LIFESTYLE

DIY Cat Tent: 8 Ideas on How to Make a Perfect Hiding Place for Your Cat

Image of a cat sitting next to a tipi tent in house
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

We all know that cats enjoy lounging in quiet and cozy nooks around our homes. If you are tired of finding your kitty sleeping in your closet, leaving her hairs all over your clothes, it is time to consider making her a DIY cat tent. This would be an easy and fun project for you. Making something by yourself for your kitty will give you a sense of satisfaction and leave your kitty ecstatic for her new favorite spot.

Commercial cat tents are available aplenty on the current market, but they cost quite a lot. If you’re on a budget, you’ll be glad to know that you can make a DIY cat tent using only your old tee shirt and clothes hangers. Not only will the cat tent be environmentally-friendly as you will be reusing old things, but with your imagination and a little effort, your cat will have a new favorite lounging and playing area. You can even personalize it to suit your interior décor or your cat’s unique needs.

Kitty in a cat tent

We will cover several DIY cat tent guides—including how to make a teepee, a foam tent, a cardboard tent, and many more—so you can choose one that will suit your home and your kitty’s needs the best. All of these tents are easy to make, and they won’t cost much because they are made from materials that you already have in your home. Once you finish this project, you will no longer need to clean your kitty’s hair from your clothing and your kitty will enjoy lounging in her new ”home”.

Why Make a DIY Cat Tent

Still not convinced that you should put in the time and effort? We understand that cat tents are not a mandatory item in a cat-friendly household, and your cat may seem to be doing fine without one. However, there is always a time when you can’t find your cat anywhere.

You’ve searched all over your house—checked all of your cat’s favorite hiding places only to find her curled up in a basket in the corner of the room. This is a natural behavior for cats. They find comfort and safety in really small spaces. It is their instinct to hide from predators and small spaces grant them the possibility to preserve their body temperature.

Cat Camping In The Luxury Of Its Own Tiny Tent

Your cat will thank you for respecting their instinctive behavior. Also, making a DIY cat tent will contribute to your peace of mind. Cats love to squeeze into confined little spaces that are bizarre and uncomfortable-looking from our perspective. True, their flexible spines give them the ability to sits anywhere as long as it fits, but don’t you just want to give them a better resting space when you see them trying to squeeze their fluffy body into your little shoeboxes?

So if you want to provide your cat with a new, and a better-looking hiding place, it is time to learn how to build a tent. Tents are small, so they look attractive to cats yet not so small that your cat will feel uncomfortable. Your DIY tent will serve your cat as the best hiding place ever, and you can always brag to your friends about how you made it yourself.

How to Make a DIY Cat Tent

We will start this guide with the T-Shirt tent, because it is the easiest to make, and we will go from there. You will need little time, and there is no need to go shopping for materials.

Image showing a cat sitting in a DIY cat tent

Once you’ve made this one and you are certain that your cat loves it, you can make her another one from this guide. It’s a fun side-project.

DIY Box Tent

This is the easiest way to make a DIY cat tent. It won’t even take 10 minutes if you already have the tools lying around in your house. The only things you need are:

  • A cardboard box

  • An old t-shirt

  • Safety pins

  • Scissors

Here’s how you make it:

  • Pick a box that is large enough for your cat to fit comfortably inside.

  • Use the scissors to cut a hole in one of the box’s sides so your cat can get in.

  • Pull the T-Shirt over the box, aligning the neck hole with the hole you cut in the box.

  • When you are done with that, tighten the sleeves and the rest of the shirt on the bottom of the box and attach them with safety pins.

Considering how much cats enjoy hiding in boxes, this DIY cat tent will from now on be your kitty’s favorite hiding and sleeping place.

T-Shirt DIY Cat Tent

This one also uses a T-Shirt, although it’s a bit more complicated than the DIY box tent. You can say that this is the improved version of the previous tent in terms of durability.

Image showing a cat in a T-Shirt DIY Cat Tent

Still, it shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes to finish up with this one. To make this tent, you will need:

  • A medium T-Shirt

  • A 15 x 15-inch piece of cardboard

  • Two wire hangers

  • Tape

  • Safety pins

  • Pliers

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make this tent for your cat:

  • Once you have your cardboard piece, you can reinforce it around the corners using a tape. If your cardboard is solid, then there is no need to do this.

  • Use pliers to cut the hooks from the hangers, and then use them to straighten the wire. Bend the wires into an arch. Try to do this the best you can because this will serve as a support for your cat’s tent. Do this with both of your hangers.

