Cats have a few very specific favorite activities. They love to play, nap, hide, climb, and scratch. In other words, they need toys, cat beds, houses, and scratching posts to keep them entertained. While you can buy toys and equipment for your buddy, cats often prefer homemade options!
Below you’ll find 15 DIY projects to make for your cat, including cat toys, houses, scratching posts, beds, and food puzzles. Some require a few tools and some DIY skills, and others are just right for beginners.
The 15 DIY Projects to Make for Your Cat
1. Super Simple DIY T-Shirt Cat Toy
|Materials:||Two used T-shirts|
|Tools:||Scissors, ruler, cutting mat, pencil/marker|
This cute cat toy makes it easy to upcycle old t-shirts you’re no longer using. Cut the shirts along the sides and seams. First, you use the ruler and pencil to mark off evenly sized strips. Make the strips nice and wide to avoid giving your pet a toy that can cause an abdominal obstruction. Then, cut the strips and pile them on top of each other as neatly as possible. Stretch the material, tie a knot, and you’re done. You can use old baby-onesies or t-shirts, but anything stretchy and cotton will do!
2. DIY Cardboard Cat House
|Tools:||X-Acto knife, pencil, compass/circular guide, glue|
This cute cardboard cat house is the perfect way to eliminate all those boxes you have waiting to be recycled. The concept is incredibly simple; you cut rings out of the cardboard and glue them together. You’ll need several boxes to source enough rings, and get ready to spend a few hours drawing circles and carefully cutting those out with an X-Acto knife. You can label the individual rings to speed up the assembly process and add a pillow or towel to the bottom once you’re done to give your cat somewhere soft to nap.
3. Action Packed DIY Cat Tree by Diana Rambles
|Materials:||Barstool, padding, fabric, jute, hair brushes, cat toys|
|Tools:||Glue gun, glue, scissors, hand saw, staple gun, measuring tape|
Cats that live in apartments need just as much exercise and stimulation as outdoor pets. And this super cute cat tree built using an old barstool delivers several fun feline activities as it features brushes for grooming, toys for batting, and space for napping.
It provides a ton of fun in a small package, making it an excellent enrichment option for cats in apartments. It even includes a fun scratching post. You can make the dangly toys from things you have around the house or use store-bought options if you run out of time.
4. DIY Cat Bunk Bed with Old Pillows & a Bookshelf
Cats love to perch and nap in high places. If you have an old bookshelf sitting around and a few pillows, you have an ideal cat bed on your hands! Just throw the pillows on the shelves, sprinkle with a bit of catnip, and let your pet enjoy the new furniture.
Consider investing in tie-down pillows to make it easier for your cat to spring on and off the shelves. You can anchor your bookshelf to the wall to ensure your pet can’t tip it over, or use two shelves since they will provide more stability.
5. DIY Felt Cat Toy
|Materials:||Felt Square, plastic ring from milk bottle|
All you need for this fun toy is one of those plastic rings from a milk bottle and a bit of material. Grab your scissors, cut the cloth into even strips and then tie the individual pieces of fabric around the ring. Get comfortable because you’ll be doing plenty of knot-tying!
Keep going until the ring is covered, and use secure knots to prevent your cat from working the material loose. Keep an eye on your pet while they’re playing with their toy, as it can be dangerous if they manage to free a long thin piece of fabric and ingest it.
6. DIY Framed Scratcher
|Materials:||Cheap frames, carpet (remnants or extras), frame hanging adhesive|
These wall-mounted framed scratchers look fantastic and give kitties tons of room to stretch while getting busy with their claws. Head to the thrift store to score a few frames; you’ll be removing the glass, so there’s no need to be terribly selective.
Cut your carpet to the size of your frame’s exterior, and then securely fasten the back using the included clips. You can attach the frames to the wall using secure adhesive—if you use a hook, your cat will likely knock the scratcher off the wall.
7. DIY Cardboard Mouse
|Tools:||Tape, X-Acto knife, cutting matt, glue|
If you have a few cardboard boxes, this project is a great way to give them a new life. You’ll essentially be cutting two pieces of cardboard and fitting them together to create a three-dimensional object.
Use stiff cardboard to ensure the toy retains its shape after your cat starts batting at it. You can follow the author’s template or get creative and come up with your own design. Don’t forget to use non-toxic glue to prevent your cat from being exposed to poisonous chemicals.
8. DIY TV-Tray Cat House by Lily Ardor
|Materials:||Dowel, TV tray, screws, stain, fabric, string|
|Tools:||Drill, impact drill, glue, glue gun|
This cute cat house takes a bit of effort to put together, but the result is more than worth it! The design provides a cozy sense of enclosure while allowing your cat to still see what’s going on around them. After you’re done building the frame, you can add a pillow to the bottom to make things nice and comfortable.
