How to Build a DIY Cat House
This cat house/side table is functional for you and your furry feline friend.
A full day
Cats and boxes go hand-in-hand, and as a cat lover, watching my cat play gives me great joy. I decided to spice up my cat's life by designing a piece of furniture that, like our relationship, functions for me and my cat.
This side table/house is proportioned for the average cat and couch, and can be easily tweaked to match you and your pet’s needs. The diamond-shaped cat-holes give this piece a mid-century modern feel that matches my space well, but feel free to use any shape that compliments your home. With this design, all you need is one sheet of plywood.
- 1/2" drill bit
- 18-gauge nail gun
- Carpenter's square
- Miter saw
- random orbital sander
- Table saw
- Tape measure
- 1-1/2-in. 18-gauge brad nails
- 1-1/4-in. 18-gauge brad nails
- 120-grit sandpaper
- 2-in. trim-head screws
- 4x8 sheet of 3/4" Fir Core Birch Plywood
- Wood glue
A) Fronts and backs: 4 @ 19-1/2-in. x 10-1/2-in.
B) Sides: 4 @ 16-1/2-in. x 10-1/2-in.
C) Side cleats: 8 @ 1-1/2-in. x 10-1/2-in.
D) Top, bottom and center platforms: 4 @ 19-1/2-in. x 32-in.
E) Top, bottom and center build-up sides: 6 @ 1-1/2-in. x 32-in.
F) Top, bottom and center build-up ends: 6 @ 1-1/2-in. x 19-1/2-in.
Project step-by-step (8)
Cut Out Parts from Plywood
- Cut your parts on the table saw using the plywood layout diagram and cut list as a guide.
- Rip the cleats and build up pieces to width and then cut to length on the miter saw.
Pro tip: Have your home store or lumber yard cut your 4×8 sheet of plywood into two 4×4 sections for easier transport home and safer handling on the table saw. The cut diagram provided reflects this approach.family handyman
- Using wood glue and 1-1/2-in. nails, attach the cleats to the sides, keeping one edge flush with the side’s inner face.
Attach fronts and backs
- Glue the cleats and nail them onto the fronts and backs, using 1-1/4-in. nails.
- Make sure the cleat edges are flush with the edges of the fronts and backs.
Assemble the platforms
- Glue and nail the build-up to the bottom of each platform using 1-1/4-in. nails.
Pro tip: Do a dry fit first before gluing. Adjust the miters so the build-up is flush with the platform edges.
Lay out and Cut the Portholes
- Make cardboard (or scrap wood) template the same size as a front.
- Lay out the 8-in. high x 6-1/2- in. wide diamond 1-1/2-in. from the edge of the face and a 1/2-in. from the top and bottom of the template.
- Using the template, draw the portholes on the front of the upper box and the back of the lower box. Lay out the portholes in the middle platform as well.
- Drill two 1/2-in. pilot holes in opposite corners of each porthole and cut the holes with a jigsaw.
- Smooth the cut edges with a sanding block or file.
Pro tip: Make a sanding block using sticky back 120 grit sandpaper and a scrap of 3/4-in. plywood, about 1-1/2-in. wide by 4-in. long.
Sand Edges Flush
- Sand all the exposed plywood edges flush using a random orbital sander with 120 grit paper.
- Round over any sharp corners with a sanding block.
Attach Platforms to Boxes
- Apply paint or finish to the box interiors before assembly.
- Attach the bottom platform to the bottom of the lower box with 2-in. trim head screws.
- Attach the top platform to the top of the upper box with 2-in. trim screws.
- Attach the middle platform to the bottom of the upper box with 2-in. trim screws.
- Attach the upper box assembly to the lower box by sharply angling 2-in. trim screws along the sides of the upper box into the sides of the lower box.family handyman
You can either paint or clear coat this project. I will probably clear coat because I like the look of the exposed plywood edges. If you want to up your woodworking skill set, try some peel and stick birch veneer on those exposed edges for a super-fine finished appearance. Learn to build a DIY cat tree and tower.