Though we often consider our precious feline companions aloof and independent, it’s crucial they have physical and mental stimuli between napping in the glow of a sunbeam, or knocking things off tables.
You don’t have to spend a bunch of cash at the pet store to provide your kitty with endless entertainment. Using materials you may already have lying around the house, you can make your beloved pet adorable DIY cat toys to keep them busy for hours.
Important Details to Consider When Making Cat Toys
Before diving into a DIY cat toys project, here are a few things to remember to ensure the final result offers a safe and engaging experience.
Type and Size of Cat Toy
As any cat owner knows, your furry tyrants can be hard to please. They’re not afraid to turn their whiskers up at anything objectionable, regardless of the time and effort you put into making it.
Cat toys come in different shapes and sizes, offering outlets for your pet to flex their natural prey drive, solve challenging puzzles, and provide a little cardio — all of which are necessary for a cat’s health and happiness.
Your best bet is to offer various materials, shapes, and functionalities.
- Climbing trees
- Fishing poles and danglers
- Catnip-filled soft toys
- Scratching posts
- Puzzle boxes
- Treat dispensers
During playtime, observe which types of toys they tend to play with the most and which are largely ignored.
You should also keep an eye on small elements like bells, strings, and buttons that cats can choke on. Only allow your cat to access these toys during shared play sessions and consider removing any toys that present a hazard.
Materials to Use
Felines are notorious for their love of paper bags and cardboard boxes, but there are plenty of other common household materials that you can transform into easy DIY cat toys.
For example, wood and rope make excellent scratchers that keep kitty’s claws out of your furniture, while old clothes are perfect for sewing catnip-scented softies to bat around the floor.
DIY yarn cat toys are also an excellent option, as you can use skein remnants for pompoms and fishing poles.
There are a few materials you should avoid, as well. For example, plastic bags are a definite no-no, as your kitty can get tangled up and suffocate.
You should also avoid reusing the hard, plastic “beans” from stuffed animals, but feel free to repurpose the cotton batting.
Once you’ve figured out what you want to make and which materials to use, there are still a few things to think about before you begin making one of these step-by-step DIY cat toys.
- Is it machine-washable or easy to wipe down with a cloth?
- Do you need multiple toys to avoid squabbles between cats?
- Are there any particular designs or colors you’d like to use?
- Do you have pet-safe glue?
15 DIY Cat Toys Plans to Consider
Ready to get started on your cat toys DIY project?
We’ve rounded up 15 free plans that even the most disapproving catnip connoisseur will give an appreciative sniff.
Cardboard Cat Play Box
Turn your cat’s obsession with cardboard boxes into a tunnel of wonders using leftover pompoms, pipe cleaners, and string. If you don’t have any premade puff balls, feel free to mix things up by adding small, stuffed toys for the kitty to paw.
Jellyfish Catnip Toy
If you’re like most crafting enthusiasts, you have a pile of precut felt sheets tucked into your fabric bin. Give them new life with this felt, jellyfish DIY cat toy that uses pet-safe sesame seeds as a filler instead of plastic beans or cotton.
This 2-for-1 project offers something for you and your cat: You get to clean out your yarn bin, and the kitty gets a little cardio during their next play session. These DIY cat toys with yarn are straightforward to make and require very few materials.
Cat trees can be expensive, but they’re perfect for appealing to a cat’s instinct to climb, scratch, and lounge in luxury. If you have scrap wood from an old project, you can make a DIY version that’s better than store-bought.
We love that these plans recommend using thrifted sofa cushions instead of expensive upholstery foam.
These dapper little darlings are a stylish option for repurposing menswear fabrics. They’re cute enough to gift to a fellow cat person, so consider whipping up a few different sets for an easy just-because present.
Kitties will pounce and batter any interestingly textured ball from old receipts to dust bunnies. Channel that boundless energy toward a cute, crinkly tulle puff ball, instead. They look like tiny versions of bathing poufs. Just be sure to tie the center tightly with string to ensure pieces of the material don’t fall out.
