Mid-century modern cat house

11 DIY Outdoor Cat House Ideas

Originally contributed by • last updated 4/7/2021

Dinah Wulf
DIY Inspired

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but here’s the sitch: a simple plush bed isn't going to cut it for your furry friends anymore. Not when your pets could be living in their own lavish penthouse. There are so many clever home designs for your cats to relax in, so why not give them what they deserve.

That's why we've gathered the purr-fect list of DIY outdoor cat house ideas so that you don't have to. And with clever projects like these, showing your feline some love is totally plawsible.


Mid-Century Modern

Dinah Wulf
DIY Inspired

Okay, this mid-century modern pet house designed by Dinah Wulf of DIY Inspired may have been initially intended for dogs, but who says a cat can't get in on the single-story home action.

Made out of plywood for the structure and roof, the cozy house features interior artificial grass and a faux succulent bed as exterior decor. How incredibly chic!


Cardboard Bungalow

Heidi Kundin
Happiness Is Homemade

Here's another single-story home for your furry friend. The project uses a cardboard box for both the house structure and roof. Finally, you'll be able to repurpose all those cardboard boxes being shipped to your address on the regular. (Online shopping — it's a blessing and a curse!)

Once you've got the basic structure down, you can go to town decorating your cat's new home to fit their personality. Check out what Heidi Kundin of Happiness Is Homemade crafted for her cat Lucy! 


Rustic Ranch


Crafted entirely of pine boards, this DIY outdoor cat house screams cozy, rustic cat home and is perfect for any kitty — big or small.

The stained wooden structure features a chic leather flappy door, tiny glass window, and heated cushion pad, complete with a concealed power cord. This quaint house radiates comfort and we're so here for it.


The Catio


Catios — the patio of a cat's dream — have been growing in popularity among cat owners. Instead of creating a single home for your cat to dwell in, you can create an entire villa where your kitty can sleep, enjoy the outdoors, and most importantly, play all in one enclosed area. Check out this catio enclosure built by DIY In PDX.


Winter Cat Shelter

Winter Cat Shelter
Thistle Downs Farm

Don't have time to create a deluxe single-story home for your cat that's made entirely of natural oak? We get it. And so do the staff at Thistle Downs Farm who shared a super simple DIY outdoor cat house for winter crafted out of storage bins and straw.

The doubled containers and packed layers of stray create an insulated home that'll keep outdoor cats warm, even during the winter.


T-shirt Tent

Jessy Ratfink

Have an old t-shirt laying around? It's time to upcycle it into a chic tent for your furry baby. The t-shirt fits around a structure made of a cardboard base and two wire hangers bent into domes. Be sure to position the shirt properly so that the largest hole, where your head goes through, is at the front of your tent.

This will be the only entryway for your feline friend to go in and out of the structure. While this DIY is intended for indoor use, that doesn't mean you can't move your cat's cozy house outside on warm days to let your best pal enjoy the outdoors.


IKEA Stool Cat House

Thibault, Kanupria, Elena
IKEA Hackers

It wouldn't be a Makey DIY roundup without an IKEA hack somewhere among the list. And here it is! This super clever project sees an IKEA stool, much like the BEKVÄM, turned into a multi-level cat house with a convenient ledge on its side for cat food and water bowls.

Talk about a tricked out crib! You can find the entire step-by-step breakdown here. 


Chic Shelter


This super sweet baby blue DIY outdoor cat house, crafted out of pressure-treated lumber and T1-11 siding, features something none of the other outdoor cat houses have — electricity. Installed in the interior of the insulated home is a floodlight complete with a daylight sensor.

The house was then primed, painted, and sealed with a doorway foam sealer around its top perimeter. It truly is a miniature little home for your best pal with both lighting and insulation to get them through cold nights.


Multi-Level Cat Play Area

IKEA Hackers

Here's another take on a catio that was created as a designated play area for three little furballs! The base and various levels of the tall structure were built out of IKEA GORM shelves, which are similar to the HEJNE collection.

Durable plastic netting covers the entire enclosure, including the small cat door and larger walk-in opening, which allows owners to step into the area for litter cleaning and feeding. For all the nifty details, be sure to visit IKEA Hackers.


 Styrofoam Cat House


Styrofoam coolers are already insulated, so it only seems right to create a DIY outdoor cat house for winter out of the material. This is exactly what one clever cat owner did when he decided to create an exterior home for his feral pals.

The DIYer completed the project with an additional insulation layer of batting, which also served as soft comfortable padding on the bottom of the structure. From there all that was left to do was place some fabric in the house for even more warmth during the harsh winter months.


Towering Pallet Cat Retreat


The Catsby Manor — that's what this DIYer is calling his clever cat house and climbing tower duo. A combination of plywood and repurposed pallet boards were used to create the tall structure, which is wrapped in carpeting.

With just a single glance, it's clear that the Catsy Manor is the towering sleep and play area perfect for any cat-lover and their feline bestie. Sound like something you'd like to build? Head over to Instructables to look through the entire build step-by-step.