How Do You Make A Cozy Cat House?

Having a cozy cat house is very important for the health and happiness of cats, whether they live indoors or outdoors. Cats are territorial creatures who enjoy having their own private space to rest, play, and observe their surroundings. A cat house provides a secure place for cats to retreat to when they want privacy or feel stressed. It can also serve as a vantage point for indoor cats to view the world outside their window, satisfying their natural curiosity. Research shows that when cats have access to vertical spaces and hiding spots, they experience less stress and anxiety. A cozy cat house allows them to satisfy these natural instincts.

Outdoor cats especially benefit from having an insulated, weatherproof cat house to take shelter in during cold, wet, or hot weather. It protects them from exposure and gives them a place to warm up. For indoor cats, a multi-level cat house gives them a dedicated play space to climb, scratch, and nap. It provides environmental enrichment to keep them stimulated. Overall, a well-designed cat house promotes better feline health by reducing stress and gives cats a space of their own to relax and observe their surroundings from a safe perch.

Supplies Needed

The main supplies needed for a cozy cat house include:

  • Cardboard boxes or crates – These form the basic structure and walls of the cat house. Opt for a box big enough for your cat to comfortably turn around and lie down in. You can tape boxes together to create a larger cat house. Check for cardboard cat houses.
  • Old blankets or towels – Line the interior walls and floor with soft blankets or towels so your cat has a comfy place to lounge. Make sure any fabric is cat-safe and free of choking hazards.
  • Cat bed or mat – Place a cat bed, pad, or mat inside the house for maximum coziness. Heated options can provide warmth in cold weather. See for cat house accessories.

With just a few basic supplies, you can create a DIY cat house for your feline friend to enjoy indoor or outdoor. Focus on soft, warm materials to make it extra cozy!

Choosing a Location

When deciding where to place your cat house, look for a quiet area away from busy roads and high foot traffic. This will help shy or feral cats feel secure. Outdoor shelters should be situated near windows or doorways so cats can see inside and get used to the smells and sounds of the home (Home & Roost).

Pick a spot that gets some shade during the day to keep the temperature down inside the shelter. Under a tree or bush is ideal. Just make sure falling leaves or branches won’t be an issue. The entrance should face away from prevailing winds and rain (KH Pet).

Sizing the House

When sizing the house, it is important to make it large enough for the cat to comfortably stand, stretch, turn around, and move inside the shelter. According to experts, the minimum recommended size is about 12” x 18” x 12”, which will fit a single cat [1]. However, a larger size like 24” x 24” x 18” is preferable as it can fit 3-4 cats [1].

The entry and exit holes are also important for sizing. They should be big enough for the cat to comfortably pass through, about 8-10 inches wide. It’s a good idea to make the entry hole a bit off the ground, like 4-6 inches, to minimize drafts. The entry and exit holes should be on opposite sides of the shelter.

Lining the House

The floor of the cat house should be lined with a waterproof covering to help keep moisture out. Good options include heavy-duty plastic, a tarp, or vinyl.[1] Cut the material a few inches larger than the floor dimensions so it can be tucked up the sides a bit.

On top of the waterproof layer, provide soft, insulating bedding that cats can burrow into. Straw or pine shavings work very well for this purpose, as they allow cats to tunnel down into the material.[2] Avoid towels, blankets, or folded newspaper, as these compress down over time and lose their insulation value. The bedding should be at least 4-6 inches thick to start.

Adding Warmth

Keeping your cat warm in their house during cold winter months is essential. There are a couple key ways to add warmth to a cat house:

Use a heating pad or hot water bottle in the cat house, but make sure your cat can move away if it gets too warm. Only use heating pads made for pets that automatically shut off after a period of time. Test heating pads before use and monitor them regularly.

Insulate the house to prevent heat loss. You can use straw, blankets, or insulating foam boards like Styrofoam. Avoid materials like towels that absorb water and get damp. Layer insulation on the walls and ceiling of the cat house. Make sure insulation does not prevent air circulation or cover the entrance.

Make it Cozy

Creating a cozy environment in your cat house will make your feline friend feel relaxed and content. Here are some tips for making the interior space homey and inviting:

Hidey-holes allow cats to curl up and take refuge. Cut holes or install cubbies in the walls for snoozing spots. You can also place cardboard boxes or igloo-style beds inside the house. Perches near windows give cats a place to survey their territory. Install sturdy shelves or cubbies high up on the walls for an elevated napping spot.

Add toys like balls, catnip mice, and feather wands to give your cat something to bat around when inside the house. Rotate toys weekly to keep things interesting.

Rubbing familiar scents inside the house will help it smell like home to your cat. Gently rub an old blanket or piece of your clothing along the walls and floor. You can also place an item with your scent, like an old t-shirt, inside as bedding. Your cat’s own shed fur contains pheromones that signal safety and contentment. Brush your cat outdoors and sprinkle some of the shed fur around the interior.

Cat Attractors

There are a few key ways to attract your cat to their new cat house and make it an enticing place for them:

Catnip is known to make cats excited and playful. Place some catnip inside the cat house or rub it around the entrance to encourage your cat to explore inside. You can buy catnip spray or dried catnip herb and sprinkle it in the house. Just be aware some cats have no reaction to catnip.[1]

Treats are another great way to get your cat interested in the new cat house. Drop treats leading up to and inside the house so your cat follows the trail inside. Use treats your cat loves like tuna, chicken, or salmon. Giving treats when your cat goes in reinforces the behavior.[2]

Synthetic feline pheromones mimic cats’ natural pheromones and help relieve stress. Spray pheromones inside the cat house and around the entrance so your cat associates the area with comfort and calmness. Feliway is a popular pheromone product.

Overall, use positive reinforcement like treats, praise, and play to make your cat feel relaxed and rewarded in their new house.

Cleaning the House

Keeping a cozy cat house clean is important for both you and your feline friends. Cat hair and dander can quickly build up, so regular cleaning is essential. Here are some tips for cleaning a cat house (Dutch, 2023; ASPCAPRO, n.d.):

Vacuum the house frequently, ideally every 1-2 days, to remove loose hair and debris. Focus on fabric surfaces like blankets or cat beds where hair collects. Use an attachment to vacuum walls, windowsills, and crevices.

Launder fabric items like blankets, cat beds, hammocks, etc on a regular basis according to manufacturer instructions. Wash in hot water to kill germs and remove allergens.

Use gentle, pet-safe cleaners without strong fumes or harsh chemicals which may irritate cats’ sensitive respiratory systems. Good options are warm water, mild dish soap, vinegar solutions, or pet-specific products.

Avoid toxic cleaners like bleach, ammonia, alcohol, or heavy-duty chemicals. Read product labels and opt for natural, non-toxic ingredients whenever possible.

With regular light cleaning and laundering, you can keep your cozy cat house fresh for both you and your feline inhabitants.


If your cat is having issues with the cozy cat house, there are a few troubleshooting tips to try:

Repel Other Animals

The cat house may attract other unwanted animals like raccoons or skunks. Use mothballs or ammonia-soaked rags around the outside perimeter to help deter other wild animals (source).

Litterbox Tips

If your cat is soiling outside the litterbox, try adding more boxes around your house, scooping every 1-2 days, using an unscented litter, or replacing the box itself to troubleshoot the issue (source).

Territorial Marking

Cats may spray or urinate on vertical surfaces outside the litterbox to mark their territory. This could be triggered by other outdoor cats near the cat house. Try using synthetic pheromones like Feliway to calm territorial anxiety (source).

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