Toilet Paper Tube Cat Toy
When it comes to DIY cat toys, toilet paper rolls are one of the easiest and least expensive materials. All you need is a pair of scissors to make an entire army of engaging cardboard buddies for your kitties to wallop and hunt.
Cat Play Gym
Despite looking more like a piece of modern art than a handmade toy, this cat play gym is a ribbon wonderland that will stimulate your cat’s senses. The best part is that it folds up, so you can easily tuck it under a couch or in a closet.
Upcycle an old T-shirt and a couple of wire hangers into an adorable pop-up tent. Because the shirt is secured with safety pins, you can easily remove it and toss it into the wash for a freshening up.
No Sew Braided Cat Toy
Get the little ones in on DIY-ing fun by creating no sew braided cat toys made from soft, nuzzle-worthy fleece. If you’ve ever made friendship bracelets, you’ll be familiar with the process. Line up three strands of fabric, knot one end together, and then braid.
Cat Puzzle Box
The cat puzzle box is sure to be a hit with your clever kitty, especially if you find that they tend to get bored with their toys. The magic of this box is that you can fill it with whatever old toys you have lying around the house.
You can make it even more stimulating by adding kibble as a tasty prize for “solving” the box.
Skip the overpriced scratchers at your local pet store and upcycle instead. It’s hard to believe this luxe scratcher lounge is a DIY cardboard cat toy — with open ended tubes to tuck away small toys, dry treats, and other goodies.
If you don’t have jute or sisal, consider checking at thrift stores or online swap-and-shops for used cat trees or scratching posts to harvest the pieces you need.
Entertainment Center Cat Hotel
Ready to level up from easy DIY cat toys with a more challenging project that your whole family can work on? Give your cats a multitiered dream hotel crafted from an old bookshelf, entertainment center, or other sturdy wood storage piece.
There are virtually limitless options for adding hammocks, scratchers, hideaways, and dangling toys you can make at home. Plus, you can add fun designs or coordinate to match your existing decor.
Egg Carton Food Puzzle
Bring the outdoors in for your tiny house predator with an egg cartoon food puzzle that turns mealtime into an engaging, stimulating challenge.
The hardest part of creating this DIY project is being patient while the cat grass takes root, but it’ll be worth watching your tom or tabby grapple with obstacles to find their kibble.
This puzzle is a must-make if you have a fast eater or an indoor cat who longs to feel the grass between their paw pads.
Step Stool Sensory Playground
Don’t scrap an old step stool. Turn it into an exciting playground that provides spots to scratch, play, and nap in luxury. Adding bristle brushes might be enough distraction to keep kitty busy while you work on your latest DIY project.
The best part about DIY cat toys is finding a new purpose for unused items you have lying around the house. Suddenly, cardboard and felt squares can be a delightful treat for your beloved feline instead of another dust collector in your craft room.
Next time you decide to clean out your junk drawers, storage bins, and closets, keep these projects in mind. With creativity, you can transform “trash” into treasures.
Are you wondering how to jump into a cat toy DIY project? These frequently asked questions can help you get started.
How Do You Make a Cat Toy From Scratch?
When making a cat toy from scratch, start by thinking about the household objects your kitty is most interested in.
For example, if they love pushing small objects around tables and shelves, they’ll likely enjoy playing with toys that are light enough to bat around with their paws. Danglers or fishing poles are the best options if they prefer swiping at strings.
Once you have an idea of the type of toy to make, look around your home for pet-safe materials that you can use for the project. Cotton batting, yarn, cardboard, and ribbon are excellent starting points.
You can combine these simple materials into all sorts of shapes and sizes, as long as they don’t present a safety hazard for your cat.
How Do I Easily Make Cat Toys at Home?
The most straightforward DIY cat toys are those made with an empty paper towel or toilet paper tube. They’re simple to cut and offer a blank canvas for reconfiguring into rings, treat puzzles, or lightweight catnip scent sachets.
What Are Some Fun Toys for Cats That You Can Craft Yourself?
You can make almost any toy you see in pet shops at home with the benefit of using a sustainable method to entertain your cats. Try sewing together soft plushes, making pompoms, or simply tying a ribbon to a dowel rod.