My Indoor Cat

How Cat Tunnel Systems Can Enrich Your Indoor Cat’s Life 

indoor cat tunnel system

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Cats are naturally curious and enjoy exploring small spaces.  A cat tunnel system provides a cozy and enclosed space for your indoor cat to hide, play, and relax in.  The tunnel shape also allows them to stalk and chase toys or other cats, which mimics their natural hunting instincts.  This encourages healthy physical activity and mental stimulation.  All of this helps to keep your indoor cat healthy and happy. 

What is a Cat Tunnel System? 

cat tunnel system

A cat tunnel system is a network of interconnected tunnels and hiding spots designed for cats to play and explore in.  It is typically made of durable, lightweight materials such as cardboard, mesh or fabric and can be used both indoors and outdoors.  Some cat tunnel systems also include built-in scratching posts, peepholes, and other interactive features to keep cats entertained and engaged.  It is generally used for cats to play and exercise inside the house. 

Why are Cat Tunnel Systems Good for Indoor Cats? 

Cat tunnel systems can be a great addition to any cat’s environment, providing them with an interactive, stimulating, and comfortable place to play and rest. Here are some benefits of cat tunnel systems for your indoor cat:

Physical Exercise

Cats are naturally active creatures and need regular exercise to stay healthy.  A cat tunnel system provides a safe and stimulating environment for cats to run, jump, and play in, helping them to stay active and maintain a healthy weight. My cats love using their cat tunnels to stalk and pounce on each other. 

Mental Simulation

Cats also need mental stimulation to keep them engaged and prevent boredom.  A cat tunnel system provides a variety of sights, sounds and textures for cats to explore, helping them keep mentally stimulated. 

Hiding and Resting Spots

Cats also need places to hide and rest, and a cat tunnel system can provide this.  Some cat tunnel systems are designed as cozy hiding or sleeping spots, which can help reduce stress and create a sense of security for indoor cats.

Reduce Furniture Scratching

Some cat tunnel systems include built-in scratching posts, which can help to keep cats from scratching on furniture or other household items. 

Reduce Boredom for Your Cat

Indoor cats are confined to the inside of the house and can get bored if they don’t have enough things to do.  Cat tunnel systems provide indoor cats with an area where they can play, explore, stalk and have fun, which can keep them happy and healthy and reduce boredom. 

What types of Cat Tunnel Systems are there? 

There are lots of different types of cat tunnel systems available, including: 

Indoor Cat Tunnel Systems

Indoor tunnel systems for cats are lightweight and made from cardboard, fabric, or have carpeted surfaces. Our favorite is the Vybe Cat Castle below, which can be built upon, and configured in different ways.

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VYBE Stackable Tunnel Systems

Made in the USA from sturdy cardboard, this is the Vybe Cat Castle. You have to build it, so you can configure it any way you like. Cat owners have said their cats were playing in it before they had finished building, they love it so much! The more you buy the bigger the castle you can create for your kitty. Suitable for cats up to 15lbs.

Outdoor Cat Tunnel Systems

These are typically made of durable, weather-resistant materials and are designed for use outside. Most outdoor tunnels are cat friendly mesh, to allow your kitty plenty of fresh air and bird watching time.

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Kitty Walk Outdoor Net Tunnel

This outdoor tunnel by Kitty Walk can be connected to the Kitty Walk outdoor penthouse to make a tunnel and catio style system. A great solution for renters who cannot fix a permanent structure to their home or on the lawn. The net is tear proof and the sturdy steel frame keeps it upright.

Collapsible or Pop-up Tunnels

These are lightweight and easy to set up and take down.  They can be folded or rolled up for storage when not in use. With wipeable fabric tunnels like the one below, you can use them inside or outside depending on the weather.

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Cat Tunnel and Cube System

This super sweet S-shaped cat tunnel can be used on its own or connected with a cat tent at each end to create a cat tunnel system your cat will love. With a hanging ball, bell, crinkle paper and peep holes, your cat will have plenty of fun playing or hiding. It pops up and folds down in seconds for easy portability too.

Connectable or Modular Tunnels

  These are designed to be connected together to create a larger, more complex system.  They can be rearranged or expanded as needed. 

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5 in 1 Cat Tunnel System

This cat tunnel system is a great choice for multiple cats and can be configured in different ways with multiple zippered openings. It’s large and best for outdoors, but you can also fit a range of cat enrichment items inside, such as cat trees or scratching poles. It also has a hanging tower so your cat can enjoy some vertical climbing too.

Multi-level Tunnels

Designed to have multiple floors and levels, providing your cats with more space to explore and play. I love the vertical design of the tunnel in the system below. Your cat can climb from the condo in the base, straight up the tunnel or out the side of the tunnel. With 3 platforms to perch or rest on, this carpeted cat tunneling system offers a space saving design without compromising on quality.

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Petmaker Cat Tree Condo and Tunnel

Standing 43 inches tall this cat condo has a built in vertical tunnel connecting from the top of the base to the third level. Your kitty can also choose to pop out the side and perch or sleep on the second level. It’s a great space saving design, particularly in apartments, and the quality is good too.

In general, cat tunnel systems can be made of various materials such as fabric, mesh, cardboard, plastic etc.  It can be designed in different shapes, sizes and colors to fit your house cats preferences. 

