Introduction: DIY Cat Tent

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. ;)

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

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

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.

Step 6: Bend the Ends and Tape Them Down

Picture of Bend the Ends and Tape Them Down

Bend at least an inch on the bottom of each hanger so it sits against the bottom of the cardboard. Tape the ends down flat against the cardboard - make sure you tape it well so it's nice and smooth and won't snag the shirt when you pull it over!

Step 7: Check and Make Sure Everything's Lined Up

Picture of Check and Make Sure Everything's Lined Up

At this point you can bend the wire so that it looks nicer - fiddle around with it and use the pliers if you need to straighten it out a bit. :)

Step 8: Create the Tent!

Picture of Create the Tent!

Pull the shirt over the tent frame and position it so the neck hole is in the front middle and the bottom of the shirt is trailing behind the tent frame.

Flip the whole thing up so the bottom is facing you and the hole is pointing upwards.

Fold up the excess from the bottom of the shirt and tighten it up so the neck hole is taut and safety pin the bottom in place. Then pull the sleeves tight and safety pin them in place too.

As you can see in the last image, it should be pretty tight over the frame. Keep tucking and safety pinning until it's ready!

(Yes, I know it would make sense to cut it, but I decided to leave it whole and safety pin it instead so it would be easy to remove and wash. :D)

Step 9: Give It to Your Cat!

Picture of Give It to Your Cat!

I put a paper bag inside as a floor since it's been pretty hot here and a blanket would be waaaaay too warm. I also put a little catnip inside as a bonus.

As you can see, she was pretty stoked. :D


PromiseMe15 made it! (author)2017-07-13

Had to make it 18"x18" as it was for a large Ragdoll cat. The wires are pretty wonky and if you are doing 18x18 an XL shirt would be best as we used a large and there wasn't a lot of extra to fold over the bottom. We also made a pillow to put inside. Despite the less than stellar aesthetics the cat thoroughly enjoys it.

raggin (author)PromiseMe152018-01-22

LOVE HER! Im making for three raggies tomorrow :) Im making a pillow for ours too :) They are truly the best huh?????

Liahyyh made it! (author)2017-09-19

The final product

Liahyyh (author)2017-09-19

My kitten seems to like it and it was really fun to make so thank you^^

DKNTRTL (author)2017-09-02

My materials made a teepee and I needed loose corners for her to snuggle in - but Echo is enjoying! I used Cloroplast on the bottom for easy clean up.

DKNTRTL (author)2017-08-28

Thank you! This is exactly the type of thing I was looking for - I'll post pictures as soon as I get it done. This is actually going to be for my hedgehog, so I'm going to use a plastic plate on the bottom (it will be pee'd on). I figure a nice small drill to make holes should work fine. Thanks again!!

Here's a 'before' picture - nice tent. 'After' will come soon.

Koto skittles (author)2017-08-12

This is great for the barn koto and skittles at going to love it thanks

FC16 (author)2017-07-25

Perfect, I have 3 cats and the store bought cat tents are pretty but impossible to wash properly. Many have stuffing and if barf gets on them, forget about it. Best about these, we take our cats on vacation so packing bulky cat tents is no longer necessary, just pack a couple of shirts and extra hangers and our mini tools, done.

reydepicas made it! (author)2017-07-19

Thank you. A great idea that you can make in less than an hour with cheap materials. Arya seems to be comfortable. ;-)

TanRu made it! (author)2017-07-18

Need to tighten up the shirt, but other than that it came out good. Thanks for posting!

danielled46 made it! (author)2017-07-15

great Idea! All my cats were pretty excited too!

KeenaL (author)2017-07-08

Totally doing this ! Cute and easy

RaúlT5 (author)2017-07-04

jajaja!!! I loved it so beautiful! !!

Technoaussie (author)2017-07-04

Great idea. So great I decided to make one! I guess one day she might like it but in the line of preferences my cat picks cardboard boxes every time. Her favourite (so far) is one with 3 flaps glued to the inside and one with a crude stop to prevent it folding inside the box. If you want to know if she's 'home' just tap the sides of the box and get you hand away real quick. The best toy she's ever had. Now what do i do with the T shirt tent?

