I was randomly surfing cat-related things on the internet one day, and ran across cat hammocks. They are basically squares of fabric, hung by straps from their four corners, in a cage or under a chair to make a sort of hanging pouch. Well, the amorphous-slumping aspect of a hammock seemed like a perfect match for sleeping feline anatomy. But our cat doesn’t have a cage, our chairs have too many rungs, and our cat sometimes likes to spread out while sleeping.
We do, however, have a coffee table that I suspected would be absolutely perfect to support a cat hammock. There are some bolts on the underside that I figured I could attach a hammock to. (How did I already know there were exposed bolts? Because my son went through a phase around age 4 of crawling under the coffee table and unscrewing them. I never did learn why this was so appealing.)
So I found a spare piece of denim and some rope, and bought a 1″ diameter dowel. I cut the dowel into 2 pieces, each the length of the outside width of the coffee table legs. I cut the denim several inches longer than the coffee table, and about the same width as the coffee table. I sewed a narrow hem on each long edge of the denim. Then I folded over about 4-5 inches at each short end of the denim and sewed across to make a tube at each end that I could slide a dowel through.
Then I used rope to tie the dowels to the coffee table, using bowline knots around the dowels. I was able to use one continuous piece of rope for each end, threading it through the hidden bolts under the table. If your coffee table had less exposed hardware, you could use lag eye bolts screwed into the inside of the frame. By having the dowels on the outside rather than the inside of the legs, it keeps the hammock from swaying side-to-side as the cat climbs in.
And then we put a commercial cat mat on top, for extra warm snuggly niceness.
Ta-da: cat hammock!
It works well with all sorts of cat positions.
Please note: as built, this was plenty strong enough for a single 11-pound cat. If you have multiple cats each weighing 25+ pounds, the way our neighbors do, you might need something a little stronger than mid-weight denim.
Although as built, it is strong enough to sleep two, even if one is human, as long as the human keeps her body on the floor.
Since our cat not only has a walnut-sized brain, but is also elderly, we had this hammock set up in the living room for a few months before he finally figured out he was meant to curl up and sleep in it. But once he figured it out, he’s been absolutely loving it. He spends at least 75% of his sleeping time in it. When he’s gotten so over-tired that he can’t settle down, we just prod him into his hammock, and he usually curls up and relaxes. And he loves being able to snooze with us around him in the living room, but in a safe space where he won’t get stepped on and doesn’t have lights shining in his eyes.
Over time, the denim has stretched a little. So I’ve shortened the ropes a bit, and took a 1/2″ tuck the entire width of the hammock to compensate. In general, he’s only got about 1/2″ clearance from the ground at his lowest point, but that’s enough to give him all the slumpy flexibility he wants. The ropes are easily slid off the dowels and the entire contraption vacuumed, when the fur levels get overwhelming.