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Picture of DIY cat tent

I kept seeing photos of cat tents on Pinterest and being shared on Facebook, but none of them had good instructions! I decided to make a cat tent for Luna and document it so you guys could make one too. :D

This cat tent is super easy to make - you really just need a t-shirt, some wire hangers and a piece of cardboard. As a bonus, it really only takes five minutes, so if your cat ignores it you didn't put too much effort in. ;)

 
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Step 1: What you'll need:

Picture of What you'll need:
  • a cat
  • a medium t-shirt
  • a 15 x 15 inch piece of cardboard (mine was 13x15 and a little wonky)
  • two wire hangers (like these)
  • tape
  • safety pins
  • something to cut the hangers with and help bend them - I used a large pair of pliers. :)

Step 2: Cut the hangers

Picture of Cut the hangers

Cut off both squiggly ends. I untwisted mine and then cut, but that's not really necessary. (though it was kinda fun!)

Step 3: Shape the hangers + reinforce the cardboard if needed

Picture of Shape the hangers + reinforce the cardboard if needed
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Shape the hangers so they look like the above - try to make them smooth and pretty uniform. You want two graceful curves that will go from corner to corner of your piece of cardboard.

(Lu did an excellent job of this.)

I also took this time to tape on a couple supports to the cardboard and tape all around the edges for a little more stability. This is really only necessary if you're using a piece of cardboard with a crease in it.

Step 4: Poke a hole in each corner

Picture of Poke a hole in each corner

You should be able to use the end of the hanger to do this!

Make sure it's at least a half inch in from each edge and not too large.

Step 5: Tape the two hangers together

Picture of Tape the two hangers together
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Cross the two hangers in the middle and make sure all the ends touch the surface you're working on. Tape them together really well so they don't shift.

Push the ends through the holes you just made in the corners.

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This is the BEST! Can't wait to try it!

jadario2 months ago
I love this idea, esp.if your cat is partial to a particular family member. Helpful hint: If you hit your local pizza shop and ask them for a pizza box, most will simply just give a single box, if you are not a regular, they may ask for 50 cents. but its worth it. you can make 2 :)
janet.vatcher2 months ago

I do not own a cat, but family members do so I will be sharing, I just wanted to say, I like the quilt on the bed!!! I am an avid OL LADY QUILTER so any quilts get noticed! This is a great idea, good job!

Also a quilter who noticed and liked the Quilt - It's Beautiful !

dnardo made it!2 months ago
Frida Box!
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julie.sindora made it!8 months ago

Thank you for the clear instructions! I made one of these earlier using the box our Canidae cat food came in. It's just a little box with short sides which helps the stability of the setup. Also, you don't have to untwist the hook part, just cut it off. Then you also don't have to really straighten out the first crimp in the hanger because that's where you can bend once through the cardboard. That means you're just stuck with straightening out the main corners at either end of the hanger.

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The cardboard tray is a good idea; I wonder if the ones I get when I buy canned cat food would work...

That's what I used. I buy in 12-packs of the tall cans.

Looks really good Julie, I like the cardboard tray you've used as it looks more stable.

kurnous34 made it!2 months ago
they love it!
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studleylee2 months ago

Love This. I making some for my 10 furry brood. These are also great for rounding up very small kittens so the mamma can have a break. We had to hand raise 5 abandoned kittens who were only several days old and getting a tiny tent was key to keeping them together and warm.

Great idea! Instead of discarding, a large wire-frame lampshade, I plan to try a tunnel version covered with a cat themed sweatshirt. Small cup hooks and a wooden lap tray or old cutting board for a stable base (small buttonholes in shirt for easy removal to launder), a drawstring on the backside and a foam filled dish mat to sleep on. Now, off to my fav thrift store for the sweatshirt!

Wow - what a great idea!! I have two kitties that love to snuggle up in hidden places - they should love this. I can't wait to try this out - thanks for posting!!

scouter420 made it!3 months ago

I used an old wool sweater and pulled the arms inside out to make a soft bottom. All 3 cats are obsessed and I am currently making #2!

