One of the common problems that are experienced by indoor-only cats is a lack of environmental enrichment. Cats benefit from adequate physical and mental stimulation. Thus, cat parents should make an effort to enrich their pets’ indoor environment by providing lots of opportunities for physical and mental stimulation. Cats that don’t have something to do can become bored; and when boredom sets in, it can pave the way for the development of undesirable habits and behaviors which are fueled by the cat’s pent-up energies.
There are many ways to keep your cat busy, active, and away from mischief. Cat toys don’t have to be expensive or bought from stores. But if you do have the budget, why not? There's a huge range of toys designed for cats such as cat condos, feather teasers, scratchers, and catnip-filled plushies. Just make sure that you are buying cat-safe toys.
How to make cat toys
If you are feeling crafty and resourceful, there are lots of things around your home that can be recycled. Homemade DIY cat toys are an inexpensive way to keep your furball entertained for hours.
Here are two popular DIY cat toys to entertain your pet cat for hours:
DIY Cat Scratching Post
Making a scratching post is much easier than most cat parents think. There are different types of scratching posts so it is a good idea to have a design of what you want to make for your furball. Once you have the design, the next step is to acquire all the materials, some of which you can find in your home.
- Plastic or cardboard tubes - should be strong enough to hold the entire structure and keep it stable.
- Soft cloth
- Wood slabs
- Wood glue
- Upholstery stapler
- Fix the tube to the base of the scratching post by installing the brackets and securing it with screws.
- Line the tube with rope. Start by spreading glue on the tube and winding the rope tightly at each turn.
- After lining the tube, assemble the scratching post by fixing the tubes securely to the wooden slabs.
- For the base of the structure, you can use thick cloth or carpet. Cover the soft parts of the scratching post with pieces of cloth.
DIY Cat Mouse Toys
- Wool felt
- Floss for embroidery
- Dried catnip (optional)
There are many DIY websites where you can download a mouse-shaped pattern for cat toys. Just be sure to print the pattern at 100% to get the accurate measurements.
Once you have printed out the pattern, follow the templates when cutting up the pieces so that you have two pieces for each side of the mouse, two ears, a bottom piece, and a tail. You can use one color for all pieces or use several colors.
Start by attaching the mouse ears to the pointed side of a side piece. Secure the ear using the floss and a backstitch. The same step is done on the other side piece, making sure that both sides will match.
The next step is to sew the sides of the mouse together. Start at the part where the nose is and across the back with embroidery floss (at least three strands to make it durable) with a running stitch. Don’t forget to insert the tail between the two side pieces.
Next, stitch the bottom part of the mouse starting from the nose and work toward the back on each side. Use three strands of embroidery floss and a running stitch. Stitch the other side and don’t forget to stop about an inch from the tail of the mouse so you still have an opening to fill the mouse with stuffing or dried catnip. Close the opening with a running stitch, making sure to go back and fill the gaps with running stitches. Secure the stitches with a strong knot that is hidden between the felt layers.
DIY Sock Fish Cat Toy
This is one of the easiest cat toys to make. All you need to do is stuff a sock with packing paper. As your cat plays with the sock, they will love the crinkling sound made by the packing paper. Make the sock more appealing to your cat by adding some catnip to the stuffing. You can find the instructions here.
DIY Catnip Yarn Balls
Balls of yarn are your quintessential cat toys. Cats love the yarn’s texture because they can hold on to it. Although it’s not an expensive toy, yarn balls can actually entertain cats for hours. Here’s an easy way to make catnip-infused yarn balls. All you need are yarn, glue, catnip, and styrofoam balls to make these simply attractive toys.
DIY Treat Puzzles
Treat puzzles are excellent ways to provide both physical and mental stimulation to pet cats. It requires your furball to “work” for the goodies that are placed inside the toilet paper rolls. All you have to do is simply glue the empty toilet paper rolls together to form a puzzle. You can get the detailed instructions here.
DIY Catnip Pillow
One of the favorite things cats love to do each day is sleep and just laze around. They are actually wired to sleep and rest during the day so they will have lots of energy to hunt at night. This is part of the predator instincts they have inherited from their ancestors. Having a catnip-filled pillow will be stimulating for cats. Here is an easy way to make a catnip pillow.
If you have the time, talent, and resources to make your pet’s toys, there are many easy DIY cat toys resources online. Here are simple DIY cat toys ideas from YouTube on how to make a pom pom for cats, a DIY tent for cats, a DIY cat hammock, and a DIY yarn wrapped cat toy.
Read more: The Cat Toys Handbook