Idawg067 (author)2017-07-04

cute cat

CaitD1 (author)2017-07-04

Love it! For those of you that are not so crafty, we found a solution at our local BJ's. There are lots of boxes at the exit, and many have 3 sides and a nice front that is just cat size. We turn that upside down on a small rug and our cats love them. In the winter, we put blankets over them for our two feral visitors.

muffypuccio (author)2017-07-04

This is a great idea!!

StaceyS4 (author)2017-07-04

This is such a great idea

kentucky56duerby (author)2017-05-04

Very nice made 2 for the Rosie the cat

silm (author)2017-04-14

I got bird if this works for him.

Swansong (author)2017-04-12

This is so adorable, I want to make one for Eve! Your kitty is super cute :)

StacyW36 made it! (author)2017-04-09

We have a small dog. She climbed right in and layed down and didn't get out.

LimberLynx (author)2017-04-06

My Cat loves it so much!

I'm only ten and I made this cat cave, That's how easy it is!

Definitely try this out!

villagepigmom made it! (author)2017-03-25

Made these two years in a row as raffle prizes at our local shelter fundraiser. They were a hit both years! Since then we've discovered that our Pittbull is kitty friendly so we now have a few rescue kittens as part of our family. I guess I'll have to look for some more goofy T shirts! Closed off the sleeves to the interior and used as catnip pockets. Thed used zip ties for all securing of the T shirt.

This is so awesome to hear! I like the idea of catnip pockets :D

Soulwyvern1984 (author)2017-02-16

That is so awesome and no one ever thinks to make their own toys and such for their babies. Brilliant!!!

KylaB7 (author)2017-01-16

A little lopsided but.. my kitten liked it :3

KhyaG (author)2017-01-16

Does it have to only be for cats or can it be for dogs too?

tracilk made it! (author)2017-01-14

Our kitten Jupiter enjoying his tent. Thanks!

undanganpernikahan (author)2017-01-05

Cute tent.. Maybe my cat can get out from carton boxes after I made it.

TK24 made it! (author)2016-12-30

i made one for my kitten...he fell asleep right when I put him in it!!! BEST THING EVER!!!! so easy to make to!!! I recommend you cut off an really thick collar on the shirt and use the piece of collor in the middle as a toy!

Lucia Colaco (author)2016-12-27


Terezabolico (author)2016-12-27

Adorei a dica, vou fazer!

BethM84 made it! (author)2016-05-13

Fail! Don't waste your time.

JoanneJ11 (author)BethM842016-12-11

Not all cats love every toy, item, you give them. Looks like a winner to me.

theP13RC3 (author)BethM842016-11-20

It's only a fail if you have zero hardiness. And it appears as though that would explain it for you.

If you actually put a *tiny* bit of effort into it, these tents look amazing.

Tharyn11 (author)BethM842016-07-23

I think its awesome

Krystle-leeD made it! (author)2016-05-07

thank you for the great tutorial! i followed your instructions and even took it one step further and tucked a second old shirt inside (tucked the sides under the cardboard) for more comfort and a finished look :D

Ooooh, good idea with the second t-shirt. :D What a cute little buddy, too!!

JoanneJ11 (author)jessyratfink2016-12-11

don't use a clean t-shirt. Wear it a few time. Cats will love your scent.

JoanneJ11 (author)2016-12-11

Beautiful. I love it.

T0BY (author)2016-11-23

How unique! What a great idea!

Slippery arm (author)2016-08-21

hey Jessie on a YouTube video I saw this and I was like hey I know who that is its called Pinterest fails by the talko

ElainaA (author)Slippery arm2016-10-18

I just made it lmao it's not a fail unless you make it one

hamedb6 (author)2016-10-12

So brilliant idea, specially for cats who live in parking lots and garages.

mounai (author)2016-10-09

Voici une très bonne idée! merci de la partager!

Thank You for this GOOD IDEA! greatest!

from France

Slippery arm (author)2016-08-21

But wait that isn't Pinterest its instructables

DeniseT10 (author)2016-08-17

thank you so much for this I am deff going to give this a try. I did simmler with a box and tshirt but it is so warm and this looks way cooler for my furbabies

schreiberkat made it! (author)2016-08-04

This is what I made. Louie loves it! Thanks so much for this!

schreiberkat made it! (author)2016-08-04

This is what I made. Louie loves it! Thanks so much for this!

About This Instructable




Bio: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @makingjiggy to see what i'm working ... More »
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