Cats need toys for enrichment and to stimulate their natural instincts. A bored cat can end up developing destructive and unwanted behaviors.
However, cat toys can be expensive, and it’s common for them to get lost or ripped up pretty easily as your cat chases them around in tight spaces and underneath furniture. If you find yourself constantly replacing cat toys, you can make your own toys to save on costs.
We’ve created a list of very simple yet entertaining DIY cat toys. Your time is precious, so you can complete these crafts pretty quickly and spend more time playing with your cat.
The next time you finish a bottle of wine, you can save the cork and use it to make a toy. You can customize this toy and get creative with different kinds of materials to draw your cat’s attention. You can also attach a long piece of string to it so that it becomes an enticing wand toy. The possibilities are endless, and these toys will provide endless hours of entertainment for your cat.
Trimmings (feathers, string, ribbon, etc.)
Boil the wine corks in water to remove leftover wine and soften the cork.
Use a knife to poke a 1-inch hole that’s wide enough to fit your trimmings.
Let the cork dry.
Twist the ends of the trimmings so that they fit inside the hole.
Add epoxy into the hole and roll the ends in epoxy and stick them inside the hole. Make sure the hole doesn’t have any air pockets or gaps inside.
Wait for the toy to completely dry before letting your cat play with it.
A simple cube shelf can become a fun and cozy apartment for your cat. All you need is a pillow or mat that fits inside the cubes and some sisal rope. You can add personal touches by dyeing the sisal a different color, using pillows with fun patterns and designs, or painting the cube with nontoxic paint.
If the shelf has multiple levels, you can use a wooden board and wrap it in sisal and lean it against the shelf as a ramp. You can spend a day configuring the cube shelf, so it contains all your cat’s favorite things.
Pillows or padded mats
Quick-drying super glue
Hammer and nails
The most challenging part of this craft is making the scratching post. Start by taking one end of the sisal and applying the quick-drying super glue that covers about an inch of the rope.
Once the glue dries completely, nail the glued end of the sisal to the base of one of the sides of the cube.
Tightly wrap the sisal around the side of the cube. If you run out of sisal, use the quick-drying super glue on the end of the sisal and nail down the sisal after the glue dries.
Keep wrapping the sisal until one side of the cube is completely covered.
Add cushions to some of the compartments.
Tie yarn to pompoms to create swatting toys and glue them to the top of the compartments.
Super energetic cats can end up breaking multiple wand toys. If you’ve gone through several wand toys, this toy is an affordable option that you can use to keep your cat entertained. You can make different kinds of designs and attach multiple strands of yarn to create a cat wand with many attachments for your cat to chase.
With all the different creations you can make, your cat will stay interested and have endless hours of fun stalking, chasing, and pouncing on these toys.
Chopstick or skewer (shaved off sharp end)
Hot glue gun
Tie yarn of any length to the end of a chopstick or skewer. Cover the knot with hot glue to reinforce its placement.
String beads and bells on the yarn.
Tie feathers to the other end of the yarn and use hot glue to keep them in place.
Wait for the glue to dry completely before playing with your cat.
If your cat likes cozy, dim places, you can make as many DIY cat tents as you want and place them all throughout your home. This project doesn’t require any fancy equipment, and it uses materials that you’ll probably already have in your house. All you need is duct tape, a cardboard base, wire coat hangers, and an old t-shirt.
This project is so easy and fun to make that you might start looking for patterns that your cat would like the next time you’re shopping for a new shirt.
Cardboard base large enough for your cat
Two coat hangers
Pliers or wire cutters
Cut off the twisted end and hook of both coat hangers.
Reshape the coat hangers so that they become half circles.
Crisscross the coat hangers and tape the middle where the wires intersect. The end result should look like the framework of a tent.
Poke holes in the corners of the cardboard.
Insert about an inch of each end of the coat hangers into the hole.
Bend the ends of the coat hangers so that they lie flat against the cardboard. Tape down the bent ends to keep the coat hangers securely in place.
Pull the shirt over the tent frame and let the neck hole rest on one side of the frame where your cat can easily step in and out of it.
Gather the other ends of the shirt at the bottom of the base and tape them down.
For additional comfort, stuff a small pillow or cushion inside the tent.
Something as simple as a toilet paper tube can quickly be transformed into an engaging toy for your cat. This project involves repurposing a toilet paper tube. This toy is quick and extremely cheap to make. Most homes will always have empty toilet paper rolls available, so you can make this toy regularly.
