There are few limits for reusing empty coffee tins. They can be made into canisters or can hold utensils on the kitchen. They can be made into a pyramid shape and used as cubby holes for children’s things or they can simply hold odds and ends, stored in a closet. The ordinary coffee tins can be used to make something new for your cat, too! It’s easy to use the empty cans to make a fun play station for your kitten or cat, and spend very little money to do it. Just begin saving the cans and soon you’ll have enough to make a fun hide-n-seek tunnel that will have your cat purring happily for hours!
There is no one specific way to make the cat tunnel. Use things you have around the house to make the tunnel and it’ll cost you nothing. Or, purchase some inexpensive craft items and make a little more impressive play center. Either way, your cat will really enjoy the time he or she spends in the finished tunnel. Use three or four cans to make a nice-size tunnel or use lots of cans to make a much longer play tunnel.
Each time you empty a coffee tin cut the bottom off of it with a can opener. When you have enough cans you can get busy on the project. Start by laying two of the cans on a flat surface. Use tape to strap the two cans together with their openings facing each other. Tape on another and another can until the tunnel is as long as you want it to be. If you’re making a cheap version of the tunnel use colored tape to make it more attractive. Simply tape several cans together and allow the cat to play in the finished tunnel. If you’ll be doing something a little more elaborate to the tunnel you can get by, for now, with ordinary masking tape.
As you’re taping the various cans together you can add fun toys that will hang on the inside of the tunnel. Tie the particular toy to a string and dangle it over the opening of one can. When it’s hanging just right, tape it in place, then position the next can. Tape the two cans together with the string trapped in between. You can do this with each new can or just add one or two toys to the entire tunnel. Or, you can simply make the tunnel then throw some small toys inside when it’s finished.
Even though the inside of the coffee tin tunnel is slick and metallic, your cat will still go in and play. However, you can make the tunnel much more comfy by lining it with foam or cotton. For some people, it’s easiest to line each can with the foam, then tape them together. You’ll find flat foam at a craft store which is really easy to add to the inside of the cans. It’s available in many different colors and sizes which allow you to customize the tunnel. Cut the foam to fit inside the cans, one at a time, or use non-toxic glue or tape to connect several pieces of the foam, then attach it to the inside, all at once.
Instead of foam you can use cotton or batting. Use non-toxic glue to attach it to the inside of the cans. When using flat foam it’s okay to leave the inside unfinished except for the foam. When using cotton it’s necessary to cover the cotton with fabric. Add the cotton, leaving a tiny bare area around each opening, then use the bare area to attach the fabric. After the inside is prepared the way you want you can move on to the outside of the cans.
With the cans taped together the tunnel can be used as-is or you can continue to further embellish. A piece of carpet is a great way to cover the cans and give the cat a place to sharpen his claws. Simply roll the carpet piece around the tunnel and glue in place. Or, use cloth and foam to cover the outside. Wrap the entire tunnel in cotton or foam then cover with cloth.
You can create chutes that come up and out of the original tunnel, but with those kinds of designs, you must cover the outside with carpet or cloth. Just align the cans across the carpet piece but leave a space between two cans. Wrap the broken tunnel with the carpet then cut a hole in the area where the space is between the tunnel pieces. Now position the next, smaller tunnel over the open area. Before doing so wrap the new chute in carpet or fabric first.
In order to have chutes that come up out of the first tunnel you must stabilize it so that it won’t roll. As the cat climbs into the vertical tunnels the horizontal one tends to tip over. To prevent this attach the entire tunnel to a piece of wood or thick cardboard. The wood or cardboard can first be painted or covered in cloth or carpet. Attach additional toys by connecting them to the ends of a long piece of string then attaching the string to the top of the tunnel. Allow the toys to dangle over each side. Your cat will love playing, scratching and sleeping in the new tunnel. It’s a great project that allows any budget to make the new tunnel. It also allows you to recycle things you have around the house. Get the kids together and build the tunnel on a family night of fun!