Cats, DIY, Home, Lifestyle

How to Knit the Purrfect Cat Bed

Crafts and a Cat | Knit Cat Bed and Bisou by Kayleigh Kosmas
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.

Crafts and a Cat | Knit Cat Bed and Bisou by Kayleigh Kosmas

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!

Crafts and a Cat | Knit Cat Bed and Bisou by Kayleigh Kosmas

Crafts and a Cat | Knit Cat Bed and Bisou by Kayleigh Kosmas


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!_


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!

Crafts and a Cat | Knit Cat Bed and Bisou by Kayleigh Kosmas

Crafts and a Cat | Knit Cat Bed and Bisou by Kayleigh Kosmas

Crafts and a Cat | Knit Cat Bed and Bisou by Kayleigh Kosmas

Crafts and a Cat | Knit Cat Bed and Bisou by Kayleigh Kosmas

Crafts and a Cat | Knit Cat Bed and Bisou by Kayleigh Kosmas

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  • Reply Mollie December 8, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    I just took a knitting class last month, after years of being frustrated with crochet and wishing I could knit haha Going to try this out soon, thinking it’d make a nice Christmas gift!

    • Reply Kayleigh Kosmas December 8, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Yay! Let me know how it turns out!

    • Reply Kayleigh Kosmas December 9, 2016 at 9:16 am

      That sounds like so much fun! I’ve wanted to take a knitting class to improve my skill set too. Winter is the perfect time for a knitting project!

  • Reply jen January 20, 2017 at 8:22 am

    i cant get my head around how you get it into a circle. can you clarify? the finished piece is a big rectangle, right? please advise. thank you for sharing! 🙂

    • Reply Kayleigh Kosmas January 25, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      Hi Jen,
      Yep, if you have a big rectangle you’re on the right track! You want to cinch one of the long sides of the rectangle together, corner to corner, by weaving the long tail along the edge of the rectangle (you can pull the tail through the edge every few stitches or so), then tighten until it’s all cinched into a circle! I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. 🙂

  • Reply jen January 26, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    got it. thank you!

  • Reply Lynne February 24, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Hi, I don’t know if there is any more explaining that you can do about how to sew this cat bed together but I still just don’t get it? Any other information would be great thanks!

  • Reply Lynne February 25, 2017 at 10:22 am

    This might be a stupid question but once I have finished and have a huge rectangle do I fold it in half vertical or horizontal to sew the short ends together?

    • Reply Kayleigh Kosmas February 25, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Lynne, not stupid at all! Once you have a long rectangle, you’ll want to attach the short ends to one another (so a horizontal fold along the shorter width of the rectangle). That should create a loop! You’ll then cinch one of the open ends together to create the surface of the bed (they’re identical, so it doesn’t matter which end)! I hope that helps. Don’t hesitate if you have any these questions!

  • Reply Elise April 18, 2017 at 12:48 am

    Ooohhh!! I love it!! Been looking at cat bed ideas all day and this is for sure one of my favourites ever. Love it to bits!!

  • Reply Elise April 22, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Hi! I just made one and I’m not sure I did it right. I have a huge long rectangle so it looks kind of like a shoulder bag. I could’ve sworn that I stitched together the correct parts for the bottom, but it just doesn’t look wide enough for a cat to sleep in.

    • Reply Kayleigh Kosmas April 25, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Elise! Hmm let’s figure this out. When you had a big rectangle, did you connect the two short sides together, forming a big loop?

      • Reply Elise April 25, 2017 at 6:54 pm

        Yes, I did. I ended up with a narrow tube. I cinched one end and it looked like a long, thin bag. Do I need to curl back the ends? How do I make it flat and round instead of tall?

        • Reply Kayleigh Kosmas April 27, 2017 at 6:29 pm

          Hi Elise,
          You shouldn’t really need to curl it – it should sort of curl on its own. Perhaps adding some more length could help? Some readers have added quite a few more stitches to the pattern for a wider bed than what I made. Bisou likes to be pretty snug in bed so I made her on the small side (and it has stretched over time).

  • Reply Steph April 27, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Can you please post more pictures of the completed bed, without the cat in it, so we can see how it is supposed to look? Photos of the seaming process, step by step, would be tremendously helpful as welll.

    • Reply Elise April 27, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      Yes, please! I’m a visual person, this would be so helpful.

      • Reply Kayleigh Kosmas April 27, 2017 at 6:40 pm

        Hi Elise, I’ll email you some pictures as well. Hopefully that will help!

