I don’t know about the feline friends in your life, but my cat, Kitty, is not a big fan of power tools and the noise they make. (I can guess, though, and I'd guess your cats hate loud noises and whirring machinery just as much.) Every so often though, her need for attention overcomes her uneasiness and she hangs out with me while I’m working in my shop. On one such occasion she came across a prototype for the nesting chair I was designing for the blog. While it was in progress, the back of the chair was laying over the sink so that the fabric was suspended just like a hammock. "A cat hammock", she thought. As Kitty settled in, the idea struck me to take that concept and build an actual cat hammock.
Disclaimer: I can't guarantee your cat won't completely ignore this and still choose to lay on inappropriate and in-the-way surfaces. Every cat is different, but for mine this was a big hit!
Step 1: Cut
Cut the 2" x 2"s with chop saw. From each 2" x 2" you'll cut two 3” pieces, two 22” pieces, and two 16” pieces (so four total of each). Measure once, cut twice: Measure and mark your lines on one post, then line it up next to the other one and copy your cut marks.
Step 2: Sand
Keep those little paws splinter-free: Use 100-grit sandpaper and an electric sander to remove jagged edges and rough patches. If you don't have a power sander, don't worry—just use a little elbow grease to sand the wood smooth by hand.
Step 3: Stain
You can use any stain you want, but we used a Sikkens stain and applied it with a foam brush over a drop cloth. Allow the stain to dry completely.
Yes, this is a giant can of stain; no, you won't need to use that much. We used the same stain on the cat hammock that we did on the nesting chair because we still had a bunch of it lying around. If you’re buying stain just for this project, choose a stain that comes in a small can.
Step 4: Build the Frame
Take two of the 22” pieces and two of the 16” pieces to make the upper frame. Lay them out with the 16” end pieces placed inside of the longer sides. Pre-drill, and join with 3” screws and wood glue. We used one screw in each corner, going through the outside piece and centered it with the end of the inside piece. With just one screw the pieces can twist around, so we also applied wood glue to each corner for a little extra anchoring. Assemble the bottom frame in the same manner as you did the upper frame.
Step 5: Attach the Legs
Add the four 3” pieces to the bottom of the upper frame. Apply glue and attach at each corner with one 3” screw. To avoid running into the horizontal screws that were already in place, we attached each screw in the inside corner of the frame. Flip over the frame and attach the bottom frame in the same manner, but this time with the screws in the outside corners.
Step 6: Cut Fabric
Cut the fabric into two 19 ¼” x 27” pieces. Something to keep in mind before you cut are 'warp' and 'weft'. (These are fancy names for the woven threads in the fabric.) All you really need to know is that weft is stretchy and warp isn’t. So, test out your fabric and stretch it one direction, then turn it sideways and stretch it the other direction. It should be pretty obvious. You’ll want the non-stretchy direction (the warp) to be the long side. This will put the tension on the stronger threads in the fabric and it won’t stretch out as easily.
Step 7: Sew Fabric
With the printed sides of the fabric (the right sides) together, sew with a 5/8” seam allowance. Start on one long side, and sew along three of the sides (leaving one short side un-sewn).
Step 8: Velcro
Cut two pairs of 18” strips of Velcro. Attach the two sticky-back sides of the Velcro to the inside of the long side of the upper frame. Press down firmly to ensure it sticks. Sew one of the counterpart strips to the sewn 19” side with a zigzag stitch. Attach the Velcro on the fabric to one side of the frame. Wrap the fabric down, and then around the outside of the frame and stretch across to the opposite side. Measure and mark where the fabric meets the Velcro on that side. Using these marks as a guide, fold in the raw edges of the fabric and sew closed. Sew on the Velcro.
Step 9: Detailing
We added a zigzag stitch detailing around the edge of the fabric with red thread as a pretty contrast. This step is completely optional and based on your aesthetics—you can do whatever color or pattern you want!
Step 10: Put It All Together
Attach the fabric to the Velcro, and you’re all done. The sticky side of the Velcro doesn’t come to full strength for 24 hours, but we tested the weight capacity immediately, first with a cat and then by sitting on the hammock ourselves. It seemed to hold up pretty darn well!
Step 11: Vinyl Bumpers
The last step is to add some vinyl bumpers to the bottom of the hammock. This helps the hammock not to skid on a smooth surface and will keep it from potentially scratching your floor. The bottom of our frame wasn't perfectly flush with the floor and was wobbling a little back and forth (not a point of attraction for the cat involved). We solved this problem by adding multiple vinyl bumpers in the wobbly corners until all four sides were evened out.
Cats are very picky animals, and every cat is picky in a different way. What works for my cat won't necessarily work for yours. That being said, let me share my insight with my personal feline: This hammock was too tall for her, by about 1 1/2". (I think she was scared of monsters under her bed.) I love the way this design looks, but afterward I took the bottom level of the frame off so it's just the top frame and the four legs. She loves it now. Don't be afraid to change up the design; fiddle around and see what works for your cat. We wish you the best of luck!