Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ikea-Hack Cat Tree Tutorial




I may have been silent for a while, but I have definitely not been idle. I have been forging full force into  my projects, but I have failed to report back to you about it. Since today I have a little time on my hands, a little updating is in order. 

A few months ago, I finally got to work on a new project for the kitties. It's really just for Rufus, as Smokey is more of a bush dweller than a tree dweller, but I'll use the plural anyways just to keep him feeling loved and included. LOL. It's a pretty simple project, I first saw it years ago on ikeahackers.net, and involves simply using an Ikea Stolmen rod (and clamping system) and fabricating some shelves to go along with it. Easy enough! So off to Ikea I went, and back I came with the Stolmen rod and hardware. The rod is priced at $30 and a pack of 4 brackets is $10. I then went to Lowes and purchased a sheet of 1/2 inch thick plywood for about $5. I proceeded to draw my shelf design on the plywood, as you can see with very professional tools (a glass, plates and a coffee filter) LOL...but it did the job and that's all that matters! 


Here you can see my design a bit better. I made 2 smaller shelves, as steps, and a larger one for the top as a platform...i used the actual Stolmen bracket to mark where that hole would go.


These are the manuals for the post and brackets. It should give you a better idea of what they look like and how they work.


At this point my DH used his ban saw to cut the shelves for me and then I proceeded to sand them carefully and round all edges nicely. This is what they looked like when done. Pretty cute um? They look like Ping Pong rackets. ^__^


The next step was to prime them and paint them. Here they are sitting pretty after two coats of primer.


I used the leftover paint from my kitchen cabinets makeover (one day I'll have to post all about that too) it is Sherwin Williams Pro classic oil based paint in semi gloss. The color is called White Duck, very appropriate since they are all lined up like little ducks ;)


In order to offer stability and traction I used a piece of carpet remnant. I measured it and cut it to size.


I then used my hot glue gun to secure each carpet disc to each shelf.


All done and ready for the next step.


This is when DH came in to help. He drilled holes for the Stolmen brackets' hardware...


...then following the Stolmen post instructions he begun to instal the rod. Note that the shelves are already threaded through the post in this step.


Now all that's left is to just install the shelves using the Stolmen brackets (instructions included in the hardware box). And....ta-dah! 



This is what a very happy Kitty looks like. 


She loves her tree and sitting on it to look outside the sliding door, or to take a nap. I am already regretting not making a 4th shelf. She would be able to get higher and would probably enjoy a wider perch at the top. So I have already purchased a thicker piece of plywood and will soon make her a larger top shelf.
I hope this post inspired you to make your own cat condo. Cats absolutely NEED vertical space! By nature, they not only enjoy -- but also find safety in observing the world from a higher ground. It takes so little to make them happy. We get so much love and affection from these beings, the least we can do is make their lives not only comfortable, but also enriched and pleasurable!
















20 comments:

  1. Hi There...I love this idea and am eager to do one for my cats. Yours looks great! I read on another site tho, that you had issues with the pole spinning no matter how tight you got it. I had heard of a few others having the same issue and wonder how you rectified that? It's keeping me from trying it...Please let me know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Has anyone here tried LocTite? It will permanently glue the threads. http://tinyurl.com/jqlspln So if you did this to one end of the pole say the foot - would that stop the spinning?

      Delete
  2. Hi there, and thank you for reading my blog! :)
    The spinning is a problem that stolmen has. At first Rufus did not think much of this tree and I was so disappointed. She got scared when the shelf would slip away from her feet when jumping from the higher shelves to the ground. We then hacked some more, and screwed together the two poles (it looks like one but there is an inner and an outer pole, for taller ceilings). It still spins some, but not as bad as before. I also spoke to a person that does catifications of this type for a living, Kate (she has a site called housepanther.com if you want to check her out) and she says that all I did is all she does as well.

    As with my case, sometimes the cat will not use the tree at first, but if you give them time to warm up to it they eventually will, especially if you keep coaxing them with treats/toys. The thing I will suggest however, is to make more shelves. 3 are not enough. I will make more soon, and space them closer together. Also I'd suggest to make slightly larger shelves depending on cat size. Rufus is very small. She is about 8-9 lbs, that should give you an idea of proportions when looking at the pictures.

