Cardboard Cat House




About: I love creating. I love ART in all its forms. I am a daughter of the 50s, born in 1992. I had the pleasure to be a Featured Author on this fabulous site, and you can read my interview here: https://www.ins...

A year ago I had the honor to be a Featured Author on this site. One of the questions I was asked in the interview was about the next big project I planned to make. My answer was "a bed for my cat". Actually, my idea was to recreate a cardboard cat bed I saw on the internet.
I have multiple reasons why I didn't do it: laziness, the problem of getting so much cardboard and the fact that my cat wouldn't have gone into that bed anyway. She didn't like cat beds like that one.
Well, it's been a year and my dear cat is not with me anymore :( I should thank Instructables though, because the Pet Contest pushed me to finally make it for my new kitten!

Now it was about time! 
I still had the cardboard cat bed I saw online on my mind when I started to make mine, but as I was making it, I realized that it wasn't going to be like that one. The shape I made is different and I am actually happy about that. Creating something completely new gives so much more satisfaction!

The whole cat bed is made out of cardboard layers, one above the other. Unfortunately I don't have a laser cutter so I had to cut all of those pieces using a cutter by hand.
Am I crazy? Probably yes. 
It's been a long and hard work, but I can assure you that it was worth everything. And you know what? The excitement I had while cutting all those pieces made the whole process so much fun!

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Step 1: What You Need

  • A LOT of corrugated cardboard - I used the one with 2 layers, it's about 6mm thick (0.23 inches)
  • cutter
  • pencil
  • compass (you may need the extension that makes it longer too)
  • ruler
  • white glue
  • paint brush

Step 2: Draw the Circles

This cat bed is a composition of many cardboard discs one above the other.
The first thing you need to do is drawing these discs.
I made 8 groups of discs that have 4 or 5 discs in each. The biggest ones have 5, the smallest ones can have 4 instead. This is not so important so it is up to you. If you make 5 in the smallest groups too, the smallest circle will turn out too small and that will just make your cat bed's tip taller.

Each group consists of a big circle and other smaller circles in it.
Here is the list of the radius measures for the main circle (the biggest one) in each group:
  1. 21,5 cm (8.46 inches)
  2. 21 cm (8.26 inches)
  3. 20,5 cm (8.07 inches)
  4. 20 cm (7.87 inches)
  5. 19,5 cm (7.67 inches)
  6. 19 cm (7.48 inches)
  7. 18,5 cm (7.28 inches)
  8. 18 cm (7.08 inches)
As you can see, each of them is 5mm (0.19 inches) smaller than the previous one.

Once you have drawn each of those discs, use a ruler to measure 4cm (1.57 inches) from the circumference.
Open your compass from the centre of the disc to the new measure and draw a smaller disc.
This way you have a round strip that is 4cm thick.
Again, measure 4cm from the new circle, and starting from the centre draw another smaller circle.
Continue this way until you have 5 discs one in the other. Like I said before, the last groups will probably have 4 discs instead of 5 because the last one will turn out way too small.

Step 3: Cut the Discs

It's time to cut each disc with a cutter now.
I recommend you to write a number on each disc before cutting them, so that you can always know what group they are from. Like I wrote in the previous step, I gave number 1 to the biggest group of discs, then 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and finally 8 to the smallest group.

You need to be extremely accurate while cutting these discs because the final result depends on this step. 
Cutting such round shapes by hand is really complicated so please take your time.
It takes time, patience and strength, but if I did it, you can do it too!

Step 4: A Few More Discs

Did you think you were done cutting?
I'm sorry, you are not! There are some more pieces you need to cut...

First of all the base: it's a big disc with a radius of 21,5 cm (8.46 inches) without any other disc in the middle. This way it doesn't have any hole.

Now draw other 6 discs that are as big as the base.
Measure 4cm (1.57 inches) from the circumference and draw a smaller disc. This is just like what you did in step 2 but you don't have to draw anymore smaller discs. Just one.
Cut each of them.
This way you obtain 6 round discs that are as big as the biggest disc in the first group.

Note: As you can see from my photos, I made only 2 at first, but later I decided to add more because the more they are, the thicker the base will be. This way the cat bed is larger on the base.
You can make more than 6 if you want - I actually recommend you to do that if your cat is pretty big.

Let's try to compose the base now: place all of these new round strips on the base disc, and add the biggest disc from group 1 on top.

Step 5: Put the Pieces Together

All the pieces are cut so let's try to compose the whole cat bed.

The biggest disc from group 1 has already been placed in the previous step, so let's add the biggest disc from group 2 on it now.
Try to center it as much as possible so that there is a 5mm (0.19 inches) thick border all around.
Now add the big disc from group 3 on top, then the ones from groups 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Make sure to always center them so that there are 5mm all around.
After the biggest disc from group 8, start again from number 1. You must place the second biggest discs this time.
When you are done, start again from number 1 and continue this way until all of your discs are on top of the bed.
You'll see them going from the biggest one on the base to the smallest ones on top.

You've just created a round pyramid!

Step 6: Draw the Door

You need to decide where the door will be now.

I wanted to leave the base free from having the door so I removed it from the bottom.
I then counted 20 layers of cardboard discs and removed the remaining ones at the top.
Don't worry, this is just temporary.

The 20 discs I counted are the ones that will be cut to create the door.
If you want to make the door taller you need to consider more than 20 discs.

Now use a pencil to make signs on the discs to draw the door. You can make it whatever shape you like.
You can align the discs on one side to be able to draw better lines on them. Doing that helped me being more accurate in drawing the door.
IMPORTANT: Make sure that each disc layer has door signs on them otherwise you won't know how to cut some of them.

Step 7: Cut the Door Parts

This was the hardest step for me but I finally did it.

