I make my own cat hammocks for my cats, and I donate hammocks to animal shelters.
DIY Cat Hammock
Cat hammocks are a wonderful accessory you can buy or make that will enhance any cat's life. As you can see from the photo above, cats truly enjoy hanging out in a hammock.
I sewed the cat hammock pictured above, and it's a very easy DIY project. In this article, I'll share with you the steps needed to make a rectangular cat hammock. And for those of you too busy to sew, there are cat hammocks already made which will please many a feline furkid.
My cat hammock design was based largely on a PDF pattern made available through the website ShelterStratagies.com. Their pattern was for a square-shaped hammock and is no longer available online; however, I am sharing in this article details to make a rectangular-shaped hammock for the cats.
The dimensions I used to create a large cat hammock and a smaller cat hammock were garnered on the needs of the animal rescues and shelters I work with. The measurements for these rectangular-shaped hammocks I'll give you below will work on the standard variety of wire cages made for cats and dogs.
Tips for Making a Cat Hammock
- As you will see in the picture above, I like to use two different fabrics to make a cat hammock. On one side, I may use an indoor/outdoor fabric that is sturdy and easy to clean or pieces of denim pant legs sewn together. You can also use an old wool blanket or terry towel for the other side of the cat hammock.
- You can also make both sides out of the same fabric or toweling. It is entirely up to you. Either way, the completed hammock is reversible, which is ideal!
- When choosing the fabric, just keep it soft, washable, and sturdy. Cats do not care about colors, just the comfort.
- Medium-weight sewing machine needle
- Mattress pad covers: I purchase my mattress pad covers from the local thrift shop as padding to line my hammocks and also to line the cat cage quilts I make for the Humane Society.
- Polypro webbing for corner straps: For each hammock, you need a total of 60" in length (4 sections cut at 15" each). Country Brook Design is the exact brand of webbing I use to make my DIY cat hammocks. Strong and easy to sew. Great bargain!
This is important: When you cut the four corner strap lengths of 1" wide polypro webbing, be sure to use a disposable lighter to lightly singe the edges to prevent fraying of the webbing.
1. Cut the Fabric
- For each hammock, cut two equally sized fabric pieces to make either the large or the small/medium hammock.
- Cut one equally sized piece of padding.
- Sizes to cut: 27" x 17 1/2" for Large or 22" x 13 1/2" for Small/Medium.
2. Add the Corner Tabs to the Fabric
The picture above is actually of one of my corner hammocks, but the method of attaching the corner straps is the same. Only the placement of the straps is different. Here's what I mean:
- Decide which of the two main fabric pieces you want to attach the tabs to.
- Take one 15" length of webbing, fold in half, pin the open ends together catty-corner to one of the four corners of the rectangular piece. (Note the folded middle section of the strap is facing inside the fabric piece. This is important as we need it to be enclosed inside when we sew the layers together in the next step.)
- Sew in a straight stitch back and forth several times to reinforce the strap.
- Repeat until all four straps are secured in place.
3. Layer the Fabric
As in the picture above, with right sides together, you want to make a "sandwich" of the fabric before sewing. As so:
- First layer: Place fabric face side up (this piece will already have the sewn straps in the corners facing up. Again, make sure the folded strap is inside the "sandwich").
- Second layer: Other fabric, with the right side facing the previous layer (means the wrong side is facing you).
- Third layer: Padding so the padding will be on top.
- Finally: Pin the layers together.
4. Sew the Layers Together
- Begin sewing halfway along one of the longer sides of the rectangle leaving a 6 inch opening for turning once the layers are sewn together. Stitch in a straight line 5/8 inch from the edge. I prefer a 5/8 inch seam allowance. These hammocks will be washed and dried frequently and this larger seam allowance allows for that.
- When you come to each corner, swivel the sewing foot so you are encasing the corner strap with a diagonal stitch across the corner.
- Continue sewing around all four sides, making sure there is 6 inch opening for turning.
- Insert hand inside the hammock and turn right side out. You can now tug each sewn corner strap into place.
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5. Stitch the Opening
The last step is to slip-stitch the opening closed. You're done!
How to Hang the Hammocks in the Cage
I use carabiners or wire shower hooks purchased in bulk to hang the hammocks in the cages. Larger key rings purchased in bulk work just as well also.
I designed this corner cat hammock in use at the Hawaiian Humane Society. Its space-saving shape is perfect for portable cat cages; it works equally well in animal shelters and is very comfy for the kitties.
Use a High-Quality Sewing Machine
I was so happy to receive this picture from fellow animal advocate, Heather Payer-Smith. She resides in East Texas and volunteers at a shelter where I frequently advocate online for the animals. Heather fostered this mama cat and five kittens in her home until they were old enough to be adopted through the shelter.
The hammock pictured is one I sewed and donated. Heather said the mama cat hopped into the hammock whenever she was ready for a much-needed break from the kittens. (They were all warm and cozy inside the portable carrier located directly underneath the hammock in the wire kennel.)
It is pictures like this that keep me encouraged to help the animals.
© 2012 Pam Irie
Will you be making a cat hammock or purchasing one?
Sue on August 19, 2018:
We recently adopted a kitten. The shelter had a hammock in every "room". They had leachs and other gear to buy but I thouht it looked easy enough to make. I searched for a basic pattern and this is the best I found. I hope to have it finished in a day or two.
Joan on March 30, 2018:
I just made one have another cut and ready to go. Thanks!
TerriCarr on July 22, 2014:
While petsitting for some cat owners, I looked high and low for one missing cat. Finally found her in her own 'hammock'.....the torn lining on the bottom of a box spring bed....she was nestled in there very comfortably.
CherylsArt on April 02, 2014:
They look pretty cool. I like that they stay up off the floor.
SteveKaye on November 15, 2013:
Now that Olivia has seen this, she is meowing about it. We'll have to talk. Or meow. Or something like that. (Great idea and fantastic lens)
David Stone from New York City on November 04, 2013:
This sounds like such a treat for cats. Ours are always looking for new places to sack out. They'd use these. Thanks, Pam.
nonya222 on October 27, 2013:
I will be making two, one for each of my guys, they will love this!
writerkath on October 22, 2013:
I absolutely LOVE this idea!! I'm totally into kitties, and hope to adopt another before too long. I think, after seeing this VERY unique lens and idea, that I would, indeed get a cat hammock! Wonderful!
CoolKarma on August 13, 2013:
What a great idea and a neat way to add space to a kitty crate home.
Peter Messerschmidt from Port Townsend, WA, USA on June 17, 2013:
I would certainly consider buying one-- at least ONE of our three would totally be into using one of these. The other two? Not sure...
junkcat on May 06, 2013:
What a great idea! I think I will make one very soon. I'm sure my kitty would love to have one for her favorite viewing spot where she lay on the edge of the bannister to watch what is happening everywhere in the house.
Kimberley Vico on April 15, 2013:
I'd attempt in making one! Looks pretty easy and what a great idea! Thank you! I'm recommending your lens to a couple of good cat loving friends of mine! Cheers... Squidelle : )
Fay Favored from USA on April 13, 2013:
I'd really like to make one, but don't think my machine could do it. Yours look great. I know the cats appreciate it. We run out of bedding at the resuce center and foster house, so this is a really good thing to donate. Thank you for what you do to help our furry friends.
Coreena Jolene on April 03, 2013:
I made a cat hammock once and my daughter has it for her cat. We use the big crates when we take our cats places. Mine was not quite as fancy schmancy as your. I love yours. Great lens and how nice that you make these to help cats waiting adoption.
anonymous on April 02, 2013:
Thanks for sharing your tips on how to make a cat hammock. I have heard that cats love hammocks but we have two hanging up in our covered deck and our cats never go on them. Could it be that they just like cat sized hammocks?
anonymous on February 05, 2013:
I don't sew too well but will consider buying a couple. Never even knew there was such a thing - yeesh, I gotta get out more
JeffGilbert on January 28, 2013:
I had no idea that cats loved hammocks or that you could make them. thanks for the lens... :)
acreativethinker on January 24, 2013:
These hammocks are very cute. A great idea to use recycled materials on. Thanks for sharing. Take Care :)
Renaissance Woman from Colorado on January 19, 2013:
I absolutely love these cat hammocks. Can you believe I didn't know about hammocks for felines until visiting this creative lens? My girls would adore having their very own handmade hammocks. Thanks so much for the idea, the pattern, and your customized tips. Appreciated!
Renaissance Woman from Colorado on January 19, 2013:
I would like to sew my own hammocks for the girls.
gradientcat on January 18, 2013:
I like the under the table hammock. My cats have one in their cat tree already.
SPhilbrick on January 08, 2013:
Yes I will! Probably more than one but will start with one for my kitty. Then the organization, Forgotten Felines of Maine that I work with, will probably get a few!
savateuse on January 04, 2013:
I did want to get a hammock for my cat, but he had only three legs, and couldn't climb up. Nice lens!
CrazyforCollecting on January 01, 2013:
I no longer have any kitties, but it sounds like a great idea, especially the kind that you can hide under a table or chair. I can imagine that cats would love that.