Homemade cat toys that don’t look like trash

Posted by
GIVE ME BACK MY TWISTIE TIES! Photo by aiwells, used under Creative Commons license.

Melinda needs help with her cat:

Like many cat parents, I have brought home a number of toys for my little guys…only to see them left untouched.

I abandoned purchased toys and now look for items around the house. The cats love twist-ties, the hair elastics, glasses of water, etc., but this usually translates into a display of trash all over the floor.

Any ideas for homemade toys — beyond tying stuff to string — that don’t look like trash?

Oh, I hear you. My cat loves to rip cardboard boxes into little tiny bits and put said bits all over the house. She also LOVES this pom pom I cut off a weird sweater and drags it from room to room. Most other toys can suck it, as far as she’s concerned.

Now. Have you tried the laser toy? Some cats don’t care about them, but some go crazy — and when you’re done you can put it in a drawer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much for kitty when you’re not home.

You could also spend some time making a cardboard cat house or a cardboard toy mouse. Both free, and look more intentional than dropping bottle caps on the floor.

Any other ideas, guys?

Comments on Homemade cat toys that don’t look like trash

  1. My cats don’t like playing with anything BUT trash. No joke. I guess that’s what we get for naming them Oscar and Grungetta Grouch. They like to get high off the nip, but buy them a catnip-scented toy at the pet store and they couldn’t care less about it. 🙂

  2. All of my kitties looove cat nip. I just buy a few sheets of felt, and a tub of bulk catnip and sew little shapes using embroidery floss. I fill them with a cotton ball or two and quite a bit of catnip.
    One of my cats will steal the cap right off of your drink if you’re not careful, so I have a stash of caps.
    I’ll knit little squares out of a chunky yarn, like 3×3 in size, my baby cat it in love with them.
    I know a lot of people are against fur, but cats aren’t! A friend of mine raises meat rabbits and she’ll give me their cured pelts occasionally. I cut the fur in strips. They don’t last very long though- the cats rip them to pieces quite quickly!
    If you have a lot of those mini beanie babies taking up space- cut them open and refill them with cat nip, my three legged cat loves to cuddle and get high with them.
    Baby socks make good wrestling buddies! Stuff ’em with cotton balls and catnip. One of my cats will fight them for hours.

  3. These little pom poms cost two or three bucks at my local craft store and my Clementine goes NUTS over them. They’re too big for her ingest, but big enough for her to look hysterical when she carries them around the house.

    She loves to play fetch with them, and I often wake up with three or four in my bed from Miss Clem trying to play fetch while I’m sleeping.


  4. please be really careful about using a laser pointer. i DO NOT rec it. please read this. http://jacksongalaxy.com/2011/11/28/laser-toys-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-part-3/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JacksonGalaxy+%28Jackson+Galaxy%29

    as for some you make, i like to twist up plastic bags & knot them a bunch until it’s in a thick rope-ish kind of shape. then i play fetch w/ my kitty. i think she likes the knotting b/c it makes it easier to carry

  5. also, you should look up foraging toys (some can be safely made w/ a water bottle). they are amazing. cats will play with them & it really relaxes them. they get to hunt for their food & get some exercise as well.

  6. Why do cats enjoy trash so much? My cat would rather play with a plastic grocery bag or twist tie than any of the fancy toys we get. We have twist tie creatures all over our house.

  7. To appease my sister’s newest she-cat (who hated me and was aggressively trying to appear dominant over me in the pecking order) I cut the ankle off an old tube sock, filled it with catnip, and sewed the top shut. Took me fifteen minutes, and it kept her happy for almost a year.

  8. The best entertainment for your cat is another cat! While you are at work your single cat will get not only bored but lonely. It costs very little to add a second cat, but if you’d like to try it for free, look into fostering. Animal shelters and private organizations will often provide the food and litter so that a cat who needs a temporary home can live with humans instead of in a cage. And kittens! Especially in the spring, when the shelters are flooded with the results of people not spaying their cats. We’ve raised nearly 200 of them in 5 years, taking on a litter at a time and caring for them until they were old enough to be adopted. It is absolutely the most rewarding hobby I can imagine and after the first litter our own two cats got used to it and now groom and play with the motherless little guys all day. They are NEVER bored – in fact we’ve created high-up spaces for them to escape to when the kittens wear them out with constant play.

  9. Also remember that you can turn any home-made toy into a rattling toy (way more fun, somehow). Use a hard container small enough to fit easily into whatever you’re stuffing and put some dry rice or corn inside. I’ve used two soda bottle lids taped together, which can fit into any of the sock- or cloth-based toys mentioned above.

  10. If you can get your hands on some left over building supplies- take em!! My husband does prison security so there are tons of empty wooden and super thick cardboard wire spools laying around. Add some free carpet scraps of Craig’s list, and some sisal from Lowe’s. You can find patterns online for cat towers, or dream up your own. Our cats love all the tubes and circular perches. Much much much cheaper than buying a cat tower! It’s also a really fun project.

  11. My cat loves plastic grocery bags. She’ll sit on them and paw them so they crinkle. She also likes empty toilet paper tubes. I have just resigned myself to the fact that I’ll have “trash” all over my house. I just throw it in a basket when guests come over.

    Anyone else notice that this picture is of a pallas cat? It’s a small wildcat native to Mongolia. I assume this one is in a zoo somewhere. It makes me chuckle because these little guys are feisty, most definatly the opposite of a housecat!

  12. I had a Beanie Baby Octopus that one of my cats went nutso over. She hated all other toys, and all other Beanie Babies, but the octopus was THE SHIT. I would find it every morning in the strangest places! I let her have her ‘baby’ and eventually it was lost for good when she ventured outside with it. =(

    My cats now like hair ties, balled up socks, particularly fancy underwear (one of my cats can open drawers, and does, just to get at the lacey panties hidden within!) and balls of tinfoil and boxes to jump in and out of.

  13. I feel weird admitting this, but my cat loves nothing more than a felted ball made out of her own cast off fur. She’s a british shorthair, so her hair is very wiry and lends itself well to being rolled into a felted ball. Whenever I brush her I collect the fur in a plastic bag, then roll it until it’s very densely packed and throw it to her. And she loves it. I think it may be a texture or a smell thing? But I can say for sure that she doesn’t love any toy nearly as much. I’m not too concerned about choking, because I only give her balls that are too big for her to swallow, and hairballs aren’t an issue for her since I give her regular hairball treatments and IAMS hairball control food.

    …Does anyone else have a weirdo cat who loves to play with their own cast-off fur?

    • If I’m not careful, my Swee’pea will attack and then try to groom balls of her fur from the brush. I know she thinks its great (grossly enough) but cleaning up the vomited hairballs just isn’t worth it. I’ve tried hair ball treatments, but nothing really works. It’s odd what will occupy a cat

  14. My in-laws got a feather toy that made chirping noise when it was rolled, ever since then our cat loves anything with feathers(It also peaked Tristan’s, my cat, interest with birds, the result caused him to knock the screen out of the window on a warm spring day & the little monster go stuck on the roof ). He abused the poor little toy & I haven’t been able to replace it, but I every so often go out hot glue feathers on those cheap little balls you buy for cats, he goes crazy hunter (like he’d know what to do with a bird if he caught one, lol).

  15. My cats like to wander through my studio and grab whatever suits their fancy…most times, glittery pompoms, with a side of pipe cleaners. Maybe I should reconsider my storage options…

  16. My cat discovered all the origami bits I was learning to make. Somehow, the pretty paper cranes and flowers don’t look quite so garbage-like while strewn upon the carpet.

Read more comments

Join the Conversation