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Great idea makers! Think I'll have to try that. But not sure if my kitty will go for it. He's pretty particular about things. He likes to live large, gets claustrophobic and only likes the nests I make him on the bed. He likes those big too. :)

That's a really good idea too, except my cats tend to chew on wool...

combatTVgirl2 months ago

What an AWESOME AWESOME idea! Especially for places like animal shelters and foster families who always need extra little hidey-holes for kitties! Store-bought ones can be expensive but we've all got old t-shirts lying around, and everybody knows wire hangars breed and multiply, lol. I will be making and sharing!

Thank you so much for this lovely idea !

Dany from France - Aveyron

My cats Finn and O'Malley love it. They were already in it before I was finished with it.
realife113 months ago

Saw a segment on some show where they said that researchers discovered that the perfume 'obsession for men' makes cats go nuts over it, just like catnip.

So if you spritz it on this tent (if the cat is lukewarm about it), then the tent will be 'kitty's new best friend'.

rodski3 months ago
so easy to make., great idea!.,thanks for sharing

walmart has wire hangers for cheep.:-)

tiffanyikeda made it!3 months ago

This was so easy! My Kitty is lukewarm about it, but it is amusing and cute! It kind of makes me want to go out and buy some ridiculous cat shirts and make more :)

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CherylB13 months ago

Wow this is great, thanks for the tutorial. My cats loves to hide so I'll be making two for them :)

tamjlut made it!3 months ago

Easy to make as described. It's a little small for my Maine Coon mix which isn't surprising, but he made it his own. Catnip also helped. Thanks!

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AlexaM tamjlut3 months ago

Its a little small for my maine coon too! But they love it!

Use a XL or XXL t-shirt, just fold back 1/2" of wire
jessyratfink (author)  tamjlut3 months ago

Look at all the fluff! Catnip is always a good bribe. ;)

marycristinab3 months ago

this is SO RAD!!!! well done! i will make this for all my kitty-loving friends... and maybe a few for the shelters??? yes! thanks!

hillary.hall.33 made it!3 months ago

Stormy has a new favorite napping place. I'm going to be making a couple more to put around the house for her. I'm also going to be taking a couple of my husbands old tshirts and making thin pillow pads for the bottom. Nothing a few passes of the sewing machine and a little bit of fiber fill can't make better. Thank you for the super easy instructions. I have been passing this on to all my friends.

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blászló3 months ago
Thanks !
lifesaver3343 months ago

Why not leave the arm holes out and not tape them underneath. It will make for a cat to find new ways of getting out of the tent shirt? They need challenges too, and I think even a small dog would like to have one of these. Might have to use an XL or XXL shirt for a bigger dog or cat though. You can also get a strong coil type metal frame by using old tent poles or a coil of wire they use for electrcial uses.

So I seen this and it might sound strange but my weiner dog loves curling up in my shirts so I made one for him now I cant get him out lol thank you

Just made mine. Sat it next to her food and water bowls for when she comes up to eat. Put a old towel with some catnip in it. her she takes a liking to it. Gave me also a project to do with my daughter . Thanks!!

Such a great idea...we have three indoor cats...sisters and they all jocky for the prime spots...I can make three and they will all be happy..thanks again

cjsjags3 months ago

I wonder if I can figure out a way to make it weather proof so it can be used for ferrell cat colonies. Any ideas ?

jessyratfink (author)  cjsjags3 months ago

I bet you could cut squares of plywood, drill holes for the hangers in the corners, and cover with a tarp - I bet around a 45 inch square piece of tarp would work well! You could probably just staple the tarp it to the bottom. :)

I'm not sure if it would be better to leave the tarp loose in the front or cut a hole, though!

That way the frame itself will resist the elements, and you could put old towels or blankets or straw inside for warmth!

OMG!!!! I make all kinds of toys for my cats, but NEVER thought of this! This is so freekin cute, but especially Little Silky Lu! :-)

Kazezza3 months ago

That is awesome and I am going to make one for my cat. Thank you so much for sharing.

blueskyblu3 months ago

this is brilliant and my two cats will love it! but since they like scratching on any cardboard, i'm going to sew the tshirt together instead of using the safety pins in case they get through to the bottom.

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