Kitty Cave

Another post that’s been sitting in the drafts folder, this time due to the SD card reader slot on my laptop being an arse. However, after much fiddling, I was able to get the photos off it and now we’re in business!

Luke and I are currently fostering three 17 week old kittens and their mother, and they are quite shy, having been born in the wild. They are getting more used to us with time, but they still like to spend time in “safe” spots, and I had this idea that a cat cave would be a perfect idea. Somewhere cosy and enclosed, but where they can still see us and we can see them.

Originally, I was just planning on starting with a circle or oval shape and sewing darts into it to make it curve up, more like a basket shape. But then one night when I couldn’t sleep, I had this idea to do something more geometric. Why? I have no idea. But that’s what I decided to do. With Luke’s help (in the absence of a protractor or a set square or other helpful tools) I drew a pentagon with 5 centimetre sides on some card and then cut out 11 of them and taped them together into a prototype model cave, just to see if it would work.

It did! Excuse my cracked window sills, our house is ancient. Next, I tried a 10 centimetre pentagon, but it still seemed a wee bit too small, so I settled on 12 centimetres (it scales up quite quickly). I found thick felt (3mm) in Eurokangas, my local fabric chain store, for €8,95 a metre. I bought a whole metre, which was way too much but I wanted to have more in case of mistakes. I decided to hand sew the pentagons together, because I wanted them to sit nicely together and I thought a whip stitch would accomplish that. It took three nights of TV watching to sew them all together.

Tada! I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s sturdy and cute, and pretty much exactly how I imagined it would be. But I know what you’re thinking – did the kittens use it? I had my doubts, because cats are well-known for ignoring anything purchased or made for them in favour of, say, boxes. Please note, the photos below were taken after a few days of use, because the kittens primarily come out at night time and the lighting is awful then. But then we had a sunny day and the warmth lured them out into the open!

But it quickly became apparent that the kitties hadn’t been taught to share…

The cave is now a battleground most nights, with one kitty triumphantly claiming it before the others descend and try to assert their dominance. The cave is very lightweight, so it’s amusing to watch them roll it around the room as they play, and often by the end of it, it’s squashed flat! It’s very easy to pop it open again though and so far, it’s retaining its shape fairly well. Sometimes in the morning we find a kitten sleeping on the squashed cave, so it doubles as a bed too I guess!

I think this is one of my most satisfying makes this year, and certainly the most used. I was planning on making more, but this little family will be moving on from us in November so I think they can just share this one until then.