DIY Projects for Cat and Dog Owners

dog licking man working on carpentry

If you love to make your own things around the house, why not spend a weekend working on a few cool projects for your beloved fur-babies? Our pets need fun and stimulating things around them to keep them happy and healthy.

Check out these easy DIY projects for cats and dog owners that you can easily construct in no time. Not only will they brighten your pet’s day, they'll give them a better quality of life.

Cat Scratch Post

This project is easy enough for beginner DIY-ers and is guaranteed for cat satisfaction – which is hard to do since felines can be picky! Cats need something to stretch out and scratch their paws against. It’s good for them, keeps claws healthy (and not so sharp), and is something they instinctually want to do.

A scratch post also gives them somewhere else to claw instead of your couch, chairs, and other household furniture. All you need is some scrap wood and carpet or twine to make this awesome scratch post.

You’ll need a sturdy base like plywood for a 4x4 wood post to sit on: the taller the post, the wider the base should be to hold the weight of the cat. To figure out how tall to make it, measure your kitty when they stretch out along the floor. You’d be surprised how long they are!

The best scratch post will be one that’s tall enough for them to fully extend themselves. You may want to attach a little stand or box at the top for them to perch upon. Make sure it's balanced so the base stays put when kitty jumps onto it.

Once you’ve constructed the frame, add carpet with either a nail gun or heavy-duty stapler, making sure everything is tight and secure (you don’t want any staples to come loose). You can also wrap twine from the base to the top which is another excellent, tough fabric that cats love to scratch at.

cat climbing on play tree

Cat Tree

The cat tree takes the scratch post and ups the ante. This project will take a little more time and planning, but essentially uses the same principles of the scratch post. Use sturdy pieces of wood, and secure everything well with screws, staples, and wood glue so that cats can jump and play on it without it tipping over.

A simple cat tree can utilize any kind of post—there’s even cat trees made of actual tree limbs! Once again, you’ll need a secure base for everything to rest on, and adding different steps, places to jump, or napping spots will be the cat’s meow!

Feel free to use scrap wood or other elements you have lying around the house that you may not have any other purpose for. Old shelving, wooden crates, and even wooden ladders can be repurposed into an awesome cat tree and lounge.

Cut out cat-sized holes in any boxes to give them a spot to hide and nap, and dangle toys from strings in different spots to create the ultimate cat stimulation center.

Dog Run

Dogs love to stretch their legs, too, but if you can’t open the door and let them out for safety reasons, or don’t have a fully fenced-in yard, creating a secure dog run lets them outside while staying on the property with a sectioned off area just for them.

The best dog runs will be long enough for your pup to get a good stride in. Space may be limited, but try and get creative. The area between houses is often long enough for big dogs to get moving, so a simple fenced-in area along the side of the house could be all you need.

Larger dogs will likely need to be kept safe with chain link fencing or a proper wooden fence. Bonus if you already have one side constructed. All you need to do is add another side and fence off two ends.

Smaller dogs won’t need an eight-foot-tall fence to keep them in, and sheets of lattice cut into sections along wooden posts could do the trick.

Giving them a view will be a nice touch, but the main point is to have an easy way to get them in and out of the dog run, so consider how to attach this to an exterior door to easily let your pup out.


The catio is an enclosed outdoor space for cats, but with enough windows or screens for them to get a view of the great outdoors. This can also be a “doggio”, and uses some of the ideas of the dog run.

Most cats love to be outside, but not every owner wants to take the chance of letting their beloved fur baby become a full-fledged outdoor cat. It’s not always safe, and cats are notorious for killing birds, which has become a big problem for our avian friends.

Fights among other cats are another reason why a catio is a great way to give kitty some fresh air and stimulation while keeping them safe. Most catios extend or utilize a front or back porch, but there are also some really cool catios made on apartment balconies or extending out from windows.

All you need to do is create a little mini-frame out of wood, and enclose it with screens, window panes, see-through plastic, or anything else that will give kitty a good view around them.

This project will require some basic DIY skills and a little framing knowledge (or the determination to learn) to create this awesome outdoor bird-watching area.

small pug in dog house


If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, making them a cute doghouse to nap or chill out in is a fairly easy project to do with minimal materials. You can even use scrap pieces of wood you might have in the garage, like a sheet of plywood or old fence boards.

You could also make one out of old wooden pallets, which are easy enough to find for free. You just need to take the boards apart and hammer out any loose nails for the framing.

Lay one of the pallets on the ground as the base, and use the other boards to create the house. It can be a simple rectangular box that’s just big enough to put a dog bed in, or you could do it up Snoopy-style, and make a pitched roof and a doggy-sized doorway.

Use two pallets as the base to make the platform big enough so that your pup has a little doghouse deck area where they can spread out in the sunshine, or hang out with friends. Make sure to allow enough space for your pup’s water bowl and a few toys, as well.

