I love cats. I mean, I love all animals, but I am very partial to cats. They can be total jerks but they can also be incredibly insightful and sweet. So today I’m going to be discussing some DIY cat toys that will keep your cats entertained while still keeping a light budget. I have four cats of my own, and I have trialed all of these and then some in attempts to be resourceful. The ideas listed below are the most successful DIY cat toys I’ve done. We’re going to start off with what I spend most of my money on when I’m not crafting it up.
DIY Cat Scratchers
Why do cats like scratching? Well, it helps maintain their claws. Specifically, it helps them remove the outer layer of the claws and extra material underneath—it’s good for grooming. Cats also scratch to mark territory via the scent gland in their paws. It makes them feel good. Overall, it’s important to have proper areas for your cat to scratch.
What Fabric to Use and How
Sisal fabric is some of the best for creating a cat scratching post. Cats love textures like that of tree bark, and sisal fabric best replicates that. If your cat likes scratching horizontally, you can take a wooden board at your preferred length and staple your measured sisal fabric to it. That way, you can lay it down in your chosen area and your cat can scratch.
You can also do a DIY scratcher by using sisal rope. I found a great DIY blog article on making a vertical post. Essentially you take a thick wood log and wrap your sisal rope around it, attaching it to a square of rug or a wooden plank. There’s also this video that I REALLY like because you can hang the scratcher on your couch. What’s nice about making a cat scratcher yourself is that you can reinforce it as much as you want, and make the material as thick as you want. It can also be way cheaper.
Why This DIY Cat Toy Works
Decent cat scratching posts usually cost upwards of $25. Sisal material is usually somewhere around $6 in bulk, and a square of cheap rug or wood doesn’t cost much more. I don’t know about you, but my four cats go through them like they’re toilet paper. It’s benefitted me greatly to do this DIY cat toy.
DIY Cat Toys
I found Joy the Baker’s DIY cat toy which involves yarn and catnip. First you take a Styrofoam ball and use Mod Podge glue to glue dried catnip to the ball. Wrap yarn around the ball in multiple layer, using a hot glue gun to secure pieces in place. The material of the yarn feels nice on cats’ paws, and the catnip will excite them. Being able to bat the ball around and pull at the fabric with their claws can be really fun for cats. If you have multiple cats, then they can play together.
A sock cat toy also works very well! Just take an old sock you don’t need and stuff it with some dry catnip, and tie it off. This is such a cheap, easy replacement toy. My four cats go through toys like a wild fire. Having to buy cat toys one at a time might not seem expensive but over time it all adds up. Using old socks like this, even if I have to buy some cheap new ones, is way cheaper than most toys.
String toys are my absolute favorite for cats. My most skittish cat loves them, and it really helps him come out of his shell. Simply take a plastic hanger and cut off the longest length. Tie and hot glue a long piece of string to one end. Make the string 6 inches longer than the length of the hanger stick. You’ll need some 4 inch (approx.) ribbon pieces to tie in a bunch at the end of your string. You’re done. That’s it. Your DIY cat toy is finished. If you want to get fancy you can tie some little bells to the end as well.
DIY Cat Food Puzzles
I find that all three of these DIY toys work the best with all four of my cats. There’s a lot more toys out there that you can try though. I found many food puzzles for cats using shoe boxes, but my cats never seem very interested. If your cat likes pucking around food pellets, this might be a great idea for you. I will link to a DIY cat toy for food blog here if you’re interested.
DIY Cat Grooming Station
There are two DIY cat toys that I think are great for grooming your cat. These ideas are of course not mine, just some stuff I found on the internet. Either toy can be used for different scratching techniques.
The first DIY cat scratcher involves toilet bowel brushers and some wood. I’m going to leave a link to DIY page on how to do it, because the process is a little lengthy. Essentially your creating a little tunnel of bristles for your cat to scratch the top of their head and their back with. This would definitely help with grooming, and keep your cat entertained if you don’t have the time to groom them yourself.
The second DIY cat scratcher involves your preferred number of flat scrubbing brushed drilled into the legs on a table. This version allows your cat to groom their sides, on their body and face. It’s important to remember to clean these self-petting stations. Dirty grooming is no good for any animal, and cats can develop blackheads and other acne if they brush against a dirty surface repeatedly.
Two Very, VERY Simple Toys
Laser Pointers. Laser pointers all the way. I only recently bought one to for my cats and by god. It is wonderful. Not only is it fun for your cat, but it gives them a lot of exercise as well. I’ve been worried about my one cat because she’s been gaining a little weight. I’ve been having her chase the laser every night for the past few weeks and she’s lost a bit. This also helps me get the energy out of their system before bed.
Lastly, the holy grail of cat toys—bottle caps. It speaks for itself and is by far the cheapest. Use them wisely. If you’re interested in other budget hacks for your pets, check out my previous article on How to Save Money on Pets. If you want a quick rundown on household items that might be harmful to pets, you can read about it here.