Cat Cave and Cat Toys made from Old T Shirts

Cat Cave and Cat Toys made from Old T Shirts

Your old t shirts (or perhaps a favorite tee that has a stain or no longer fits) are absolutely IDEAL for upcycling into a cat cave / cat tent and cat toys, and they are both super easy to make. I love using repurposed clothing in projects, but for a variety of reasons, t shirt fabric is specifically used for these upcycling ideas.

How to Make a Cat Cave with Old T Shirts

To make a cat cave, you actually just need one t shirt. For size reasons, I recommend using men’s t shirts in an extra large. But if you have a daintier cat, a large t shirt might work, as well.

Upcycle t shirts or old t shirts into a cat cave and cat toys with this tutorial by Sadie Seasogoods /

I found a good-sized box (i.e., big because our kitties aren’t exactly dainty) for the cat cave. Before getting started, I tucked in the flaps so I had one side that was completely open.

How to make a cat cave, cat cave bed, or cat tent with old t shirts that have been recycled by Sadie Seasongoods /

After watching this video on making a Cat Cave, I gave it a go with my t shirt and box. And guess what? It totally worked. In about two minutes’ time, I had a cat cave! But would Cottonball use it??

Cat cave or cat tent made from repurposed clothing, specifically old t shirts that have been upcycled by Sadie Seasongoods /

Like most cats, he likes to make decisions himself- so I knew I couldn’t force him to like it. But I worried over nothing…he embraced the cat cave with little hesitation.

Seeing if cat will actually use cat cat or cat tent made from repurposed clothing such as old t shirts by Sadie Seasongoods /

And there we have it! I’d say that the cat cave made from old t shirts is a complete and total success in our household, wouldn’t you?

Cat cave or cat tent made from upcycle t shirts or old t shirts upcycling idea and craft project by Sadie Seasongoods /

Once I had the cat cave, though, I decided to try my hand at making some cat toys from t-shirts. Unfortunately, we had *just* donated a bunch of clothing the weekend before- story of my life! This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.

Upcycling T Shirts into Cat Toys for Indoor Cats

To create the first cat toy, I snipped off the bottom hem and then cut the shirt across just under the sleeves.

Making cat toys for indoor cats using t shirt fabric from old t shirts that have been recycled by Sadie Seasongoods /

Now came the tedious part- cutting the remaining t shirt fabric into one long strip…like t-shirt yarn. After a few minutes of cutting, I had my “yarn”, which I proceeded to pull through my hands to give it that curled-edge look that cut jersey gets.

T shirt yarn made from old t shirts for creating cat toys for indoor cats as upcycling idea by Sadie Seasongoods /

Then it was time to make a pom-pom! I wrapped my jersey yarn around a piece of cardboard, snipping off a bit at the end to tie around the middle. After that, I slid the wrapped “yarn” off the cardboard, and tied my extra piece tightly around the middle, wrapping it twice. Finally, I snipped through all the loops and trimmed the ends all the way around, I had a cat toy! And yes, Cottonball noticed it RIGHT away.

Upcycling ideas for repurposed clothing and old t shirts include cat toys for indoor cats by Sadie Seasongoods /

To make a second cat toy from old t shirts, I cut out two matching fabric squares. After sewing the edges together along three sides, I gathered a handful of fiberfill and some catnip.

Using catnip for cats by upcycling old t shirts and repurposed clothing into homemade cat toys by Sadie Seasongoods /

Then, I simply stuffed the almost-finished toy with fill and nip, pinned it close, and sewed along the open edge.

Upcycling Old T Shirts into a Cat Cave and Cat Toys

And just like that, I had a cat cave and two different cat toys by upcycling old t shirts! Wouldn’t it be “pawsome” to use your old t shirts for this?? Cats love free toys the best, anyway, don’t they?

How to upcycle t shirts or old t shirts into cat toys for indoor cats using catnip and t shirt fabric by Sadie Seasongoods /

Luckily for me, I have a playful kitty that enjoys posing in the cat cave like a little model cat. Our new favorite game is to toss the cat toys into the cat cave and then he runs after them.

