Updated: March 17, 2021 by Kristen Chapple
Cats are one of the fussiest pets in the animal kingdom. If you’re a cat parent, you already know that your cat loves privacy. We all want a nice and warm place for our kitty to call their own, but investing in a cathouse can sometimes drill a hole in your pocket. Interestingly, there are many excellent cathouse ideas out there, and we are here to show you how you can build one for your cat.
Building a house for your cat does not only save you money, but it also allows you to build something that would fit perfectly into the available space you have. The best part of this project is that you do not need to be a professional woodworker to get it done. Keith Brown of Rag “n” Bone Brown took out some time to show you how to make a house with pallets for your feline friends. Without wasting much time, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What You Will Need
- Pallets (short and long pieces)
- Tape measure
- Miter saw
- Table saw
- Belt sander
- Block plane
- Brad nail
- Electric hand file
- Router and bits
- Screws and nails
- Hammer (optional)
This cathouse would be hexagon-shaped, and we would have to do some angle cutting to achieve this. The house would consist of six walls and six inner pillars.
For the wall, we would need 30 pieces of short pallets. Each pallet would be 25cm long, and 8cm high. A hexagon has six sides, and we want 5 pallets on each side, which is why we need a total of 30 pieces.
Trim one end of the piece after setting your miter saw to 30 degrees. Cut a 30-degree angle on each side to form the hexagon shape, and this would reduce the length on the inner side to 22cm. You have to repeat the same process for all 30 pieces. Ensure all the pieces are of the same length.
After cutting all the 30 pieces, you need a table saw to get a more consistent width. To achieve this, you need to measure 8cm between your table saw guide and the blade, and then pass each piece (flattened) through. This would remove any excesses on the top and bottom to ensure the height of the pallet is exactly 8cm. Do this for all 30 pieces.
After ensuring a uniform height across all pieces, you need your belt sander to sand both faces of each piece. A light sanding would do, as you still want to maintain the character in the wood. The light sanding should be applied to all pieces.
The next step is to add a 45-degree chamfer on all edges of what would be the outside faces of each piece. You would need a block plane for this process – make sure your block plane is sharp. This would enhance the design of the house and also harden the glue joints.
Next, we need to get our inner pillars, which are the upright pieces. Since the hexagon has six sides, we would need six upright pieces. For this part, you need a wood that measures 45mm by 35mm. You need six pieces, and each should have a height of 38cm. For it to flush with the inner part of the hexagon, we need to make a 30-degree cut on the upright pieces.
To achieve this, set your miter to 30 degrees and pass the upright piece through.
Flip it over and cut the other side.
You need to repeat the same process for all six pieces. If you have a very long wood, you can do this process first and then cut it in lengths of 38cm afterward. You need to ensure you cut all the upright pieces at the same angle and they are all of the same height. For your safety, make sure you are putting on gloves and a dust mask while sawing and sanding the pieces.
The next phase is the assembly phase – your cathouse is about to come to life. Now we have all the pieces we need, and we need to put them together. For this part, you need glue and a brad nail. Make sure your glue is very active, the same thing applies to the brad nail.
To begin this process, join two short pieces (the walls) side by side to form an angle of 30 degrees – apply the glue before joining. Apply glue on one of the upright pieces and place it at the joining of the two small pieces.
Make the next joining and add another upright piece. Repeat the same process until you complete the base, which would consist of six small pieces and all the upright pieces. While joining the small pieces, make sure there is no space between them, and the glue should also hold firmly. They should lap pretty well and the bottom of the upright piece should flush with the bottom of the small pieces.
After getting all the pieces at the bottom glued, the next step is to use your brad nail to add more sturdiness and firmness. Before using the brad nail, make sure there is no opening between the edges. Apply the nail through the edge of each small piece unto the upright pieces. The brad nails would hold everything together.
If there are still some tiny openings or lapses after using the brad nail, you can use your hammer to support it. Just tack it at both ends, while using your hand to support it from the inner part.
Repeat this process to add the next layer of the short pieces until you add up to four layers. Make sure the glue holds them in place while you use the brad nail to tighten everything.
Note: When stacking the short pieces on each other, make sure you apply the glue at the sides and bottom only (not at the top).
After adding up to four layers, stop and flip it upside down to work on the roof.
At this point, we can add the roof, and we need more pallets for this. Cut the edge of the pallet at 30 degrees, place it at the top of the hexagon with a few centimeters allowance on the outside, and then measure the other end to cut out 30 degrees also.
Repeat this process until you get all the right pieces for the top. Measure and cut for the first two steps and have them in two pieces each for the other end.
After getting all the four pieces, you can measure up the gap in the center to get the last piece.
Get all the top pieces, chamfer the edges as we did with the wall pieces, and use glue to join them to the hexagon. Apply some pressure on it and let it dry for about four hours. When it is fully set, get small pieces of wood, apply glue, and place it at the internal edges. Apply screws through the small pieces to hold the roof firmly.
Once the roof is set, you can chamfer the edges to give it a nice and smooth edge. After that, you can go ahead and add the final layer of the side pieces to complete the wall.
After that, you can make a bottom panel for the hexagon the same way you did for the top. This time, you can screw it from the outside since it is the bottom part.
The cathouse is almost complete. The next step is to add an entrance to it. For this process, you would need a bowl to make a circle, use a drill to make a hole, and use a jigsaw to cut out the marked hole.
The last step is to add a finishing touch for your feline’s house. You can use a blade to scrape away the glue on the chamfered edges to give it a smooth and nice feel. You can also hammer in all the nails to hide them from the surface.
Next, sand the whole thing with your belt sander for a smoother and nicer finish. Make sure you sand all the sides of the hexagon. You should sand the entrance with an electric file to ensure a smooth surface.
The last stage is to add a finish and brush it. A Rustic Pin Briwax finish is used here, but you can also take your creativity up a notch by using a finish of your choice.
With just these few simple steps, you can make a comfortable home for your little feline. You can also add foam at the bottom for cushioning. Thanks to Keith Brown from Rag “n” Bone Brown for making this wonderful video tutorial on how to make a hexagon cat house with pallets. This project is fun all the way, and it would also save you the cost of already made cat houses from stores. All you need for this project is just a few basic woodworking tools and materials. The project is also cost-effective.