I’ve been looking forward to sharing this knit cat bed with you since I launched Crafts and a Cat two months ago; it was one of the very first cat-related DIY projects I came up with after Bisou was adopted. I always get questions about how to make it when I post a picture of the original bed on Instagram, so I thought now would be the perfect time to revisit it with a brand new gold leaf bed! Say you don’t know how to knit (yet), or you’re more of a dog person. Keep reading! This bed is so easy to make I promise any knitting novice can pull it off. Plus, it’s easy to make it a bit bigger or smaller, so you can customize it for a small dog or any other fur baby you live with. I’m sure there are more elaborate ways to knit a cat bed out there, but I like this method because it’s straightforward, simple and you don’t have to be an expert knitter to make it look great.
This pattern employs just one stitch – the most basic of them all, the humble garter stitch – and is knit on straight needles. In other words, it’s a large scale version of everyone’s first knitting project, the rectangle. Except this one is given dimension and purpose when you attach the ends and cinch the whole thing into a circle, making a soft and cozy cat bed! If you’ve never knit before, try searching YouTube for a video on how to cast on and knit a garter stitch. If you can figure out how to do those two things, you can knit this bed. This project is made even easier by using a bulky yarn and big needles that are easy to handle. Speaking of yarn! I wanted the bed to be plush and super comfortable for Bisou, but didn’t want to spend a whole paycheck on super fancy thick yarn. Instead, I used a technique called plying, which is simply casting on with multiple strands of yarn and knitting as though they were a single strand. The result is a bulkier, heavier knit at a fraction of the cost of luxury yarn. Keep reading for a detailed how-to; your cat (or dog) will thank you!
How to Knit the Purrfect Cat Bed
- Super bulky craft yarn 6 weight, approx. 400 yards*
- Size 15 knitting needles or thereabouts
- A darning needle
- *_I used about 8 skeins of Lion's gold leaf yarn. These were much smaller than normal skeins so take note of the total yardage when selecting yarn, not the number of skeins!_
Cast on 30-40 stitches with two strands held together. Adjust the number of stitches depending on how high you want the sides of the bed, and also how many stitches you can comfortably work with on your needles. Leave a long tail, about two feet. You'll use these strands to assemble the bed. The first time I made this bed I cast on closer to 40 stitches, but on the shorter needles I used this time around I stopped at 33. Don't worry if you can't fit that many; the number of rows you knit is much more important to the size of the finished bed.
Knit at least 60 rows. I knit 65 for Bisou's bed; it's a snug fit for her now but the bed will stretch over time. The length of your knitting will determine the circumference of the bed, so if you want a bigger bed, keep on knitting! Of course, if you want to make the bed smaller than cat sized, you can knit fewer than 60 rows. (Update: one reader knit about 200 rows using 500 yards of yarn and her bed comfortably fits a 15 lbs. cat.
The number of rows you'll need to knit will vary depending on several factors including the weight of your yarn and how tight or loose your knitting is; if you're unsure if you've knit enough, hold the short sides end to end for an approximation of the bed's diameter.)
Cast off. At this point you have a long rectangular piece of knitting – you'll turn it into a circle by connecting the short ends to one another, forming a loop. Next, you'll cinch together one side of the loop – this closed side will be the top/center of the bed. The remaining open side is what sits on the floor.
Now that you've visualized how the bed will take shape, the detailed directions: using a darning needle and one tail strand you made when you cast on, stitch the short ends tightly to each other, making sure the ends match up.
Next, pick an edge of the loop you've just created – it doesn't really matter which side you choose as they're identical! Use the remaining tail strand to cinch together the edge of the loop you chose. I did this by weaving the tail through every other stitch along the edge. Cinch as you go, and then tighten the tail some more. It should be very tight! Tie off the tail – now you have the center of your bed! I left the opposite end open, but you could also stuff it with some fabric remnants then loosely close the end for an even more padded bed.
Enjoy, all you cozy cats!