If you share your home with a cat, you're likely accustomed to your feline friend scaling bookshelves or napping atop the kitchen cabinets. This desire to be up high and observe the world below is instinctual for cats. It helps them feel safe by providing a secure vantage point to survey the landscape. In the wild, the ability to climb up high increases a cat's chances for survival.

To keep your kitty happy, it's important to have a structure like a cat tree, which your pet can safely scale to nap and play atop. In addition to doing something nice for your cat, you'll also be doing something good for your home by providing your kitty with something to scratch besides the furniture.

However, purchasing a cat tree from your local pet store can set you back a few hundred bucks. Luckily, there are several types of DIY cat trees that you can build for much cheaper.

IKEA-hack cat tree

IKEA hack cat tree With a few IKEA items, this cat tree is easy to make and easy on the wallet. (Photo: Julie Bérest)

Purchase a few cheap end tables at your local IKEA, and you'll be ready to construct a simple cat tree in a matter of hours. Simply secure the tables atop each other with screws, and then wrap the sides with sisal rope or carpet scraps so your kitty has something to sink her claws into. For more tips, visit the Miss Caturday blog, which is in French, but the extra photos will give you a better idea of the project.

Real-tree cat tree

cat tree made from tree branch A fallen branch is the focus of this DIY cat tree. (Photo: Pixelista/YouTube)

If you have a large fallen branch on your property, don't throw it in the yard waste pile! Transform it into a beautiful cat tree. In this video, YouTube user Pixelista documents how he made a unique cat tree for his kittens, Karl and Elmo, with a branch and some sisal rope. The messiest and most time-consuming part was simply removing the bark from the tree.

Bookshelf tree

cat tree made from bookshelf Transform a bookshelf into a favorite kitty hangout. (Photo: Collette)

With an A-frame bookshelf and a bit of creativity, you can create a one-of-a-kind cat tree that will add a bit of style to your home. Follow these instructions from Collete to build a feline-friendly structure that both you and your cat will love.

Cat condo

DIY cat condo Plywood cubes and carpeting are the basis for these kitty condo. (Photo: Heather West)

After seeing a photo of a beautiful kitty condo that retailed for $300, blogger Heather West decided to make her own. She built three different-sized cubes out of plywood and carpeted each one before painting them and attaching them atop each other in ascending size. Total cost of the project? $60.

Cat tree from free materials

small DIY cat tree Donated and found materials were put to good use for this cat tree. (Photo: brettgrubb/YouTube)

Using a collection of donated and found materials, Brett Grubb was able to piece together a beautiful small cat tree in one weekend. Check out his instructions here.

Cat shelves

DIY cat shelves Let your kitty climb the walls with these cat shelves. (Photo: chezlin/YouTube)

Short on space? You can still provide your kitty with a place to climb, as well as the "purrfect" place for a catnap — all you'll need is a few shelves. Simply purchase some shelves, glue carpet atop them and attach the shelves to your wall with brackets. And if you're feeling especially crafty, follow these detailed instructions.

6 DIY cat trees to enrich your kitty's life
Commercially made cat trees can cost hundreds of dollars, but you can save money and make your kitty happy with DIY feline furniture.