Introduction: Custom Cat Bed
My cat sleeps on my desk between my keyboard and my monitor. Sometimes, when he is asleep, he rolls over onto my keyboard. After having countless games closed suddenly and numerous emails sent with bizarre text strings, I decided to do something about it.
I decided to make a bed with little “walls” as a barrier to my keyboard. I looked at beds on the market, and most were either the wrong size or too expensive. The solution, then, was to make my own.
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Step 1: Materials
This bed should be made to your cat's dimensions. All cats have unique sizes, shapes, and sleeping positions. My cat sleeps all stretched out, so I needed to make my bed longer rather than round.
Fabric: 1 1/2 yards 40 inch wide
The type of fabric isn't really important, but I chose fleece as it was relatively inexpensive (especially since it is all on clearance for spring), very soft, and fairly easy to work with.
Match your thread to your fabric. The colors should be similar or complementary, and the material should be similar.
Portions of this can be done with a sewing machine, but there are parts that must be done by hand. With fleece, you can use a larger diameter needle than if you were using another fabric, so I use an embroidery needle for the bigger eye.
The paper is for a template, so any will work. If you don't have a big enough piece, just tape a few together. This is a good use for papers that got printed on accident or old catalog pages.
I used two pair of scissors: one small for thread and one large for fabric.
You will need to measure quite a few things during this process, one of which is the cat, so a flexible tape measure is good.
This is optional, but very helpful. I used the tube that a poster was mailed in, but you could probably use a wrapping paper tube or even a paper towel tube.
The only stuffing I had on hand was polyester fluffy stuff. This is great for stuffing things as it is a nice density and pretty inexpensive, but it can be dangerous for cats. Make sure that all of the stuffing is well sealed in the bed before letting your cat near it. If a cat eats this stuff it can make the cat sick.
Any stick will do. I used a broom handle then switched to a chunk of dowel.
Straight pins for sewing. Safety pins are also helpful.
Step 2: Measure the Cat
If this bed is to be a place your cat will want to sleep, then it needs to fit him. Measure your cat while he is in his most common sleeping position.
My cat, while sleeping, is roughly 19 inches long and 11 inches wide, so that is how big I made his bed. My instructions will be for those dimensions, but this can be modified for any cat.
Once you have measured the cat, you can make sure you have the right size by laying out a diagram with masking tape. Put the cat in the diagram and watch him for a bit.
Step 3: Make the Template
Start the template by getting your paper to the necessary size. My paper needed to be 19 inches by 11 inches, so I taped some US Letter sized printer paper together.
Fold the paper into quarters. First fold lengthwise, then fold width wise. (Or vise versa...)
Place something round, like the roll of tape, at the open corner (the corner that has no folds), then trace the curve. What you are trying to do here is round the corners.
Trim the corner then unfold the paper. This will be the template for the base of the bed.
(pic 3 &4)
Step 4: Base
Fold the fabric in half. Lay the template out on the fabric then cut it out, adding about 1/2 inch all the way around. By folding the fabric before cutting, you get two identical pieces.
Stack the two pieces and sew them 1/2 inch in from the edge all the way around except for a space that you can fit your hand in. The base will be inside-out at this point.
Clip the curves so that they look kind of like very wide fringe, then turn the base right-side-out.
Stuff the base with the stuffing using hand-sized pieces. Make the base fairly uniform in thickness, and make it firm enough to support your cat, but not so firm that it bulges. 4 inches is a good thickness.
Tuck the edges at the opening in and stitch it shut.
Step 5: Wall Part I
Measure and cut a piece of fabric 11 inches wide and 60 inches long.
Fold the fabric in half so that it is 5 1/2 inches wide and 60 inches long.
Sew the entire length of the open edges 1/2 inch in from the edge so that you end up with a long tube.
Step 6: Wall Part II
Cut a piece of thread 6 feet long and fold it in half. Thread a needle with this thread and pull it half way through so that you have 4 strands of 1 1/2 feet.
Stitch all the way around one end of the tube using 1/4 inch stitches leaving a few inches hanging out at the beginning.
(pic 2 & 3)
Once you have stitched all the way around, cut off the needle and pull gently on the two ends of the thread. Tighten the threads and tie them securely.
Push the end of the tube that you just tied off down inside the tube a few inches.
Place the pushed-in part of the tube on the end of a stick and pull the whole tube down so that it turns it right-side out (seam inside).
Step 7: Wall Part III
Push the cardboard tube down into the fabric tube and then start pushing stuffing down it with the stick. Pull the cardboard tube out gradually as you go. Keep stuffing until about 50 inches of it is full.
This needs to be very firm. The wall tube should be soft but hold its shape very well.
The stuffed wall will probably be very lumpy. Squeeze the lumps to push the stuffing around a bit. Keep squeezing until you are happy with the shape.
Step 8: Wall Part IV
Wrap the stuffed wall tube around the base to determine exactly how long you need the tube. Add or remove the stuffing until the length of the stuffed part of the tube is exactly the length you need. My tube had to be a 55 inch diameter oval when finished, so I stuffed 55 inches of the tube.
Fold the extra fabric at the opening of the tube inside then stuff the close end of the tube into the open end so that you have a continuous circle.
Sew the ends of the tube together.
Step 9: Assembly
Place the base on the ring/tube/wall and pin them together, shaping as you go.
Stitch the wall and base together all the way around from the base side.
You are finished! Put your cat on the bed, then watch him go sleep on the floor!
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