You can also give your creation an extra bit of pizazz by roping jute around one of the legs to provide your cat with a fun place to scratch. Check out your local thrift store for options if you don’t have an old TV tray sitting around waiting to be repurposed.
9. DIY Cat Tent by Dear Crissy
|Materials:||Two wire hangers, cardboard, duct tape, medium shirt|
|Tools:||Wire cutters, pliers, X-Acto knife, hole punch|
A cat tent can be just the thing to give your pet a sense of safety and privacy. Every cat has their preferences for napping, with some preferring to catch their z’s in enclosed spaces. This easy-to-make cat tent provides your buddy with a warm area to curl up and relax.
First, you’ll undo the hangars and bend the wire to create a frame. Then, use duct tape to secure the wires to the cardboard bottom and cover your creation with the shirt. Add a towel or pillow to the bottom to provide cushioning.
10. Easy DIY Recycled Carpet Scratching Post
|Materials:||Wooden post, wooden base, wood screws, carpet and padding|
|Tools:||Drill, staple or glue gun, hammer, X-Acto knife/scissors|
This fun scratching post only takes a few hours to construct and gives you a chance to use your favorite power tools! You most likely need to head to the hardware store to get the wooden posts and base cut to size. You can use a base at least 16 square inches to ensure stability and add padding to the bottom if you plan to put the scratching post on a hardwood floor. After you’ve finished putting the post together, simply staple or glue a layer of carpet around the exterior.
11. DIY Recycled Cardboard Scratcher
|Materials:||Mortar, box, paper, wall putty, washer, nuts, threaded rod, cardboard boxes|
|Tools:||Drill, sanding block, 200-grit sandpaper, wrench, pen, ruler, x-acto knife, metal cutting saw, trowel, sanding machine, gloves, mask, eye protection, basin, protection pads|
Giving your pet a sturdy scratching post provides them with an appropriate place to dig and sharpen their claws. While this project isn’t terribly difficult, it requires DIY experience.
Although the actual technical requirements aren’t that demanding, the project is probably best suited for experienced crafters with the required tools already on hand. It only takes about 3 hours to finish, but you’ll still need to factor in the mortar drying time.
12. DIY Toilet Paper Roll Puzzle
|Materials:||Several toilet paper rolls, glue, circular base|
|Tools:||Glue gun, clothespins|
This adorable cat puzzle is the perfect way to engage in upcycling! You’ll need a nice round base like a clothes hamper to use as a frame to build your cardboard puzzle.
First, place the toilet paper cores around the base and begin gluing them together. Use clothespins to hold the rolls together as the glue dries, and add more rolls on top of the first level. Keep going until you run out of toilet paper rolls. Finally, you can remove the supportive core and tuck cat treats randomly in the tubes.
13. DIY Basket Wall Bed by Martha Stewart
|Materials:||Basket, fender washers, screws|
Mounted cat beds look fantastic and save space, making them great options for apartments. All you need for this super easy project is a basket that’s sturdy and big enough to hold your cat and the ability to safely mount the basket on the wall.
Use mounting equipment such as anchors to ensure the basket doesn’t fall once your pet snuggles in. After you’re done mounting the basket, add a blanket or pillow to give your pet a cozy place to snooze.
14. DIY Chunky Knitted Cat Bed
This charming knitted cat bed features nice high sides and is just right for kitties that love to curl up against things. The project requires you to create chains of knots. Finding the right material to work with is probably going to be the hardest part of the project, as it requires the use of a specific type of thick yarn. But once you have the required materials, the project won’t take that long to complete.
15. DIY Macrame Hammock by Macrame for Beginners
|Materials:||Macrame cords, wood rings, pillow|
This macrame bed gives beginning textile crafters a chance to sharpen their skills. The project mostly requires simple square knots, but there’s a video that’ll lead you step by step through the process. Once you’re done, hang the basket somewhere close to your pet’s favorite place to nap. Don’t forget to add a pillow for comfort and a splash of catnip.
Giving your cat the mental stimulation they need doesn’t always require a trip to the pet store and a splash of cash. Kitties enjoy the comfort of toys, beds, hideaways, and scratching posts made from familiar materials.
DIY projects are fun and a great way to reuse cardboard boxes, t-shirts, toilet paper rolls, and fabric lying around the house. So, grab your scissors and get crafting; your cat will love you for your effort!
Featured Image Credit: Cat Box, Shutterstock