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How to build your own kitty gym

Meghan_K
December 11th, 2004, 09:35 PM
Okay, my husband Trav just offered to post a how-to guide and a step-by-step walkthrough on how to build your own kitty gym, based on his own experience. We were just wondering if anybody was interested before we started...???

glasslass
December 12th, 2004, 01:16 PM
I think I'm safe in saying we'll ALL interested!

Catt31
December 12th, 2004, 03:43 PM
Totally!!!!!!!!!!!!

chico2
December 12th, 2004, 04:34 PM
The one my hubbie built is definetly not as fancy as Meekos,but my cats are on it all the time...here it is,once again!!

coonlover
December 13th, 2004, 09:10 PM
I think I just found a new project for my boyfriend :thumbs up

louie's mum
December 13th, 2004, 10:53 PM
Okay, my husband Trav just offered to post a how-to guide and a step-by-step walkthrough on how to build your own kitty gym, based on his own experience. We were just wondering if anybody was interested before we started...???

ABSOTIVELY POSILUTELY :D :D
thanks ;)

glasslass
December 14th, 2004, 12:02 AM
I was at Petsmart last night and noticed the prices on the carpeted kitty gyms there. :eek: Over $300 US !!! I'm in shock!!!

dmc123
December 14th, 2004, 12:28 AM
I am very interested, those things cost so much!

Thanks in advance, Meghan_K and hubby!

Chico, your cats and mine look alot alike :) Well my tabby, Cody is much fatter and darker. Here mine are playing on one I paid 30.00 for, I think, they love it but would love to make them a better one.

~~Diane

louie's mum
December 14th, 2004, 01:54 AM
ur right, they're outrageously priced. i was shocked by pet smart's prices. i specifically went to look for one when i got louie but no way would i pay that kind of money. heck, i want an armoire that doesn't cost that much. he can climb THAT for heaven's sakes. lol <just kidding> i WILL try to make him something. could be pretty interesting & scary! :crazy: :clown:

lilith_rizel
December 14th, 2004, 02:24 PM
I would love to know how to build my own kitty gym.

Sunkist/Winnie
December 15th, 2004, 08:25 AM
I would love to have the plans for a kitty gym!

Both of my cats are indoors cats. I take them outside in the Spring/Summer/Fall weather permitting...but one of them refuses to go out in the snow so their level of activity decreases in the winter...a kitty gym would hopefully help supplement the exercise they get during our indoor play time. I have one cats that tends to be a little on the chunky side so exercise is a good thing!

Thanks so much for offering!

Meghan_K
January 11th, 2005, 09:47 AM
Oops :rolleyes: I sort of forgot about this post for a little while, so I'll get my hubby on that as soon as he gets up (sleepyhead). Have no fear, we will post the kitty gym plans as promised. :) You'll have to have a little bit of patience with us procrastinators, sorry :evil:

:) :D :evil: :p

Meghan_K
January 11th, 2005, 09:52 AM
And yes, I agree that petsmart, ect. totally take advantage of people who don't know how to/don't have the time or tools to build their own kitty gym. Man, those prices are just insane, and honestly, it wouldn't cost them (or you) more than 40 $ for a very nice kitty gym to build. And there are all kinds of nice little add ons that you can incorporate to "customise" your kitty gym, like sisal (for their claws, very nice inexpensive stuff :) ), and hanging kitty toys and really just about anything you can dream up that you think kitty would enjoy. Anyways, I PROMISE that I will get back to you guys a little later today with the kitty gym plans. (So sorry for taking so long :sorry: )

Rainy
January 11th, 2005, 10:39 AM
waiting patiently :) I love the kitty gyms posted ! It is so much fun making stuff for your furbabies! I made my guinea pigs pen and it is soooo much bigger than the crappy cages in petstores that are way too small and rediculously expensive!

LavenderRott
January 11th, 2005, 10:44 AM
A kitty gym would be the perfect project for me while my husband is in Iraq! Between that and the table that I need to finish refinishing, I should be able to keep pretty busy.

Meghan_K
January 11th, 2005, 11:03 AM
Ok everyone, lets start with an item list. These are the things you will need to build your kitty gym.

