How to Make a Pergola with a Hidden Cat Ladder


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A pergola in your garden is a great way to get lots of green in a small space. Wouldn’t it be great to combine that with a cat ladder to turn it into a cat jungle gym and lookout post? This design can serve as inspiration for your own construction. It is fairly complex but that is mostly because the materials used came from the discount corner of the local DIY store. You might be able to find materials that fit a lot better together from the outset so you can get the same result in a simpler way. Having said that, this design is rock solid and will withstand lots of abuse by your cat.

  1. 1 Know what you’re building. This design consists of 3 parts: the existing pergola poles, the steps of the cat ladder, and the trellises (shaped like ice popsicles).
    • The cat ladder steps are attached to the pergola poles. The trellises are attached to the steps.
    • The plant container in between the pergola poles was built separately and is not connected to the poles. It is a box that is simply pushed in between the poles.
  2. 2 Make the steps. The base of the cat ladder step design is the hardwood beam which will be screwed into the pergola posts and provide strength.
    • Saw the beam to the appropriate length depending on how much space you want between the trellis and the wall/pergola post. You need to take into account a minimum width so your cat can actually fit there. 25 cm is about the minimum size.
    • Saw the garden plank that will serve as the plateau to size. Screw it to the hardwood beam with two screws making sure that the trellis-end is perfectly level. .
    • Measure the width of your trellis. Divide this by half and deduct half of the width of the pergola pole. This is the size of the small wooden batten that will go at the trellis end. It is best to dry-fit to make sure. Screw the wooden batten in place with one screw in the hardwood beam and one screw in the plateau plank. Pre-drill as appropriate.
    • In this design, the garden wood planks were not wide enough to cover the width of the trellis and the wooden battens were therefore a necessity. Your design might not need them.
    • A cat ladder step that goes on the right has a mirrored design to one that goes on the left.
  3. 3 Make the ice popsicles. It’s trellis time! Measure how far up you want your trellis to go (all the way up is recommended). Your trellises will probably not be long enough, so you will need to put them on stilts.
    • Measure how much extra length you need and saw a hardwood beam to size.
    • Use a connector plate at the back and screw the beam to the trellis. Screw in a few extra screws from the top if needed. Important note: The “ice popsicle” will feel rather flimsy. The pole it is supposed to rest on might…
Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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Sasha Harriet

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