        • Reply Elise May 21, 2017 at 7:45 pm

          Hi! I didn’t get any photos- can you send them to me again please? I’d really like to finish this project 🙂

    • Reply Kayleigh Kosmas April 27, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      Hi Steph! Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the seaming process but I’ll snap a couple pictures of the finished bed and email them to you. Hopefully that will help! 🙂

  • Reply Jenna April 27, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    I can’t wait to whip up this super-simple cat bed! The directions are easy to follow, and there is so much flexibility in how to size it. I have one old, skinny ginger tom (Tora, age 15) with joint problems and one young dilute ginger tom, a rambunctious “chub” (Pia, age 3) who still hasn’t figured out where (or how big) his butt is. I will knit Tora’s bed out of a super-soft, super-bulky baby yarn and Pia’s out of something a little sturdier.

    • Reply Kayleigh Kosmas April 27, 2017 at 6:43 pm

      Hi Jenna! Your fur babies sound so precious! I’d love to hear/see how the beds turn out. Bulky baby yarn sounds just dreamy. Don’t hesitate if you have any questions! 🙂

  • Reply Tanya April 28, 2017 at 3:18 am

    I would love to see how this is assembled. But confused do I somehow attach the smaller one to the bigger one? I would love to make these for the cat shelter I volunteer at to be either given when cat adopted or used at the shelter.

    • Reply Kayleigh Kosmas April 28, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      Hi Tanya! Basically you knit a long rectangle, sew the short ends to one another to create a big loop, then cinch one of the open ends together to create the center of the bed. I’m going to go back through the post this weekend and revise the instructions to make things a bit clearer. Don’t hesitate if you have any questions though!

  • Reply Janice April 29, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I would like to see the photos of how to put this together too. Was thinking of making it for my cat for Christmas.

  • Reply Carol Lee July 15, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    I was so excited to find a pattern for a cat bed that is worked flat! (My circular knitting skills are not quite there). I’m using Bernat Mega Bulky yarn with size 15 needles, but I think I’m going to just have to knit until it the diameter feels right. I have a 17 pound Maine Coon. I’ll let you know how it turns out! Thanks so much!

    • Reply Kayleigh Kosmas July 15, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      Hi Carol! My absolute favorite thing about this bed is how simple it is to make…it’s just a rectangle! 🙂 I’d love to hear how my turns out. For reference, Bisou is about 9 lbs. so I’m sure your finished work will be much bigger. If you feel like sharing how much you end up knitting I’ll definitely update the post for other readers with bigger kitties!

  • Reply Melainey Walker August 20, 2017 at 2:51 am

    Hello I cant visualise the finished cat bed! Do you fold the edge down, I understand the joining the short edge, and gathering the long edge, pulling the tight to get the centre of the bed! I am left with the edge of my knitting where yours looks folded! Any andvice and guidance will be gratefully received.. TIA Melainey

    • Reply Kayleigh Kosmas August 21, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      Hi Melainey, yes, the edge is folded down so the edge of your knitting rests on the floor. I’ve shared this tutorial along with some additional pictures over at A Beautiful Mess. I hope the extra pictures are helpful! Here’s the URL:
      Let me know if you need any more help!

      • Reply Melainey Walker August 22, 2017 at 12:35 am

        Thank you for reply so quickly Kayleigh.. Thank you also for the link so I can see how the side of the bed went, I can understand as well how its important to use a super bulky wool, to make the bed lovely a rigid, that might be the wrong word rigid, the bed holds its shape with a good thick wool!!

  • Reply Didi February 12, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Hi Kayleigh, Thank you for this pattern and explanation. I just made one for my cat this weekend, he absolutely loves it!

    • Reply Kayleigh Kosmas February 12, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Hi Didi,
      I’m so glad the bed turned out well and your cat likes it! Bisou still adores hers too (she actually has 3 now!).

  • Reply Stella Volschenk March 9, 2018 at 5:24 am

    I think if the knitters know this bed is supposed to look like a giant beanie maybe they will understand a little.better.I made my first one with 2 strands of DK and 7.5mm needles.I wanted to use leftover wool and didn’t want to buy needles.I used 48 stitches and 94 garter stitch ridges which left me with enough wool to stitch
    It up

  • Reply Karen March 18, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Hi kayleigh when I read the directions for this.bed it reminded me of how I use to make hats. I would seam the side, then gather top real tight. Thus hat. the men wanted me to make hats.real long so would cover their ears. Then they would roll them up and wear above their ears. If they would then place hat upside down on table a kitty could crawl in and sleep.

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