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10 DIY Cat Tent Plans You Can Make Today (with Pictures)

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

a red tabby cat lying in the tent

Some cats love to hide in enclosed spaces. While you can purchase cat tents specifically made for this purpose, it’s also very easy to make your own. To build a cat tent, all you need is some sort of structure and a covering, and as you might imagine, there are plenty of different ways that you can put this together.

Below, we list four plans to help you make your cat their very own cat tent using some fairly basic tools and materials.

The 10 DIY Cat Tents You Can Make Today

1. DIY T-Shirt Cat Tent by Instructables

DIY Cat Tent 1
Image Credit: instructables
Materials: T-Shirt, cardboard, wire hangers, safety pins, something to cut with
Difficulty: Easy

This DIY cat tent utilizes an old T-Shirt as the covering. If you have a shirt laying around that you aren’t using, then this DIY project is probably perfect for you. It also utilizes a few other materials that you probably have laying around the house, such as wire hangers and cardboard.

To put it simply, you’ll be repurposing the hangers and cardboard into the structure that your tent needs. Then, you’ll wrap the T-shirt around this structure to make a covering. The hangers will work as the upper part of the cat tent, and the cardboard works as the base.

The DIY plan calls for a specific-sized piece of cardboard. However, you can easily change the shape and size of the cat tent by changing the cardboard and wire hangers. Theoretically, you can make all sorts of different cat tents with this plan.

This plan is designed for small to medium-sized cats, but you should be able to make it a bit larger for larger cats as well. You will need a large T-shirt for this purpose too, as you’ll want the hole big enough.

All in all, this project is extremely easy and can be done in only about an hour with materials you probably already have. It is quite strong and durable once you have it built too.

2. Teepee Tent by Local Adventurer

Image Credit: localadventurer
Materials: 4 ft x 6 ft Mexican blanket, five dowels, safety pins, twine
Difficulty: Medium

This teepee tent is a bit more difficult to make than the tent we mentioned previously. However, it is also a bit more aesthetically pleasing, so it all depends on what you’re looking for.

Basically, this method involves creating a teepee with a blanket and some dowels. While this is a pretty easy concept, there are a lot of steps involved and it will probably take you a bit longer to create this DIY project than it may others.

You’ll start by tying the dowels together in a particular way, and then standing up the frame. It’s essential that the dowels are spread out evenly, otherwise, the structure will be unable to support the blanket and the cat will be able to knock it down easily.

Once the structure is secure, you wrap the blanket around and then secure it. In the end, this gives you something that looks fairly similar to a teepee—just a cat-sized teepee.

You can easily change this plan to match your home’s aesthetics, as you can use whatever blanket you want. You can also add catnip and toys to the structure which may make it more inviting for your feline.

Many cats do love this structure, but it only appeals to those that like enclosed spaces, as you might imagine. However, it is one of the more aesthetically pleasing DIY cat tents we discovered.

3. Wooden Cat Tent by DIY Lily Ardor

Materials: Dowel, TV tray, screws, drill, stain, fabric, string, hot glue, plywood, jute rope, felt, pillow stuffing, sewing machine
Difficulty: Medium

For a professional-looking cat tent, you may want to try this DIY plan. It looks far more professional than many of the other plans we’ve mentioned, but a lot more does go into it as well. For this reason, we highly recommend this plan for those with some DIY experience.

You’ll also need a lot more materials for this cat tent than other options. You should expect to purchase quite a few items, making this plan cost quite a bit more, plus, the base of this plan is a TV tray which you may or may not have.

There are a lot of parts to this cat tent. On top of being a very solid, tent-shaped cat house, this plan features instructions for crafting a scratching post for the outside of the tent, as well as a small pillow for the inside. While these are completely optional, they do make the tent more inviting to your feline and more versatile.

Of course, for those looking for a tent that it looks like they paid good money for, It doesn’t get much better than this option.

4. Low-Effort DIY Teepee by Life Family Joy

Low-Effort DIY Teepee
Image Credit: Life. Family. Joy
Materials Needed: Fabric (2 yards), jute/string, wooden sticks (thick and thin), glue
Tools Needed: Hot glue gun, scissors, handheld saw, work gloves
Difficulty Level: Easy

If you’ve got a pack of wooden sticks lying around and a piece of fabric, it will only take you an hour or two to build this low-effort DIY teepee. Make sure you have some jute or string handy, too. As for the tools, the sticks are best cut with a handheld saw, but you can use whatever tool you’ve got. The jute does a great job of holding the tent together. But you’ll still need a lot of hot glue to secure the fabric into place.

