Multi-level Cat Condo

Spooky Blue Woodshop Projects

Silly is a little black and white cat.  Her siblings are two collies named Saul and Hannah.  The collies love their feline sister, and are intensely interested in everything she does.  They love to smell her, lick her, drool on her, and play with her.  Like a beach ball.  Silly tolerates her canine siblings up to a point, and someday in the not too distant future she'll also have two additional sheepdog sisters named Gracie and Georgie.  

That's four dogs.  16 big furry paws to dodge.  Four slobbery mouths to avoid.  In order to preserve some portion of this little cat's sanity, we decided she needed an upgrade to her living quarters.

Premise:  Turn a stack of 1x2's, 2x2's, plywood, and carpet remnants into a high-rise structure upon which the furry princess can look down upon her subjects with impunity.   

Taking Measurements
Before starting any woodshop project, it's important to have some idea of the dimensions you're going to be working with.  Silly is a fairly petite cat, but how tall is a cat, really?  Beats me.  I got out the tape measure and went looking for the cat.

After returning from the emergency room, I superimposed the more pertinent measurements on these stock Sillycat photos to the right.

Requirements / Features

Must be taller than a dog

This serves two purposes.  The most obvious is to allow the cat some seclusion from the barking, drooling masses.  But secondly, a high platform makes tasty cat food inaccessible by the aforementioned drooling masses.

Multi-tiered, handi-capable accessibility

We thought to provide multiple avenues of ingress to the main (dinner) platform.  Silly is getting up in years, though you'd never know it by the amount of noise she makes catting around the house at 4AM.  Regardless, no platform is more than 12" higher than the platform beneath it.  We also included a central ramp so she can walk from level to level.  This should make things easier for our poor old grey-haired cat in her retirement years.

Carpeted, painted, suitable for a corner of the living room

Although Silly has her own room where she may sit high upon her throne, this may not always be the case.  Our goal is to avoid building a Homer Simpson sculpture, so if we need to move her into a more trafficked area of the house, it won't look too out of place.
Making Plans

Cat Condo Plans 1

Cat Condo Plans 2

Once we knew the basic layout of our cat, and had a firm idea of what we actually wanted our structure to accomplish, we drew up a set of plans.

There are times when even the most meticulously drawn plans have to be treated more as suggestions than formal guidelines.  The more impressive they look, the less likely anyone will question a missing wall here or there.  Hang them up somewhere close by and when someone asks you what you're doing, just grunt and wave vaguely in that direction.  

Cost overruns and bureaucratic snafus plagued the project from its outset.  However, upon completion, we managed to end up with a structure that basically resembled our plans instead of something wildly inappropriate like a windmill, or a catapult.

Despite the fact that it bears some resemblance to a Rube Goldberg device, the construction is simple.  The entire structure is supported by four legs.  After determining the desired height of the topmost tier, we cut two legs to (basically) that length.  The other two legs only reached as high as the main level.  This was unanimously agreed to later on as a design embellishment.

Page 2  -  Cat condo construction continued ...