Introduction: Small Cat Hammocks - Home or Shelter Use
This small pvc pipe cat hammock frame's finished measurements are: 10” tall, 10 ½" wide, 16 ½” long.
Hammocks are great places for kitties to rest comfortably on, to add a little more vertical space to their area, and are great for shy kitties to hide under.
These are very easy to make for home use and several can easily be made for animal shelter use. They are especially useful during kitten season. And if the kittens manage to pull it over, it is very light weight and no one will get squished.
When I starting volunteering at my local animal shelter, I saw that someone had made pvc pipe frame cat hammocks. The hammock frames were various sizes, some were damaged and there weren’t a lot of hammock covers to use. They were also fairly large, so they wouldn’t fit in the smaller kennels.
I designed some smaller hammocks to fit into most of the cat kennels, and designed a standard large hammock. Using my basic sewing skills, made simple patterns for the hammock covers, in both small and large sizes.
Step 1: The Finished Small Frame
This small hammock frame works very well in most of our shelter’s kennels. The finished measurements are: 10” tall, 10 ½" wide, 16 ½” long.
This frame works best with small to medium sized kitties. I've seen 3 kittens on top of it and kittens under it. I’ve seen some of the larger cats try to fit on it, but if their kennel has room, the large frame works better for them.
(If a larger frame is needed, see my instructions titled "Large Cat Hammock - Home or Shelter Use").
Step 2: Materials and Steps 1 - 2
• 1 10’ stick of ½” pvc pipe – I typically use the “thin wall”, or class 200, pvc pipe. This pipe is thinner, lighter weight, and cheaper than the “thick wall”, or schedule 40, pvc pipe. But either type of pvc pipe will work for this project.
• 4 ½” pvc corner pieces (all sides slip, no threads)
• 4 ½” pvc caps (slip, not threaded)
Step 1. Cut the pvc pipe as follows:
• 2 pieces 14” long
• 6 pieces 8” long
Step 2. Wash the pvc pipe and fittings in hot, soapy water. Dry pieces.
Step 3: Step 3
3. Take the 14” length pieces, and push the corner pieces onto each end.
Step 4: Step 4
Step 4 Take 2 of the 8” pieces, and connect each end to the corner pieces, making a rectangle.
Step 5: Steps 5 - 7
Step 5 Insert the remaining 4 8” pieces in the corner pieces, forming legs.
Step 6 Place the caps on the ends of the 8” legs.
Step 7 If you wish to use pvc cement to glue the frame together, you may, but it is not required. Read and follow the glue and primer manufacturer’s directions exactly.
Most of the frames at our shelter are not glued together. Occasionally, the cats are able to disassemble the frames, but they can be quickly reassembled.
Next step – create covers for the kitties to relax on, or under.
Step 6: Hammock Cover Materials
The hammock cover is basically a sleeve that fits onto the frame. I typically use t-shirt or golf / polo shirt material for the small hammocks. I also use denim and cotton woven fabric as well.
I make most of the hammock covers from previously owned clothing, mostly shirts & jeans. I usually get them from family members who are no longer wearing them, or from thrift shops and yard sales. When I get the clothes home, I wash them in hot water and add ½ - 1 cup of white vinegar with the laundry soap to get any storage smells out.
Step 7: Hammock Cover Materials List
• 1 t-shirt or polo shirt or just under a yard of jersey, knit, cotton or denim fabric – see notes at the end regarding fabric choice
• Sewing machine My favorite stitch is the “triple stretch stitch” with a twin needle. When using denim fabric, I use a denim needle. This stitch seems to hold up really well with the weight of cats and the frequent washing in the shelter environment, but a regular straight stitch with a single needle works as well.
• Fray Check (not required, but highly recommended) • Thread • Scissors • Ruler or measuring tape
Step 8: Hammock Cover Step 1
1. If using jersey or knit fabric - cut 2 pieces of fabric 16” long and 12” wide. If the fabric allows, you may go longer, but don’t go wider than 12”.
Note: In the above picture, the length is 23", due to the size of the shirt.
Note: If you do not want the graphics to show on the hammock cover, turn the fabric inside out.
Note: I have been using a double layer of t-shirt material for our larger cats, and it's worked great (one t-shirt for the top and one t-shirt for the bottom).
• If using demin or woven cotton material - cut 15" long x 13" wide. If the fabric allows, you may go longer, but don’t go wider than 13”.
• If you use a t shirt, cut the fabric as shown. If cut the other way, the fabric will be much more stretchy.
• If using cotton or denim fabric, it doesn't matter which way the fabric is cut.
Step 9: Hammock Cover Step 2
Step 2 Hem the 12” cut side(s). If you are using a tag, sew tag with the hem.
Note: If using woven cotton or denim, I do a zig-zag stitch along the cut fabric edge before hemming to prevent the fabric from unraveling and fraying. I was surprised how much denim frays!
If you need some ideas on how to make simple tags, see my instructions titled "Simple Fabric Tags" https://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Fabric-Tags... .
Step 10: Hammock Cover Step 3
Step 3 Take the top and bottom fabric pieces and place right sides together. Sew the 16” sides together.
Step 11: Hammock Cover Steps 4 - 6
Step 4 Turn right side out.
Step 5 Use a few drops of Fray Check to secure any stitching close to the edge of the fabric or areas that may experience stress.
Step 6 Slide fabric onto the frame.
Notes: Fabric choice - I stay away from slippery or very stretchy material. The slippery material doesn’t stay on the frame very well and the stretchy material doesn’t have the strength to hold much weight.
Step 12: A Few Pictures of the Hammocks in Use at Our Shelter.
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