Grey kitten with cardboard box toy

Want to make homemade cat toys? Check these fun DIY toys for your cat

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How to build homemade cat toys

By Zoë Monk Content Writer

Updated on the

Cat toys help to keep your cat feeling happy, healthy and stimulated. Making your own cat toys is a great way to ensure they always have a toy to play with.

Cat toys are important for your feline friend as they replicate the hunting experience a cat would have in the wild. Not having the right toys to satisfy their needs could lead your cat to turn your belongings into their toys, leaving them chewed and scratched. Making some simple cat toys for your feline friend is a fun DIY project and a free and sustainable way to give your cat some fun DIY cat toys to keep them busy.

What household items do cats like to play with? 

Chances are you've found your cat playing with something in the corner of the room only to discover it's some random household item they've happened to find on the floor. Cats can turn anything into cat toys, whether their owner minds or not. These household items can make ideal cat toys just as they are:

  • Pencils
  • Paper bags
  • Empty thread spools
  • Empty cardboard box
  • Pinecones
  • Paper towel tube
  • Toilet paper tube
  • Plastic milk jug lids
  • Socks
  • Ping pong balls

What toys do indoor cats need?

Even if they have been indoor cats all their life, they will still have the same instincts as outdoor cats. After all, you can take a cat out of the wild but not the wild out of a cat. Therefore they need plenty of fun and stimulating toys. The best cat toys for indoor felines are ones that will keep them entertained for as long as possible, and they can safely play with without human supervision. For instance, balls (with or without bells inside), feathers want toys, catnip-filled toy mice, cat trees and scratching posts are ideal.

Just make sure that before you leave your indoor cat alone with a new toy, you 'cat-proof' it by removing any small decorations or ribbons that they could chew off and swallow.

How do you make homemade cat toys at home? 

The benefit of making homemade stuff like cat toys is that while you can save money, you can also make the toys just right for your cat. There are lots of homemade toys you can make, for example:

Fishing rod cat toy

Fishing rod and wand toys are great for cats as they can stalk, chase, pounce and catch them. You can use them to play with your cat or let your cat play with them on their own (with supervision). All you need is a stick, string and a fun toy. This could be a ball with a bell in it, feathers, pieces of ribbon or a crumbled piece of paper. Tightly knot the string at one end of the stick and then tie the toy or feather on the other end of the string with a knot. 

Hanging batting toy

You'll need a plastic screw lid from a soft drink bottle and then use a drill at a slow speed to make a hole through the lid. Alternatively, you can use it with a sharp nail and a hammer (just be very careful). Then take a shoelace or some thick string and thread it through the hole in the lid. Tie a tight knot on the other side, making sure that the knot is large enough so your cat can't pull it back through the hole. Then hang the string on a doorknob where your cat can have fun batting it around. If you are making this as a kitten toy, make sure you keep the string short, so it doesn't get wrapped around their neck.


Feline-friendly ragdoll

Cat toys don't come much simpler than this ragdoll toy. Simply get a small scrap of fabric and put a small pinch of catnip inside. Fold the fabric over the catnip to keep it in place. Tie a knot in the middle of the fabric, which keeps the catnip and place and gives your cat something they can grab hold of.

How do you make cat toys out of household items? 

There are many DIY cat toys that you can make entirely for free by reusing household items that you have lying around. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:

Cardboard box kitty hideaway

Cats love hiding in boxes, so close up a medium-sized box and cut a few holes in it. Your cat will enjoy climbing in and out of it.


Toilet roll puzzle toys

Turn an empty toilet roll into a puzzle toy by simply putting a few tasty cat treats inside, folding the edges down inside and leaving it to your cat to work out how to get the treats out.

Pom poms

Make a few DIY pom poms, and your cat will love chasing them around.

Repurpose old clothes

If you have some old unwanted t-shirts, don't throw them away. Instead, cut them into strips and knot some of them together in the middle. Holding a couple of strips in your hand, dangle it near your feline, and they won't be able to resist pouncing. 

Make a sock crinkle toy

When you can't find a sock's matching partner, fill it with crumpled tissue paper, a bell and a little catnip, and once you've tied off a knot in the end, your cat will have a wonderful catnip crinkly toy to play with. You can fill the sock with whatever you think your cat will love.

Foraging toy

Get an empty and clean drinks bottle or butter tub and cut a small hole on one side. Put some cat treats inside, put the lid back on firmly and give it to your cats. As they push the bottle or container around, cat treats will spill out, and they'll enjoy gobbling them up.

How do you make a cat toy?

There are numerous DIY cat toys you can make yourself at home. It doesn't need to be complicated, nor do you need fantastic crafting skills. All you need are a few household items, a bit of creativity, time and patience and soon, your feline friend will have a wonderful selection of homemade cat toys made especially for them.

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