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14 Entertaining DIY Cat Toys to Keep Them Busy

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

cat playing with its toy

If you love making things and are a cat owner, you can save money by making your own cat toys. They also make fantastic gifts for cat-owning friends and family!

Cats are good at keeping themselves busy, but they still require toys, or they might just sleep all day. Playing with your cat not only keeps them mentally sharp but also gives them a good workout and helps form a bond between you.

If you’re trying to save money or just love DIY projects, here are 15 projects for you to try out. There are links to the plans and basic information about what materials you’ll need and how challenging the project is

Whatever kind of cat toy you’re looking to make, we just might have the right project for you.

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The 14 DIY Cat Toys to Keep Them Busy

1. Instructables DIY Eco-Friendly Cardboard Ball

DIY Eco Friendly Cardboard Ball for Cat
Image Credit: instructables
Materials: 2mm-thick cardboard, graph paper (or any paper)
Tools: Glue, scissors, compass
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This cardboard ball is relatively easy to make, but it does take time and precision. You can use graph paper to draw out the template, but any paper will do if you don’t have any.

It’s just a matter of using a compass to draw circles and then dividing each layer, which should be the thickness of the cardboard. Then, measure the length radius of each circle.

Once you have the math part figured out, glue each layer together, and you should end up with a ball! Cats also like to scratch cardboard, so this ball can simultaneously act as a toy and a scratching opportunity for your cat.

2. No-Sew Fleece Cat Toy by Sensibly Sara

DIY No-Sew Cat Toys for Mordu
Image Credit: sensiblysara
Materials: Cotton string, fleece (2” wide and 1 foot long)
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty Level: Easy

If you’re not much of a sewer, this fleece cat toy might be just the thing for you. Cut the fleece to size, fold it in half, and then snip a few slits along the length. Add in the string and roll up the fleece, and you will have yourself a soft cat ball.

Just make sure the string that you choose is strong enough to withstand enthusiastic cat play! You can also rub catnip on it to make it more enticing.

3. DIY Cat Wand from Irresistible Pets

DIY Cat Wand1
Image Credit: irresistiblepets
Materials: One wooden dowel, three bells, various fabric scraps, one roll of baker’s twine
Tools: Scissors, fabric glue
Difficulty Level: Easy

Every cat owner should have a cat wand. This DIY cat wand is easy to make, and your cat is sure to enjoy it! A few of the materials listed can be switched out with other items that you might already have lying around the home.

The instructions include wrapping the dowel in baker’s twine and then adding a bunch of scrap material (ribbons, shoelaces, etc.) and jingle bells at the end of the twine. Just be sure to glue the twine well and tie the scraps securely (maybe glue these too).

4. DIY Catnip Kicking Toy from Feathers in the Woods

Make your own cat toy
Image Credit: feathersinthewoods
Materials: Medium-weight cotton fabric or flannel, Polyfil, catnip
Tools: Needle and thread or sewing machine
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Cats love to bunny kick, and most love catnip, so put those two loves together, and you have yourself a catnip kicker toy. This project can be sewn by hand, though it would be easier with a sewing machine.

The fun bit is that you can choose any fabric that you want. The instructions are for holiday kickers, but you can choose just about anything! You’ll also want to invest in good catnip. If you can smell it, your cat sure will; it’s even better if you grow your own! Once it’s complete, you can watch your adorable cat hug and kick their new toy!

5. Massiel Dominguez’s DIY Enrichment Toy

DIY Cat Enrichment Toy
Image Credit: massieldominguez
Materials: Cardboard box, toilet paper rolls, rope
Tools: Glue gun, tape
Difficulty Level: Easy

This cat enrichment toy is a great way to make your cat work to get treats. It’s also a great option for a cat that’s bored when you might not have time to entertain them. The size of the box depends on how many toilet paper rolls you’ve saved up. This one is easy to put together and doesn’t take that many supplies.

6. Self-Groomer for Cats from The Owner Builder Network

Materials: 12” x 12” wooden base, 14” x 14” fabric, 1” x 1” wooden cube, two new toilet brushes
Tools: Staple gun, wire cutters, drill, glue
Difficulty Level: Moderate to difficult

There are all kinds of self-groomers on the market, but this one can definitely save you money. If you already have the tools and know how to use them, this project will be easy, but it might be more of a challenge for others.

Once it is completed, your cat will have an amazing system that they can rub against, which can feel like a nice scratching session.