6 DIY Cat Tunnel System Ideas 

cat tunnel system DIY

Want to build your own tunnel system for cats? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Cardboard Boxes

You can stack and connect cardboard boxes to create a simple and inexpensive cat tunnel system.  Cut holes in the sides of the box or the roof for your cats to enter and exit.  This is a very affordable way to make a cat tunnel.  And recyclable too! 

PVC Pipes

Large PVC pipes can be cut to size and connected to create a durable and customizable cat tunnel system.  You can paint or cover the pipes with fabric to make sure they are more attractive and match your home décor.  Make sure they are large enough for your cat to enter and exit comfortably and that there is sufficient airflow and places they can exit and not get stuck. 

Fabric Tunnel

If you are handy with a sewing machine you can use fabric, such as fleece or canvas, to make your own cat tunnel.  Use your sewing machine to sew a tube shape with a seam allowance and then turn it right side out.  You can add wire to create the opening.  You can add drawstrings at the ends to enable you to be able to connect multiple fabric tunnels together. 

Hanging Tunnels

You can make a hanging cat tunnel system by connecting fabric tubes or PVC pipes to a wooden frame or a sturdy structure in your home.  This can be a great option if you have limited floor space. 

Scratching Post Tunnel

You can make a scratching post tunnel by attaching a scratching post to a cardboard or fabric tunnel.  This will give your cat a place to scratch and play in one.  

Repurpose an Existing Structure

You can repurpose an existing structure like a bookshelf, a cabinet, or a ladder to create a cat tunnel system by adding some openings or doors.  

Keep in mind that when making a DIY cat tunnel system, you should use safe and non-toxic materials, and ensure that the structure is stable and secure.  Also, check for any loose parts that your cat might swallow. 

Best Cat Tunnel Systems for Rental Property

If you’re renting and can’t affix anything to walls, here are a few cat tunnel systems that may work well for you: 

  • Collapsible or pop-up tunnels:  These are lightweight and easy to set up and take down.  They can be folded or rolled up for storage when not in use.  They can be placed in any area of the house or apartment and moved around.
  • Connectable or modular tunnels:  These are designed to be connected together to create a larger, more complex system.  They too can be rearranged or expanded as needed, but also can be taken apart and stored away easily. 
  • Fabric tunnels:  You can use fabric, such as fleece or canvas, to make your own cat tunnel.  They can be rolled up and stored when not in use and can be placed in any area of your home. 
  • Hanging Tunnels:  You can make a hanging tunnel system by connecting fabric tubes or PVC pipes to a wooden frame or a sturdy structure in your home, like a bookshelf, a cabinet, a ladder, or inside your wardrobe.  This can be another great option if you have limited floor space.

It is also possible to look for cat tunnel systems that are designed to be portable or easy to move around, as well as lightweight so that you can pack them away when you move or store them when not in use. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Cat Tunnel Systems

cat toy tunnel system

How do I set up a cat tunnel system? 

Cat tunnel systems connect together to make larger play areas for your cat. This can be as simple as one tunnel end fitting to a circle hole, to more complex zippered connections so your cat cannot escape. Experiment with different configurations to see what works best for you.

How do I clean a cat tunnel system? 

Most cat tunnel systems can be wiped down with dish soap and water. Mesh tunnels could also be hosed if needed, whereas carpeted or plush tunnel systems may only be spot cleaned. Allow your tunnel system to fully dry before storing to avoid any mold occurring.

How big should a cat tunnel system be?  

Most cat tunnels are at least 10 inches in diameter, allowing a medium sized cat to stand comfortably. You may find your cat prefers to crouch and creep in your tunnel also. If you have a larger cat, look for a tunnel that is 12-13 inches in diameter for a little extra room.

Are cat tunnel systems safe for cats? 

Cat tunnel systems are safe for cats when used as intended. It is a good idea to supervise your cat while they are using the tunnel system, especially if they are young or if they have a history of getting stuck in small spaces. 

Can I use a cat tunnel system outdoors? 

Yes, some cat tunnel systems are specifically designed for outdoor use and are made of weather-resistant materials. It is important to check the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure the cat tunnel system you have purchased is suitable for outdoor use.

How long will a cat tunnel system last? 

The lifespan of a cat tunnel system will depend on the quality of materials used and how often it is used.  A well-made cat tunnel system that is used and cleaned properly should last for several years. 

Can multiple cats use a tunnel system at the same time? 

Yes, multiple cats can use a cat tunnel system at the same time.  Consider the size of the cat tunnel system and the number of cats using it to ensure that it can accommodate them comfortably. 

Enjoy Your Cat Tunnel System

Cat tunnel systems are an excellent investment for any cat owner. They provide cats with a safe and stimulating environment that can enhance their physical and mental health. The tunnels offer opportunities for exercise, exploration, and play, which are essential for a cat’s well-being.

A cat tunnel system can help reduce destructive behaviors caused by boredom or stress, and help with cat anxiety by providing a safe and secure space to retreat when feeling overwhelmed.

By investing in a cat tunnel system, cat owners can give their feline friends an enriching and exciting environment that will keep them happy and healthy for years to come. My cats love their tunnel system and I’m sure yours will too.

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