

Not only can Lama make a great escape, but he can also while away the hours in a real live cat tree.  I wonder what the birds think?


Old Tree Takes on Amazing New Life

This amazing cat tree was built from a rogue ‘’weed’’ tree that sprouted up in her yard. The time came to replace it with a new citrus tree, and this is when the old tree took on a new life.

It became a cat tree. And what a cat tree!

After cutting the tree down and dragging it into the back yard—not without some questioning looks from neighbors—she began her ‘’plan of attack.’’  Planning out the new cat tree involved appointing just the right limbs to hold the cat shelves. The highest branch is 82 inches. But that’s not all. Each shelf would wind around the tree very much like a spiral staircase!

The top shelf is a roomy 35’’ x 22’’ and is perched about 75’’ off the ground. The base of the cat tree is about 28’’ in diameter and it’s crafted from two round circles of plywood to give it stability. They were glued and screwed together. But the amazing part is it was banded with oak trim that she steam bent using a continuous roll of vacuum food saver bags, a garden hose, and a steam cleaner!

Once the steam bent oak trim was stretched around the base and secured, she attached the base to the tree with some lag screws.

The shaped kitty shelves began with templates drawn and cut out of cardboard. The sizes and shapes took quite a few hours of eyeballing the tree with a share of trial and error. The templates were then traced onto the wood and cut out with a jigsaw.

Lag bolts were counter sunk into the branches to hold the shelves. The shelves were carpeted with the help of the cardboard templates using carpet tape.

And then the rope. Lots and lots of rope—over 300 feet of twisted Manilla rope! Why Manilla rope instead of sisal? She liked the dark color but more important than that the Manilla rope has a lower stretch factor so it will stay on tight and withstand her two cats scratching—one of which is not a lightweight.



Wall Mounted and Space Saving Cat Trees:

Wall mounted cat tree made from a real tree

A great space saver if you have a wall you can use, and also not too complicated to make with the right tools. A great project for the beginner.

Space saving cat tree made from a real tree

In this DIY project, you’ll see a great space saving cat tree made from a real tree. This would be perfect for a small apartment. It gives your cat exactly what it needs to scratch, and prevent your furniture from being scratched. It also provides a nice high up perch which cats love.

Some DIY cat trees are feats of precision, skill, and expert craftsmanship. Sometimes a cat tree is nothing more than a tree with crude ‘’ladder’’ type rungs fashioned from branches and hammocks from cloth.  Some could be a skinned tree trunk with rope to scratch on and small round seats cut from a log, but to the cat who owns it, it’s amazing…just like the cat who owns it.

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