GADGETS & ACCESSORIES

DIY Cat Cave: Your Cat’s New Favorite Hiding Place

A cat gettig into a blue cat cave
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

Cats can sleep up to 16 hours on any given day. You will find them sleeping on their bed, your bed, or in their cat tree. If you let them go outside, you may find them napping on the rooftops or somewhere in the shades. The problem with this is that they may be unaware of any approaching danger. If a dog wandered into your yard, your cat would be defenseless. That’s why you should make a safe place for them. This is where our guide on how to make a DIY cat cave comes into play.

With a cat cave, whether your cat prefers to nap indoors or outdoors, they will have a nice, cool spot away from the searing sun to sleep in. They will also be protected from any outside threats. While there is perhaps no dog to be afraid of indoors, there are still other perceived threats that could stress your cat out—such as the loud sound of a vacuum cleaner or perhaps a child if your cat’s not the social type. Your handmade DIY cat cave will finally fulfill your cat’s needs for a sanctuary.

A cat anjoy being in a cat cave

In this article, we will take a look at the different types of DIY cat caves and how to make them. Worry not if you’re on a budget because all the DIY cat caves we’re going to discuss today can be made using things already available in your house. We will also look at the factors to consider before making a cat cave, and, if you’re still not sure whether you should put in the effort or not, take a look at the benefits of making a cat cave DIY.

Why Make a Cat Cave DIY

DIY cat caves offer many more benefits to you and your cat compared to any commercial cat caves you will find in the market.

Cheap

When making DIY cat caves, you only use readily available tools and materials.

Ginger kitty playing with her blue cat cave

If you have an old T-Shirt in the house, unused wires, and other cheap materials like safety pins and tape, then you’re ready to embark on the exciting journey to make a DIY cat cave.

Clean

As mentioned earlier, cats love sleeping, and they can sleep in any place—even if it’s unhygienic such as the flea-infested grassy area under the shades of a tree. With DIY cat caves, you will make sure that your cat sleeps in a clean place that won’t give him fleas or ticks.

Safe

With your cat in a cave, his safety is guaranteed.

A cat getting into one of her cat caves

Be it from other animals such as dogs, the harsh glare of the sun, and any other external factors, your cat will be properly protected so he can nap in peace.

Factors to Consider Before Making a DIY Cat Cave

Now that you’re sure you’d like to try your hands at making a DIY cat cave, there are some factors you need to consider before you jump into the act. There are many different types and models of DIY cat cave you can make. To make sure you end up with one that suits your needs perfectly, first take into account:

The Number of Cats You Have

If you only have one cat, you should make smaller caves. In case you have multiple cats, you will need to make a bigger cave. Bigger caves are more complicated to make since you have to consider how to support the structure better so there wouldn’t be a cave in.

One cat sitting in her cat cave and another one ginger cat looking at ther

We suggest that you start with smaller caves first, and once you’ve gotten used to it, you could move on to bigger caves.

Budget

Your pocket will determine the quality of materials you buy and what kind of cat cave you will make. If you have quite a lot to spend, you can come up with something unusual using the best-quality materials and tools on the market. On the other hand, if you’re on a tight budget, that’s perfectly fine as well. You could spend no more than $5 and end up making something fantastic for your cat too.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make a DIY Cat Cave

In this guide, we will explain how to make four different types of DIY cat caves. We will also explain the advantages of each so you can choose which one to make easily.

T-Shirt and Cardboard DIY Cat Cave

This is the simplest and most commonly made DIY cat cave. In this project, we will use what you already have in your house.

A cat sitting in her T-Shirt and Cardboard DIY Cat Cave

Once you have everything you need, it will only take five minutes to get the job done.

Materials

  • A medium-sized T-Shirt

  • A piece of cardboard about 15 x 15 inches in size

  • Two wire hangers

  • Tape

  • Safety pins

  • Pliers

Steps to Follow

  • Using the pliers, cut the twisted ends of the hangers. You can decide to untwist the end and straighten them out or cut the ends if the process of untwisting them is hard for you.