    I I would def advise you for it. After all it's only going to run you $60 with supplies and your cats will truly enjoy vertical space! Happy catification!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for such detailed instruction. This is a must-do for my house! The worst part is going to be finding time to drive 4 hours to IKEA!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hear you! When I lived in NC in 2002 we drove 6 hours (one way) to go to Ikea! Hahhaha. I really wish they would ship here in the States. Many people are too far from a store, but would prob buy if the items were shipped to their doorsteps!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Did you have to screw down your stolmen pole to the ceiling?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Ian, yes I followed Stolmen instructions to the T and screwed the pole to the ceiling and then made it as tight as we could. Thank you for reading.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ikea does ship some items within the US. I ordered a Stolmen pole for a bike rack hack and it was $10 for shipping to my location.

    I am excited to build a cat Stolmen post cat tree!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks Jessicat! I love to hear that now Ikea is shipping as well. The last I looked they were not shipping anything larger than curtains :((
    I do appreciate you taking the time to comment and pass this info along for anyone who may be interested in this easy catification project but may be too far from Ikea to be worth a trip! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi! I've used one of your pics and a link to this post in my blog to tell about my cat tree project. Hope it's ok? You've really inspired me to make one my self. Hope it turns out as good as yours! - Mari

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Am glad you are making your own Marí, please add a link to your post when you are done. I'd be happy to see yours! :)

      Delete
  10. having trouble getting the brackets tightened. The liners don't seem to work. Any pointers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dr. O. The condo will never be truly stable. I think that's a flaw of the Stolmen, since it's really meant to be used in conjunction with other items from the same line, not really as a stand alone post. :(( I know that you will think your cats will never use it, because the tree moves about...but I can assure you that will coaxing (insert handful of treats here) and giving the cat some time, they will in turn learn to love it. It took about 5 months for my little girl to love it, but now she uses it all the times and she is not even worried of the movement underfoot when she jumps off of it ;)))

      Delete
  11. I am having the hardest time getting the pole tight against the ceiling. It seems that we line it up and then go to screw it in place and we end up losing a 1/4" from doing this, so it's not tight against the ceiling. We thought maybe we had the pole upside down, but I don't think so. Did you run into this problem? Any suggestions??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marisa, no we did not have this problem. We mostly were upset at the idea of not being able to truly stabilize the post and make it stop spinning. We thought our girl would never use it, but she eventually did and does! We tried to use screws to fuse the two rods (one inside the other) and make it more stable but to no avail. All I can say is: leave it alone for a few days. Then try again. A fresh start may give you a different perspective :)

      Delete
  12. Is it possible for the pole to be used on carpet? My house is carpeted, and the only part that has hard word floors are the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and hallway. The ceiling is too high for the pole I think. The hallway is not a good place for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, the Stolmen can be adjusted to fit up to 10 and 1/2 ft ceilings! So you may be surprised. Ikea is a European company that has fixtures to fit higher ceilings than the average American home. I don't see what you could not use it on carpet. The bottom is not to be secured to the floors via screws (the top is). The only problem I may see is trying to adjust the height (by turning the pole) on a textured surface. I hope this helps! :)

      Delete
    2. LOL, I meant I don't see why...not what! :D

      Delete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Good morning Susi,

    My name is Audrey Lemarbre, and I’m managing editor at Magazine Animal, a small pet oriented french magazine in Quebec, Canada (http://www.jemagazine.ca/collections/magazine-animal)

    We are putting together an article about DIY for pets (mostly cats and dogs), and are looking to showcase some of the best ideas there is outhere. We saw your blog and just loved some of you tutorials !

    Would you be interested in publishing some of you ideas (and photos) in our special DIY issue? Naturally, your name or the name of your blog would appear in the ‘’author’’ section and we would credit every photo the same way.

    Furthermore, we would like to showcase some easier/smaller projects on our website (www.magazineanimal.com), with again credits to your blog.

    If you are interested by the project, don’t hesitate to write back or call me at 514-848-7000, poste 2954.

    Thanks,

    Audrey Lemarbre
    Chargée de contenus
    Magazine Animal
    audrey.lemarbre@tva.ca

    ReplyDelete