There are a number of inexpensive ways to make toys that your cat can enjoy. This guide is about homemade cat toys.
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If you are looking for a quick and easy cat toy to make, give these a try:
Be sure to take the pom pom away if yarn strands start to come loose. Then just make them another one. :)
I make lots of cat toys to hang on walls where I can see them play. I won't let them have string toys by themselves, as they can eat the string.
These are the pictures of the latest ones I have made.
The laser lights may be fun for you, but they frustrate your cat's need to catch something. These toys make it feel as if they can chase something that is moving and grab at it and bite at it.
Cats need to have toys to chase and play with. One of my favorites is a rolled up ball of paper.
The one with yarn is a six pack plastic circle cut out and I take the yarn and tie it onto the circle. I then take the yarn, and make a loop around one finger, bring the yarn under the circle and through the circle and then the other end goes through the loop I made. it is hard to describe but easy to do.
The other is lids from milk containers, and a little plastic tub lid. I put the little milk lids in a scoop that comes out of a Slimfast like tub, and put the lid of the milk into it. Then I take scissors and poke two holes into the milk lid. I then put double yarn through the plastic lid and tie a knot with the yarn. There are two holes in the plastic lid. Then I put the yarn through the two holes in the milk lids and tie a knot there and then on and on.
I like the way these look, and I am going to make a big huge mobile of lids before long, just to hang up.
The third is toilet paper rolls cut into strips and then tied together to make a rattly thing. You have to interact with the cat to get her to play since they are hung on the wall.
My cats seem to love this and come to my "wall" at least once a day to play.
By Robyn 
I saw my foster kittens were entranced by an empty Juicy Juice box that had a hole cut in the box and both ends taped shut and covered with paper, to where it made a box that looked just like a tissue box. A ping pong ball got stuck in it while it was on the table. They spent lots of happy moments batting this around, it was so cute.
I also use a plastic large waste container that will hold 30 or more gallons trash bags and use it for storage and invert the top and put something soft for them to lay on and look out the windows. They like it a lot, I also use it for storage of things around the house and will make a cover to fit over it and turn it into a table. The table idea I got from a person who told me to use these as storage and put a wooden topper on it, then a pretty tablecloth, for storage. I loved the idea. The cats have adopted these plastic trash cans to lay on, they love it.
By Robyn Fed from Hampton TN
Our cats shred the store bought toys we have given them. So we decided to try out making a thriftier version. I use the old mismatched socks we end up with on the folding table. I put approximately 1/4 cup of dried catnip into an old sock and then knot the top (nylon socks work best). This provides hours of fun out of something that would have ended up being a dust cloth. And when they shred it? Oh well! It was practically free.
By Angi from Spokane, WA
Give your furry friends a Christmas present by sewing these cute animals. The patterns are very simple and inexpensive to make. This is also a great way to use up those scraps! The kitty holds a catnip mouse that you just slip under his paws. I found catnip in the pet section at Dollar Tree. The dog carries a felt tote that holds a bone. Make this one using durable material and your pet will be entertained with a new toy also.
Approximate Time: 1-2 hrs.
I made the tail for my cat by braiding yarn and used a few extra pieces for the hair tuft at top.
The mouse only requires about a teaspoon of catnip so one package will make many. You can also add some to the cat, if desired.
I made my dog from a heavy placemat purchased at a dollar store. You can get two dogs from one placemat.
By Mary from Palm Coast, FL
Both my cats love to play with a fishing pole toy for cats called Da Bird. It costs around $7, and consists if two feathers that twirl when you pull it. They can destroy Da Bird in about a minute. Refill feathers are available to clip onto the fishing pole for around $5. I purchased a few "refills" before I decided we really couldn't afford Da Bird.
So I picked up a packet of similar feathers at Walmart for $1 and glued them together like Da Bird using Elmer's glue. When they were dry I tucked them into the little red plastic tip in the toy with a dab of glue, after I pulled the mangled feathers out.
The next day we were back in business. Be careful what glue you use. Some glues don't allow you to pull the mangled feathers out (ie. Gorilla glue) for replacement. Six months of fun for $1 is my idea of a good cat toy.
By lizzyanny from Seattle, WA
This is the time of year to stock up on jingle bells to make cat toys for the animal shelters. Attach a bell on each end of a pipe cleaner then wrap it around a pencil to make a spring. Pull it off the pencil and make a bagful to take to the shelter! Great for a kid's craft and teaches them to give back.
By Sharon from Chesapeake, VA
When I sew with stretch-knits, I save the fabric scraps and longer selvage strips for making cat toys. I bundle the smaller pieces together, then tie the end of the longest piece around the bundle of scraps. You end up with stretchy scraps on a stretchy string. Because it's stretches, it makes a bouncing cat toy.
I hung a long one (you could use elastic) to a hook in my ceiling. I swing this back and forth at the right height for my cat to jump up and grab it. He loves this toy, and he gets lots of exercise from jumping! I like this cat toy because I get to see his fluffy little tummy when he jumps! You don't have to hang it from the ceiling, you can just bounce it up and down in front of them at any height. If you don't sew with knits, you can take 3 to 4 feet of elastic and tie this around any type of fabric scraps.
By Cyinda from Seattle
I have "Forced Air Heat" with registers on the floor. These registers only get a bit warm, not hot. So I tied a 8 - 10 inch piece of "Eyelash Yarn" (like Lion Brand "Fun Fur") onto a register in my kitchen that sits totally horizontal on the floor and my cat is having the time of his life!
