10 Homemade Toys to Keep Your Cat Happy
Oct. 29 is National Cat Day, and there may be no better way to celebrate than by giving a new, homemade toy to a favorite feline. Hand-crafted toys are a delight for not only cats, but owners, too -- the activity allows cat parents time to relax. Cat toys can be endearingly cute and surprisingly simple to make at home. Try these 10 ideas for making DIY cat toys.
First, a word of caution: Cats will bite and claw at any homemade cat toy -- that is the point, after all -- so think twice about materials. Small, plastic pieces such as buttons or plastic eyes can be ripped off and swallowed, posing a potential hazard. Foam and stuffing can also lead to choking, so keep an eye on the toys and replace or repair them when necessary.
This plaything may be one of the simplest toys to make. Split a walnut in half and clean it out. Put a bell inside, and glue the walnut back together with non-toxic glue to turn it into a ball. Roll it on the floor, and watch the cat go nuts.
This DIY cat toy has the added bonus of using a sock that is missing its partner. A small sock works best for this toy. Put a bell or some catnip into the sock and tie it closed with a knot. This toy is so simple to make there will be plenty of time to make another toy on this list.
The stuffed mouse, a classic homemade cat toy, is certainly a more advanced project than tying a sock. A sewing machine makes it easier, but all you really need is a scrap of relatively durable fabric about 6 inches square, sewing scissors, yarn or ribbon for the tail, cotton batting, and a needle and thread. A variety of designs with instructions can be found online on sites such as Martha Stewart.
Once the art of basic mice is mastered, there are all sorts of ways to make them more interesting. If the cat likes playing with noisy toys, attach a bell to the end of the tail or put it inside the mouse. Catnip stuffed inside can also lead to all sorts of fun.
If the homemade "mouse" keeps getting lost, or being involved in playtime is a priority, attach the tail of the mouse to the end of a stick.
To make a plaything that lasts, invest in some construction line and a wooden dowel as well as, yes, a feather boa. You'll also need to break out a few tools, such as a drill, but the result will be tough enough to outlast your cat's most rambunctious moments. The lifestyle site Dream a Little Bigger has step-by-step instructions on how to make a feather dangler your cat won't be able to resist.
The allure of food can add some excitement to kitty playtime. Make a toy that holds dry food and occasionally drops a piece while it is used, and expect countless hours of play to follow. Just about any ball or closable cylinder will do, as long as the cat cannot claw or bite into it. Drill several holes into the container that are slightly larger than the food pieces, and sand the holes to eliminate any dangerous edges. Fill the toy with food, close it, and let it roll.
No time to put together a homemade cat toy for the furry boss of the house? After receiving a package, leave the empty cardboard box out for a few days and let your pet investigate it. Empty paper bags can provide similar thrills. The downside is the trash lying around the house.
Some cats may enjoy getting dressed up, but be sure that some will hate it. Cat bow ties sell for as much as $25 on Etsy, but making one at home is an easy DIY project -- with or without a sewing machine. For a Pudge the Cat video tutorial, the only materials are cloth, scissors, ribbon, thread and needle (or fabric glue), and Velcro.