Keep in mind that the pictures we will be showing are just an example of what you could do-depending on your budget and what kind of tools you have. For example, with this list, you can improvise a lot with the materials. You can make the 2x4's longer (making the kitty gym taller). If your cat is a serious climber and scaler of things, you can definately substitute the 2x4's for 2x6's, giving kitty a wider beam to run up vertically. You can add as many platforms and shelves as you wish, you can experiment with different types of lumber, you can add sisal rope and cat toys. ( For those of you adding sisal rope, a hot glue gun works wonders, just remember to glue it to bare wood and not carpet).This is just a very basic design, and should be used to give you a very general idea of what to do. Get creative! This should be sufficient enough to give you the knowledge of how to build a basic kitty gym, and you can go from there. :)

1. 2x4's, any length, lets say under 3 feet (scraps) You will need 1 or 2 (or 3 or 4) of them, depending on what kind of gym you plan on making. You can get these at home depot, ect. just ask them if they have any 2x4 scraps. Remember that Home depot and a lot of other stores have a cutting center where they will cut the wood for you if you do not have the tools to do it yourself.

2. Plywood squares. These will be for the platforms and such, so make sure you get them the size that you want at the store if you don't have the saw to cut them down with at home. *Home depot carries pieces (scraps). Just ask them for it, or any other lumber supply store (3/4 inch thick minimum if you are using 3/4 inch staples)
*Or you can use thinner plywood if you are going to glue it with contact cement. (carpet to wood only)

3. 3/4 inch plywood base if your using 3/4 inch staples. Keep in mind that it can be any thickness if you are using contact cement ( this can be any size, but big enough so that your kitty gym won't fall over. (2 foot square minimum)
The bigger your kitty gym, the bigger the base.

4. Any type of carpet that you would like to coat it with ( A lot of carpet stores will have appropriate lengths and scraps in their junk bin) Just remember to ask first :D Oh, and I would suggest getting more carpet than you think you'll need, because if you cut something wrong, well...it's nice to have extra carpet if you need it :p .

5. A heavy duty stapler and staples (lets say about 3/4 inch staples) If you don't own one, make sure you inform the store clerk what you need it for
(carpet) before purchasing it. You want to make sure the staples go in deep enough so that kitty won't catch his claws on them (ouch)

6. A screwdriver (or screwgun), and 2 inch screws. I would suggest also picking up some longer screws, as well, just in case you need more support in some parts.

7. Most of this can be bypassed by using contact cement. It's messier and stinker, but you can use it to attatch the carpet to the wood with the same results, especially if you do not have the tools for the job. The downside of contact cement is that you have to wait for it to dry. Just follow the general instructions and you should be okay.
*Note * Do not use contact cement to put the wood platforms and 2x4's together, you will definately need the screws for that :p
In the pictures, we will be using an air stapler, so for those of you using contact cement, just try to follow along as best you can.

8. You will need a sharp knife (I would recomend an exacto knife or something similar) to cut the carpet pieces with.

Okay, get these items ready and you can start on the next phase of your kitty gym-putting the darned thing together. :thumbs up My hubby will be taking pictures of the kitty gym as he builds it in a step by step (as you can only post one pic per post :p ) walkthrough later this afternoon. We know that some of you will have more knowhow than others, so if you feel confident enough in your abilities, you can definately improvise along the way, this is just an example. If you have any questions feel free to ask away, as we are well aware that some of you are not tool savvy or mechanically inclined and will need extra help along the way.

* Note * We will be showing you how to build a kitty gym with one main support beam (2x4), but by seeing how we built that it won't be difficult for you to use two (or 3 or 4, depending how big you want it to be) main support beams instead of one if you wish. We will also be showing you a picture of a finished two-beamed support kitty gym. (That would be the first kitty gym we made for Meeko.) Good luck!

hddlstn02
January 11th, 2005, 12:24 PM
Would LOVE to have these instructions!!!! :thumbs up ;) :p :D

Meghan_K
January 11th, 2005, 02:54 PM
First off, you will need to design a simple gym, as a starter. Try to imagine it put together without carpet on it. Draw it on paper, if that helps. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, remember that you can always add onto it later if you want.

Then you will need to cut your lumber to the size you want, or have it cut, if that's the case. The exact length is not important in the kitty gym shown in the pictures.

Cut your carpet to fit the pieces of lumber, which should wrap around it completely.

