Homemade Toys for Cats

Homemade Toys for Cats

Here are some expert tips for homemade toy ideas that'll bring out your pet's pounce.

By: Natalia Macrynikola

If you have ever bought a fancy cat toy only to find your pet later playing with the packaging instead of the toy, you’re not alone. Baffled cat owners often wonder what went wrong. Some even take it personally. Your independent-minded kitty’s choice of diversion, though, is more a result of its genetics than its feelings towards you.

Because your cat is a predatory animal by nature, a simple object that engages all of its instincts will attract its attention the most. Homemade toys often satisfy kitty the most. To better understand their benefits, we consulted with expert Holly Tse, author of “ Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving the Planet One Cat at a Time.”

Along with her insights, she offered useful ideas to help you create your cat’s next favourite toy — inexpensively and painlessly.

Consider the Benefits
Homemade toys not only benefit your cat, but they may also enhance your own lifestyle. Tse shares her top two reasons that homemade often trumps store-bought when it comes to cat toys.

  • You reduce your environmental impact: “Some of the best homemade toys can be made by reusing or recycling items you already have around the house,” Tse says. By putting your “garbage” to good use, you divert usable objects away from landfills and direct them instead toward your eager kitty — a plus in our eco-conscious times.
  • It’s fun and safe for you and your cat: Making homemade cat toys is fun and creative, and it gives you the opportunity to bond more closely with your cat, Tse says. When it comes to safety, there won’t be any scares about lead paint in toys. “If you buy a toy made overseas, you don’t know what materials went into the manufacturing process,” explains Tse. “However, if you make a toy out of an old gym sock, then it’s really up to you to determine how toxic it is.”

Try It Yourself
Ready to try your hand at creating your household’s next most popular cat toy? Here are four creative ideas from Tse’s book:

Lazy Wrestle Sausage
(Prep time: 2 minutes)

What You’ll Need
A sock
A plastic grocery bag
15 grams (1 tablespoon) organic catnip
A sturdy shoelace


  1. Place catnip in the sock
  2. Stuff sock with the grocery bag loosely, so as to retain flexibility
  3. Tie the shoelace around the open end of the sock, about 2 inches from end
  4. Play a game of tug-of-war!

Dream Catcher
(Prep time: less than one minute)

What You’ll Need
Bright sunshine


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  1. Hold the CD in the natural light so that it casts reflections throughout the room
  2. Try angling reflection so your cat can chase the light beam along the floor and walls

3. Polar Ribbon
(Prep time: 5 minutes)

What You’ll Need
Old polar fleece jacket or top
One chopstick
One thick rubber band (like the ones used for broccoli)


  1. Cut 2.5-centimetre (1-inch) wide lengthwise strip from the polar fleece top.
  2. Continue cutting strips until they total 130-180 centimetres (50-70 inches) in length.
  3. Tie strips together with double knots to form a very long ribbon
  4. Tie a knot at one end of the ribbon, and tie the other end of the ribbon around the elastic band
  5. Wrap the band around the wide end of the chopstick until secure
  6. Swirl ribbon above your cat’s head or dangle it above its belly

4. Sweep Around
(Prep time: 2 minutes)

What You’ll Need
A toilet paper roll


  1. Cut one end of the toilet paper roll to make parallel lengthwise strips, about 6 centimetres (2.5 inches) long and 1 centimetre (0.3 inches) wide each
  2. Cut all the way around the roll to form the bristle end of the broom
  3. Press the toilet paper roll flat, then fold it in half lengthwise
  4. Fold again
  5. Fluff up the sweeper bristles so that it fans out like a broom
  6. Sweep Around is now ready to sweep kitty off its feet!

Tse reminds that you should always try to supervise your cat when it is playing with toys, homemade or otherwise. Store the toys in an attractive, covered basket, or other container, until ready for use. As a final word of advice, Tse says, “Avoid items that your cat may want to eat or that have the potential to cause injury.” In fact, she concludes, skipping anything you even have a doubt about.

Natalia is a group editor at Studio One Networks, which publishes The Daily Cat.

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