The same goes for the support bars between the posts. Begin by cutting the sticks down to length and secure them using a piece of string/jute. Pay extra attention to how the bottom of this construction looks. Ideally, it should form a rectangular, large enough to fit one or two cats. For this project, 60 inches around the bottom is a great place to start.

5. Cheap, Quick-To-Build Teepee by Instructables

DIY Cheap, Quick-To-Build Teepee
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials Needed: Bamboo sticks (4 1.5 m), fabric, rope
Tools Needed: Wood saw, scissors, sewing kit
Difficulty Level: Easy/Medium

In many ways, this cheap quick-to-build cat teepee is similar to the previous two DIY projects. However, this time around, we’ll sew the fabric, not hot glue it. Besides, instead of wooden sticks/dowels and jute, we’ll be using bamboo sticks and rope. More importantly, this tent is a bit lifted, and cats like elevated spots. The frame comes first: once you’ve cut the bamboo posts, put them together in the form of a pyramid.

To secure the bottom, use the remaining sticks to form a square. You won’t need any glue here, just some rope. Moving on to the fabric, cut out a square and sew it to the frame. If you’re in a hurry, you can leave it at that—the tent is ready! But, to winter-proof it, it’s important to cover the “pyramid” as well. This will take a lot of measuring, so go slow and watch the instructions closely.

6. Universal Pet Adventure Tent by Mr.Zoir

DIY Universal Pet Adventure Tent
Image Credit: Mr. Zoir, YouTube
Materials Needed: Wood planks, sticks, fabric, thread, sandpaper, double-sided tape
Tools Needed: Handheld saw, measuring tape, pencil, electric drill, scissors, pliers, hammer
Difficulty Level: Medium

Looking for something special to build for your cat? Then this universal pet adventure tent will be a great project for the weekend. While it’s geared toward cats, you can also make it for a dog (a pup), rabbit, or hamster. Use a pencil and tape measure to make accurate cuts with a handheld saw and smooth out the edges with sandpaper. And how do you attach the wood pieces? By using thread and wood sticks, of course!

Grab an electric drill and make holes for the dowels and secure the top with a piece of thread. Now cut out a relatively small portion of fabric for the bottom and secure it with double-sided adhesive tape. As for the larger fabric piece, if you measure and cut it correctly, it will “hug” the tent from the back and leave enough room for the entrance.

7. No-Sew Teepee With a Pillow by Coffee With Summer

DIY No-Sew Teepee With a Pillow
Image Credit: Coffee With Summer
Materials Needed: Wooden dowels (5 in total), jute twine, fabric/drop cloth, hot glue, pillow
Tools Needed: Glue gun, power drill, scissors, protective gloves
Difficulty Level: Easy/Medium

Here, we have another relatively simple DIY tent project. It’s much taller than the rest, though, and well-suited both for kittens and adult felines. Also, it’s extra cushy at the bottom. To bring this no-sew teepee with a pillow plan to life, you’ll need a standard pack of materials and tools. That includes dowels, twine, fabric, some glue + a gun, a drill, and scissors. Also, instead of cutting the wood, buy a pack of 36-inch dowels.

To make the tent extra sturdy, drill holes into each dowel for the twine to go through and tie it around at least 10–15 times. For the fabric, use a glue gun and a generous amount of adhesive. Oh, and don’t forget about the pillow. Cozy and sheltered, this teepee will be the perfect hideout for a cat or even a puppy. Hopefully, it will turn into the pet’s new favorite spot for resting!

8. Creative Teepee With LEDs by The Owner Builder Network

DIY Creative Teepee With LEDs
Image Credit: The Owner Builder Network
Materials Needed: Sticks/dowels (4 in total), fabric, twine rope, ribbon, LED string lights
Tools Needed: Scissors, sewing machine
Difficulty Level: Medium

Alright, if you’re ready to take it up a notch, try your hand at this creative teepee with LEDs. The one thing that makes this project stand out is flexibility: you don’t have to follow the instructions word for word. The concept will, of course, be the same—sticks/dowels and fabric—but you can choose the size, overall design, and, of course, fabric type. As for the LEDs, they add a nice touch, and you can hang them wherever you see fit.