Toilet paper tube
Start by preparing your toilet paper tube. Remove any bits of toilet paper from the tube
Next, begin cutting 1-inch slits on one end of the tube. Go all the way around the tube. You should make each slit about a quarter inch apart.
Repeat cutting the slits on the other end of the tube. Again, the slits should be one inch long and a quarter inch apart.
Now, splay the slits so the tube looks like a wheel with spokes.
Toss the toy to your cat and watch them bat it around!
Here’s a wonderful way to extend your craft passion to your furry friends. By creating this adorable DIY catnip-stuffed mouse toy, not only will you have fun making it, but your cat will undoubtedly enjoy hours of fun playing with it. Handmade with love and filled with enticing catnip, this toy will quickly become your cat’s new favorite!
Wool blend felt (white, slate, and marble shades)
Embroidery thread (DMC Snow White B5200 and 168)
Clover applique sewing pins
Stuffing tool or chopstick
Needle threader (optional)
First, download the pattern for the DIY cat toy. Print the PDF template and cut the templates.
Next, transfer the chosen pattern using a fabric pen, such as the Dritz Disappearing Ink pen. Use the detailed scissors to cut out the pieces.
Put together the toy following the tutorial provided. This involves sewing the felt pieces together using the embroidery thread, stuffing the mouse toy with the polyester fiberfill, and incorporating some catnip to make it all the more enticing for your feline friend.
Lastly, attach a length of twine to act as the mouse’s tail.
Not only will these DIY toys provide endless fun for your cats, but they’re also a fantastic way to recycle materials you may already have at home. They’re an ideal complement to your cat’s diet and will aid in keeping them active and content. Your furry friends will love batting these around!
Yarn or thick string
Stuffed animal stuffing or similar material
Instructions for Pom Poms:
Wrap the yarn or string around your hand multiple times. The more you wrap it, the denser your pom pom will be.
Carefully slide the bundle off your hand and tie a separate piece of yarn tightly around the middle.
Cut through the loops at both ends of the bundle and fluff it up to form a pom pom.
Instructions for Taggy Pillow:
Cut two squares of fabric of the same size. Make sure they are large enough for your cat to bat around.
Cut several smaller strips of fabric to make the “tags.”
Sandwich the tags between the two squares of fabric, making sure the tags point inward.
Sew around the edges of the squares, leaving a small gap to turn the pillow inside out and for stuffing.
Turn the pillow inside out so the tags are pointing outwards, stuff it with a soft material, and sew the gap closed.
Instructions for Goldfish:
Using pipe cleaners, shape them into the form of a goldfish, making sure there are no sharp ends.
You can add eyes or other features using yarn or additional pipe cleaners.
A cat wand is an excellent interactive toy that encourages active play, keeping your furry friend happy and fit. Here’s a simple guide to creating an enchanting cat wand using everyday items you might have lying around the house. This delightful DIY project takes under 10 minutes to complete, and the result is a toy that your cat will find irresistible!
1 wooden dowel
3 jingle bells
Variety of fabric scraps (ribbons, shoelaces, etc.)
1 roll of baker’s twine
Start by wrapping the wooden dowel with the Baker’s Twine to give your cat wand an appealing look. Make sure to wrap it tightly and evenly around the dowel.
Once you’ve finished wrapping, leave an extra 10-12 inches of twine at the end. This extra length will be used to attach the fabric scraps.
Secure the end of the Baker’s Twine to the dowel using a small amount of fabric glue. This will prevent the twine from unwrapping and ensure the longevity of your cat wand.
Gather your fabric scraps and tie them securely to the end of the Baker’s Twine. You can use different colors and types of fabric to make the wand more visually appealing to your cat.
Finally, select three different fabric scraps and tie a jingle bell to each one. The sound of the bells will stimulate your cat’s curiosity and keep them engaged during playtime.
If your cat loves the thrill of the chase, this feather and bell toy is an absolute delight! It is simple to make, using just a few materials you may have lying around the house. Let’s get started on this entertaining DIY cat toy that will keep your furry friend happily engaged.
Medium-weight wool felt of different colors
Begin by using the template as a guide. Cut one small and one large feather from two different-colored pieces of felt.
Next, use the hot iron to create a crease in the middle of both feathers. This will give the feathers a more realistic appearance.
Take a jingle bell and attach a jump ring to it.
Now, slip 1 yard’s length of the satin cord through the jump ring attached to the jingle bell.
