My cat stays in an unheated basement during the day because she doesn't like the hyper little dog that also lives with us on the main level. In the winter that means a basement temperature of around 50 deg F. The cat is getting older and likes to be warm at all times so to keep her comfortable, I bought her a heated pad, which she absolutely loves. However, the basement is still kind of drafty so I thought I'd add some shelter to the pad.
I had no idea cat tents were so popular until I ran across this other cool Instructable by jesseratfink for making a cat tent out of a T-shirt. cool DIY Cat Tent from a T-shirt. However, her design has way more steps and takes a lot more work in my opinion, so please take a look at mine!
Step 1: Raw Materials and Tools:
(1) old fleece garment
(1) Lectro-Soft Heated Pet Bed (in small, medium and large at amazon.com)
(1) Closed cell foam insulation, around the same size as your pet bed
Around 8ft of 12ga. Romex (although any stiff wire will do)
A short bit of electrical tape or duct tape or whatever
Needle and thread (a contrasting color thread will make it easier to reuse the garment)
(1) old sock, preferably clean
(1) Safety pin
Step 2: Bend the Wire Into a Figure Eight:
I had this old fleece vest lying around and thought it would make an excellent shelter with a little help. I also had this 7 or 8 foot piece of 12 gauge Romex from a recent remodeling project and in a flash the idea came to me.
Romex is an excellent fit for this application because it is relatively stiff, the plastic insulation will prevent any rusting or discoloration and the handiness of a single piece of material made for quick work forming the frame.
I started forming the loops by making the loop width the same as the garment width. The loops are mostly flat on the bottom where they contact the garment so the tent will lie flat.
I used a men's medium vest for my tent so the length of wire required will be a few inches more if you're using a larger size garment for yours.
Add a piece of electrical tape at the intersection of the two loops and to cover the two ends, as shown.
Step 3: Sew the Waist and One Arm Shut:
Zip up the garment over the new frame.
Grab your needle & thread and sew the waist shut. Then sew one of the arm holes shut in the same manner.
I used a basting stitch with inch-long stitches so I could easily remove the thread just in case I ever needed to repo the garment from the cat.
Step 4: Add Catnip:
Fill a clean old sock with some dried catnip, fold over the end of the sock and safety pin it closed. Place the loaded sock in one of the pockets and zip it shut.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Yay! That's it! You're done! Time to show the cat what you've built, if she's not already in it like mine was.
Place the foam insulation on a flat level surface and set the heated pad and finished condo on top. The insulation underneath will force more heat out of the top surface and into the cat shelter.
I added a folded mattress pad over the top of her finished condo to retain more heat on really cold days. The condo looks more like an igloo now but the Romex wire easily supports the additional weight.
All in all, the project took less than 10 minutes. I spent the most time hunting down a safety pin for the sock.