Repurposed Kit-T-Shirts: Cat Cave and Fun Toys

Repurposed Kit-T-Shirts: Cat Cave and Fun Toys

As a blogger, I sometimes get unusual but intriguing emails- which is exactly what happened recently when the clothing company Tipsy Elves reached out to me about a kitty project.  Yes, a project for our cats- when they specifically mentioned Cottonball, I was immediately hooked.

So here’s the skinny- with all the political unpleasantness going on, why not fill the internet with patriotic cats? They didn’t have to ask me twice- I was game! And it all revolved around patriotic t-shirts and creating a “Cat Cave”. But first we had to pass a crucial test- getting Cottonball to approve of the idea…and the shirt.

Creating a DIY cat cave from a patriotic t-shirt from Tipsy Elves starring Cottonball /

Embracing the shirt!

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

Creating a DIY cat cave for Cottonball using a box and a tee shirt from Tipsy Elves /

All you need for a Cat Cave!

And guess what? It totally worked. In about two minutes’ time, I had a cat cave! But would Cottonball use it??

DIY t-shirt cat cave for Cottonball with patriotic shirt from Tipsy Elves /

Wow, that was super easy!

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 was all in.

DIY t-shirt cat cave from Tipsy Elves /

This is a good sign…

DIY t-shirt cat cave from Tipsy Elves /

Winner, winner- he likes it!

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! So, I hit up a favorite thrift store and got red, white, and blue shirts to stay with the patriotic theme. This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.

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

Creating DIY cat toys from repurposed and upcycled t-shirts by Sadie Seasongoods /

Three cheers for simply cat toys.

Now came the tedious part- cutting the remaining 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.

DIY cat toys from upcycled thrift store t-shirts by Sadie Seasongoods /

I’m being supervised by a certain kitty from his cat cave…

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.

DIY pompom cat toy from tee shirt by Sadie Seasongoods /

I think he knows I’m making a toy…

Then, I slid the wrapped “yarn” off the cardboard, and tied my extra piece tightly around the middle, wrapping it twice. After snipping through all the loops and giving it a “haircut” all around, I had a kitty toy! And yes, Cottonball noticed it RIGHT away.

DIY pompom cat toy from tee shirt by Sadie Seasongoods /

He can barely contain himself…

DIY pompom cat toy from tee shirt by Sadie Seasongoods /

That didn’t take long!

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

DIY catnip cat toy from tee shirt by Sadie Seasongoods /

Toy #2 coming right up…

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

DIY catnip cat toy from tee shirt by Sadie Seasongoods /

Easy as can be.

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

DIY t-shirt cat cave from Tipsy Elves and repurposed / upcycled thrift store tee shirt cat toys by Sadie Seasongoods /

Look at my little supermodel!

And here’s some even more “PAWSitive” news…Tipsy Elves is donating 10% all ALL sales to the San Diego Humane Society when you use the check-out code CATS (through May 31). How cool is that?? Cottonball says it’s pretty “pawesome” indeed- afterall, he was rescued from the streets himself!


See his little snaggle tooth?

Want more shirt repurposing ideas? Please check out my full collection here before you go!

Craft on!


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Pin Me!How to upcycle and repurpose a thrift store t-shirt into a DIY cat cave and cat toys by Sadie Seasongoods


  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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