If you’ve got a cat, small dog, hamster or other small pet, why not create a cardboard castle for them? Don’t they all love to be in a box, anyway?

Spokane Public Library has hosted several Cat Castle events, where families use cardboard, paper, and tape to create some wonderful spaces for their pets.

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If you’ve got a few supplies, your family can create a Cat Castle at home!

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

  • Yardstick and/or measuring tape if you want to be precise. Metal yardsticks and rulers are best to cut along.
  • Utility knives and scissors. Parents, please consider safety! Always lock the utility knife blade closed when not in use.
  • Packing tape is best for this project, but you can use other tape or even white school glue – just allow time for the glue to dry (White school glue is nontoxic and will not harm your pet.).
  • Gather boxes, shoe boxes, tissue boxes, toilet paper tubes, wrapping paper, cat toys, rope or twine, if you have it.
  • Make a cutting station. Put a piece of cardboard on the surface you’ll cut on so it doesn’t get damaged.

Step 2: Learn a Few Techniques

  • Curving or rolling cardboard. Rolling cardboard around a rolling pin is the best way to get cardboard to curl.
  • Score and fold – score on the outside of the cardboard where you’d like the fold to be. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Score the outside, then fold the cardboard in the opposite direction.
  • Cutting curves – move the cardboard as you go.
  • When cutting, use gentle pressure and make several passes rather than using force. This is for safety and precision.

Step 3: Design

  • Consider the size of your cat for holes and castle sizes.
  • If you have a large cat, consider doubling up the cardboard for weight bearing components.
  • Don’t incorporate anything a cat could swallow such as glitter, sequins, and beads.
  • Color: cats don’t see colors the same way humans do, so reflect YOUR style.
  • Consider the inside of your cat castle – what would be fun to add for your pet? Consider wrapping a tube with twine or rope for a mini scratching post.
  • Add comfy touches such as pillows and blankets. Felt is another nice touch.

Step 4: Construction

  • Be safe! Parents should supervise this activity.
  • Let everyone in the family contribute! Younger kids can use markers or colored paper to decorate. There are some fine cat toys you can make at home out of toilet paper tubes or string.

We’d love to see some of your creations along with your pets! Share your cat castle on social media and tag Spokane Public Library.

This activity was inspired by the book, Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself by Carin Oliver.