Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

12 DIY Cat Enrichment Ideas to Try Today (With Pictures)

Genevieve Dugal

By Genevieve Dugal

Cat playing toy

Cats need mental and physical stimulation to stay fit and healthy. If your kitty is confined between four walls all day, he absolutely needs stimulation, lest he become lazy, depressed, and chubby. This is where enrichment comes into play.

Alas, cat enrichment items sold at pet stores often cost a fortune. The solution? Make a DIY project to entertain and stimulate your beloved feline. Many cat enrichment plans are available online, ranging from easy to slightly more complex. Some require tons of tools and others just a container of margarine and a knife. But no matter what you’re looking for or your level of DIY experience, there’s a plan for you (and your cat!).

Here are the DIY projects that caught our attention and that will undoubtedly awaken the mischievous side of your kitten.


The 12 DIY Cat Enrichment Ideas

DIY Cat Food Enrichment

Make mealtime fun, engaging, and interactive: challenge brilliantly met thanks to these original and extremely simple cat feeders. Make every meal an enrichment opportunity for your fierce panther!

1. Grass Food Puzzle by Chirpy Cats

DIY Fun Cat Food Puzzle
Image Credit: Chirpy Cats
Materials: Cat grass seeds, empty egg carton, acrylic paints, and brushes, grow mats, tiny rocks, bread ties, cat toys
Tools: Utility knife, non-toxic glue
Difficulty Level: Beginner

This cat puzzle enrichment is a genius idea. By adding cat grass to this pretty cat feeder, you ensure that your cat can graze on all the grass he needs to eliminate nasty hairballs more easily!

Plus, you probably already have all the necessary materials in your kitchen. You can even add wine bottle corks and other small accessories to make this food puzzle even more entertaining for your cat.

2. Reach Feeder by ASPCA

Feline DIY Enrichment
Image Credit: ASPCA
Materials: 3–4 toilet paper rolls, soda box, cat food or treats
Tools: Sharp knife, pencil or pen
Difficulty Level: Beginner

Some cats love to eat, but all cats love to hunt. So why not enrich your cat’s life with this reach feeder that requires it to “hunt” its food? It’s not the same as food that moves, but your cat will have to figure out exactly where its food is and how to get it out, so it should help satisfy that hunting instinct!

It’s simple to make, too. You only have to cut some holes in a soda box, slide the toilet paper rolls in, and drop food or treats in. Give it to the cat and watch your furry friend enjoy the hunt!hepper-cat-paw-divider

DIY Environmental Cat Enrichment Ideas

By creating an environmental enrichment project, you are giving your feline the opportunity to have fun in complete safety. It’s all about creating a fun and safe place for your cat, filled with stimulating toys that will help chase away his boredom. The possibilities are endless!

Let your creativity run free or get inspired by one of the DIYs presented below.

3. Catnip Kicker Toy by Nifty Thrifty DIYer

DIY Cat Toy
Image Credit: Nifty Thrifty DIYer
Materials: Fabric of your choice, catnip, stuffing
Tools: Scissors, tape measure, sewing machine
Difficulty Level: Medium

Make a DIY cat toy for your precious fur baby with Nifty Thrifty DIYer‘s tutorial. This entertaining kicker toy is pretty easy to make, as long as you have a sewing machine handy.

All you have to do is choose a fabric you like, sew the edges and fill it with cotton wool or other stuffing material. Then, add some catnip to it and watch your cat go crazy biting his mini pillow and hitting it with his tiny hind paws!

4. Epic DIY Cat Castle by Cuteness

DIY Cat Castle
Image Credit: Cuteness
Materials: 5 large boxes, 2 medium square boxes, acrylic craft paint, dowels, felt, twine, cat drinking fountain, small plant pots, cat grass
Tools: Box cutter, duct tape, scissors, hot glue gun, paintbrush, black permanent marker,
Difficulty Level: Advanced

Forget boring cardboard boxes: your kitties deserve royal treatment! Build an epic castle for your majestic felines using this awesome DIY project. This project is a bit more ambitious than the others, but the result will be worth it. It’s ideal if you have multiple cats that like to have some intimacy in their stronghold while still having plenty of room to play king and queen!

5. Giant Maze Labyrinth by EverXFun

Materials: Cardboard
Tools: Box cutter
Difficulty Level: Advanced

This giant labyrinth for cats and kittens is breathtaking! And yet relatively easy to make, provided you have patience, time, and imagination! You will first need to draw the maze on paper or take inspiration from images found on the internet.

Then, all you have to do is cut cardboard pieces to the desired height and length and lay them out on a flat surface. You can place treats all over the maze, which will entice your cats to venture into it.

6. Cat Play Gym by Charleston Crafted

DIY Cat Play Gym
Image Credit: Charleston Crafted
Materials: 8 feet of 1×2 wood, drill bit, dowel, white rope, ribbons of choice
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty Level: Medium

Does your cat spend all his time in your house without having access to a garden to stretch his paws? The time has come to build him his own private gym! And no need to buy him dumbbells: simple multicolored ribbons, wood, rope, and a little know-how, and voila!

