By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 9 November 2011)
Cat toys don’t need to be elaborate or expensive, as cats are easily pleased. Here are a number of cat craft ideas, as well as free patterns and instructions for some more unique kitty toys.
Catnip is safe and non-addictive for cats, and it makes a great cat toy stuffer. Making catnip creatures is easy. Fabric can be purchased or cut from old discarded clothing. Two squares sewn together and stuffed with catnip make a soft pillow toy that a cat can play with for hours.
For those who want to make something more creative, here are some free patterns for adorable felt toy critters, including a fish, a bird, and a mouse. If using these patterns, making the eyes from felt rather than glass beads is recommended for safety.
Knitted Toys for Cats
Much like fabric catnip toys, the possibilities for knit toys are limited only by the time and imagination of their creators. Knitted cat toys can be two knit squares sewn together to make a pillow, two semicircles to form a mouse, two round shapes to form a ball, or anything else that the knitter can make. For more accomplished knitters, Julie Falatko provides instructions on how to make unique knitted toys for cats that are shaped like egg rolls and dim sum.
Fishing Rods for Cats
Kitty fishing rods are easy to make, requiring only a rod with a string that has some sort of cat toy tied to the end. The “lure” can be anything from a catnip toy to a pompom to a feather.
Fishing rods are interactive toys and should only be used when the owner is present. A cat playing with a fishing rod alone may get tangled up in the string, which could present a strangling hazard.
Making Cat Toys Using Household Junk
Many of the best cat toys are free. A string pulled by an owner, a crumpled foil wrapper, a paper bag, a cardboard box, or a plastic ping pong ball can provide hours of enjoyment. Stuffing an old sock with catnip and sewing it up will make a cat just as happy as the most expensive store-bought toy.
Cat Toy Safety
When purchasing or making cat toys, there are a few safety requirements to keep in mind:
- Cat toys shouldn’t have small pieces that can come off, as the cat may choke on them or swallow them and suffer intestinal blockage as a result.
- Cats should never be allowed to play with plastic bags, as they may suffocate or get their heads caught in the handles and panic.
- Cat toys should not have anything sharp such as bits of metal inside them or on their surfaces.
- Cats should not be allowed to play with rubber bands, and these should not be used in cat toy crafts.
- If giving cats crumpled food wrappers, make sure that they have no traces of foods that are toxic to cats, such as chocolate or onion powder.
- Cats should be supervised when playing with toys that have dangling pieces of string, yarn, or ribbon.
More Gifts for Cats
See How to Make Cat Trees, Beds, and Scratch Posts for information on money-saving projects for cats.