Create recycled cat furniture for your pets

Many people asked so we decided to create this wonderful post. We moved to the United States, first we stayed in a temporary apartment that the Koji’s company rented for us for three months, and then we moved to our permanent apartment. As it is very stressful for cats to move to another country and apartment twice, we were thinking on how to make a more enjoyable home for them. For Moleque, our pug, is easier because he loves to travel and loves to explore new apartments, so the more travel and new homes, the better experience to him, lols.

We started searching on internet for furniture options to make the home more enjoyable for our cats, and that also could include our dog. We saw shelves, cocoons, a very crazy gadgets. Cat furniture is a big thing on the internet, but in the end we did not find anything that fit on what we had conceived. So we decided to do something by ourselves.

First we bought two shelves at Ikea, it was super cheap, we decided to cover the shelf with something that they like, for instance, sisal. We bought the carpet on Amazon, and we received a huge sisal carpet. We didn’t like it, and it would also be a big waste for brand new carpet. We found a very large shelf, and as our building is very old and has wood walls, we did not want to make any holes in the wall. So we wanted something simpler that did not requires us to nail something in the wall.

We went back to stage one, we returned everything we bought. Then we searched on internet for modular furniture for cats, we fell in love with several solutions. But, most of them were made of wood, ugly and extremely expensive. All very beige-ish and brown-ish, those who know me know that I’m terrified with brown color.

So, we thought: why not make ourselves these modular pieces of furniture that we like so much?

We discussed and finally decided what was important to build our own mobile for cats. And we came up with the following requirements:

  • Allow cats to reach a high level in the room, cats love climb things;
  • Allow toy storage and scratch pad storage;
  • Be modular, so we can set up the modules in different configurations in the house;
  • Allow the connection among modules and allow cats transit among modules;
  • A good visual match for the house;
  • Be cheap, since cat furniture is usually pretty expensive.

First thought on a wooden box, but it would be very difficult to produce it. As we just had moved and our stuff had arrived from Brazil in the permanent home, we had zillions of cardboard boxes. And cats, in general, love cardboard boxes. The big problem is that the boxes are ugly and they usually scratch them all and turn everything into small pieces of shredded paper. We thought, why not turn the boxes into something visually appealing? So, Koji put together the prototype in Adobe Illustrator, cut, assembled, tested and cats apparently liked. We also made a scratch pad with the rest of cardboard and put it inside one module.

We changed a few things from the first prototype and decided to produce more modular boxes. In total, we made five boxes, painted them with spray and assemble them. We cut the boxes with x-acto knife, it was challenging because the cardboard is hard to cut, so it’s better to go slowly (for those who have a laser cutter, it can be very handy to produce these boxes). We distributed the boxes around the house, cats SIMPLY LOVED IT, and Moleque also tried it. Cats like to stay on the higher floors and the dog prefers the first floor, of course.

By some miracle, it seems that cats understood that the boxes were important to them, and unlike they usually do, they did not scratch the boxes. In each box, we put something, like a little pillow, a scratch pad, a teddy bear, a blanket and a tiny little box that Lisa loves. Sometimes we also add catnip. We also made a scratch pole, we found a big cardboard map case, then with Gorilla glue we wrapped it with sisal rope. We used white cement to create a strong and heavy base together with a cardboard lid and it was super stable. We always add catnip in the scratch pole, sometimes grass and catnip mouse for them to play. Anyway, the result was a big success.


You will need

  • X-acto knife
  • A resistant cardboard tough, but avoid the double cardboards
  • Gorilla glue
  • Spray with the desired color, I recommend Montana because the result is a very uniform surface. Avoid liquid paint because it will mess up the cardboard surface
The sweeties inside the boxes

How to

  • Download the template in PDF or AI and print it
  • Cut the cardboard using the mold. Note the slot groove in the figure below. The holes in the middle are to allow cats to enter and exit from the boxes, to keep it strong you can simply avoid not to make holes on upper side and lower side
  • The groove of the cardboard must be perpendicular to snap tabs, so you’ll have a stronger and firmer tab
  • Paint the cardboard with spray and let dry completely
  • Make creases where you’ll fold using the blunt side of the x-acto knife
  • Press the tips of the tabs to make it easier to fit inside the gaps
  • Mount the box with their six parts
  • If you want to make it more solid, you can glue the tabs inside the gaps
Making creases
The pieces have a single model, but they are mutually engageable.

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