The First Project: A Cat Tree for a Senior Cat

My 9 year-old cat Amelia.

About a year ago now, we took our cat Amelia to the vet. The vet let us know that she was beginning to show the signs of early Arthritis and that she would start to show signs of being lethargic and not jumping as much as she did in the past. We still wanted to give her a good rest of her years, so we tried to find ways to make the house more accessible to her. We outfitted the bed with a set of stairs, we got a food bowl where she wouldn’t have to bend down to eat, and we mix her joint medication into her food twice a day. The biggest problem, is that there are not many cat trees designed for senior cats. The ones we were able to find, were only about 3 feet high, which is just barely enough for her to see out of the window. I found one cat tree that I was sure would work. It had ramps for her to use to get from one level to another, and seemed perfect. After and ordering snafu, it arrived at our house and I put it together for the kitties.

“Senior Cat Tree” in middle

The problem with it became clear when I was putting it together. The ramps were only secured at the top leaving it to wobble around at the bottom. The steep incline, between 45 and 60 degrees, of the ramps made them too hard for Amelia to traverse. She started to use the cat tree less and less. We now have to help her up and down by picking her up.

The goal of this project will be to make a cat tree that is tall enough for both cats, while also allowing greater mobility between the different sections. The biggest simulation of failure will be a 20+ pound cat jumping from the top level, and not creating a large displacement at the bottom, aka no tipping. The joints must also hold a 20+ pound cat for long periods of time. The catch of all this, is that all materials and production equipment has to be from what is commonly available at a local hardware store. This means no lathes or drill presses, and no fancy woods or carpeting.

Let’s get to the initial designing, and I’ll see you next week!

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