If You Build It Will They Come?

This post is a little overdue. You may recall my post from a few weeks ago about my negligence in being a responsible cat owner; In my efforts to create functional living spaces for the family, I neglected to consider the cat’s needs. To make their protests known, they began using our newish furniture as their personal pedicare apparatus (it was bound to happen). Well, they got my attention and I set off to create a space they can call their very own.


It started with this old metal shelf we stored in the garage where it became a make shift storage unit for odds and ends. (Please excuse the atrocious mess of it all – this is another project on our to-do list…)

And this: Fredrik Ikea desk

For lounging platforms I thought I’d use the shelves from this old desk. It was left over from last years garage sale and I guess $15.00 was too much to ask so it was disassembled and put in the garage. Can you tell many of my projects are also an effort to rid our garage of the unwanted items taking up valuable space?

After moving the shelf into the family room (not too far from the furniture the cats have taken a liking to) and gathering all my supplies, everything just sat there for a while as I contemplated the easiest way to put it all together. I’d often see Rex relaxing in the pile. This was encouraging, at least he seemed interested in the materials:waiting

Since I am NOT a technical writer I’ll spare you my pathetic attempts at writing like one. But I’ll give you a quick overview through photos. Basically it went like this:

I purchased two 4 x 8 boards for about $3.00 each. I cut the boards down to seven feet, the height of the shelf. The plan was to make an adequate scratching post on one side of the metal shelving unit.

board prep

1)  I glued the boards together on the long edge to form an “L” shape. This would be the frame for the scratching post.

2) I used wood screws to screw the boards together (the glue in the first step was just to keep them in place so they could be easily screwed together)

3 and 4) Hooks were used to join the  boards to the narrow frame of the shelf with wire.


Once the “L” frame was attached to the frame of the metal shelf I wrapped thick twine around it. I started with the staple gun to anchor the twine, then just continued to wind it around the frame, using a bit of hot glue in a few places to keep it in place.  I covered the rest of the frame in burlap as you will see at the end of this post.


I used “U” clamps (four for each shelf) to anchor the lounging platforms to the metal frame of the shelves. I had to add a bit of padding in the space around the “U” clamp, since they were too big and I wasn’t in the mood to run out and buy smaller ones. The padding keeps the boards from wobbling.

Once my kitty condo was assembled I had to soften it up a little. I covered the exposed metal with fabric, added fabric skirting to the wood boards, sewed a couple of pillows together and constructed a little cubby by attaching a fabric skirt around the bottom shelf.  I’ll admit, I was a little lazy about this. I intended to construct a proper bottom for the floor of the cubby, but instead opted to just toss in an old pillow I made back when I was on my sewing kick.

OK – I built it, but would they come? To make it more inviting I added a few dangly toys, sprinkled little morsels on the pillows and rubbed a good quality cat nip all over the  fabric. I also I chanted a few incantations just for good measure.

Imagine my surprise  when I found them exploring the cubby and lounging on the perches?

they came

The real test is yet to come. They still have the nail caps on, so no new scratch marks have been discovered on the furniture, but I have yet to see them go though the motions of using this scratch post either.  I guess we shall find out eventually.

I can’t tell you how happy I was to see them actually using this thing. In a small way it was as if they were thanking me for thinking of them. Yes, I do tend to anthropomorphize way too much.

Here is a side by side before and after:

catcondo Collage

Well, that’s it for this week. TIme to see what else the garage has in store for me. Have a great week.



  1. Wonderful project! happy cats. Mind you they may still put unintended little scratches when they jump up to check what’s in a drawer or onto the table but with only a couple of finger-snaps and a firm NO! ours learned right away their boundaries. In my family we have a certain number of cats, 12 in 3 households. All well trained and very loving. With age (my age and theirs) mine have become kind of grafted onto me now, but I do not mind. One of my son’s likes to sleep on top of his head at night… yes we are “cat nuts”; but we have dogs too….
    You did a grand house for your cats!


    • Thank you – I think they are happy. Ha when I tell my cats “NO” they just freeze and look at me, then carry on with what they are doing. But they are good cats in general and deserved an appropriate place to express their behavior. Your cat sounds cute. Oh and we also have dogs 🙂


  2. Love the Kitty condo! Rex and Stella are very lucky to have such a nice abode…………………and a great caretaker…..Always looking forward to see what you do next!


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