  • The next step is to pierce holes in the corners of your cardboard base. You can use the hooks that you cut from the hangers or some other sharp object.

  • Push the wire arches in the holes in your base, so they are diagonal from each other. In that way, they will form an “X” on the top.

  • Tape them together really well, so they don’t shift. Leave an inch of the wire inward, bend it, and tape it to the base.

  • The next step is to dress your construction in one of your old T-Shirts, and it is a great way to customize your DIY cat tent. Pull a shirt over the wires, keeping in mind that your neck hole will become the entry to the tent.

  • Stretch the shirt tight and pin the sleeves and the back of the shirt to the base of your kitty’s new tent.

For extra comfort, you can place a pillow or your kitty’s favorite blanket inside her new hiding place. The only thing that’s left is to present your kitty with her DIY cat tent or leave it to her to explore all on her own.

DIY Cat Teepee

Teepees are fun because they usually look very festive and colorful. They can even become a tasteful centerpiece in your living room.

Image showing a cat Teepee

To make a teepee for your cat, you will need:

  • 5 wooden roods

  • A rope

  • Safety pins

  • A blanket or some thicker fabric

And here’s how you make it:

  • Use your rope to first tie three wooden roods using a figure-8 knot.

  • After you secure them, stand the roods up and add the remaining two so they are spread evenly.

  • Use the rest of the rope by wrapping it around the roods until they are secure and stable.

  • Take your chosen fabric or blanket and fold it over the longer side. Wrap it around the roods and tuck the extra length under, to serve as a floor. You can cut the excess fabric if you don’t like how it looks.

  • Use safety pins to attach both sides of the fabric to each other near the place your roods are tied.

You can also place a pillow in this type of DIY cat tent for extra coziness and warmth. Also, you can put your cat’s favorite toy inside to keep her company while she lounges.

DIY Cat Teepee Second Version

If you are not into the looks of the first teepee, we have a slightly different version you might like.

Image showing a cat relaxing in a cat teepee

You will need:

  • Wooden roods

  • Lots of fabric

  • A rope

  • A drill

  • Glue

  • Scissors

The second version is just as simple to make as the first one, and here’s how you do it:

  • Drill holes on the top of your wooden roods.

  • When you are done with that, run the rope through the holes to keep them secured.

  • After that wrap the rope around the roods for extra stability.

  • The next step is wrapping your teepee in the fabric. You can cut smaller pieces of different kinds of material, or you can stick to one type of fabric.

  • As you start wrapping the material around the roods, glue it to them. It is important to pull the material tight before it is glued to the structure.

  • When you finish the whole teepee, leave the glue to dry, and then cut the hole that will serve as an entrance for your cat.

Because this DIY cat tent doesn’t have a floor, place a pillow or a blanket inside so your cat won’t be cold.

DIY Cardboard Tent

Another simple one. If you’re used to working with your hands, you might not even need more than 10 minutes to finish making this one. It’s also surprisingly durable.

A kitty sitting on a BoxKitty, a modular cardboard cat castle

To make this DIY cat tent, you will need:

  • Cardboard

  • Fabric with a pattern of your choice

  • A staple gun

  • Polyester filling

Here’s how you make a DIY cardboard tent for your cat:

  • Use your cardboard to cut the square for your base and four triangles for the sides of the tent.

  • In one of the sides, cut the hole that will serve as an entrance for your cat.

  • When you are done, wrap the polyester filling around the cardboard and secure it with a staple gun.

  • After that cut the pieces of fabric so you can sew it around the base and the sides of your tent.

  • When you have all of the pieces wrapped in fabric, start to build your tent by sewing the sides to one another and then to the base. It would go quicker if you have a sewing machine, but if you don’t, you can use a simple needle and thread. It will take some time, but you will be proud of the end result.

If you worry that polyester filling is not enough for the base to keep your kitty warm and comfortable, you can place an extra pillow. This DIY cat tent is soft inside and out. Your kitty will love it.

Wooden Cat Tent

This is a great choice if you want to make something more permanent for your kitty. This one will stand the test of the elements so you can use it as a resting place for kitties that love to travel outdoors.

Cat sitting in a Modern Cat Tent

To make this type of tent, you will need:

  • Strong glue for wood

  • Three wooden planks

  • Pieces of carpet

  • Nails, if the glue is not strong enough

The previous cat tents used soft materials like cardboard and T-shirts, so you might expect this one to be the most complicated to make of all. But it really isn’t. All you have to do is:

  • Use the adhesive to glue wooden planks to one another, using one as a base and two more as the sides.

