IKEA Hacks: How to Make a DIY Cat Tower

A super-easy DIY project (even with IKEA assembly).
By: Helen Anne Travis
DIY cat tower

Cat towers are so … cat towery. There’s the beige carpet, the boxy hiding spots and, most “meh” of all, the price!

Finding one that fits your budget, taste and space can take hours so, feeling creative, I set out to make my own DIY cat tower. I wanted to design one that fit a wide window in my living room. I wanted it to complement our existing furniture and be light enough to stow away when we have company. I also wanted it to be cheap and easy to assemble; my goal was to spend less than $50 and keep build time to less than an hour.

Did I succeed? Sort of!

DIY Cat Tower Supplies

I started my search at IKEA. I figured there would be something there I could hack into a usable cat tower. In the living room section I found my match: the LACK nesting tables. Originally designed as a coffee and side table set, these could be stacked to reach the height of our home’s windows. The gray color also blended in nicely with our walls and decor, much better than the typical poofy beige cat towers you find at the store.

DIY cat tower step 1

Wanting to soften things up, I headed to the textile section and bought two chair pads in the same grey color. A basket lined with a super soft bathmat made for a perfect kitty bed.

To provide a place for pets to sharpen their claws (besides the couch) I also bought some sisal rope from Home Depot.

DIY Cat Tower Instructions

IKEA’s an international company. Their instructions are designed to transcend languages. There are no words, only pictures. These can be either very easy or very hard to understand.

Fortunately, putting these two tables together is remarkably easy. You just turn the table tops on their backs, twist in four screws (included) by hand, and then attach the legs to each screw, turning until they’re completely tight (the hardest part was making sure to pair the long legs with the taller table and the short legs with the shorter table).

DIY cat tower step 2

Before attaching the tables, I wrapped one of the legs of the taller table with sisal rope to provide a scratching post. It takes about 50 feet of rope to cover each leg.

DIY cat tower step 3

Then, I used super glue to attach the smaller table to the top of the bigger one, creating the bones of my cat tower. Be sure to keep pets out of the room until the glue dries so they don’t inhale any nasty fumes.

DIY cat tower step 4

To create a few soft perches, I glued the seat covers to the larger bottom table. I put one underneath the smaller table, creating a sheltered spot to nap. I glued the other to the exposed side of the larger table.

DIY cat tower step 5

For the crow’s nest (or should I say cat’s nest) I glued the basket to the top of the smaller table. A folded bath mat provided a soft and machine-washable surface for a cat to watch the world go by.

DIY cat tower step 6

The Result

Total build time: 46 minutes

Total cost:about $63.

I busted my budget but still ended up spending less than what I would on a ready-made cat tower. What I love is that this one fits with our house’s design. It’s the perfect height for our windows and can easily be moved from room to room.

DIY cat tower step 7

It clearly looks like a cat tower, but it’s much more streamlined and stylish (in my humble opinion) than a traditional, store-bought one. My only regret is not using velcro to attach the seat pads to the tower. This would have enabled me to throw them in the washer, if needed.