How to Build a Cat Teepee

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 yards 36-inch-wide canvas or heavy cotton fabric
  • Tailor's pins
  • Pencil
  • 34-inch piece of string
  • Scissors
  • 6 36-inch 1/2-inch dowels, or 6 fairly straight tree branches of similar size
  • Large rubber band
  • 8 yards bi-fold bias tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Large-eye sharp needle
  • Embroidery thread
  • Acrylic paint
  • Brushes or stamps

House cats love somewhere to hide, where they can still peek out and see what's going on in the house. Make a small cat-sized teepee for your cat to give it a good hiding and sleeping place. You can make it very plain and simple, or decorate it to make it look more like a real teepee. Use dowels from the lumber yard or go outside and find some fairly straight tree branches to use, for a more natural look.

Launder the fabric and iron it when it is dry.

Fold the fabric to find the center of one long side. Mark it with a pin or draw a short line with the pencil.

Open the fabric and lay it out on a large surface. Pin one end of a 34-inch piece of string to the center mark.

Tie the other end around the pencil. Pull the string out straight from the pin and draw a curve from one end of the fabric to the other. You should have a neat half-circle. Draw another half-circle 2 inches from the pin.

Cut along both curved lines that you have drawn. You should have a half-circle of fabric with a small half-circle cut out at the top.

Lay all six dowels or tree branches next to each other. Pick them all up in one hand and with your other hand put a large rubber band snugly around the dowels, about 3 inches from one end.

Spread out the dowels at the other end and set them on the floor. Arrange the dowels so they are evenly spaced.

Sew a 1-inch hem along both straight edges of the canvas.

Wrap the fabric around the outside of the dowels, with one straight edge along one of the dowels. Overlap one end of the fabric and pin it in place at the level of the rubber band. Adjust the dowels so that the straight edges of the fabric overlap about 2 inches.

Trim the bottom edge of the fabric if it is a little too long.

Remove the canvas from the dowels. Keep the top end overlapping edges pinned together. Sew bias tape around the opening at the top, sewing the two overlapping ends of the canvas together at the same time.

Sew bias tape around the bottom of the teepee also, folding in and stitching across the raw edges at each end.

Thread a large-eyed sharp needle with embroidery thread. Put the canvas top back on the dowels and arrange the dowels the way you want them. Align one edge of the canvas along one of the dowels and overlap the other edge to make sure it closes properly.

At the bottom of the canvas, stitch around the first dowel and back through the canvas several times to hold the dowel in place. Tie a knot on the inside and trim the embroidery thread. Sew the remaining dowels in place. Leave the last section of the canvas free for the opening.

Use acrylic paint and brushes or stamps to paint a design on the teepee.


  • If you like, firmly sew a ribbon to the lower corner of the doorway. Fold the doorway back to make a cat-sized opening. At the point where the bottom corner of the flap touches the wall of the teepee, sew another ribbon so you can tie the two together and keep the doorway open.