Catification: Build Your Own Custom Cat Tree Using Re-purposed Dresser Drawers

Wendy and David from Oregon were inspired by a creative re-purposing project they saw using old dresser drawers to build a display shelf. Since cats love to nap in drawers, this is a perfect Catification project! They found five matching dresser drawers on Craigslist for just a few bucks and created the frame with some inexpensive 2 x 2 boards. The dresser drawer cat tree stands about 70″ tall and is very sturdy. Wendy notes, when planning your cat tree, make sure that the cats can easily jump from one drawer to another, so you might have to adjust the positioning and spacing of the drawers.

Original project by Sovrappensiero Design Studio for Italian office furniture manufacturer Manerba, taking old office furniture and creating new products from the parts. Posted on

Notes From Jackson:

I can’t tell you how much I love this. It encompasses so much:

  • Good old fashioned cat mojo thinking — cats love drawers, cats love to climb…voila!
  • The value of DIY — let it never be said that you don’t have the $$ to catify.
  • It’s good looking and it says something about your aesthetic.
  • It can act as an imaginative foundation point — that is to say, you can have other similar drawer structures around the room creating a theme, and have shelves connecting them to make a cat superhighway. Brilliant!

Have your own Catification project that you want to share? Click here to submit your photos!

The Catification column on is written by Cat Style Expert, Kate Benjamin. Kate specializes in environmental enhancement for living with cats and is the founder and editor of, the premiere online magazine for design-conscious cat people. Kate’s design expertise and Jackson’s cat behavior know-how combine to create cat-friendly environments that are sure to please both human and feline family members alike.

  1. Dawn   August 7, 2012 at 7:30 am  

    Great idea! Thanks for posting, love the DIY ideas.

  2. Lourdes   August 7, 2012 at 7:34 am  

    That is such a great idea. now I’m thinking of looking for an old dresser!
    We built a cat tree (~$240 in materials) inside a room and now it doesn’t fit through the door.
    We’ll have to dismantle it to move it!

  3. Rita   August 7, 2012 at 7:59 am  

    What an EXCELENT idea. We’re not handy, & can’t build things, but I’m pretty sure we CAN do this!! We get FREE 2×2 pieces of wood all the time for our bonfires, so that’s cheap enough, & yes I’m sure we can find some drawers. We have bought several cat trees & they are made with that cheap pressed cardboard & with ALL our cats, they don’t last very long. Thanks!!!!

  4. Connie   August 7, 2012 at 8:03 am  

    what a wonderful idea!!

  5. joe of Malaysia   August 7, 2012 at 8:36 am  


  6. Cindy   August 7, 2012 at 10:54 am  

    Love, love, love this idea! If I put my clothes in the drawers, my cats would especially LOVE to sleep in them 🙂

  7. cheryl stephenson   August 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm  

    Cool cool cool idea! thanks for posting!

    1. Geoff   August 10, 2012 at 8:28 am  

      Cool idea. My cats love drawers (I actually left one in there one night by accident)

  8. jane   August 11, 2012 at 5:54 am  

    anyone have a idea how to stop my maies cats from having this territory war games of spraying my house up.? tried all the usualy remadies nothing is working

    1. Michael Gabriel   October 10, 2013 at 8:08 pm  

      I am not an expert but I have heard that if you have more than one male cat, you are not going to be able to stop him. Its a natural instinct they have to make their territory.
      I have one male cat who never does that. I always avoided male cats for that very reason but then I was told that they only do that when there is more than one male cat in the house hold. I got a male cat and 2 females and the male cat has never done that – not once. I will ask around and see if I can find a solution.

      1. Kim   January 8, 2015 at 5:27 am  

        Michael Gabriel, I know it’s been quite a while since you posted your comment above, so I hope you are more enlightened now. Simply HAVING multiple male cats does not create spraying problems. We have 4 males now and NONE of them spray; at one point, though, we had just ONE male — and he sprayed. Spraying is more likely related to not being neutered, health problems, “personality” (“feline-ity”?) issues, stress, etc., than simply the NUMBER of cats.

