DIY cat tower wobbles... How to stabilize? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2016, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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DIY cat tower wobbles... How to stabilize?

My house has a wide beam (about 18" wide, 1 foot tall) that connects the second floor balcony to the entryway wall that my kitties love to jump down onto. Due to a combination of issues (one cat periodically likes to guard the stair case, thereby blocking access between upstairs and downstairs, plus my older cat isn't the brightest at figuring out how to get off the beam) I've been trying to build a way for my kitties to easily get up and down from the beam.

I found the Contempo Cat site and decided to use their system. Unfortunately, the IKEA parts their platforms are supposed to be used with have been discontinued. I managed to get the clamp parts, but not the pole (it's out of stock locally and though their website shows it in-stock, it errors out due to being out of stock when you get to checkout). I've used a wooden dowel that fits the platforms and clamps instead, but it's very wobbly. I placed two of the cats on it (with catnip) to test, and while the platforms are very solid, the main pole itself wobbles side to side, even if they're just tentatively walking on the platforms. I'm nervous that it will wobble WAY too much when they jump up onto it (especially when my 16lb not-so-graceful-but-energetic kitty eventually makes a mad dash up it).



I was planning on adding an 18" wooden block base at the bottom and wrapping the pole with sisal, but I doubt that will add enough stability. Are there any other things I can do to strengthen it, or do I need to scrap the wooden dowel and find a metal pole instead?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 05:43 AM
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My gut tells me to use a metal pole and secure it to the floor and the ceiling but I'm just not sure what to say. You really need to be the judge as to what would be best. I like the concept.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 06:18 AM
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I think it definitely needs securing at the bottom whatever the pole is made with. With it being fixed at just the top, the pole will act as a lever - and if the cats jump up onto the bottom platform, their forward motion will be amplified by the pole, and I would think runs the risk of tearing out the ceiling fixings.

A large heavy block at the bottom that is big enough to stop the pole swinging may help, but I would still be wary.

Maybe turn the swinging into a feature, and fasten at the top with some fixings that allow this?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 08:10 AM
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I like the idea of the block at the bottom, perhaps with a hole drilled in it to fit the pole? If you wish you could always *fix* the block to the floor, but that would leave floor damage of a sort... screw holes.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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It's hard to see from the picture, but it is pretty stationary at the bottom already. There's an expanding screw with a felt base (to prevent scratching the hardwood) that wedges the pole in place. The wobbling happens in the middle, as the pole flexes from side to side. I don't think drilling a hole would affect that, and I really don't want to damage the hardwood floor anyways...

Swapping it for a metal pole was something I considered, but I can only find metal poles that are hollow and 8' long... I'd need it to be over 9' long to reach from the floor to the beam. I'm not quite sure how to splice two metal poles together.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 08:17 PM
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Welding. But that's not for *you* to do, likely. Rather more complex.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 02:20 AM
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Can you get scaffolding poles? They are usually quite long and pretty sturdy.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Sadly the scaffolding poles are too large diameter to fit the clamps and platforms. As it was we had to use the 1 5/16" diameter dowel and wrap it with gorilla tape to be the same diameter as the clamps are intended for.

I'll check with my dad to see if welding the two metal poles is an option... He used to build race cars from scratch in his younger years, so he might still have the right gear for it. Alternatively, I might be able to attach the metal pole to the block base to make it tall enough to reach... It sounds like a metal pole is really the only option.
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