Meghan_K
January 11th, 2005, 03:39 PM
Staple the carpet into place, (there is no such thing as too many staples) and trim it with an olfa blade (exacto knife) if nesessary. Be careful that you don't cut yourself! These knifes are extremely sharp.

Regarding the end of the 2x4's you see here in the pictures : only one side of the carpet is cut flush (even) with the end of the 2x4, and the other side has been covered with carpet.
The flush cut side ( bare wood) is the side you will be screwing to the main beam (2x4) coming up from the base...

*Note* What your looking at are the shelves (platforms) that we chose to use. We are using pieces of 2x4, but feel free to experiment with the lumber, you can use plywood or just about anything, as long as the wood is thick enough for the screws to go into.

Meghan_K
January 11th, 2005, 03:48 PM
Here are some pictures showing you how to staple the carpet onto the main beam and the base. On any 2x4 or beam, the carpet can overlap.

Meghan_K
January 11th, 2005, 04:07 PM
Here is the finished single-beam kitty gym. The final step is to screw everything together-the base to the main beam, the shelves to the main beam, and the top platform to the top of the beam. Note the white writing on the pictures. Make sure that your screws (I really can't stress this enough) and staples are set in really, really deep so that kitty won't catch his claws on them. My hubby added a cat to his, but you don't have to put it on with staples if you don't want to. ;) JK!

Meghan_K
January 11th, 2005, 04:17 PM
I added the new kitty gym (single support beam) to the original (two support beams) that we built .
Meeko just loves it! :D

Meghan_K
January 11th, 2005, 05:05 PM
Here are some bonus pictures for you. The base attatched to the main beam, the base being screwed onto the main beam, and Meeko helping. :evil: :p :D

dmc123
January 11th, 2005, 06:23 PM
Fantastic Meghan_K and hubby! Wonderful instructions and photos! I wish I had a shop and I think I could actually do this....might take a while :)

Thanks so much,
~~Diane

Meghan_K
January 12th, 2005, 06:18 AM
As promised, here is a picture of the original kitty gym. Notice it has two main support beams instead of one. This is now the "bottom" piece of the new and improved gym Trav created when he screwed the base of the new one (single beam) to the top of the old one. He had to remove the top platform of the old one, but it has found new life as a side platform on the new and improved version (see pictures). Anyways, we hope these pictures help you out, and if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask. We hope to see some pictures of completed kitty gyms on here :) (hint, hint).
Complete with kitties, of course :p .

poodletalk
January 12th, 2005, 08:19 AM
I don't have a cat, but I would like to make one for the animal group near my house. How high is the main beam.

Meghan_K
January 12th, 2005, 08:59 AM
You can make the main beam as high or as low as you want. The kitty gym my hubby made in the pictures-the beam was about 3 ft. long. Also take into consideration how many main beams you want. The bigger you want the kitty gym to be, the bigger you'll have to make the base, and you can put in 2 or 3 or 4 main support beams. (The bigger it is, the more beams.) Also, if it is for several cats, I would suggest using more than one beam anyways so that you can attatch more shelves and platforms. Hope that helps. ;)

shihtzulover
January 12th, 2005, 09:00 AM
Thanks so much Meagan. I have to put my hubby to work now :D

Meghan_K
January 12th, 2005, 09:08 AM
Ha,ha, no problem. At least it will give our husbands/boyfriends something constructive to do. :p :evil: :D

chico2
January 12th, 2005, 09:11 AM
Meghan,that is great!! Mine is just very simple,but the cats love it...we used a 4x4 peace of left-over wood as the main beam,the whole thing is made from leftovers,did not cost us a cent,except for the sisal-rope.
We do however change it now and then,we've had the tree for at least 10yrs,now..