At the position of the bell, tie the stems of the feathers to the satin cord using a secure square knot.
Finally, knot both ends of the satin cord to prevent any fraying.
If you’re looking to provide your furry friend with some exciting and safe toys, homemade pom-pom toys are a perfect choice. Not only are they super easy and quick to make, but they also provide endless fun for your cat. Made from cotton or wool string, these pom-pom toys are entirely safe for your kitty.
Cotton or wool string
Begin by choosing your string material. Hold one end of the string in your palm.
Wrap the string around your hand multiple times, at least 50 times. The more loops you make, the denser your pom-pom will be.
Carefully slide the looped string off your hand. Use another piece of string to tie tightly around the center of your loops.
Use your scissors to cut through the looped ends of the string on both sides of the knot. This will create the fluffy ends of your pom-pom.
Trim the ends of the pom-pom as needed to create a uniform and round shape.
And there you have it! Your homemade pom-pom cat toy is ready. Make a few more so your cat can have a toy in every room. This toy is not only budget-friendly but also a safe and fun addition to your cat’s playtime routine. Remember, always supervise your cat while playing with homemade toys to ensure their safety.
If you’ve got some old, colorful t-shirts lying around, why not turn them into a simple and entertaining toy for your feline friend? This DIY project requires just a few materials and offers a sustainable way to repurpose your worn-out tees. Plus, these knots are perfect for both cats and small dogs to play with!
2 or 3 T-shirts
Cutting mat and rotary cutter (optional but helpful)
Begin by deconstructing your chosen t-shirts. Cut along each side seam and then cut away the sleeves and neck. This should leave you with flat pieces of fabric.
From each flat piece of fabric, cut out rectangles that measure 3 x 10 inches. If the sleeves are large enough, you can use them as well.
Collect a stack of six strips from your cut fabric.
Next, take each strip and slightly stretch it so that it curls up onto itself. This makes the knot more durable and easier for your pet to play with.
Take your curled strips and tie them into a firm knot. Pull the ends tightly to secure.
Lastly, trim the ends to give your toy a neat appearance.
Cats instinctively scratch surfaces to mark their territory and exercise their muscles. A homemade scratching post is an ideal solution to keep your feline friend from scratching on furniture or door frames. You can create one with your preferred decorative touch to suit your home décor.
Sisal rope (3/8-inch (10 mm) or 1/4-inch (6 mm) diameter)
4 x 4 fence post cap
RIT dye or any pet-safe non-toxic fabric dye (two colors)
18-inch plywood circle (3/4-inch thickness minimum)
16 half-inch roofing nails
Four 3-inch wood screws
Optional: Pom-poms, balls or refillable catnip toys, catnip spray
Start by understanding the preferences of your cat. Observe the surfaces and materials your cat enjoys scratching the most.
Procure the sisal rope based on your cat’s preferences. A thicker diameter rope will offer more durability and depth for your cat’s claws, while a thinner rope is easier to handle for a first-time DIY project. Make sure to get a pet-safe rope and avoid any that’s been treated with oil.
Determine the right amount of rope you’ll need for the post using an online sisal rope calculator. The height of the post should be equal to the full stretch height of your cat, usually about 3 feet.
Once you have the rope, consider dyeing it to match your décor. Choose your colors and follow a color mixing guide to achieve your desired shades.
After the rope is dyed and dried, start creating your scratching post. Attach your chosen fence post cap to the top of the post, then begin wrapping your sisal rope tightly around the post, securing it with the roofing nails.
When the post is completely covered in rope, attach it to your plywood base using the wood screws. Make sure it’s stable to withstand your cat’s play.
Optional: Attach some cat toys to the post for added fun, and use a catnip spray to make the new scratching post more appealing to your feline friend.
Finally, place the scratching post near your cat’s favorite nap spots, entrances to rooms, or any other areas they frequently scratch.
13. DIY Cardboard Cat Play Box – Charleston Crafted
Cats often show more interest in the packaging a toy comes in rather than the toy itself. So why not turn the packaging into a toy? Here’s a DIY guide to turn a cardboard box into a cat playpen, a perfect two-in-one project that your cat will love!
Large cardboard box (big enough for your cat)
Box cutter or scissors
Craft supplies (string, pipe cleaners, pom-poms)
Start with a cardboard box. It can be a leftover box from a delivery, as long as it is big enough for your cat to fit comfortably inside.