7. Corrugated Cardboard Cat Scratcher from Crafting a Green World

How to Make a Corrugated Cardboard Cat Scratcher
Image Credit: craftingagreenworld
Materials: Corrugated cardboard
Tools: Cutting mat, meter stick, X-acto knife, hot glue or packing tape
Difficulty Level: Easy

This corrugated cardboard cat scratcher is a fantastic option. It’s super easy to make, but ensure that you use corrugated cardboard, like from moving or delivery boxes. Cut strips of cardboard, roll them up, and secure them with glue or tape, and you’ve got an excellent cat scratcher.

You can make it as big or as small as you want, so not only can you save money, but you can also customize it for your cat.

8. Every Crafts Wreath Frame Cat Toy

Materials: Two 14” wire wreath frames, one pack of jingle bell balls, zip ties
Tools: Scissors or something to cut the zip ties
Difficulty Level: Easy

This wreath frame cat toy is as easy as it gets! If your cat enjoys batting a ball around on a circular track, this is an easy version for you to make. Place the two wreaths on top of each other after placing one or more jingle balls inside. Use the zip ties to tie it together, and it’s done!

If you can get your supplies at the dollar store, this will be an inexpensive new toy for your cat.

9. Summer’s Fabulous Cat Life Catnip Knots

How to Make Nip Knots, With Supervision
Image Credit: sparklecat
Materials: Fleece material, fresh catnip
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty Level: Easy

Catnip knots enable you to give your cat catnip without making a mess in your home. Cut a rectangle of fleece about 4” x 7”, and put fresh catnip near one of the edges in the middle. Then, roll it up and tie a knot, which will contain the catnip, and that’s it! This project is so easy and inexpensive, you’ll have catnip knots everywhere!

10. PopSugar’s Yarn Pom-poms

DIY Cat Toys That Will Make Your Kitty Happy
Image Credit: popsugar
Materials: String
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty Level: Easy

This is a super easy project. Yarn pom-poms give your cat two things that they enjoy in one toy: yarn and a ball. You can use cotton or wool string, and it’s just a matter of wrapping it around your fingers several times, tying it off, cutting the ends, and that’s it. It’s simple and inexpensive!

11. Cork Cat Toy from The Links Site

Cheap and Easy Cat Toys
Image Credit: thelinkssite
Materials: Wine corks, wool
Tools: Large nail, hammer, pliers, darning needle
Difficulty Level: Easy

For this cork toy, you just need to make a hole through the cork from top to bottom and thread wool through. You can create a tassel at the end if you prefer; leave a long strand of wool at the other end so you can dangle it for extra adorable cat play.

Of course, you can just give your cat a cork without all the holes and wool. They’ll play with almost anything!

12. DIY Refillable Catnip Toys by Finding Our Frugal

DIY Refillable Catnip Toys
Image Credit: findingourfrugal.wordpress
Materials: Felt, Velcro, catnip
Tools: Hot glue gun, cookie cutters, pencil, scissors
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate

This catnip toy is quite handy because you can keep replenishing the catnip. No sewing is required, and cookie cutters can give you adorable toys.

Try mixing up the colors, such as making one side blue and the other yellow. As always, try to use only fresh catnip.

13. Diana Rambles’s DIY Small Cat Tree

DIY Cat Tree for Small Spaces
Image Credit: dianarambles
Materials: Stool, padding, fabric, jute rope, hair brushes, cat toys
Tools: Hot glue gun, scissors, hand saw, staple gun, measuring tape
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This DIY cat tree is made using a repurposed stool. The hair brushes need the handles removed and are attached to the legs for a self-grooming setup. It also has a hammock, a scratching post, and toys to bat. The top of the stool makes a nice soft perch.

14. Toilet Paper Roll Ball from Thrifty Jinxy

Image Credit: thriftyjinxy
Materials: Toilet paper tube
Tools: Scissors, glue
Difficulty Level: Easy

This toilet paper roll ball is one of those “it’s so simple, it’s ridiculous” projects. Cut strips around the diameter of the toilet paper and fit them together, and they make a ball.

The author of this project likes to leave the strips loose for their cats to take apart and play with. But you can also glue them together to keep the ball shape.

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Sometimes, all you need is something simple — like the lid from your milk jug or a shoelace — and your cat will love it!

Some of these projects are also eco-friendly because you’ll recycle materials for these toys. But regardless of whether the toys are old or new, the most fun that you can have is to watch your cat having a fantastic time playing.

Don’t forget to supervise your cat with any toys. There’s no telling if something might suddenly come apart, and you don’t want your cat ingesting string or cardboard.

Featured Image Credit: MonikaDesigns, Pixabay

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