Today we’re gonna show you how to make a cat tower out of cardboard boxes. This is a super easy project anyone can do for their cats. BONUS: You can make it as simple or elaborate as you like!
Before we get started we need to tell you we’ve made many of these cardboard box cat towers over the years. Some of them have been as simple as the one pictured above and some of them have been quite elaborate.
They are oodles of fun to make because you can let the kids (and we’re using that term very loosely here) go wild with the decorations. You can paint them, color them with markers or crayons or even wrap them in gift paper, contact paper or pretty fabric.
As we said earlier, when it comes to decorating your cool new cardboard cat tower the sky is the limit. Just be sure you are using “cat friendly” materials when you do. Stick to water based glues and paints, tapes that don’t tear easily and fabrics that don’t fray at the drop of a hat (or the snag of a claw).
Let’s get started…
First thing you need to do is get yourself a collection of boxes. You can use any type boxes you like as long as they are large enough for your cat easily get inside of. Preferably they should be able to move thru them, sit down in them and curl up inside comfortably.
They also need to be sturdy enough to hold the weight of your cat or cats when they are climbing around inside. The cat tower in our example here is being built out of book storage boxes. Which are super sturdy and have removable lids, making creating the access holes easy to do.
After you’ve gathered your boxes you need to plan out where you are going to make the entrance or door in the box that will be on the bottom. As well as where to put the access holes that will lead from one floor or level of the cat tower to the next.
We recommend you stack up your boxes and mark where you plan to cut. Draw in your door and sketch where the access holes need to go on the floors of each box. Don’t forget some “peep holes” in the sides. Both for kitty fun and air flow.
We find cutting the floor holes first to be easiest. This is because once you cut them out, you can sit them on top of the lids that go below them and trace exactly where to cut the hole in the roof of the box below. This way they exactly match up.
Keep in mind it’ll be MUCH easier for your kitty to get up and down inside the tower if you stagger the access holes inside. For example, one in the front then the next one in the back and so forth.
Once you have cut all the doors, windows (or peep holes) and access holes in your cat tower. Stack up all the boxes to insure everything lines up as it should.
When you are satisfied that everything lines up you are ready to fasten the boxes together. In this example (and in the video below) the tower is being held together with clear packing tape. You can also use duct tape which comes in man lovely colors, glue or some combination of these.
Just be sure whatever you decide to fasten your tower together with is both secure and safe for your kitty. You need the boxes to stay together when your cats are playing inside and on top of them. AND you need to know it’s not toxic or dangerous for your kitty if they scratch off a bit of it.
If you choose to hold your boxes together with tape. We STRONGLY recommend you follow the example provided in the video just above and wrap the tape around the boxes individually and then to each other one box at a time!
So you’ll tape all the way around your bottom two boxes in both the front and back of the box. Then you’ll add the third box on top of them and tape around all three boxes and so on up the line. This makes for a VERY SECURE cardboard cat tower.
YES this uses a lot of tape but your cats safety is worth it!
We’ll go into more detail about decorating such a structure in a future post. So here, we’ll just mention that if you plan to decorate your kitty tower you need to think about how you want to do that BEFORE you begin construction.
For example, latex paint will not stick to clear packing tape. So if you plan to paint the whole thing you will need to use a different kind of tape (perhaps paper packing tape?), paint it before you tape it or simply glue the boxes together.
IMPORTANT… No matter what you do once your cat tower is finished it will need to be stabilized in some way.
Because it’s made of empty cardboard boxes it will be quite light and prone to tip when a cat is playing inside. This means you need to find a way to stabilize your new cat tower. How you do this will depend on where you plan to place it.
In the video above, the cat tower is wedged between other bits of furniture to keep it from tipping. You could also tape the tower to a basement pole or anchor it to your wall. Just know if you don’t, it will tip over. So be safe. Your cats are counting on you!
No discussion about how to make a cat tower out of cardboard boxes would be complete without talking a little bit about where to get your boxes!
If you are looking for free boxes a good place is to check copy centers like Office Depo, Office Max and the like. Ask them if you can have 3-4 of their empty copy paper boxes. It should be noted that they also sell empty boxes relatively inexpensively so you could just pick them up.
Most business offices use copy paper so you could ask your local realty or lawyers office if they would save the boxes for you, too. If you don’t care about the size or shape of your boxes ask your local grocery store or other retailer if they will save you a few boxes when their next truck arrives.
If you purchase your boxes you will get to pick out exactly the size and shape you want for your cat tower. Office supply stores, hardware stores and movers like U-haul will all have boxes for sale at a decent price.
You may also enjoy “Free Cat Tree Plans“
Well, there you have it. That is how to make a cat tower out of cardboard boxes! When you make your kitty tower masterpiece please tell us all about it and send pics. We’ll share them here so everyone can be inspired by your genius!