We are frequently asked where we get our cute rose beds from! The answer is - we customise them ourselves.
Why, you might ask? Please enjoy exhibit A, a chewed-up bed, featuring Sybil and a surprisingly photo-ready smile:
As you can see, our cats chew the water hyacinth beds. Water hyancith fibres aren't a desirable cat food and we’re quite pernickety about our cats only eating actual edibles.
When we first started covering the bedding, our goal was to keep the cats from ingesting fibres. However, there are a few other advantages:
Increased lifespan of the beds
These particular scratchers are very robust - they've got a very heavy base and the pillars are steel and can bear the weight of a large Wookie climbing to the topmost bed. The beds wear out much, much faster than the pillars, but it's not so easy to get replacement beds without buying a whole new scratcher. In fact, we've had some of these pillars for 3 years and they're still holding strong.
It's much more affordable, less wasteful and increases the lifespan of the beds to cover them.
We like to add a little touch of Wonderland wherever we can to our cafe, so it was also an opportunity for us to add some roses to our basement area!
How it's done
Even the flower coverings don’t last, and as you can see, after ~18 months of wear and tear, it’s time for a refresh.
Things you’ll need
- Optional: Lining fabric (your choice of flower colour)
- 6 x 30cm squares of soft felt, cut into 24 petals (your choice of flower colour)
- 2 x 30cm squares of 3mm thick felt, cut into 8 petals (your choice of flower colour)
- 1 x 30cm square sheet of green felt
- Hot glue gun
- Hot glue sticks
- Inner cushion
- The cat bed to be upgraded
About the Cat Trees
We buy our Flower Trees from Zooplus. There are two sizes, medium and large. Click on the link if you want to see prices etc. We're not sponsored by Zooplus or anything like that, this is just what we use.
Cats are built to climb trees, so we always find that the more treelike in form our scratchers are, the more our cats will enjoy climbing it! Our guys also enjoy curling up into a circle inside the beds.
We use plain cotton for the inside lining. The first time we customised the cat beds, we lined the flowers with faux fur: BIG mistake and a nightmare to clean. So plain cotton is the way to go!
In this example we aren’t going to replace the lining because it’s still fit for purpose. We will describe how we do it at the end, in brief, if you decide you want to line the inside.
Types of Felt
The soft felt gives coverage, sticks well to the beds and helps hold in the thicker felt.
The stiff felt petals give shape to the flower: soft felt tends to flop down on itself after a while, making your flower appear wilted. The stiff petals give your flower better dimension. It does look better if you have both kinds of felt, although the 3mm felt can be harder to come by.
Let's get started!
This cat bed is looking pretty sad right now, so we're going to strip off all the petals and leave only the lining in place.
Next, we are going to attempt to stage a photo so that we can show everyone on the internet all the things that are needed. Then we are going to wait 1h for Wendy to get out of the bed after she falls asleep in it. You can follow this step with any defiant and stubborn cats you may have lying around.
When you finally get the bed back, you can get started. Unless someone else takes it.
We have already precut our felt into petal shapes and we recommend doing the same - have everything all cut and ready to go before you start glueing.
You can be creative with your petals, just so long as you ensure they're nice and wide at the top, otherwise you'll need to cut more petals to cover your whole bed. We can provide a template if you like, just ask in the comments, but don't be afraid to do it your own way.
A good rule of thumb is to ensure that your petal design, at its widest point, is as wide as the strip of hot glue shown in the photo below:
If your petals are at least as wide as this segment of the cat bed, you'll get adequate coverage of the bed. You should get 4 petals per sheet of felt.
You'll notice the sides of the bed are higher in 4 places. This is where we start.
Run a line of hot glue along the edge of one of the raised segments of the bed and stick down one of your soft felt petals, ensuring you place the widest part of the petal on the glue:
Next, add a blob of hot glue near the bottom of the petal and stick it down.
Continue all the way around, at the highest points of the bed:
Next do the same at the lowest points of the bed, still using the soft felt:
To complete your first layer, add petals to fill the gaps in between, still using soft felt:
You've now completed your first layer of petals!
Next, we're going to move onto the stiff 3mm felt petals. You only need 8 of these.
Start by flipping the bed over. Don't worry that there's bits of felt left from when we removed the previous covering - that will be covered by our new felt anyway.
You need to glue the stiff petals right up agains the base board. This will cause them to flare out, which is what you want. They won't feel very secure at first, but don't worry, the next layer of soft petals takes care of that.
Glue all your stiff petals around the base of the bed.
Next, you'll need your remaining soft petals! Use these to fill in the gaps. You'll also need to do an extra step, which is to add a blob of glue on the underside of the petal at the top, and stick it down. This helps to hold the stiff felt petals in place.
When you've done that, it's a good idea to flip the bed upright and look for any loose stiff petals. You can secure them by placing a blob of glue as far down in the inside of the petal as you can get it. Press it down until it dries.
Next is pretty easy - a spiral of glue on the base, and stick down the green square. We don't generally cut it to a fancy shape, but you could do if you wanted to. So little of it is visible, so we generally leave it as it is.
Stick it down and then glue down the corners.
Finally, punch a hole so that you can screw the cat bed back onto the cat tree:
Attach the bed to the tree:
We like to pop in a matching cushion. These red cushions are from Ikea, they do the job and they also have a non-slip underside, which is useful with cats jumping in and out of the beds all day.
The Cat Trees come with a cream/beige cushion, which you can use, but in our case the original cushions have long since been taken off the floor in our cafe due to wear and tear.
and here you are. Fresh as a daisy! Or a rose. Dorian is clearly into it.
Putting in lining
For those of you who are interested in lining, a brief summary. We made a paper template for the inside of the beds, cut out the fabric and cut some darts into it so it would fit snugly.
We glued the lining in starting with the base and then working out to the edges, tucking all fabric edges to the inside to ensure no fraying or string for curious cats to chew on. When we re-line a cat bed, we'll publish another blog post for it.
If you want to line the bed, we recommend doing it before attaching petals so you can hide the edges of the lining with your first layer of petals.