Use packing tape to seal the box and make it a perfect cube.
Use a straight edge like a ruler and your box cutter or scissors to cut out the inside of each side of the box. Leaving a 2-inch frame around each side will provide a good balance of sturdiness and visibility.
Now it’s time to get creative! Use your craft supplies to add interesting features to your box. For instance, you could make little pipe cleaner fish or birds, attach them to strings, and then secure them to the box using hot glue. The dangling features will provide your cat with endless entertainment.
After you’re done with your crafting, let your cat enjoy their new play box! It’s the perfect way for them to work up an appetite.
14. DIY Jellyfish Ribbon Catnip Cat Toy – Your Purrfect Kitty
Cats are renowned for their love of catnip, which can provide them with hours of amusement. But rather than scattering catnip, why not incorporate it into a homemade toy? This simple DIY project will guide you through making a cute and durable jellyfish-shaped toy filled with catnip that your cat will love.
Begin by folding a sheet of felt in half and cutting out a half-circle shape. This will form the body of your jellyfish cat toy.
Using a fine-point permanent marker, draw a face onto one side of the jellyfish. Remember to keep it simple; avoid using googly eyes or anything else that might come loose and pose a choking hazard.
Put the two halves of the jellyfish together. Using a thread color that matches your felt (or a contrasting color for a more striking look), sew the curved part of the half-oval together. An overhand stitch will do the trick; you don’t need to do anything fancy here.
Once you’ve stitched the top of the jellyfish together, open the bottom to create a space for your filling. Pour in around two teaspoons of catnip and sesame seeds, or as much as the toy will comfortably hold.
Now it’s time to add the ribbons. These will form the jellyfish’s tentacles. You can use glue to secure them, but for a more durable finish, consider stitching them into place.
After adding the ribbons, sew the bottom of the jellyfish closed to keep the catnip and sesame seeds secure inside.
Your jellyfish ribbon catnip toy is now ready for your cat to play with!
Here’s a fun way to keep your cat entertained with a cat grass food puzzle. The materials are likely things you already have around your house, so it’s an easy and fun project that you can do for little to no extra cost!
Cat grass seeds
Empty egg carton
Acrylic paints and brushes (optional)
River stones or tiny rocks
Hemp plant food (optional)
Recyclable household items like bread ties, milk rings, or bottle tops
Cat toys such as foam balls, bell balls, or feathered toys
(Optional) Paint the underside of the egg carton in fun colors. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly.
Put about four stones into each center cup of the egg carton. This adds weight and volume, providing a medium for the grass roots.
Cut the grow mats to fit the size of the carton cup openings, then soak them for about 30 seconds. Gently squeeze and place them over the stones in the carton cups.
Sprinkle a layer of cat grass seeds on top of the grow mats. Make sure not to overcrowd the seeds, as this can lead to mold growth. Spray the seeds with water.
Using a screwdriver, carefully punch holes in the egg carton cover. Place the covered tray of grass seeds in a dark place. These holes will encourage air circulation and prevent mold during germination.
Over the next two days, check the cat grass seeds a few times per day and keep the seeds moist by spraying water.
On day 3, when the shoots are about half an inch high, move the carton to a sunny location. Continue to keep the cat grass moist.
By day 5 or 6, your cat grass tray should be ready to use as a food puzzle. Sprinkle some kibble in each cup and cover them with cat toys or recyclable household items.
Your cat grass food puzzle is now ready to be enjoyed by your feline friends. It’s a great way to stimulate their natural hunting instincts and provide some indoor entertainment.
Or, if you're thinking of getting your cat something a little different, that entices play and looks like a modern piece of furniture in your home, you might think about giving our Hepper Hi-Lo Cat Scratcher a try! Its curved design targets a full range of motion, and with three height configurations and a durable design, you can be sure your cat is getting the exercise, height, and adventure they naturally desire.
Click here to learn more about our innovative, functional, and funky, Hi-Lo cat scratcher.
DIY cat toys don’t have to be complicated projects to produce fun and entertaining results for your cat. Everyday household items can be recycled and repurposed to create brand-new toys for your cat. The crafts that we’ve provided are some of the easiest toys to make, and they also leave room for you to add your personal touches.
When you invest a little time making your own cat toys, you can end up providing hours of fun for your cat. Giving your cat toys and playing with your cat can significantly increase the bond you share. We hope you and your cat enjoy many entertaining moments and make special memories while playing with these toys.