How to make a gym for your cat

Home sweet home for your pet.
Home sweet home for your pet. Photos Michael Craig

THEY love to sleep, they love to eat and if you're lucky they may even show you a little affection.

But what if your cat needs more in the way of fun? If you think your cat is crying out for behavioural enrichment, then construct this mighty fine cat gym.

Step 1

Cut medium-density fibreboard 600mm x 350mm for a bottom, then cut two lengths of 45mm x 20mm for the front, back and two sides, fixed from the bottom up, flush with outer edges.

Step 2

Cut five dowels 400mm in length, four for the posts to hold the upper platform in the corners and about halfway along the bottom, and the fifth in a corner for a play toy. Fix from the underside with screws. Wrap sisal rope around the dowel, starting from the bottom, with a clout-head nail to hold in place when starting and finishing, and cut to remove the remaining rope.

Step 3

Cut MDF for upper platform 400mm x 350mm. Sandpaper the sharp edges for upholstery. Cut fabric to size of the platform, allowing 45mm extra to fold over edges to underside of platform. On the platform's underside, mark a line 30mm in, then place fabric face down evenly over platform. Brush contact adhesive over the back of the fabric overhang and to the pencil line. Wait until glue is tacky before sticking the fabric to the platform surfaces. Starting at one corner, place the fabric, running your hand along and down the sides. Repeat on the other sides. Keeping scissors flat on the top edge, cut off corners to give a 45-degree join.

Step 4

Cut MDF for front, back and side pieces to create a box shape in proportional size to your cat's gym. I cut the front, back and side pieces 260mm x 260mm and make the roof 40mm bigger for overhang. With a jigsaw, cut out a half-round shape for an entrance, and with the cut-out piece as a template trace and cut a second piece for steps. Mark steps from the corner point 70mm, then use a hole saw to suit dowel size, drill the holes, slide first step in place (should be tight fit) about one third up, then repeat the steps on wrapping rope around the dowel, on both sides of step before fixing the top step in place creating a spiral.

Step 5

Drill shapes in different sizes for windows. Finish box hut by fixing sides flush with front and back. Place and fix platform with screws into the dowel before fixing the hut in place from the underside of the platform with evenly spaced screws.

Step 6

Cut a piece of MDF 45mm x 20mm and upholster with fabric, fix on top of dowel to allow swivelling, creating a crane effect with overhang at back and attach a hanging play toy or ball.

Get a comfy pillow and your cats will love you for it.


  • 6mm MDF (bottom)
  • 12/16mm MDF
  • 45 x 20mm pine
  • 45mm dowel
  • 6mm sisal rope
  • Upholstery material
  • Contact adhesive glue
  • 25mm clout-head nail
  • 40mm screws
  • 120g sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Play toy


  • Skill saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Screw gun
  • Hole saw set
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Hammer
  • Scissors

Topics:  diy pets

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