Kitty towers and outdoor tents for two?
June 6, 2013 10:44 PM   Subscribe

Looking for some suggestions/ideas for secure outdoor cat tents with no floor, and also some indoor cat tree/condo/tower suggestions -- for two indoor-only kittehs.

Our cats, Sydney (the large main cat) and Blue (the small emergency backup cat) are strictly indoor girls. However we have a nice shady patch of grass beside the screen porch (which they love) that would be great for an outdoor cat tent/run. Problem is, the only one we can manage to find without a floor (so they can get their little toes in the grass) is very nice but also nearly $400, which we don't have the extra money to get (and I mean really...that's kind of ridiculous).
Anyone have any suggestions or sites that would have a good and reliable/secure outdoor tent for our girls to use? Preferably under $400. I've looked at the sites listed on and and have some good inspiration if we are forced to build our own. We would really prefer a non-permanent tent/house that we could move to different parts of the yard when we want, and can be moved in order to mow the grass. =P

Also, has anyone got some good suggestions for (cheaper/cheapish!) cat towers/condos/trees for us to have indoors? The tall ones always seem to be outrageously expensive with fairly poor/disappointing reviews on most of the major pet store chain websites. We have a little Kitty City thing that has those removable plastic arms you can change around, the little nylon cubes, and one of the hammocks. Which worked great until Sydney got to her 'adult' size (which, by the way, we are forced to admit is how she will number of diets has reduced her fat little belly. To think she was the runt of the two when we got them from the shelter...). Now the only part that remains in tact is the hammock, which is on it's last legs from constant use. We'd like something that has at least 2-3 levels and a couple different options for resting (you of the curved beds, one of the circular/square places with the hole in the front, etc etc).

Please note: we will also take suggestions for good design ideas/instructions for either of these projects!

posted by PeppahCat to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
How about a DIY run using wire storage cube panels and zip ties?
posted by jamaro at 11:09 PM on June 6, 2013 [6 favorites]

I bought this giant cat tree 3 years ago. When I assembled it I was a little bit disappointed over the quality of the materials, but it's held up quite well. My 3 use it regularly. Even with shipping doubling the price (its a huge box) it's still easily 1/3 the price of what you'd pay in a Petsmart type store. It was probably only slightly more annoying than IKEA stuff to assemble.
posted by cgg at 11:44 PM on June 6, 2013

How about making a chicken tractor, but bigger? A cat tractor?

OMG I must now make a cat tractor.
posted by amtho at 11:55 PM on June 6, 2013 [4 favorites]

I can recommend Cat Tree Plans as a reliable site. We built plan 2 and our cats love it. It's very solid and will last for years. It probably worked out as expensive as a big cat tree but much more sturdy.

We got the carpet for free - we just went and asked if there were any scraps and got a whole roll they'd pulled off an office floor.

The sisal was the expensive part and if I did it again I would put the sisal on first before attaching the platforms.
posted by poxandplague at 1:19 AM on June 7, 2013

For indoors: IMO most cat trees are not worth the money judging by quality and design. Have a look around the internet what you could do with real furniture pieces. Yes, a little diy. Linking a few things, there is a ton on the net. Shelves, book case, Ikea stolmen post cat tree, other version, and more, and more.
posted by travelwithcats at 5:23 AM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

This was the one I got my 16 lb monster, and he loves it. Surprisingly stable. It's covered in a fleece, which I think is more comfortable than carpet. He's got a standalone scratching post in addition to this, so I cannot attest to its usefulness for scratching.
posted by emkelley at 6:23 AM on June 7, 2013

We have had this Armarkat cat tree for about 6 months so far, and it's great. It works best in a corner for extra stability, but it's well made and not too expensive. The cats LOVE it, they play on it and sleeo on it every day, and they also use it for most of their scratching needs. We have the medium 28"(L)X25"(W)X57"(H) size. Free shipping with Prime!
posted by insectosaurus at 8:04 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I built my own cat condo. I used two sheets of really nice birch plywood, which made it relatively expensive, but it could be done more cheaply.
posted by adamrice at 9:09 AM on June 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

We have this cat condo for our 16-pounder and it's fantastic. I know you're like, $235, WTF. We bought it when it went on sale for $85. So watch for sales, the Armarkat ones were on sale the same day, too, IIRC. You could find a few you like and set up CamelCamelCamel alerts although that's not foolproof (when we bought ours, it was priced at $170, but there was a code/promo for 50% off).

Here is an outdoor cat condo using an Ikea frame that I've toyed around with duplicating.
posted by payoto at 10:31 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

May or may not be helpful, but I've had the best luck with cat trees when I purchased local; here in Edmonton there are two or three companies that make them and sell at local farmer's markets, and they are very solid pieces of furniture (ours has held up to three insane cats using it as a Parrises squares venue for a couple of years now). They are not extremely cheap but not expensive, either, and will last longer than the cardboard-and-fabric versions.
posted by Nyx at 11:02 AM on June 7, 2013

We have this one. While the tower itself is sturdy, it's tall enough that it wobbled a bit so the mister attached it to the wall. The cats really like to hang out on the tallest perch and the top of the cave (mid-way up). The tube is too small except for kittens and none of my four have used the hammock. We're planning on adding some shelves to the same walls the tower is on to give the cats even more height.
posted by deborah at 5:29 PM on June 7, 2013

Note - consider whether there are predators in your area. Most outdoor cat enclosures won't be very good protection from a coyote.
posted by amtho at 12:06 AM on June 8, 2013

For cat furniture, we think very highly of Armarkat. We've had their Classic Cat Tree A7202 for more than four years now. The cats love it; they scratch the poles, chase each other up and down it, and snooze on the platforms in the sun. It costs the same as or less than any of the cat trees available in any of the local pet supply places, and is much (MUCH) higher quality.

We're hoping to move to a new apartment soonish, and one of the desired characteristics of the next place is "large enough for a second cat tree". Definitely going with Armarkat again when we do.
posted by Lexica at 4:43 PM on June 8, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks to all! We are definitely going to only have them outside when we can supervise them, and I've gotten a lot of great ideas and possibilities from these suggestions!
posted by PeppahCat at 12:29 PM on June 11, 2013

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