How to make a cat cave or cat cave bed and cat toys from old t shirts or repurposed clothing by Sadie Seasongoods /

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea with old t-shirts, then you may also be interested in these reusable produce bags made from kids t-shirts, as well!

How to reduce plastic and avoid plastic with reusable produce bags made from kids t shirts by Sadie Seasongoods

Craft on!


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  1. Cottonball is a fabulous model, he is so cute. I will need to try the catcave thing but I will probably have to bribe my cats with fresh catnip. Now the toys they will like with no problem. These are good ideas for kitty.

  2. We have lots of kitties and lots of boxes and shirts. This is such a great idea!!

  3. Cottonball is such a pretty boy! Great upcycling ideas, Sarah! I had t-shirt yarn ready to go and so I just made a pom-pom for our two cats. Barney played a bit with it already. 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration!

  4. Margaret Fretwell says

    Love these ideas. What did you do with the sleeves, etc. to make it all lay flat along the sides of the box?

  5. What a great idea! We don’t have a cat but I could totally make these for my sister-in-law’s cat. Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday this week!

  6. Haha…this is hilarious. Love the idea!

    I would love for you to share this with my Recipes, Crafts, Tips and Tricks Facebook group:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  7. this is brilliant! thanks for sharing! #welcomeHomeWednesdays

  8. Cottonball is very photogenic and you are very clever!

  9. My cat will love this. Going to put my kids on this when they get home. They’ll love to make it and Puddles will love to hang out in there. Cottonball sure is a lucky kitty and he looks just like our Lina, who passed over to the rainbow bridge a couple of years ago. She was such a sweet kitty!

  10. Awww! Cottonball is so cute! I love the easy Cat Cave and toys! I actually think one of my dogs would use it more than the cat!! Thanks for sharing!

  11. So cute and practical, too! Thanks for sharing at the Celebrate Your Story! link party!

  12. That is adorable!! How easy and fun to make! Thank you for sharing with us at the #HomeMattersParty

  13. My cats would have loved the toys and the Cat Cave. We lost our kitty a couple of years ago and haven’t gotten another. Thank you for sharing at Vintage Charm.

  14. Oh the cat cave is pure genius! Such a star your kitty is. We so appreciate you joining the Thoughts of Home on Thursday gathering. May you have a delightfully lovely weekend.

  15. So cute and clever, Sarah! Cottonball is adorable and downright pawsome. Love your creativity and wonderful sense of humor 🙂

  16. Hahah what a great idea. Definitely pinned for my cat Squeakers!

  17. Awww, Cottonball is so sweet!! Look at his cute face looking from inside like saying: hey this is my new cave! I don’t have cats, but I do have bunnies and a bunch of boxes of our recent move, I may try something similar for them. I am sure the girls would love to try at least!

    Thanks for sharing with us at Sweet Inspiration party, enjoy the rest of the week!

  18. My kitties would love this DIY! What a sweet looking cat.Thanks for sharing at the Inspiration Spotlight party. Pinned & shared.

  19. Thanks for sharing at Peace, Love, Linkup! The next party kicks off tomorrow at 6! Hope to see you there : )

  20. The has to be the absolute cutest shirt idea I’ve ever seen. I can tell you love your kitty and I <3 that. Thanks for sharing at The Creative Circle!

  21. Very cool, and Cottonball looks very pleased with his cat cave and toys! I am going to have to make one of these cat caves for my furbabies.

  22. Kathy A. says

    I think my 2 cats would love this. At Sun. School, the kids and I do an annual project for the local animal shelter. I am “marinating” pom poms in a jar of cat nip to use as toys; we tie them onto thin elastic, then tie the elastic onto a non pointy-bamboo skewer, sometimes with a jingle bell. We’ve braided shirts into dog chew/tug of war toys. NOW I need some tee shirts and the right size boxes!

    If you think a cat might not go into a box, a sprinkle of cat nip or a few cat treats would probably convince him!

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