Want to spoil your cat with a plethora of toys but don’t wanna spend much in doing so? Well, you’re not alone! What a lot of new and old cat owners don’t realize is that those $10 packs of assorted cat toys can be easily made with materials you probably already have at home. It’s so much cheaper and sustainable as most of your supplies are recyclable material. And best of all, as much as we humans adore homemade gifts, so will your cat!
“But does my cat even need toys?” Well, that depends on your cat. Some have lifestyles that simply don’t allow them to play as often, while others love jumping from wall to wall. My own, old cat sleeps most of the day but when she does wake up, she absolutely loves play time! Overall, there are many benefits of having cat toys readily available. Having your cat chase toys around stimulates a hunting experience, builds muscle and circulation in your cat, and bonds you closer to them!
Making DIY cat toys is a fun project either with kids or just by yourself (it’s an overall relaxing and creative activity). Accidentally got carried away and made too much toys? No problem! Cat shelters and adoption centers near you are likely to accept donations (just make sure, they’re newly made and not already carrying your own cat’s scent). Additionally, if you’re meeting a cat for the first time whether you’re a hired cat sitter or you’re looking to adopt a cat, having homemade toys serves as a good peace offering and can help with first encounters. Playing with a new cat is the perfect way to break the ice and start getting to know one another. When first getting to know your cat, it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what they prefer. These DIY toys are great for both early cat athletes and cat veterans!
So what’re you waiting for? Join me as we make the best and easiest DIY cat toys for our kitties!
Corkscrew Pipe Cleaner
Materials: pipe cleaner, pen/pencil/highlighter (yup, that’s it!)
The first and easiest cat toy is a corkscrewed pipe cleaner. Cats love pipe cleaners since they have a fun texture, are bendy, and can’t break. This toy is great for chasing around and can keep your cat occupied for hours!
1. Take your pipe cleaner and simply spiral it around your pen. Try not to wrap it too tight though!
2. Then, slide the pipe cleaner off the pen while keeping its corkscrew shape.
3. Remember to make small folds on the ends of the pipe cleaner to keep your cat safe from the sharp ends.
And you’re done! Super easy, super quick, and takes literally seconds to make. You can make a little or a lot in a rainbow of colors. If you make any of these toys, this is an easy must!
Spider Toilet Paper Roll
Materials: toilet paper roll, scissors
I’m sure we all know that cats are natural hunters and predators, always trying to eat that spider living in the corner of your house. When cats say “don’t bug me”, they mean it! This toy mimics the creepy, crawling legs of bugs that cats can’t help but play with. The size of the toilet paper roll is perfect for smaller kitties! No spiders were harmed in the making of this toy!
1. Take your toilet paper roll and start cutting 1 to 1 ½ inch strips along the edge. Don’t worry about it being perfect! (Your cat might end up tearing it apart anyway)
2. Then fold the strips outward to create that spidey-leg effect.
3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 on the other end and you’re finished!
We always mindlessly throw away our toilet paper rolls, so this is a sustainable and wasteless toy. To get a playful kick outta them, I sometimes loop the roll on their tails!
Materials: fleece or any scrap of fabric (one or several colors), scissors
Oh, you thought we were done with the spider references? (Clearly, I need to do more research on bugs). Pretty much anything with dangly strips constitutes as something your cats would love to chase around. This spider takes a little more time but it’s definitely worth it.
1. Take your fleece and cut a long, thin strip of it. All the measurements depend on how big you want to make it but for reference, I made mine about 13 inches.
2. Take the two ends of your strip and knot them together to make a nice, tight hairband. Set that aside for now.
3. Start cutting 10-15 slightly smaller strips of fabric. These will be the “legs” of our spider.
4. Take the first fabric you made and start tying the legs around the ring. You can always cut more strips if you need more “legs” to make your spider extra creepy.
Ta-da! A little spidey friend for your little cat.