Meghan_K
January 12th, 2005, 09:15 AM
I was very glad that you posted that picture of your kitty gym, Chico. Now everyone who wants to put sisal rope on theirs can see how you did yours. And who cares if it's not the ritz hotel-cats don't care how purdy it is, just how comfy and/or stimulating it is. And when you build it yourself you save so much money compared to petsmart's prices. :rolleyes: Simplicity rules! :)

Meghan_K
January 13th, 2005, 10:03 PM
Here is a picture of Meeko that Travis took. He is sitting in his sunbeam, enjoying the warmth and his new kitty gym. We sprinkled some catnip on the main platform of the gym, and man, he was bouncing off the walls for a while-he got all dreamy and just plain silly. :p

Sneaky2006
January 13th, 2005, 10:11 PM
I was just wondering if you guys ever had to recover any of the legs or platforms?? We have one *very small* cat house (only big enough for half a cat) with one small platform on top and the beam connecting the two looks awful, we have it in the living room and I hate people to see it. There's also carpet pieces all over the floor everyday from them scratching at it all the time... does that happen to you guys? And if it does, do you leave it like that or fix it some way?

Meghan_K
January 13th, 2005, 11:21 PM
You could pull the screws out holding the legs together and replace the legs or rearrange them, and replace the carpet.
Or you could wrap it with sisal rope to give them something else to shred besides the carpet. You could hang some cat toys off an arm or platform, if you would play with them, I'm sure the cat will too, and it mights save 5 minutes of worn carpet. Hehehe. :p

glasslass
January 14th, 2005, 12:34 AM
That was a great class! Wow!! This forum has really been educational in all aspects of pet life! I've made prints and put them in my file for future use. Good stuff! :thumbs up The kitty is adorable. Love all the pix, but expecially the first one "helping"! :)

chico2
January 14th, 2005, 08:41 AM
Sneaky,go and get some sisal rope to replace the ruined carpet,they really love that.In my pic,we had not finished putting all the rope on,I now have most of the main beam covered in rope.You just twirl it around tightly putting hot-glue to hold it in place.
Meghan,you definetly need another kitten to enjoy that tree with Meeko,it looks great,two kittens would have sooo much fun on it :love:

Meghan_K
January 15th, 2005, 10:58 AM
Thank you Glasslass,
Yes, Meeko is a very good little "helper". Especially when he helps us unplug all the wires out of the back of the computer. :evil: Chico, you should've seen the look on my husbands face when he read the part about getting another kitten. :D :evil: :p Who knows, maybe one day we'll get him another buddy to play with, but for right now-I think he's happy being the "cat of the house". :rolleyes:

amber416
March 14th, 2005, 03:35 PM
I had to pull up this old thread to thank you meghan k! my fiance finally got around to making Tink's kitty gym and your instructions helped so much...thanks again!

Shamrock
March 14th, 2005, 04:13 PM
Thanks Meghan for posting this, and Amber for bringing this back up I was just thinking about this thread as I would like to add a kitty gym. The large ones are really pricey to buy in the pet stores, I see.
I have two low cat perches, which have been ok, but my newest cat is really a jumper and climber - he loves high places.
A great spring project for my husband, I'm going to print off the instructions, and pics to show how great it all looks when completed
Looks like your baby adores his new kitty gym, I'm sure it brings him tons of pleasure and enjoyment.
Well done! :thumbs up
:ca:

happycats
March 14th, 2005, 04:15 PM
What a beautiful job!
I'm still waiting for my hubby to build one :crazy: It may be a while, so Im glad you brought this post back up.

happycats
March 31st, 2005, 08:18 PM
another thread intrested in making kitty gym, this Is a great thread, with easy step by step directions !!!!
Thanks again to Meghan . ;)

Meghan_K
February 11th, 2009, 11:39 PM
Sorry for the lost time, we have just arrived in the 21st century out here in the country ..... wireless internet has arrived, hehe.

Well, since 2004 Meeko has inrceased in size and mass exponentionally, and due to inertial forces outside of our control Meeko eventually snapped it in half and by this gave us a better understanding of kitty forces and how to build a better kitty gym , so with this said, there will be a version 1.1 of the (Meeko 5000 play unit)
comming soon to a post near you.
Meeko has been taking his frustrations out on our couch and rugs, so hopefully within the next couple of months hubbie and I will collaborate on a walkthrough for you with pictures, step-by-step instructions and the like. The new and improved version will feature a 'kitty tube'. More to come.

TacoGrl
February 12th, 2009, 12:24 AM
This is great! Thx...now I have a project to keep me out of trouble! :D

happycats
February 12th, 2009, 07:07 AM
Sorry for the lost time, we have just arrived in the 21st century out here in the country ..... wireless internet has arrived, hehe.

