How to Build a Cardboard Cat Tree

How to Build a Cardboard Cat Tree

How to Build a Cardboard Cat Tree


Building a cardboard cat tree is a great way to create an exciting climbing structure for your feline friend. Cardboard cat trees are inexpensive to make, easy to customize, and fun DIY projects for cat owners. In this article, I will provide a step-by-step guide to building a sturdy and entertaining cardboard cat tree that your cat will enjoy using for years to come.

Materials Needed

To build a cardboard cat tree, you will need:

  • Cardboard boxes in various shapes and sizes. Look for large, sturdy boxes from appliances or furniture. Remove any staples, tape or labels.

  • Box cutter or utility knife to cut and shape the cardboard.

  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks to assemble the cat tree. Carpenter’s wood glue can also be used.

  • Sisal rope or carpet remnants to cover platforms and scratching posts.

  • Sandpaper to smooth out rough edges.

  • Acrylic paint to decorate (optional).

Design and Construction Steps

Follow these steps to build a fun and functional cardboard cat tree:

1. Plan the Design

Decide on the number of levels, platforms, and scratching posts you want to include. Sketch out ideas to visualize the layout. Opt for a wide, sturdy base and placing heavier cardboard toward the bottom for stability.

2. Cut and Shape Cardboard

Use the box cutter to cut cardboard pieces to the desired shapes and sizes. Round off sharp corners and edges with sandpaper to prevent injuries. Cut holes in platforms for access between levels.

3. Attach Base and Levels

Start assembling from the bottom up. Use hot glue to secure the base and attach lower platforms first. Make sure joints are secure. Leave gaps between levels for cat accessibility.

4. Add Scratching Posts

Cut cardboard tubes or rectangles to desired heights for scratching posts. Attach to platforms with hot glue and reinforce with diagonal strips of cardboard as support braces.

5. Cover with Sisal Rope

Wrap sisal rope tightly around scratching posts and platforms to provide a scratching surface for cats. Use hot glue underneath to hold the rope in place.

6. Add Decorative Touches

Paint platforms and posts with acrylic paint if desired. Attach toys with string for batting and dangling. Place the cat tree in an inviting spot for cats.

7. Maintain the Cardboard Cat Tree

Check periodically for wear and replace sisal rope or cardboard parts as needed. Refresh with new cardboard and rope to extend the life of your DIY cat tree.

Tips for Success

  • Use corrugated cardboard for best sturdiness.

  • Add bracing supports at joints or weak points.

  • Cover sharp edges with rope, carpet or tape.

  • Start small if it’s your first project.

  • Add catnip or toys to entice your cats.

  • Consider your cats’ jumping ability for level heights.


Building your own cardboard cat tree is an easy and rewarding DIY project for cat lovers. Customize the design to suit your home and cats’ needs. Be sure to use sturdy cardboard, secure joints, and smooth edges to create a safe climbing structure. Your cats will be thrilled with their new handmade cardboard playground. With a bit of time and effort, you can craft a cat tree that both you and your felines will enjoy.