Author Topic: Fix up an old cat tree  (Read 15175 times)

ENL

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Fix up an old cat tree
« on: October 05, 2014, 01:23:11 PM »
So, this is likely really basic stuff, but I am not handy AT ALL. 

About 7 years ago I bought a really big, really solid cat tree from Dr. Foster and Smith for my two cats. 

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3261+10345+1886+7346&pcatid=7346

They have gotten excellent use out of it, but it is really starting to look shabby now.  Over the years they have torn up the carpeted posts and gotten cat hair embedded into the carpet fibers.  I don't really mind but now that we are moving my family keeps hinting that it is time to throw it away.  There is no way I'd want to toss it considering that it is still built very soundly and the problems with it seem to just be with the carpeting on it.  Plus the cats love it, and I can't justify buying another since it was such an expensive purchase.

So, my questions are:

1) How do I replace the carpeting on the posts?  I assume I need to find someplace that will sell/give me small pieces of carpet (craigslist?) and find out how to tack it on correctly.  Also how to remove the old carpet from the posts without damaging the posts.

2) Should I try to replace all the carpeting or try to clean the existing carpet?  If cleaning it, how?  The original instructions said to "spot clean only" and to avoid using liquids on it, so I'm at a loss on how to best clean up the cat fur and dirt embedded in the carpet.

MicroRN

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Re: Fix up an old cat tree
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2014, 03:28:50 PM »
One issue you might have is the backing on that carpet is much thinner and more flexible than standard floor carpeting.  I'm not sure what you'd need to look for.  However, the actual upholstery should be easy.  Ours big cat tree is upholstered with a combo of glue and a staple gun, which I would suspect yours is too.  Find the staples, pry them up with a flat head screwdriver, cut new pieces and reattach.   

For cleaning, you could try brushing the carpet with a slicker brush from the pet store and then vacuuming the heck out of it. 

sunnyca

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Re: Fix up an old cat tree
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2014, 05:43:55 PM »
LOL- I just fixed my cat tree from Fosters and Smith this morning!!

I've had my huge, expensive cat tree for almost 6 years now, and the posts looked horrific.  So this is what I did:

Purchased scrap carpet from Home Depot (it would be cheaper at a carpet warehouse, but not by too much).  I told the salesperson what I was buying the carpet for and she had cats, so she directed me to a cheap, mid-pile carpet that would be easy to affix to the posts.

I also purchased this staple gun and staple assortment from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-TR250-SharpShooter-Heavy-Duty-Staple/dp/B000BR2ERO/ref=sr_1_3?s=power-hand-tools&ie=UTF8&qid=1412551724&sr=1-3&keywords=staple+gun

Ideally, you could borrow this from someone, but I asked around and no one had one.  But it's not expensive and I can use it for a lot of projects.

Then, the actual process:

I ripped off the old carpet from the posts with pliers (the carpet on my Dr. F&S cat tree was just stapled on).  I didn't bother disassembling the cat tree.

Take the scrap carpet and flip it upside down, and measure out the rectangles of carpet that you need.  You can use the old carpet that you ripped off as a guide, as well.  I measured the posted and the length was accurate when I cut, but I added 2 inches for the width.  Cut the carpet with a box cutter.

Wrap the carpet around the posts and staple one end from top to bottom, then wrap around the remainder and staple in the overlap.  If you want, you can also glue it on, but I think the staples were more secure.

That's it!  It took about an hour for the whole thing.  Here's an "after" picture of the cat tree:





dodojojo

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Re: Fix up an old cat tree
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2014, 11:53:27 AM »
My giant cat tree is over 5 years old and is in pretty decent shape.  The old things that need repair are a couple of the sisal rope-covered posts.  The two favorite scratching posts have rope dangling from them now.  One solution I've been meaning to get to is to simply switch the damaged posts with posts that are in good shape.  And hope the cats will start scratching the good posts and leave the mangled ones alone.  The mangled posts would go in the back and bottom of the tree where the cats do not spend much time. 

I'm just not keen about taking the tree apart--lazy.  I also wonder if the cats would be traumatized by the temporary dismantling of their tree.  I'm joking but also half serious...

Greg

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Re: Fix up an old cat tree
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2014, 10:08:02 PM »
Another source of carpet scraps is a carpet store, they often give away the samples for product they no longer sell.

mankyle

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Re: Fix up an old cat tree
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2014, 11:00:23 AM »
I built my own cat tree and used leftover carpet from a flooring place in town.  They had a big dumpster out back with all the scraps  (new) from their recent installs.  I simply went in and asked if I could grab a few and they were fine with it. The backing was a bit thick but it worked and has held up well for 4 or 5 years now.  If you could fins someone who does carpet installs I am sure they would do the same for free or very cheap.

The nice part was that these were long strips leftover from the roll or large pieces they had cut to fit around corners, doors etc.  The samples they sometimes have are small squares that don't work well, especially for tall posts etc.

MandyM

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Re: Fix up an old cat tree
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2014, 08:09:03 AM »
One issue you might have is the backing on that carpet is much thinner and more flexible than standard floor carpeting. 

I don't think the carpet is anything different than regular floor carpeting. A friend of mine used to live near a large carpet warehouse. There was a guy in town that got paid to haul carpet scraps for them, which he used to make cat trees. (yes, the guy was paid twice - once to haul the materials and then again when he sold the cat trees).

I do periodically clean mine with a brush and a vacuum. You can do a lot with a brush alone. But once it is all torn up, I'll replace the carpet with some scraps and a staple gun. You can always leave some of it bare wood too.

EcoCatLady

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Re: Fix up an old cat tree
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2014, 01:09:41 AM »
I built one a few years ago... I covered half of the posts with carpet using a staple gun and the others I used sisal rope and wound it around the posts to cover it. The sisal posts are definitely holding up better, though some of the cats prefer the carpeted ones. If you do go the carpet route be sure that your staples are firmly attached so the cat can't accidentally pull them out while scratching and hurt himself.

p.s. I got my carpet scraps for free on freecycle.

EcoCatLady

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Re: Fix up an old cat tree
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2014, 01:08:44 PM »
p.s. - I got to thinking about this and remembered that while I used the staple gun to attach the carpet to the perches, for carpeting on the posts where there was a good chance they'd destroy it I didn't want to take the chance of a staple coming out and one of them trying to eat it (I have one who tries to eat EVERYTHING) So Instead I used some short roofing nails that I had on hand. No chance of him pulling those out! :-)

firedup

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Re: Fix up an old cat tree
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2014, 07:37:37 PM »
I clean my 7 cat trees all the time. If its just the embedded fur this will work. Wet your hands and rub them on it. Seriously it works. It lightly lifts the fur and wads it up. Works ever time. And it's very mustachian.

I have thought about replacing the carpet too as a couple are getting very used. So thanks to op & the replies. Great thread.

TomTX

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Re: Fix up an old cat tree
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2014, 08:59:31 AM »
I made my own cat post with some scrap plywood for the base, some rough 4x4 recovered from a pallet and 5 screws.  Wrapped in sisal,  held in place with big staples. I replace the sisal every 3 to 5 years. I have had the thing at least 15 years. I did predrill the screw holes and countersink so that the screw heads would not scratch the floor. Really pretty easy.

fireferrets

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Re: Fix up an old cat tree
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2014, 03:19:28 PM »
If you know any interior designers, they regularly order carpet samples to show clients, so they might have some extras around they don't need anymore that you could use.