Plus, this mini-gym easily folds flat, so it can be stored in a closet when your cat is done exercising. However, for best results, it would be best to leave it in sight of your athletic feline at all times!

7. Cat Grass Pond by Chirpy Cats

DIY Unique and Simple Cat Grass Pond Using Water Beads
Image Credit: Chirpy Cats
Materials: Colorful water beads, cat grass seeds, small fishbowl, large glass mixing bowl, grow mats (optional), river stones or crystals (optional), interactive robot fish, stand
Tools: None
Difficulty Level: Beginner

This enrichment plan is truly adorable and guaranteed to keep your cat entertained for hours! Best of all, it’s effortless to put together (you don’t even need tools!). Plus, some materials are optional, making creating this cat grass pond even easier.

If your favorite feline enjoys drinking water out of bowls it shouldn’t or watching fish go by, it will love this cat grass pond. The biggest caveat with this is that you need to set the bowl up somewhere your cat won’t be able to knock it over (you might also want to use plastic bowls if this being knocked over is a possibility). There’s also the potential for the area around this one to get wet if your pet is big on sticking its paws in water and splashing around, so be aware of that, too.

8. DIY Cat Tunnel by Cats Ace

DIY Cat Tunnel From Paper Bags
Image Credit: Cats Ace
Materials: Paper shopping bags, non-toxic glue
Tools: Marker, ruler, scissors
Difficulty Level: Beginner

Felines love getting cozy in tunnels but buying tunnels can be expensive. Not to worry, you can simply make one for your cat with nothing but a few paper shopping bags! These kitty tunnels are surprisingly easy to assemble and only require a little work.

The main thing with this DIY enrichment is that you use non-toxic glue; otherwise, your cat could become ill! And if you don’t want your pet to have plain, boring tunnels, you could paint on the outside of these to decorate them (again with non-toxic paint). Decorated or not, these tunnels are sure to keep your cat entertained!

9. DIY Cat Running Wheel by Cat Toy Lady

Materials: Foam poster board, spray glue, wrapping paper, caster wheels, door mat, wood
Tools: Low-temp glue gun, white duct tape, tape measure, ruler, X-acto knife or scissors, rolling pin, ¾” screws, saw
Difficulty Level: Expert

If you’re worried about your cat getting enough exercise, this could be the perfect enrichment plan for you! It is a bit complicated to make, though, and it definitely takes time to create. The good news is that there’s a video to follow, and this wheel only costs about $35!

You might not think something made from foam poster board would hold up or be steady enough for your pet to run on, but this wheel is. Also, it’s fairly large (about 4 feet), so you’ll need to have a space cleared out to set it in once it’s finished. It looks pretty awesome once it’s done, though, and your cat should enjoy it, so it’s totally worth it!

10. DIY Soda Box by Cuteness

DIY Soda Box Cat Toy
Image Credit: cuteness
Materials: Soda box, bamboo skewers, crafting feathers, duct tape, 2 pipe cleaners, paper towel tube
Tools: X-acto knife, scissors, glue (or hot glue gun)
Difficulty Level: Beginner

This fun toy will require you to play with your cat, so you’ll be strengthening your bond, not just providing enrichment. Essentially, it’s just whack-a-mole for kitty, which means it’s super easy to set up!

You just need a few materials, most of them of the crafty variety. For the soda box, you’ll be cutting some holes out on top to stick homemade toys on sticks through. This fun enrichment should take a half hour or less to do, but it’s something your pet will love!

11. Sensory Box by KittycatGo

DIY Indoor Cat Enrichment Ideas
Image Credit: kittycatgo.com
Materials: Cardboard box, yard debris (cat-safe only!)
Tools: None
Difficulty Level: Beginner

Here’s an incredibly easy way to keep the kitty entertained while allowing it a taste of the outdoors. With this sensory box, your cat will have a blast experiencing new smells, textures, and more. Plus, you can add some treats to the mix to make a foraging box!

All that’s required is a cardboard box and cat-safe yard debris—dried pine straws, dried leaves, acorns, pebbles, etc. That’s it. Put the debris in the box, stick this toy in an easy-to-clean space (in case your cat starts dragging things out of the box), and watch your cat go at it!

12. Mega Cat Puzzle Toy by Cat Lessons

Materials: ~150 empty toilet paper and/or paper towel tubes, glue, basket, clothespins, treats or food
Tools: None
Difficulty Level: Beginner

Keep your favorite feline thinking on its feet with this mega cat puzzle toy! Not only is it an enclosed space perfect for kitties to hang out in, but it also works as a puzzle feeder. And making it is a breeze.

You’ll have to begin by saving all your empty toilet paper or paper towel tubes, so it might be a while before you can get around to putting this together. But once you’ve collected enough empty tubes, you’re ready to go! Now all you need is some glue, clothespins, and some spare time (because this is an undertaking!). Once finished, though, you’ll have a fabulous cat-approved toy to enrich your pet’s life.



As you know, domestic cats sometimes have little daily stimulation. Environmental enrichment provides beneficial physical and intellectual stimulation for all cats and can also help improve your relationship with your pet, as well as between cats in the same family.

All the more reason to try a DIY cat enrichment project today!

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Onishchenko Natalya, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database