  • Bend the hangers so that they look dome-shaped. Make sure both sides look uniform. Make sure that when you curve and bend the wires, they reach the corners of your cardboard diagonally.

  • If you are using a cardboard with a crease in it, you can reinforce the ends using tape.

  • Half an inch from the corners of the carton, poke a hole in each corner. You will not need any new tool—you can just use the hangers you have shaped into wires. Ensure that the holes are not too big.

  • With the two wires crossed in the middle, ensure that the ends reach the surface. Fix the hangers together using a tape, so they do not shift and move. Direct the tips through the holes you’ve made on the corners of the cardboard.

  • To make the cave stable and robust, you will need to bend about an inch of the wires at the bottom. After that, tape them and fix them well on the cardboard. While doing that, make sure that the tape and the wires are well established to avoid sticking to the shirt.

  • Using the pliers, bend the wire well and fiddle with them to make a decent-looking dome.

  • Pull the medium-sized T-Shirt so that the hole meant for the neck is facing ahead. Let the bottom of the T-Shirt trail behind the tent.

  • Flip the structure so that the bottom end faces you, and the hole faces up. Fold the t-shirt bottom and fasten it using the safety pins. Make sure the neck hole is tight and taut. Also, make sure that the sleeves are tight and well-secured using the safety pins.

  • Let your cat into it. To prevent overheating, you can avoid adding any other things in the cave, but if you want to increase comfort, add a pillow or a blanket inside. You can also add catnip to the cave to make your cat enjoy it more.

Pros of Choosing This DIY Cat Cave

  • It is cheap and effortless to make.

  • You can pick any T-Shirt color you want to match your carpet or furniture.

  • The whole structure is light and easy to carry around.

Crocheted DIY Cat Cave

This one is made from cotton threads.

A Persian cat in a Crocheted DIY Cat Cave

It is the best choice for people who know how to crochet.

Materials

  • Around 2 pounds of threads

  • Crochet hook No. 8

  • A soft carpet or an old woolen t-shirt

Steps to Follow

  • The main thing here is to make sure that you count all the rows that you will be crocheting. Count the rows until you reach the 18th row.

  • At the 19th row, this is where you will make an opening. Cut off the weft. Leave about 10 -12 loops in and restart the looping of the circles and crochet a round hole.

  • Crochet fixed circuits until you are about five loops from the cut-off point of the previous round. Now terminate the truncated weft during the last series by pulling the weft head over the circles and crochet five loops so that the recent round will remain between or in the circuits.

  • Cut off the weft again and continue at the top of the 10 -12 round loop at the start of the previous round. At the same time, finish the beginning of the last series with the weft of the weave by crocheting it in the loops.

  • Continue cutting crooked turns until the mouth is seven turns high. Ensure that the rows of the opening do not reduce. Make them constant for the door to look smart and steady.

  • On the eighth round, crochet 8 inches on the opening, and continue the round until all firm loops are loosened. Crochet free loops over the eight open parts around the chain circles of the previous series.

  • Crochet around the mouth with firm loops to reinforce it. Try to slit fixed loops every two rounds so that the mouth is as stable as possible. If the nest begins to loosen and no longer to shape, untie the loops of the mouth and crochet them again.

  • Crochet around the entrance.

  • Place a blanket or an old T-Shirt on the floor of the cave to make this cat sanctuary comfortable and warm.

Pros of Choosing This DIY Cat Cave

  • Easy to make for those who know how to crochet.

  • The best for cold places

  • Durable

Plastic Box Outdoor DIY Cat Cave

This one is about the same level as the T-Shirt and Cardboard Cat Cave in terms of difficulty, but it’s much more durable.

Image showing a Plastic Box Outdoor DIY Cat Cave

You will only need a few things that you should already have somewhere in the house.

Materials

  • Plastic box—make sure it has a lid on it.

  • Glue

  • Woolen clothes of different colors

  • PVC pipe

  • Hacksaw

  • Scissors

  • Hot iron

Steps to Follow

  • Use the hot iron to make a hole in the plastic box. Make sure that the hole you drill is the same size as the PVC pipe.

