Count Down to Christmas With This DIY Cat Advent Calendar

By: Caylin HarrisUpdated:

Caylin Harris

Count Down to Christmas With This DIY Cat Advent Calendar

Full of fun and inexpensive treats, toys and more, this DIY cat advent calendar craft allows you and your kitty to countdown to Christmas together. And it couldn’t be easier to make!

With just a few materials (like small bags to fill with cat-approved goodies, paint and plywood and hooks you can find in any hardware store) and no crafting experience necessary, you can include your cat in one of your favorite festive traditions


Customize the project however you see fit: Choose your favorite spray paint colors (you can go with classic evergreen colors like I did, or opt for a color palette that’s more suited to your own aesthetic), decorate the treat-toting bags if you so desire and fill each one with the treats and toys you know your cat will love.

Ready to give your cat a daily dose of the Christmas spirit? See how to make your own cat advent calendar below.

What you'll need:



A 24” x 30”piece of ¾” sanded plywood (You can cut an unfinished piece of wood yourself, have one cut at your local hardware store or purchase a pre-cut wooden board at a craft supply store.)

3 colors of spray paint (I used satin although any finish will do.)

Painter's tape

Gold 5/8” C-hooks

Small canvas bag (You can find these in or order them from craft supply stores.)

Paper gift tags

Permanent marker



Scrap paper


Before you get started, just a note about paint: It’s vital that choose pet-safe paint, as some paint formulas contain toxins that can harm pets even after it’s dried. VCA Animal Hospitals recommends looking for latex-based formulas and avoiding those that are oil-based, which may contain harmful solvents that can be inhaled. And always paint in a well-ventilated away from your pet.

While spray paint is a nice, easy option, you can also use acrylic craft paint if you don’t have the proper ventilation to work with spray paint. Just remember that you’ll need quite a bit of craft paint (about three tubes of craft paint per color) to cover your board, so make sure you have extra on hand.


Apply your first paint color.

1 Apply your first paint color.

Run a piece of painter’s tape diagonally across your wooden board to make a right triangle. Be sure to run your thumb across the edge of the tape on the side where you’ll be painting to ensure a tight seal and prevent bleed through. Under the other side of the tape, place a piece of scrap craft or newspaper over the area where you don’t want paint. Make sure all areas where you don’t want to paint are covered before you start spraying and are lightly secured with additional tape if needed. Start with the lightest spray paint color and spray over the sectioned area in smooth, even strokes. Let dry completely.
Write numbers on your gift tags

2 Write numbers on your gift tags.

After the first color has dried, remove the painter’s tape and scrap paper. Apply a new strip of tape to the opposite side of the board, creating another right triangle. Lay scrap paper over the rest of the board, and then paint your new sectioned-off area your second darkest color. Let dry completely.
Add a second paint color.

3 Add a second paint color.

While you’re waiting for the first paint color to dry, write the numbers 1 through 25 on your gift tags using your permanent marker. You can also use stamps, stickers or write the numbers directly on the cloth bags (just be sure to use a marker that won’t feather or bleed through the fabric).
Stuff the bags with cat-approved treats and toys and tie on the tags.

4 Stuff the bags with cat-approved treats and toys and tie on the tags.

Stuff the bags with treats and small toys for your kitty. Remember that you’ll be leaving this cat advent calendar out for all of December, so don’t include anything that’s perishable—and you might want to consider sealing treats into small plastic bags or cling wrap before putting them in the cloth bags. (Curious cats may sniff them out and try to help themselves to treats!)

Here are some fun options to include:

A variety pack of cat toys is a smart way to get a bunch of fun bits to separate out into the bags. Once your bags are filled, use ribbon to tie on the numbered paper tags.

Apply your third paint color.

5 Apply your third paint color.

Remove the painter’s tape and scrap paper from your second painted area. Create a narrow triangle in the middle of the two painted triangles. Place and seal the painter’s tape and cover any area that you don’t want painted with scrap paper. Apply the spray paint and let it dry completely.
Add hooks to the board.

6Add hooks to the board.

Once the paint has dried and you’ve removed the painter’s tape and scrap paper, it’s time to plan out where you’re going to place your cloth bags. Five bags per row works really well for this size board. Measure out the distance between each, but know that how your bags hang can throw off a perfectly symmetrical layout. Mark where you wish to install your hooks with a pencil and then simply push and twist them in—no tools needed!
Hang the goodie-filled bags.

7Hang the goodie-filled bags.

Once you have all of your screws in, hang your bags. You can gently poke the hooks through the cloth or let them hang from the ribbons.
Be sure that wherever you display your cat advent calendar that it’s out of reach of your cat, so they can’t tear into the bags early and it can’t be knocked over. This cat advent calendar is also reusable, so you can refill the bags with goodies every year and make it a new holiday tradition. December is about to be your cat’s favorite month of the year!

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By: Caylin HarrisUpdated: