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Ask A Boston Expert: Tips For Building A Cat Tunnel

(Photo credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

Fin, Fur & Feather Pet Shop
409 Columbia Road, Route 53
Hanover, MA 02339
(781) 826-5739

Laura and Manny, employees at Hanover's Fin, Fur & Feather Pet Shop, have some advice for cat owners who want to build a cat tunnel for their furry friends. These simple tips help pet owners find the right materials for their cat and their home, as well as suggest ways to help get cats interested. Cats love to have a place to hide, sleep and jump out at unsuspecting guests. Cat tunnels are the perfect gift for both social and shy kitties.

Use PVC Pipe For Permanent Fixtures

Pet owners who are looking to build a permanent or semi-permanent tunnel at home can save a lot of hassle by using PVC pipe. It's certainly pricier than a typical cat tunnel, but it is easy to mount and add turns to. Cut it to any size for anything from a small cubby for a kitty to an intricate multi-room tunnel system. Don't be afraid to cut a few squares for windows. Just make them big enough for a cat to climb through. Most cat tunnels are about 13 to 14 inches in diameter, so make sure to buy the right size tubing.

Carpet Is The Easiest Material

Carpet is the perfect material for a cat tunnel. It gives cats something to dig their claws into and is soft enough for a nap. Attach it to any tunnel surface, both inside and out, using non-toxic glue to ensure the safety of the animals using it. Staples and nails may work for humans, but cats like to dig at carpets and can be injured. Good glue will hold carpet in place and prevent injury. Look for free or cheap carpet samples or clearance area rugs from local bargain stores to save money. Rope is another good material, if a bit more fussy to work with. Wrap it tightly around the tube and glue it into place for a scratching surface.

(Photo Credit: Fin, Fur & Feather Pet Shop)

Use Catnip To Get Cats Used To Their New Toy

Cat owners know the frustration of getting a picky cat something extravagant and seeing it go unused. A great way to get a persnickety kitty into a newly built cat tunnel is catnip. Sprinkle some right into the carpet surface inside the tube. This will get the cat in and rolling around on the carpet in no time, which will spread their scent and make the place a little more like home.

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Make A Temporary Tunnel With Cardboard

Not everyone has the space to keep a cat tunnel up indefinitely. A great temporary alternative is a cardboard cat maze. Get several boxes from the local grocery store and some flexible cardboard sheet. Roll the cardboard sheet into 13 to 14-inch tubes, cut some holes of equal size in the sides of the boxes and attach the tubes between them using duct tape. Put some toys and treats inside the boxes and let the cat have some fun for a few hours or a few days. Note: Cardboard concrete forms are a good alternative for cardboard sheets and will make the structure last much longer for those who want something durable on a budget. Simply cover it with carpet and rope like any other tunnel.

Make a Crinkle Tunnel

Some cats love crinkly toys. If this tunnel is not for sleeping, a crinkly tunnel might be just the thing to keep the cat occupied. This project requires sewing skills, crinkly cellophane, such as the type used to wrap bouquets, fabric and a length of flexible PVC or dryer tube. Cut the fabric slightly longer than the length of the tube. Cut it slightly wider than the tube's diameter. Sew each piece closed the long way, so it is like a big sock with two open ends. Slide the tube into one of the fabric sleeves. Pull the second sleeve through the middle of the tube. Sew it to the other sleeve at one end and then stuff the space between the tube and two sleeves of fabric with cellophane. Finally, sew the

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Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at

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