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The holiday season brings with it an endless supply of boxes, making it an exciting time for cats! Boxes of all kinds, from shipping boxes to shoe boxes to gift boxes, create enticing spots for cats to hide and nap.
Cats were born to love boxes! They instinctually seek out safe hiding places. Open-top boxes with high sides keep kitty feeling safe inside while allowing her to peek over the edge to see what’s going on. Enclosed boxes offer even more privacy for both naptime and playtime. And don’t forget flat, open boxes, too! They make great cat beds.
Here are some creative ideas for transforming those excess holiday boxes into attractive and functional hangouts for your cat. There’s no need to leave ugly boxes lying around; make them festive and fun!
Easy bed box
Everyone knows the “cat trap effect” when you throw a box on the floor and within seconds a cat is occupying it. Well, why not dress up that ugly, old box for the holidays? Take any flat, open box, decorate the outside, add a soft blanket or a little pillow inside, and now kitty will be sitting pretty!
Any size box will do, because we all know cats are liquid and will squeeze themselves into even the smallest spaces!
I recommend using water-based paint pens to decorate the outside of your boxes. Paint pens have an opaque finish that shows up nicely on cardboard. Ideally, look for paint pens that are ACMI approved, which means they are certified to be nontoxic. Be careful not to add any decorations that could become a choking hazard for cats, like beads or sequins. Safety first!
Transform a larger box into a gingerbread house for kitty to play and nap in. Start by cutting off two opposite flaps and trim the other two flaps into triangles to create a peaked roof. You’ll need an extra piece of flat cardboard to create the roof.
Cut out windows and doors and decorate the outside. I used white and gold paint pens to create an “icing” effect. Trace overlapping half circles on the roof to look like shingles. Hot glue the roof to the triangle flaps and let kitty enjoy her new holiday house.
Here’s your chance to get creative! Grab a box with higher sides (this one measures approximately 12 by 12 by 6 inches tall) and use a utility knife to carefully cut the flaps off.
Find something round and trace circles of varying sizes on each side. Now, carefully cut out the circles to create peep holes for cats to look out and poke their paws through.
Save the round pieces of cardboard that you cut out and hot glue them to the outside of the box for extra three-dimensional decoration. Now use water-based paint pens or markers to decorate the outside of your box. Place a piece of fleece or felt inside to add a pop of color and make a soft place for kitty to rest. This fleece bed from K&H would also make a cozy addition ($48.99, Chewy).
If you’re reusing an old box, remove all staples, tape or plastic labels that could be a choking hazard for your cat. Also, to close the box, I like to use hot glue on the inside of the flaps instead of tape. (Gonna try it? We’d love to see your version — send pic to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Cats are attracted to cardboard because it’s the perfect texture for scratching, rubbing and chewing. Because cardboard is soft, it absorbs a cat’s scent, creating a sense of ownership. That’s why your cat keeps going back to that same old box he loves so much. It belongs to him! So re-purrpose those holiday cardboard boxes to ensure it’s a very merry time of year for kitty.