Pet Stairs

As our pets age, mobility becomes an issue, just like with senior humans. Portable pet stairs can be a game changer for any fur-babies that have a hard time getting onto a bed, into a car, or any other area that requires a bit of a jump.

These stairs are easy to make and only require some wood planks or plywood. Make sure they are sturdy and feel free to create better traction by carpeting them, or adding non-slip strips.

The stairs don’t have to be big and cumbersome, two or three risers should do the job. The overall design will depend on the size of your pet, but choose a light wood for construction and add handles to the sides so you can easily pick it up and move it as needed.

A simple ramp can also help your pet get in and out of a car, but to achieve the height you want at the right slope, this may make the overall product a bit longer. You want to make sure that your pet doesn't slip, so traction will be important with a ramp, but overall the construction would be as simple as making a right-angled triangle if steps feel daunting.

Cat Litter Box Station

The wonderful thing about cats is they can do their business without needing to be let outside, but the litter box can become a stinky, messy area for you and your feline friend.

Some cats like a little privacy when they use the litter box, but not all cats want to feel completely enclosed, so choose the design of this space depending on your cat’s needs and likes. If you want to hide the litter box, just remember to give your kitty enough head space to get in and out easily—you don’t want to create litter box phobias.

The height of kitchen cabinets would be ideal for making a nice litter box nook. You could easily repurpose an old bathroom vanity to make this project, as doors that open up will make your job of cleaning out the bin a lot easier.

Cut out a cat-sized hole on the side to give your cat a neat, private entrance to their luxury bathroom area. Feel free to get creative and add storage areas or shelves above or to the side of the cabinet for the scoop, extra litter, and maybe even a hook to hang a dust-buster from to make clean-up a breeze.

cute dog on bed with wood side

Dog Bed

If you know how to sew, making your own dog bed is an easy and fun DIY project that can make use of old fabric or bedding you may have lying around. You could even use old pillows as the filling if they aren’t good enough for the humans in your household anymore.

Memory foam is another good filler, and can be folded in half to make it fluffy on all sides. Sewing a zipper on the end will allow you to take the cover off and clean it, but there are some cool “no-sew” ideas for folks without a sewing machine.

Simply measure the fabric so that it overhangs the foam about six inches, and cut out 2-inch slats with scissors so they can be tied together. Just note that this will make it a bit cumbersome to take off for cleaning.

Adding a frame for the bed will really create a special spot for your pup, and can be a good way to get the bed off the floor. Nail two sets of 2x4s onto 2x2 corner posts to make the frame, and use plywood as the base.

Leave the front open so your dog can jump in and cozy up easily. If you have a dog and a cat, this will quickly become the cat bed, so you might want to make two!

Catnip Sock Toy

This is another project that uses materials you likely have lying around the house: old socks! Give them a good wash first, and choose a material that will contain the dried catnip without it getting all over the place.

Socks with holes or loose knitted material won’t work as your cat will tear this material apart in no time. Natural materials like organic cotton, wool, or bamboo will be the least toxic material to use, and smaller, thin socks will work the best.

Cut some old nylons to put the catnip in and tie it up so that it fits inside the sock. Then, simply tighten the sock around the nylon and use a string or ribbon to tie the end of the sock that’s open.

If you are crafty or have some sewing skills, turning the sock into a mouse is pretty simple with sewed-on button-eyes and a felt tail and ears. Your cat will appreciate the extra effort!

Pet Bowl Stands

Even though cats and dogs can eat off the ground, it’s better for them to eat off a slightly elevated plate or bowl, especially if they are seniors, have arthritis, or any issues with GI upset and bloating.

A stand will also keep the floors tidy by catching errant pieces of food while keeping the bowls in place if you cut out a hole for them to sit in. This can be great for excited dog eaters or cats that move their bowl around whenever it's empty and they think it needs refilling!

A simple but sturdy stand can be made from one plank of wood with a miter box and saw, hammer, and a few nails. If the bowl is 6-inches wide, a 2x10 is recommended. Cut the length you need twice for a top and bottom, and then cut the sides into whatever length you need to achieve the desired height of the stand.

Simply nail it all together to create a sleek, modern-looking rectangular box, or angle the top piece for easier access. Cut out the holes for the bowls so that they sit inside but don’t fall through. A jigsaw and some sandpaper are all you need to make the holes nice and smooth, and then stain, paint, or choose to leave the wood bare if you want.

Animals bring us so much love and joy, it's nice to be able to return some of that affection by giving them fun places to play and safe ways to be outside. Even a few simple toys or mobility aids can go a long way toward giving your fur-baby some stimulation and assistance.

Treat your dog and cat with any of these cool DIY projects for pet owners. You know they're worth it.