Pam writes about DIY projects—everything from home decorating to recycling/upcycling and more!
DIY Cage Mats and Kennel Bedding for Cats
A cage mat is a lovely thing. Its warmth and comfort can make a homeless rescue animal feel less frightened and anxious while waiting for a home.
The local Hawaiian Humane Society uses volunteers to sew together donated fabric remnants to make cage mats. These pet comforters line the bottoms of the cold metal cages, allowing the kitties some softness and warmth.
A Great Way to Use Fabric Remnants and Old Clothes
I use mostly fabric remnants when sewing these cage mat quilts. Sometimes I cut up old cotton clothing and piece together both the top and bottom of the cage mat to keep this project more cost effective. I try to make these pet mats as sturdy and comfortable for the rescue animals as I possibly can, keeping the cost in mind so I can continue making more as my time allows.
If you can sew a semi-straight line, you can certainly sew a cage mat.
Materials You'll Need
- Remnant fabric pieces
- Batting or old mattress pad
- Backing material
- Pinking shears
- Needle and thread
- Iron and ironing board
- Cardboard grid cutting board
- Straight edge ruler or T-square ruler
- Pencil or pen
- Straight pins
Step 1: Measure and Cut
Measure the bottom of the cat cage, so the finished quilt will fit nicely without shifting. Add 1/2" to each side for seam allowance. Cut a piece of an old quilted mattress pad to this size.
Using a quilted mattress pad as batting is ideal. It adds additional cushioning to make the cats more comfortable, and it's cost effective in making cage bedding.
Step 2: Choose the Fabric
Select the fabric to make a sleeping mat for cats. Choose cotton fabrics or anything soft, comfortable, washable and wearable like terrycloth.
Avoid polyesters, rayon, and materials that are slick or will snag easily. Launder and press fabric remnants before cutting.
Step 3: Cut the Fabric Pieces
Lay the fabric wrong side up on the gridded cutting board. Use the ruler to draw straight lines with a pencil or pen.
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Salvage as much of the fabric as possible into square or rectangular shapes for the cat cage quilt. Cut pieces along the drawn lines.
I use a handy cardboard cutting grid along with the T-square aluminum drywall ruler shown below. (An awesome combo for sewing projects!)
Step 4: Lay Out the Cut Pieces
Choose the cut fabric pieces to be sewn together for the cat mat bedding. Lay into place on top of the quilted mattress pad to give you an idea of how the layout sizes up.
Step 5: Sew
Sew the fabric sections together in a 1/2" seam on the sewing machine. Finish seams with pinking shears and press all seams flat during construction of the cage bedding for cats.
Step 6: Place the Top Piece on the Batting
Lay pressed and sewn top piece of the cat cage quilt centered onto the previously cut mattress pad batting. Smooth hands over the top of the quilt.
Step 7: Baste
Turn quilt and batting over so batting is facing up. Hand baste the top and batting together close to the edge of the batting. When hand basting is complete, trim any excess fabric with scissors so the edges are even.
Step 8: Cut Out the Backing Material
Lay cat cage quilt top face down onto the right side of the backing material. Pin into place if necessary and cut along the edges of the batting.
In this sewing project, I chose to use a small portion of a flat sheet as backing. You can use fabric remnants pieced together on the back as you did the front if your prefer.
Step 9: Sew the Three Layers Together
Sew the three layers together with a 1/2" seam from the edge, rounding the sewn stitches gently at corners. Leave an opening approximately 10" in length along one edge to allow for turning the quilt.
Remove basting stitches. Trim around the rounded corners with scissors.
Step 10: Turn Right-Side-Out and Stitch the Opening Closed
Turn cat cage quilt right side out through the opening. Fold opening edges under and pin in place. Use the sewing machine to stitch this opening closed.
Step 11: Top Stitch the Seams, Then Donate!
Top stitch along a few of the seam lines on top of the finished cage mat bedding to reinforce the layers and strengthen the quilt. Take the finished cat bedding to the local animal shelter or Humane Society. The kitties will thank you, and you'll walk away feeling better knowing you gave some comfort to a deserving animal.
Better yet, donate some DIY cage mats and bring a dog or cat back home to love.
Remember: Don't shop. Adopt!
After reading this page, do you think you could sew a cage mat?
serita on September 26, 2017:
Love your don't shop ...adopt logo...wish that would be the case more often.
terri vangorp on September 04, 2017:
this is a great idea. I would like to do this for the place here.
Thank you ! on June 25, 2017:
Your mattress pad idea is brilliant. I am making small cushions for the shelter's hidey boxes. Each cat has a box for their privacy and security. I need to make 32 and did not want to spring for the batting. This will work great!
Pam Irie (author) from Land of Aloha on March 21, 2015:
Thank you Suzanne! It takes a village! :)
Suzanne on March 20, 2015:
Great idea of using the mattress pad.
To all of you who care for children and animals that are in need and do what you can to help them - often with your limited financial and time constraints, I speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Thank you and God Bless
sue826 lm on February 14, 2013:
I'd like to try. I plan on buying a simple machine this year.
SPhilbrick on October 17, 2012:
I can sew so yes, I think I could :-) Your instructions and photos are clear and concise, as always!
anonymous on June 20, 2012:
I would love to sew a cage mat, thanks for sharing!
Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on May 01, 2012:
I could sew a cage mat but I doubt if I will. I think it's a great idea and wonderful cause! I just have so many other projects I need to get done! Great directions. The photos help so much.
anonymous on February 28, 2012:
Very creative and thoughtful too!
ChrissLJ on February 18, 2012:
Yes. For added comfort, I also often find old comforters at the local thrift stores or garage sales (about $2) and use it for extra padding. Each twin sized comforter can pad 4-6 crate mats with larger comforters making even more.
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on February 12, 2012:
I should get my sewing machine fixed first. This is an excellent project. Thanks for being a friend of the animals.