  • When the hole is done, it is time to fix the door to your cave. With a hacksaw, cut the PVC pipe about 5 inches and fit it in the shaft to act as the entrance to the cave. Apply your glue to the tube to make it firm.

  • With your scissors, cut the woolen clothes so they will fit along the sides of the plastic box. Spread glue on the walls of the box and attach the woolen clothes to it.

  • Do the same thing with the lid and place it back on the box. Give it time to dry, and it will be ready to use.

Pros of Choosing This DIY Cat Cave

  • It is cheap.

  • It can be used as a bed and a cave at the same time.

  • It is safe and the best for outdoor usage. With a lid at the top, your cat will be protected from environmental factors.

  • It is portable, and you can bring it with you while going camping or out for a picnic.

Wet Felted DIY Cat Cave

This is the most expensive and the most complex DIY cat cave to make on this list.

A woman working on making a Wet Felted DIY Cat Cave

If you’re ready to invest quite a lot of time and effort into this project to make your cat happy, this is a great choice for you.

Materials

  • Merino wool roving

  • Latex balloons

  • 20 inches resist template made from laminated floor

  • Olive oil soap

  • Bubble-wrap

  • Curtain netting

  • A palm sander without a dust bag

  • A tumble dryer

Steps to Follow

  • Grate the soap and dissolve small amounts of that soap in hot water. Put the mixture in a small squeezing bottle.

  • From the laminate floor, draw and cut a circle out. Ensure the diameter is about 20 inches.

  • Put a section of the bubble–wrap on a surface that is waterproof with the bubbles facing the upper side.

  • You will have several layers to make so make sure you follow the steps well. Lay down the wool fibers and let them extend over the edges of the template.

  • Circularly add texture until the whole model is covered with wool.

  • Put the curtain netting in position and spray the fibers with the warm soapy water. After that, press the threads down to make the wool dry. You can do the flattening until the edge of the template is reached.

  • Once the fibers are smoothened out, you can remove the netting and replace the threads that come off.

  • You should fold the strands on the edges of the template. When doing this, use some soapy water to smoothen the sides of the model. This will make it look neat.

  • We have just made the first layer. To add another layer, put some fiber on the first layer and cover it with a curtain netting. Spray soapy water on it and smoothen as we did in step 6.

  • Remove the mesh and fold the edges while spraying it with the hot soapy water as usual. At this stage, you need to turn over the template and fold the edges to make it look smooth.

  • Once you are through, you will need to repeat the same process until you reach four layers on both sides of the template.

  • Tier 5 is the most complex, and the woolen fiber should not overlap the template. You must place it in a way so that it reaches the end of the model. You will be required to damp all the overlapping fiber with hot water so that the template looks neat.

  • With a palm sander in place, cover the model with a bubble-wrap. Sand the template until the fiber is well fixed and it does not move.

  • With a round object which is about 3 inches full, press on the template and cut a hole in the upper layer. Rub the edges of the mouth to make it stable before removing the template.

  • Insert a tumble dryer into the wet cave. This will help in drying the cave.

  • Once dry, put a latex balloon in it an inflate it. This will open up the cave and make it nearly ready for use.

  • Once that is done, take the cave out and dry it a bit. Deflate the balloon and fill it with bubble-wrap or any other material then let it dry.

  • Once dry, you can remove the stuff inside, and the cave will always maintain its shape.

Pros of Choosing This DIY Cat Cave

  • Even if it is expensive to build; it is durable and comfortable for your beloved cat.

Wrap Up

In our extended guide, we have looked at the factors to consider before choosing a particular DIY cat cave project to undertake, the general advantages of making cat caves DIY and we have supplied you with a step-by-step guide on how to make three different cat caves as well as the benefits of each cat cave. We believe you should have a good idea of which DIY cat cave to make and how to make it now.

While it’s certainly easier to simply purchase a commercial cat cave, if you make one yourself, not only will you save money, but your cat will definitely thank you for all the effort you have put in to ensure their safety and happiness.

A cat sitting in her cat cave

Which DIY cat cave do you plan to make? Share your DIY stories with us in the comments section below! If you have a cool DIY cat cave idea of your own, please don’t hesitate to share it with us too.

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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