The piece of eyelash yarn goes back and forth, to and fro when the heat is turned on. He can't get enough of it! It has to be eyelash yarn or something equally "airy light", so it will be light enough to blow around when the heat is on. Make sure the yarn is no longer than 13 inches or it will be too heavy to blow around.
By Cyinda from near Seattle
This is a craft to make for a kitten or a playful older cat. I took the plastic strips off of frozen juice cans, put them together so that all the round loops faced the same way and wrapped an elastic band around the base of the loops. (it kind of looks like an octopus). I used 10 strips, then I hung it from the door knob with a string. The kitten thinks it is the best thing to chew on, bat at, and just generally play with, can't beat this for being frugal!
By Cinnamon from Williams Lake
Rip up the Sunday paper and put the strips in a shallow cardboard box. I have kittens and this is their favorite toy. At night the kittens sleep in my daughter's room and we can't always find them. All we have to do is play in the box of paper strips for about 30 seconds and all of the kittens appear, it's like a magnet to them!
Here's another free cat toy. Save the cap from your dish washing liquid, thoroughly wash away soap, and give it a little kick across the carpet or tile. My cat Jack loves to chase these and thinks they're extra fun when it bounces against something!
By CS7 from Salem, OR
My cats are always batting something off the counters and playing with it. So, I remembered something I did as a kid. I put little bright things in a plastic drink jug. You can put beads, paper clips, buttons, and anything that will catch your cats eyes. Seal the lid on with with E6000 glue or any crazy glue. I don't recommend these for dogs, as they can easily chew through the plastic. My cats love it!
By Sandra from Salem, OR
Here's the BEST cat toy in the world and you'll only need 3 simple things to make it. A dowel, stick or a long knitting needle, a piece of fish line and some yarn. Take the dowel or stick and to the end, tie on a piece of fishing line about 4 feet long (since fishline is transparent, the cat won't see it). Then to the end of the fishline, tie a short piece of eyelash yarn (or several strands of any yarn) these should be small, only about about 3 or 4 inches long. This toy will resemble a fishing pole with a "worm" on the end of it.
Now when you play with your cat, "drag" it across the floor. My cat thinks he's chasing a bug running across the floor. And him being the great hunter he is, he just loves this "bug on a line" toy and refuses to play with any other toys. It's so cute, he gets down in his stalking position and just waits until the bug (the piece of eyelash yarn) goes around the corner where he can't see it, and he can wait no longer, (he actually shakes with anticipation!) Then "pounce" he's got it! (his bug on a line). He could play this game forever. And, since the weather has been nice recently, we've been playing "Catch the bug" outside in the grass instead of inside and he even likes this even better!
By Cyinda from near Seattle
I have found a cheap toy for our cat. Half of an animal cracker was on the floor, and our cat chases it all the time. This is a cat who won't play with any storebought toy. Give her an animal cracker, and she gives us a great joy. How thrifty is that
My cats favorite toy is simple and free to make:
Take a fairly short dowel (about 2 feet long), a knitting needle, or a stick from the yard. To the end, tie a 3 or 4 foot piece of fishline (sewing thread will do in a pinch). At the end of the fishline (or thread), tie just 1 or 2 small pieces of yarn, thread or string (about 4 inches long, but fold it in half to make it 2 inches when it's tied on. (eyelash yarn works best, but any will do)
To play with the cat, simply drag the yarn along the ground. The cat is fooled by the transparent fishline, he can't see the fishline, just the yarn on the end of it. My cat seems to think he's catching bugs. I call it his "Bug Toy". He just loves it!
My favorite cat trick is to drag the yarn along the ground then suddenly raise it about a foot above his head so he'll jump up and catch the "bug" with both paws. This toy will keep him amused for hours and he favors it far above any store bought toy.
One small note: When playing with any cat toy, always be gentle when you pull on the string just in case his little claw might be caught in the toy.
Cyinda from Near Seattle
Cat fishing is a very enjoyable sport! All you need to enjoy this sport is an old fly fishing rod or a stick and a piece of string. Tie a small fake mouse to one end of the string and attach the other end to your fly rod. Now you are ready to go cat fishing. Your house cats will chase the fake mouse forever and even beg you to pick up your fishing rod as often as possible.
By Joseph from Laval, Quebec, Canada
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Here are questions related to Homemade Cat Toys.
How do I make one of those crinkle toys for my cats to jump on? There has to be a way to make something like those crinkle bags you see all of the time.
Jenny in KY
By donna 03/07/2009
The pillowcase and plastic grocery bags are great idea. I'll have to remember that one.
I would like to know how to make a copycat of the Petmate Crazy Circle cat toy.
I would like to try to make one of these toys where there is a ball in a circle and the cat tries to bat it around and get it out. They have it at the stores from Petmate. Does anyone know how I can make an inexpensive one using ordinary objects that you can find around the house?
By Linda from Brighton, MI
Below are photos related to this guide.
I had seen photos of similar toys offered in catalogs and wondered if I could just make one! I cut a shoe box down a little so all the cats could reach in easily. I then drew circles on the lid and cut them out. I tossed in their favorite rattle ball, furry mouse, and a foil ball that one kitty adores!
This is just my first attempt, mind you. I plan to make another one and 'fancy it up' a bit. I also plan to add holes on the side.
By Linda from Fort Smith, AR