Pet Furniture

Published on January 21st, 2013 | by Jules Yap


Cat Hack – cat tower & scratching post

Materials: Stolmen

Description: Inspired by earlier hacks (such as this) we decided to hack IKEA for our cat, Billy.

We live in a rather small apartment and wanted him to use the height of the apartment as well, so that his living space is optimize (especially since cats love high viewing points). We bought the Stolmen Post and Mounting Fixtures at IKEA, went to a DIY shop and bought: plywood, paint, glue, doormats and rope. Additionally we uses extra bolts and such, I think the photos say enough.

1. Design a shape and size for the boards/shelves.
2. Saw the plywood accordingly.
3. Drill or saw a hole in the shelves (the pole must fit through it later on).
4. Sand the plywood shelves.
5. Paint them.
6. Design and cut the doormats (or some other material).
7. Glue them onto the shelves. It’s softer for the cat plus it prevents them from slipping off the boards.
8. Mount the shelves onto the pole (which you already installed). A bit hard for me to explain, just take a good look at the photos I’d say?
9. Wrap rope around the pole (we used 8 mm on the lowest part (took 10 meters) and both upper parts are 8 mm (took 2x 20 m!).

Billy absolutely loves his tower. he reaches the top in no time (he jumps and climbs as well), loves scratching the rope and when he’s not sleeping on our laps on the coach, he’s asleep on the top shelf.

See more of the Stolmen cat tower.

~ Kelly, The Netherlands

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

34 Responses to Cat Hack – cat tower & scratching post

  1. Karen says:

    What an awesome idea. Thanks for sharing! How cool is IKEA. We just spent a month in Sweden and visited IKEA on our very first day. IKEA meatballs are better in Sweden!!!

  2. Lily says:

    What a great idea! Ikea is always great for hacks, and this one is no expectation!

  3. Peter says:

    Great project. Just a little help:how did you attach the rope to the pole for the section you put cisal on given you did not put any glu on it?

  4. dale says:

    Great project. Would you have a template for the shelves ? :)

  5. Kelly says:

    I had never heard of a ‘Korat’ before, but I googled it and I do see some resemblances! I’m not sure though, Billy’s father is unknown and his mother was a european short hair. We always thought his father was a Russian Blue, but maybe he was a Korat..? We’re not sure, but he’s definitely the sweetest cat we’ve ever had!

  6. Christele says:

    Love it, thanks for the post! Have been looking into building a spiral staircase-climbing thing for our two kitties so this is great inspiration. By the way, is your Billy a Korat by any chance? He is gorgeous, AND has a great Ikea name ;-)

  7. Susan says:

    What is the distance between steps?

  8. says:

    my friend, this are a nice post.

  9. Frank L says:

    I love this! I also live in an apartment and couldn’t figure out the best way to use the height to my cats advantage. Well this is the way. I may even make two of these and connect them together. Thank you so much for this and I used to have a gray cat that looks like yours. His name was Smoky! Thanks again for the great idea!

  10. Jason says:

    Great hack, I did the same two weeks ago.

    Just wanted to say that I didn’t drill holes in the ceiling, and the stolmen is pretty sturdy.
    I tried it with concrete ceiling and with wooden ceiling, with the first one the stolmen is sturdier.
    I just extended the screw with the bolt on the floor at its maximum.


  11. Jane Smith Jane Smith says:

    Love this. Think the shape will be a bit more cloud like; my kitties are a bit on the “plump” side. Idea of adding the rope between is great, little texture and interest. I think this would be doable to completion in two days? First day, the shelves-sanding and finishing; day 2 installation. Billy looks very happy. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Don W says:

    Great post, I like the idea of making a cat tower on your own. I have a few similar items for my cats as well only we bought them! I wanted to say I too have a cat that is all black like your Billy! My cats name is Mable and she is the one the loves the cat trees and towers. Thanks again for this post I forsee an upcoming project for me.

  13. Erja says:

    How sturdy was the stolmen pole without screws? I live in a rental apartment and can’t really put screws on the ceiling so I want to know whether the tree could work without them (with piece of wood between the ceiling and the stolmen screwed to the stolmen pole).

    • Kelly says:

      I don’t think that would work…sorry! But we have a rental apartment too, and we drilled a few holes in the ceiling anyway. Just make sure you close them up when you move to another place?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Did you have to drill that into the floor and ceiling?

  15. Jasse says:

    What a nice cat tree !!!!
    It’s awesome. I love it. So nice design!
    I am wondering what is the dimension of the sisal rope, and how much did you buy?
    How did you attach it? Did you glue it to the pool?

    • Kelly says:

      No, no glue. We thought of it, but decided against it in case we’d ever want to replace the rope. I don’t recall how much sisal we used. It also depends on the distance you want between the steps. I do remember it was a lot! If I’d have to gues I’d say at least 5 meters. Good luck!

  16. Roozter says:

    Delightful! I will remember this for future smaller space living. Thanks.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Are you sure you didn’t just order the shelves from:
    They look just like them.

    • Kelly K. says:

      Indeed they do! But we didn’t ;) . We looked at other hacks for scratching posts, here on ikeahackers. But we mostly found the rectangular shaped steps and didn’t like them so much, so we decided to make our own shape. I just drew it by hand, and then duplicated the steps. We decided to put the doormats on for extra grip and comfort. But it’s weird how much the designs look a like, it might be that I saw it a while ago and my brain remembered it, but I don’t recognize the site/images. But then, the shape isn’t really that unique I guess? When you think of an easy shape for the cat to jump on, and nice to look at (not rectangular) I quickly came up with this option.

  18. Andrea says:

    I absolutely love this hack! It’s so neatly done and looks very professional. I have a couple of questions:
    * how thick is the plywood board?
    * how much plywood board did you buy in total?
    * how much doormat did you buy in total?

    Thanks for a great hack! /Andrea

    • Kelly K. says:

      Our shelves measure (at the widest part) 34 x 43 cm. So how much plywood to buy depends on if you use the same measurements and how many steps you would like (best to calculate yourself). We bought plywood board on sale, in already cut sizes (and sanded), and I don’t remember the sizes. But we bought too much, since we decided to use less steps and add the rope for climbing instead (of jumping). The plywood is 1 cm thick though, that I cán tell you ;) .

  19. Nellie says:

    Great for a small space. What are the dimensions of the steps?

  20. Mary says:

    Great idea! Thanks!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Am I the only one thinking that “Billy” is a great IKEA name for a cat using an IKEA Hack?
    Or is it just me that obsesses about Billy bookcases…

    • Kelly says:

      haha I almost didn’t want to name him Billy because of that, because 75% of our interior comes from IKEA. But we liked the name and it suits him so we decided to just go for it. But funny, you were the first one to notice/mention it!

  22. NonnyMus says:

    Nice cat tower! Nice cat, too!

  23. Deco Review says:

    Nice design. And this is an apt project for apartments

  24. Anonymous says:


  25. Anonymous says:

    neat job, I love those proper shelves with the mats on them :)

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