Well, since 2004 Meeko has inrceased in size and mass exponentionally, and due to inertial forces outside of our control Meeko eventually snapped it in half and by this gave us a better understanding of kitty forces and how to build a better kitty gym , so with this said, there will be a version 1.1 of the (Meeko 5000 play unit)
comming soon to a post near you.
Meeko has been taking his frustrations out on our couch and rugs, so hopefully within the next couple of months hubbie and I will collaborate on a walkthrough for you with pictures, step-by-step instructions and the like. The new and improved version will feature a 'kitty tube'. More to come.


WELCOME BACK!!! :)

can't wait to see the new and improved "Meeko 5000"

Meghan_K
February 12th, 2009, 08:41 AM
Thanks happycats for the welcome back, it has been a long time! My husband was busy perusing this thread last night and was preening a bit at the response, especially Tinks kitty gym that amber416 posted. Thank you amber! You made my hubbies night. :D And thank you for everyone who kept this old thread alive, he couldn't believe it still exsisted. Just goes to show how many people don't need to rely on Petsmart and other pricey stores to supply their kitties with a kitty gym ;)

chico2
February 12th, 2009, 08:43 AM
Can't wait to see Meeko again,you just answered my question from the other post:thumbs up
I just knew Meeko would be a huge beautiful cat one day:lovestruck:

maneater
February 12th, 2009, 10:49 PM
This just came at the right time. I was in the pet store looking for something for my chuahua's to climb on. I guess i could modify the cat one for my dogs.s

Meghan_K
March 8th, 2009, 04:59 AM
Not only that maneater but my hubby is in the process of drawing up some advanced blueprints for our dog Ringo, as well. He needs a new doghouse and this one comes with a feeding station with a roof that opens to allow easy access for feeding :) He is going in for surgery in the spring so it will be an older dog friendly doghouse that will welcome him back after a stint in our home :D We have been discussing dog friendly heating methods that have evolved to a point where our top idea is having a small ceramic heater on a timer that senses what temperature it is and turns on and off accordingly. Said heater will be housed in a separate metal housing with heat piped into the doghouse to lower the risk of fire hazards, accidents, ect. I will be starting a new thread regarding just that ;) My hubby will be posting pics and instructions that will allow you to customize your doggie manor for any size of pooch - and I'm sure your Chihuahua would love a customized doggie gym :) I know Ringo would if he could shrink down to Meekos size ;)

Tundra_Queen
May 13th, 2009, 11:53 PM
Meghan...... UUUU whooooooo

Any progress on the new cat gym? *BWG* We're waiting. :D:laughing::laughing:

Debbie

adammo
May 14th, 2009, 02:51 PM
Wow this thread is awesome! My girlfriend and I have always wanted to build our own.

I didn't see, but how much do you think it costs to round all of the materials up?

Thanks again!

Joeyjoejoe
May 15th, 2009, 01:01 AM
Wow this thread is awesome! My girlfriend and I have always wanted to build our own.

I didn't see, but how much do you think it costs to round all of the materials up?

Thanks again!

Depends... but if you want to go the absolute cheap route, you should be able to get scrap carpet and scrap wood free from friends, family, carpet companies, etc. Then other than sisal rope, it's just the cost of supplies to attach everything together.

For me I, got free carpet and used an old Ikea bookshelf. Total cost was just under $40... and half of that cost was for additional shelves.

Jim Hall
May 15th, 2009, 11:11 AM
how much do you figure materials where ,maybe $40? if that

adammo
July 17th, 2009, 01:30 PM
My girlfriend and I finished working on our house last week and it turned out quite well for our first time. I will post pics later. A couple of problems we had:

- When drilling into the carpet to make holes for the screws, we kept getting the carpet tangled. Is there anyway to avoid this? We tried drilling slower but it would always catch.

- How to you keep a large cat house like this stable? We've tried supports but it still wobbles quite a bit. Right now it is about 3 feet high. We wanted to add another section, but once we put it up we found it was too dangerous.

Thanks for any advice :).

dollface
January 6th, 2010, 12:36 AM
Meghan_K: any idea on how to make a hammock for a gym like the one you guys made? Or possibly a whole gym like this one?? : http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51akm9ZMEkL.jpg
:D :D

link with materials used: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/easy.home.garden-21/detail/B0014ZDNL8