12 Creative DIY Ideas for Useful and Attractive Homemade Cat Toys

Spare a thought for shelter kitties too!
Shelter cats are most deserving of our love and attention; and if you can’t bring them home, you can surely make them happy by donating some simple toys. You’d be surprised to see how delighted and grateful those kitties would get by this almost-effortless gesture of yours.
Cats bring in their special brand of douchebaggery to any home―they certainly aren’t the kind of pets who will suck up to you with OTT gestures of love. Independent, sassy, and unwittingly hilarious, cats are the kind of pets who will shower their human parents with affection, but strictly on their own terms.
Now, we’ve already told you how finicky they can be, but there’s this one aspect about cats which is truly low maintenance. We’re talking about their toys, of course! Cats need very little to amuse themselves―hand them a string or a cardboard box, and they’ll happily bat at it for a long, long time. Cat toys are extravagantly priced in pet stores everywhere, which is why you really need to learn how to make them at home itself. Don’t worry, it’s child’s play, really, and you can even engage your children in making these.
Homemade Cat Toy Ideas
We’ve gone further ahead and added a few non-toy suggestions that every cat loves, as it can be really helpful for those who have just brought home their first kitty. Take a look, and tell us how you find them.
We’ve got to begin with boxes.
cat in box
Cats and boxes surely are a match made in heaven. We really have no idea why felines find them so utterly fascinating, but they simply do. Just give a cat, any cat, a box, it could be any box, and see a love story weave right before your eyes. Cats love to stuff themselves in boxes, use them as scratch pads, as beds, hide underneath them, play peekaboo, and do so many other things. With a cat in the house, you can’t send out a single box for recycling, be it a pizza box, a gift box, a delivery container, or even your shoe box.

A nice DIY project using boxes involves making a nice fortress for your pet. If you’ve got more than five boxes to spare, stack them up in a way that your cat can use as a perch, or a tumble-down fort. It can amuse the cat for hours, and isn’t at all difficult to make either.

Not just any mice. ‘Nip mice.
nip mice
If you happen to be blessed with knitting or crocheting skills, you’re going to love this project, and we really don’t need to tell you how these things are done. If not, you can always make use of an old crocheted centerpiece or even a knitted hat which is gathering dust in your closet. Follow these steps:

► Take the hat and stuff it with rag strips or cotton.
► Sprinkle some dried catnip on it.
► Sew or glue up the ends to make it look like a nice, plump mouse. And you’re pretty much done.

Don’t worry too much if your ‘mouse’ looks more like a blob. Your cat really doesn’t care, as long as it’s stuffed with catnip.

P.S. Not all cats care as much for catnip, but the ones who do, really seem to enjoy it.

And sock puppets too. ‘Nipped, of course.
sock puppets
This one’s so easy, you’ll be running to find some spare socks and begin working. So, we obviously need spare socks, some stuffing material―again, old T-shirt rags work well here―and finally, some dried catnip. Stuff everything inside the sock and sew up the open end. You can even decorate the puppet by gluing on some cloth eyes, or giving them a mop of hair by using woolen strands and gluing them on top. Mind you, using plastic buttons isn’t a very good idea, as your cat can rip it off and swallow it. An eye-less sock puppet works just fine.
Something to scratch that itch.
cat trying to hide
Cats love to scratch their claws for various reasons, and damaging your furniture or hurting you aren’t among them. It is their natural instinct as hunters to keep them sharp at all times, and scratching helps break away the worn-off bits from their nails and promote nail growth. So, a good scratch post is as much a necessity for cats as healthy food and fresh water. Remember, declawing your cat is inhumane and completely unnecessary.

So, you need to bring home a wooden stump or a log, measuring about 3 feet tall―basically, your cat should be able to stand on her hind legs and be able to use it comfortably. Now, use sisal rope and wind it all over the log, covering it entirely. Fix this securely to a wood plank so that it doesn’t topple over. And thus, a fine scratching post is ready to use.

Alternatively, you can also use a wide piece of cardboard and wind the sisal rope around it to make a nice little scratching pad. This toy calls for zero carpentry skills.

How about a dog toy?
cat playing with ball
Cats also enjoy playing with balls, maybe not as much as dogs, but they do. Some breeds, like the Abyssinian and the Bombay, even indulge their human parents with the occasional game of fetch. To make the ball appear more appealing, you can wrap it up in wool or even sisal, so that it doubles up as a scratching toy too. Yes, cats really love their scratchy business. Apply glue over a rubber ball―try getting one with a bell inside. Then, tightly wind the thread on to the surface so that no gaps remain. The dog-ish cat toy is ready!

You also have the option of putting empty toilet paper rolls to good use by using the same technique. Just cut them in half, and tightly glue the yarn onto the tube. This rolls around nicely just as a ball would, and your cat can have some real fun.

On to some feathered fun.
cat playing with rope
A cat’s fondness for feathers seems to be connected with their wild side which loves to hunt birds. Therefore, a few fake feathers glued to the end of a string can provide endless hours of fun for the cat. You can tie up this feathered string to her scratching post and watch the fun, or use it as a stand-alone toy.

And speaking of strings…
naughty cat
Naughty at first …
nice cat
… then nice.
Ribbons and streamers come a close second in the list of simple things which make cats go gaga. If you wish to be a bit enterprising, you can tie a long piece of ribbon to the blade of your ceiling fan, switch it on at the lowest speed and watch your cat delightfully prance around to catch it. Fun for her, fun for you.

Do remember to remove the ribbon when you’re not home, as cats can get tangled up in them, and in the worst case, get strangled.

So many containers. So little time.
cat in container
I don’t know what it is about cats that they love, just love to stuff themselves inside plastic containers, sinks, bowls, drawers―basically just about anywhere. Take some inspiration from the Internet sensation Maru, who has made it his life’s purpose to stuff himself in containers. Make your cat as happy as he is.
And then come the paper bags.
cat in paper bag
You can really see it in this handsome fellow’s sheepish eyes that he’s guilty of being caught enjoying his paper bag. You see, cats love a nice game of hide-and-seek, and these bags are the perfect little hiding spot. Until they begin to scratch them, that is.
And some miscellaneous items.
miscellaneous items
Cats are experts at playing football with anything that rolls, be it bottle caps or wicker balls. These poor darlings are so basic when it comes to toys, that they’ll happily chase a crumpled ball of paper thrown at them. Seriously, if only they were as basic when it came to food habits!
On to nature therapy.
cat on to nature therapy
Remember how we mentioned adding a couple of things which aren’t toys, but they do make your cat rather happy? Well, having a catnip plant is one such thing. You get to use the herb grown in your home, instead of buying it from the store. Also, your cat will enjoy its company; but watch out, as it may try to mutilate it.
Finally, a cozy window perch.
cat sitting in window
I remember reading somewhere that a window is like television for cats. Seriously, anyone who has been a cat parent for a while can vouch for this fact. Cats love to gaze out the window for hours. They also like to soak in some sunshine while they’re there. Seeing how this simple thing makes your cat so happy, the least you can do is to make sure that there’s enough space there. In case your windowsill is narrow, you can nail a wide wooden plank there to be used as a perch. Or else, you can place a bench or a table below it which is high enough for your cat to catch the view. Of course, ensure that the window has a screen or is closed so that your cat isn’t tempted to jump off it.

When it comes to your pet’s toys, every parent will have different rules and safety precautions of their own. Some are anti-plastic, some are anti-strings; the bottom line is that, it is your responsibility to provide your cat with the right kind of toys to keep her entertained and mentally stimulated.