Materials: wooden chopstick, spare shoelace or drawstring, felt, hole puncher or scissors
Again, cats just love to hunt! But the creepy, crawly bugs aren’t the only ones on a cat’s radar but also flying critters too. While many cat owners opt for the classic laser pointer, your cat might prefer teasers better because of the satisfaction they get from physically catching it. Not to mention, it’s very entertaining to watch your cat fly around, trying to catch it as if it’s a circus show. With this DIY, you don’t even need any fancy bells or toy mice, just some things you probably already have!
1. Start by taking your felt and cutting up jagged shapes, about the size of your palm. For mine, I did mostly triangle shapes. Keep cutting until you have a nice little stack of felt!
2. A hole puncher is more ideal for this next step, but I find that a scissors works just as well. In theory, we want a small hole in the middle of each piece of felt. To do this with scissors, take your felt, fold it in half, and cut out a hole as shown. Be mindful to keep this hole real tiny, just wide enough to fit your string through (you’ll see how I learned that the hard way)!
3. Take one end of your shoelace or drawstring and make a thick knot at the end. This will act as our stopper to keep the felt from coming off the string (I ended up doing a quadruple knot since my holes on my felt were a tad big). Then, loop all your felt through the lace and push it towards the knot.
4. Lastly, take your chopstick and tie the other end of the lace around it.
And there ya go! You just made a new cat teaser, that usually costs $2-$10, for free! Personally, I believe this toy is perfect for those meeting cats for the first time, such as new owners or in home cat sitters, since cats are immediately drawn to the waving, teasing motions of the toy and it allows some respectful distance between you and the cat. I, myself, tried this on my 1 year old kitty and he goes crazy for it! This is definitely a fan-favorite of mine.
Materials: old sock, shredded paper/newspaper, catnip (optional), markers (optional)
I take it back, this one might actually be my fan-favorite because it’s utterly adorable! We all know cats love to eat fish (although, it’s admittingly weird since most cats also hate water). But say you want to give your cat some quality fish without the potent, fishy smell. This DIY fish toy for cats is the perfect substitute.
1. Take an old sock (make sure it’s at least clean!) and fill it about ⅔ full with shredded paper. You can also optionally add in a sprinkle of catnip too!
2. Once the sock is filled to your liking, seal the sock by making a knot.
3. An optional step, but highly recommended for the full effect, is to draw on a little fish design with markers. Be fun and get creative with this!
Isn’t it adorable? It’s very quick to make, so what’s stopping us from making a whole school of fish for our cats?
Materials: cardboard box, small toys/balls or small treats, pen/pencil/markers, boxcutter (this one will definitely need some parental supervision)
Have you ever seen those cute, interactive puzzles for cats online? They’re used to keep your kitty stimulated and alert, and encourages your cat to overall explore! However, they range from $15-$20! Let’s try making one of these ourselves!
1. Take your cardboard box, and make sure it’s sealed close.
2. Then with a pen or pencil, draw different sized circles around the top and sides of the box. 3. With a boxcutter carve out the circles using the guidelines you made. (I used scissors since my boxcutter disappeared on me, but do as I say not as I do!)
3. With a boxcutter carve out the circles using the guidelines you made. (I used scissors since my boxcutter disappeared on me, but do as I say not as I do!)
4. Optionally, you can take your markers and decorate the box. You can make it nice and pretty for your kitty!
5. Finally, add some little toys (perhaps the ones we made earlier) or even treats inside the box.
Now sit back and watch your cat’s curiosity speak for itself. There’s nothing more satisfying and fulfilling than seeing your cat get the toys and treats out all on their own!
It is so easy to jump the river and buy all the cat toys available for your cat. New owners and cat sitters alike should avoid doing this from overwhelming your cat. These toys are not only easy and cheap to make, but also are great starters. Just like us, cats need daily exercise. Unlike us, cats can’t decide to go on a jog or play a workout video whenever they want. They need us and they need toys for a healthy lifestyle. In other words, cat toys should be essential to cat care. So while you’re at it, why not be diligent and generous by making these DIY cat toys of your own? Again, all cats’ needs vary. But know that 10-15 minutes of playtime can go a long way for your cat!
*All photos are original photos by Lia.