You need to start from the signs you drew on the previous step and draw straight lines that will divide the disc strip in 2, cutting out the door part.
My problem was figuring out the angle that those lines had. I mean, I knew where the lines had to begin, but I didn't know where to end them.
Finally, I came up with the idea of drawing those lines as if they were starting from the centre of the disc. Unfortunately the middle points of my discs weren't there anymore so I had to try to make them as precise as possible, even thought I wasn't sure about them.
You can see the "technique" I used in the pictures.

When you are done drawing them, cut the door parts out.

Step 8: Try the Composition...again!

It's time to see if the door parts you cut turned out right in the composition.
So, again, place one piece on the other to rebuild your cat bed.

I was really anxious this time because I was afraid that the door parts I cut were totally wrong...but luckily, they worked fine! Ok, not REALLY fine, a couple of pieces weren't exactly right, but I was very satisfied with the result!

Step 9: Glue the Pieces

If everything looks good and is done, it's time to glue all the pieces to make sure that they don't move anymore :D

I mixed some white glue with a little bit of water and spread it on each piece using a paint brush.
I glued all of my pieces this way, one by one, making sure to center them as best as I could.
I recommend you to press them from time to time to be sure that the cardboard pieces stick together.
I finally spread some more glue on the whole surface.

The cat bed is done! You just need to wait for the glue to dry completely.

Step 10: Give It to Your Cat!

Give this brand new cat bed to your cat now and see what happens!
You can place something like a thin pillow or a little blanket inside to make it even more comfortable.

My cat loved it! Actually, he loves playing with it :D

Ps: I apologize for the blurred photos. My cat kept moving so they always turned out blurred!
Ps2: The last photo has horrible quality, I know, but I thought it was just too cute not to share! :)

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    88 Discussions


    2 months ago

    This is really nice looking but it gives me a headache trying to figure out how it's done since the instructions are not detailed enough. It would have been helpful to give a final count of the total number of circles needed, abd maybe even a numbering scheme to follow for ease of assembly. Very creative and good-looking though.


    3 years ago

    I used a laser cutter for mine and it works great!!

    16, 9:29 PM.jpg
    Jabez MelkiB

    4 years ago on Introduction

    I REALLY like this project! i like the creativity. i have a small female cat and i want to make this for her.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Brava Linda! Gran bella cuccia! :D

    Io ho due gattoni, uno nero enorme e una tricolore piccolina, una cuccia del genere farebbe sicuramente al caso loro! ^^

    4 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Grazie!! Se quello nero è enorme ti conviene fare una cuccia il doppio di mio sta crescendo talmente tanto che ormai fa fatica a starci!! :D


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Eh si, quello nero è un bel gattone di quasi 7 kg!

    L'altra è piccolina e il veterinario dice che rimane cosi! Eccoli :D


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    No, lei ormai è immune al peso dell'altro XD

    Si sdraiano sempre così sul tappetino del bagno e restano lì a coccolarsi!


    5 years ago on Step 10

    OMG - your kitten is too cute! This bed is amazing - how many hours though did it take you to cut all the cardboard? I don't think my carpal tunnel could manage all that. Love the shape, etc. Thanks for sharing.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Step 10

    Thank you so much! I'm so sorry for the delay, I have just re-seen your comment and I was sure that I actually replied to you many days ago but apparently my reply didn't go through. Anyway, it took me about 3 afternoons to cut all pieces, with many breaks in the middle of course :D I was surprised that my hand didn't hurt too much, but I may have developed the carpal tunnel too if I did this for longer...I have good news though: I have recently tried to make a square shaped one and a friend showed me how simple it is to cut cardboard with a jigsaw. The most important thing is that you use a blade for iron instead of the one you would use for wood because it doesn't ruin the cardboard :)


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you so much! I didn't count exactly how many hours it took me but I worked on this cat bed for about 3 afternoons :D
    And I totally understand about the carpal tunnel, I think that if I continue to work this way I will end up having the same problem! Using a laser cutter would make it easier for you :)


    5 years ago on Step 10

    What a great idea & a really lovely looking cat house. I suppose if you were feeling really creative you could make it in different shapes, like square, rectangular, maybe even triangular. Or you could go for an oval, but the proportions would need to be the same, unless you got really really creative & went for a kind of wavy effect on the outside.

    I might have to have a go at this one. It won't take me long to collect the cardboard. I might even go for a square one. If I do I will take some pics & publish my results.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Step 10

    Oh that would be wonderful, thank you so much! I am actually making another one these days, square shaped this time :D You are right, it's possible to make all kinds of shapes. I also want to try and make another one that is open and has a similar structure but the way the pieces are put together is a little's really fun! :)

    I can't wait to see yours!! :)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Pretty cool. I have built with cardboard and know just how tedious it can be, but cat's absolutely love it. Not only is yours a cool little bed, but a scratching post as well. I've been planning something similar for some time. I have 4 rescued cats living with me right now. Lost one last year and she would have loved this. So thanks a lot, I think this is the nudge I need to get going on my own creations for the 'kids'.

    2 replies

    Oh thank you so much, this really means a lot to me :) It's wonderful that you rescued all those cats, I bet that they will love this cat bed! Can you share a picture of it if you make it? I would love to see it! :)

    I must admit that this cat bed turned out even better than I thought, the corrugated cardboard I used seems very resistant, which is very important, especially on the base. Recently, I have found a very thick cardboard (thicker than this one) and I'm planning to make a square shaped one...that will definitely be easier to cut! :D


    I need to gather the cardboard which might take me a while. I have to make sure what I build is large enough for my fat cat. Junior is 30 pounds and 29 inches from nose to tip of tail. Lol. I promise to post images when I build.