How to Make a Cardboard Cat House

How to Make a Cardboard Cat House

How to Make a Cardboard Cat House


Building a cardboard cat house is a fun and easy DIY project. Cardboard is an inexpensive and readily available material that allows you to customize a comfy little home for your feline friend. With just a few simple materials and some basic tools, I can make a cozy cardboard abode that my cat will enjoy lounging, playing, and napping in. In this article, I will provide a step-by-step guide to making a durable cardboard cat house with tips for personalizing it along the way.

Gather Materials

The first step in this DIY project is gathering the necessary materials. Here is what I will need:

  • Cardboard boxes – look for large, sturdy boxes like appliances come in. Avoid boxes with lots of printing/images as the ink can be toxic.

  • Utility knife or box cutter

  • Ruler

  • Pencil

  • Scissors

  • Hot glue gun + glue sticks

  • Acrylic paints and brushes (optional)

  • Sisal rope, carpet squares, fabric (optional)

I recommend collecting cardboard boxes ahead of time so you have enough to work with. Try calling local appliance stores to see if they have any large boxes they are throwing out.

Design the House

Once I have gathered my materials, it’s time to design the cardboard cat house.

Consider Size

I need to think about how big to make the house based on my cat’s size. Measure my cat from nose to rear while they are lounging to estimate a comfortable interior floorspace. Add at least 6 inches on each side for safe and cozy walls. I want my cat to be able to fully stand, stretch, and move around inside.

Make a Sketch

Sketch out some rough house designs and floorplans before constructing. Simple square or triangular prism shapes work well. Make notes on dimensions, openings, floors, etc.

Personalize It

Add a second story, ledges, built-in beds, and other fun details to create a unique cat haven. Get creative but keep my cat’s needs in mind.

Construct the House

Once I have a plan, it’s time to start construction. Here are the steps:

Cut Wall Pieces

Use a box cutter to cut cardboard sheets to the correct size for each wall, according to my plan. Cut along the box fold lines whenever possible for clean edges.

Doorways and Windows

Use the ruler and pencil to mark rectangular openings for doorways and windows on the wall pieces. Cut them out carefully with the box cutter.

Glue the Structure

Use hot glue to securely adhere the wall pieces together at the corners to form the overall house structure. Hold pieces together until set. Let dry completely.

Add Interior Details

Glue in any ledges, platforms, tunnels or other inside features at this point. Make sure they are secure.


Cut a rectangular cardboard piece for the roof. Glue in place on top of walls. Use strips of cardboard along the corners to finish roof edges.

Add Finishing Touches

To complete the cat house, I can add some finishing design details:

Paint It

Paint the exterior and interior with fun colors and patterns using acrylic craft paints. Let dry fully before allowing my cat to use the house.


Cut carpet or fabric remnants to size and hot glue into place on the floor so my cat has a comfy place to lounge. Sisal rope also makes a good scratchable flooring.

Scratching Surfaces

Glue sisal rope along the walls or attach cardboard scratching sheets so my cat can scratch and climb. This gives them a place to mark their territory and stretch their claws.

With those finishing touches, my new cardboard cat house is ready for my feline to enjoy! Be sure to observe my cat using it and make adjustments so it suits their needs. With some tweaks, this homemade cardboard creation will be a beloved cat playground.

Frequently Asked Questions

How durable is a cardboard cat house?

Cardboard cat houses can last for several months with proper care. Look for thick, sturdy cardboard and reinforce high-traffic areas with extra glue or tape. Keep the house indoors away from moisture. Regularly inspect for wear and replace parts as needed.

Should I put a liner inside the floor?

Yes, lining the floor with carpet, fabric or a yoga mat makes cleanup easier. It also helps prevent your cat’s nails from poking through the cardboard floor over time.

What about scratching on the house?

Expect your cat to scratch the walls – it’s in their nature! Make sure to provide appropriate scratching surfaces inside, like sisal rope or cardboard scratch pads. You can try using bitter apple spray on the walls to deter scratching.

How do I get my cat to use their new house?

Rub some catnip into the house or place treats inside to entice your cat in at first. Make sure to give them plenty of alone time to explore. Put their favorite bedding and toys inside. Once they feel secure, they will happily claim it as their domain!

Can I make an outdoor cardboard cat house?

It’s best to keep cardboard cat houses indoors, as cardboard won’t hold up outside in the elements. Look for outdoor cat house options made of wood or durable plastic for an outdoor shelter.