Battery-powered lights are the best option here, but corded LEDs will work as well. The same goes for the ribbon. Ideally, you will need a sewing machine (or, at least, a kit) to craft the fabric and the pillow, but it’s not mandatory. You can always glue the fabric to the dowels like in the previous DIY plans. As long as the frame is large, sturdy, and spread out evenly, you’re in business!

9. Fancy and Cozy Cat Tent by Dainty Dress Diaries

DIY Fancy and Cozy Cat Tent
Image Credit: Dainty Dress Diaries
Materials Needed: Wood (4 pieces, 2″ x 1), dowels, fabric, rope, string, straight pins, sandpaper
Tools Needed: Handsaw/jigsaw, electric drill + bit, scissors, measuring tape, ruler, marker, sewing machine, iron
Difficulty Level: Medium/Hard

This next project only requires moderate woodworking skills yet looks amazing. If you have access to power tools like an electric sander and jigsaw, you’ll be able to finish the fancy and cozy cat tent in 4–5 hours. But it can also be done with a piece of sandpaper and a cheap handheld saw. So, just like with any other project, start by cutting the wood to match the size of the tent and smooth out the edges with sandpaper.

For the tent to be nice and cozy, pick 2” x 1” wood and cut it to 36” in length. Next, grab an electric drill with a 20 mm bit to make holes into the wood for the dowels. That’s essentially it for the frame. The fabric takes quite a bit of work, though, especially if you only have a sewing kit, not a full-fledged machine. Use a pair of scissors to cut it, iron the edges, and only then get to sewing.

10. Portable Summer Pet Tent by HGTV

DIY Portable Summer Pet Tent
Image Credit: HGTV
Materials Needed: Wood pieces (3′ -x- 1–1/2″), wooden dowels, fabric, straight pins, fabric adhesive, spray paint
Tools Needed: Rubber mallet, ruler, marker/pencil, drill + spade bit, work gloves
Difficulty Level: Medium/Hard

Some folks like to put the tent indoors to keep an eye on the pet; others move it outside to let the cat enjoy its alone time. That won’t be an issue with this portable summer pet tent: you can move it in and out as you please! It’s collapsible, too, meaning you won’t have a problem fitting it in a vehicle. You’ll need four 3′ -x- 1–1/2″ wood pieces for the frame. Also, use a drill with a spade bit to make holes for the dowels.

To make the tent “pop”, cover the wood in spray paint. Now just create an “X” with the frame pieces (one on each side) and put the dowels through. It should look like a sawhorse at this point. Finishing up, put the fabric over the frame and mark where it needs to be hemmed. Next, create “loops” by sticking the fabric at the bottom to itself with adhesive. Push the dowels through those loops and the holes, and that’s it!

Are Cat Tents Really Worth It?

Privacy is one of the most important things to a cat, along with security. And they’ll get plenty of that in a tent! Also, if it’s a hot summer day, and your furry bud wants to spend time outside, the teepee will protect it from the sun. Cats look cute hidden away in a tent as they get to cozy up and relax. This is especially true if you put a pillow or blanket at the bottom. Now, you can, of course, go to a local or online store and buy a tent for the feline.

However, while the cheapest options won’t cost much ($20–$30), decent-quality tents tend to be pricey. So, if you have some free time on your hands and want to put something special together for the fluffy friend, a DIY project will be well worth it. By making a tent for the cat, you can strengthen the bond. Plus, it will help your pet adapt to new environments, make friends with fellow pets, and overcome challenges.


There are several available cat tent plans for you to choose from. Some of them are extremely easy and only involve throwing a T-shirt around the carefully placed hangers. Others involve lots of woodworking or sewing your own tent. As you might imagine, these latter options are much more difficult and very reliant on experience.

When choosing a plan, we highly recommend that you consider your experience level. Those without sewing experience should probably not select a plan that is extremely dependent on sewing, for instance. If you’ve never DIYed before, do not select an extremely difficult plan.

Luckily, most of these plans are customizable, so you can select the options that are best for you. For example, many allow you to choose the color of the cover, so you can easily match it to your home décor.

Of course, what really matters is whether or not your cat likes the house. If your cat likes enclosed places, then they will likely find any of these plans suitable. For this reason, we highly recommend them for cats that like to hide while they rest.

Featured Image Credit: kimberrywood, Shutterstock

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