  • If you suspect that the glue isn’t strong enough, use nails to make your kitty’s wooden tent safe and stable.

  • Glue pieces of carpet to the inside of the tent, and you can also glue them to the outside. That way your tent can also serve as a scratching post for your kitty.

  • To customize your kitty’s tent more, you can string her favorite toys above the entrance to the tent, or add a nice curtain for extra privacy.

You can also place a blanket or a pillow instead of the carpet on the floor. If your cat is apprehensive about entering the tent, place her old blanket or yours inside so she will be soothed by the familiar smell.

Cardboard Cat Tent

Another one that uses cardboard.

Image showing two cat furniture Cardboards

However, if the previous ones were so simple that you could finish in under 20 minutes, for this DIY cat tent, you will need patience, time, and:

  • A lot of corrugated cardboard

  • A cutter

  • A compass

  • A ruler

  • White glue

  • A paintbrush

This tent is made of many cardboard discs placed one on top of the other. To make these discs, you need to draw them on the cardboard.

Image showing a person cutting circles in cardboard

The size of your tent will determine how many discs you will need.

  • First, use your compass to draw the largest disc, and then after you decide how wide you want it to be, draw a smaller one inside the first, and so on until you have five discs.

  • Repeat that process eight times, or more, depending on how big your kitty is.

  • After you are done drawing all the discs, you can start to cut them. Use numbers to mark your discs by size, so it would be easier later to assemble your cat’s new tent.

  • When you are done with that, draw a circle on the cardboard that will be used as a base for the tent, and then make six discs that are the same size as the base.

  • Now that you have all the pieces ready, you can try to put the tent together, to test the looks of it.

  • If you are satisfied with the looks and the size, you can mark the places where you want the entrance to the tent to be. You can make your entrance in any shape—just use your cutter to make a hole big enough for your cat to get in.

  • When you finish with all of that, it is time to glue all the discs to one another. Apply glue with the paintbrush so that it would be evenly distributed. Apply pressure from time to time to make sure that all of the pieces are glued properly.

  • When you’re done, let the tent dry before letting your kitty explore it.

You can use colors to customize your DIY cat tent, or you can leave it the way it is. It almost resembles a small work of art, and your kitty will be all over it. A small blanket inside will keep your kitty warm in her new favorite hiding place.

Foam Cat Tent

If you’ve just bought some electronic devices (for example), you will find plenty of foam inside the box.

a cat sitting in a Tiny Tent

Rather than throwing it all away, you should use it to make a DIY cat tent. For this DIY cat tent you will need:

  • Some fabric

  • Polyurethane foam

  • Hook and loop tape or buttons

  • Scissors

  • A sewing machine

  • A chalk marker

The size of your cat you will determine how much fabric you need. You can use two different patterns, one for the inside of the tent, and one for the outside, or you can use only one for the whole tent. Here’s how you make it:

  • When you’ve decided on the size of your tent, use scissors to cut two big rectangular pieces.

  • Using your sewing machine, stitch three sides of your material together—two shorter ones and one longer.

  • When you are done with that, measure the length of your fabric and divide it into three pieces of the same size. Mark the lines using chalk marker.

  • Using your sewing machine, trace the stitches over those lines. The end result should be three attached pillowcases.

  • Now measure the size of your pillowcases and cut three pieces of foam, one for each pillowcase.

  • You can use a loop and hook tape or buttons to serve as a fastener for your pillowcases.

  • When you are done with that, place foam into the pillowcases and fold your kitty’s tent.

  • After you’ve stitched the remaining two sides that are not already joined, your tent will be finished.

The best thing about this DIY cat tent is that you can wash it anytime you want, just remove the foam from pillowcases and put them in your washer. Foam makes this tent cozy and warm—a perfect hideaway for your kitty.

Wrap Up

Now you know that you don’t need to spend a lot of money and time to make a nice DIY cat tent. We have provided you with several ideas, and now it’s up to you to make your kitty a perfect hiding place that she can enjoy. A DIY cat tent will serve your kitty as a tucked-away safe place and fabulous lounging area that is warm and comfortable.

a cat sitting in a teepee tent

Where does your cat usually hide? If you have experience in making a tent for your kitty or if you have other DIY tent ideas, share them with us and our readers in the comment section below.

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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