    2. Karen   January 21, 2014 at 12:35 pm  

      Get all your cats spayed/neutered…..please! The last thing we need in this world is for more precious little innocent babies to be gassed.

  9. Robin   August 13, 2012 at 11:23 am  

    Love it! But where are all the socks and tee-shirts to snuggle in? One of our cats used to get behind a cheap dresser, push a drawer out a few inches, and crawl inside.

  10. JJ   September 6, 2012 at 3:02 pm  

    Love, love, LOVE all of these great ideas!!!

  11. Tom Reed   September 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm  

    Mr. Galaxy,
    I am 65 years old and have had cats most of my life. Presently I am owned (and loving it) by my little girl DC. She is the joy of my life. I adopted her 7 years ago to take with me on the truck (I drove an 18-wheeler at the time). She was in a litter dropped off at my then vets office and it was love at first sight for both of us. She took to the truck like a champ and it was home for us for four years. Around 2-1/2 years ago I retired and now we live in Knoxville, TN in an apt that we both love. Cats, like all living beings, have their own personalities and DC is the best. I know all (or at least most) guardians think they have the best companion in the world but I really do. DC has never even once hissed at me or tried to bite or scratch me. I had two cats before her (one for 17 years and one for 8 years) and at times they both could be difficult. However I don’t think DC has a harsh bone in her body. She is the most loving little soul I’ve ever encountered and I am truly blessed she let me into her life.
    I recently read your book. What an inspiration. I also had my demons with drugs and alcohol for a time and thank heavens I got past it like you did. (Come to think of it maybe my drugged state was why my last cat was a bit hard to deal with at times – I was’nt really a very nice person then and I guess she picked up on that!)
    I’ve rambled on enough. I really enjoyed reading your book (can’t wait for the next one) and also ‘My Cat Fron Hell’.
    Best wishes to you and a happy, successful and healthy future,
    Tom Reed

    1. donna greve   July 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm  

      It sounds like you and DC have a wonderful life, good for you.

  12. hazeleyes   September 21, 2012 at 9:50 am  

    I love the wonderful idea of the J.G. dresser-drawer cat tree (and many other ideas from J.G.), thank you for posting this. I’ve been looking for NOT-carpeted tree or trees. Your post fills my needs and my cat Maggie’s needs. I’m grateful for the attention cats are getting through J.G.’s work and ideas. Blessings.

  13. Dana and Hillary   March 23, 2013 at 8:22 pm  

    It’s time to hit the thrift stores and find an inexpensive dresser. I have 3 kitties and my half Siamese, Jack, is a boy who loves the heights. This would be perfect for all 3. My 21 year old, Hillary, isn’t climing too much these days and 3 year old Ned is too laid back to exert much energy.
    Can’t wait to see what I can come up with.

    Dana, Hillary, Jack and Ned

  14. deb camp   April 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm  

    I love this but also thinking of wrapping at least 2 of the posts with rope, my cats like the texture
    I have one of those carpet covered condo and want to replace it- figure I can lay old towels on the bottom of some of the drawers to give the cats added comfort when sleeping..instead of vacuuming I can then just rotate the towels out and wash them..
    thanks for the ideas

  15. Dawn   May 11, 2013 at 9:33 pm  

    I love this! Our family is all about repurposing – reduce, reuse, recycle! Cat-style!

  16. Donald   June 13, 2013 at 6:22 am  

    Great ideas to re-use items I normally would have thrown away. We will be using carpeting on our drawers as we are getting new carpet in our house. Thanks again!

  17. barb   October 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm  

    I had 3 mail cats of different ages and one female. they were all fixed and never sprayed.they are all gone but junior now he is soon to be 14..I like the cat tree idea but since I am 74 I wont be building one.I have made real cute kitty and doggie beds from dresser drawers and sold in my flea market booth.


We regret that Jackson does not answer questions posted in the comments. This is due to his demanding schedule and the high volume of requests he receives. But most importantly, since he has not met your cat, it would be contrary to his approach for him to give specific personalized advice for your specific situation. That being said, general questions and issues are addressed throughout this blog, in his book Cat Daddy and of course, the show My Cat From Hell.

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