I have a game on my phone called ‘Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector’ which is an incredibly cute and stress-free game. You put toys out for the kitties, snap pictures of them for your album, and then use the currency to buy more toys and repeat the process.
Here’s a screenshot from my game, where I’ve put out a particular toy: the Cardboard Cafe. Featuring Smokey and Mack!
There’s a bunch of other cardboard toys that you can put out but this one can hold a lot of kitties, up to three!
I own some small plushies of the cats from the game, and I always thought it would be cool to own a toy too. Well, as the proud owner of a cat for about three months now (I adopted him!), why couldn’t I build the toy myself? It’s just cardboard, how hard could it be?
Actually it is surprisingly difficult, especially for someone who isn’t into cardboard DIY. My investigations led me to this reddit post on r/nekoatsume. There is an imgur album with rough instructions that I followed in the thread comments. I did a rough taping of parts but my box is a lot smaller than the linked example – I only wanted to build the cafe out of cardboard that I got from recent deliveries and not have to buy it. I also really only roughly measured the roof, so it doesn’t line up properly and needed taping down.
On a sunny day or two, I took all of my parts out to the garden and proceeded to paint over all the surfaces. I used any spare large cardboard bits as layers on my patio area to stop my directly painting on the floor, but I still think I missed some bits, even including myself!
I’m not the cleanest and/or neatest painter, but it was super fun to paint, almost therapeutic. I had a large brush for the main colours, and two smaller brushes to add the little lines and writing! I didn’t use any stencils or line drawings, so I really did a lot of guesswork and improvisation.
I taped it all together with clear packing tape pretty much everywhere. You can kind of see it, but it needed to be sturdy and the sticky parts couldn’t be exposed.
So unfortunately I did make a grave error with my choice of box – it really was too small for the poor cat! Especially with that counter segment at the front. But I didn’t want to throw away my hard work either. Instead I laid a cat blanket out in front of the cafe for the cat to sit down on, and I plan on using it as a toy storage of sorts. I do always lose the little balls and foil everywhere, so I can just put them away after a play session!
Bonus picture: my cat Ozzy! He is a 12-year-old Birman. He liked brushing his face up on the cafe when I was putting it together but as you can clearly see, he is too big for the cafe as he is a flonker. But at least he likes visiting it!
Bonus bonus picture: I put the food bowls on the counter instead so now he’s really fine-dining!
– intact cardboard box
– acrylic paints (forest green, sandy yellow, white, black)
– clear packing tape
– assorted paintbrushes (varying sizes needed)