How to Make a Cat Hammock
Cats Love Hammocks
Cat hammocks are a wonderful accessory you can buy or make that will enhance the life of any cat. As you can see from photo above, cats truly enjoy hanging out in a hammock.
The cat hammock pictured above was sewn by me, 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 here on this page 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.
Two-Sided Reversible Hammock
Tips for Making Cat Hammocks
- 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 which 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.
Materials You Will Need to Make a Cat Hammock
- Thread, scissors, and a medium-weight sewing machine needle.
- 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)
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.
This is the exact brand of webbing I use to make my DIY cat hammocks. Strong and easy to sew. Great bargain!
Step 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
Step 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 are 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.
Step 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 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.
Step 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.
Step 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.
If you were a cat, what kind of hammock would you prefer?
Using a Quality Sewing Machine
I use the and I recommend it for sewists of all levels. It's fast, sturdy and absolutely dependable. I've used this awesome sewing machine to sew everything from lined, weighted formal drapes to simple dog toys. It is the best in my opinion, and I've been sewing for many years. Janome Magnolia 7318
Even if this is your first sewing machine, well, especially if this is your first sewing machine, do not buy anything under 100 dollars. Seriously, you will regret it, and it can even turn you off of sewing forever. You want a machine that does the job, does it well, and will serve you for many years.
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 is fostering this new mama cat and five kittens in her home until they are old enough to be adopted through the shelter.
The hammock pictured is one I have sewn and donated. Heather says the mama cat hops into the hammock whenever she is ready for a much-needed break from the kittens. (They are all warm and cozy inside the portable carrier located directly underneath the hammock in the wire kennel.)
It is pictures like this which keep me encouraged to help the animals.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Pam Irie