10 Homemade Cat Toys Your Cats Will Go Wild For

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6 min read
6 min read

Updated - Apr 16th, 2021

Cats love to play. Whether it’s scratching their claws on a post, chasing balls around the house, or pouncing on mouse toys, playtime is an essential part of your kitty’s day. But after a while, you’re going to get sick of running to the pet store in search of new toys every time your fur baby gets bored or destroys your latest buy. Plus, cat toys can be fun to make!

Try these 10 easy DIY cat toys – from no sew pom poms to DIY scratching posts. Let us know how it goes!

1. No Sew Pom Poms

Materials: string, fleece, scissors

Pom poms are hugely popular with kitties. They love soft toys they can pounce on, bat, and chew. If you want to give your cat a fun pom pom but don’t know how to sew, don’t despair. No sewing skills are required for these soft kitty pom poms. All you’ll need is string, scissors, and a piece of fleece two inches wide and a foot long. Best of all, you can do this whole project in about 10 minutes. 

2. Ball of Yarn

Materials: ball of yarn

There’s a reason so many pictures show cats chasing yarn. Your tabby’s great-great-something grandparents were fearsome hunters, and your cat has kept those natural hunting instincts. When a string of yarn comes loose or a ball rolls across the floor, your feline goes into full hunter mode. Yarn might also remind your kitty of snakes, which would explain why they want to attack it. 

So if you’re looking for an easy toy to keep your feline friend busy, you can’t go wrong with a ball of yarn. Just know that you may have to wind up a lot of yarn after your cat finishes destroying its “prey.”

3. Yarn Pom Poms

Materials: Yarn, scissors

Want something a little fancier than just a ball of yarn? Try yarn pom poms. They’re a piece of cake to make, and the only materials you need are yarn and scissors.

Pet Pro Tip: When shopping for products for your cat, make sure to also help protect your kitty with a best-in-class cat insurance or kitten insurance plan for accidents & illnesses!

4. Toilet Paper Roll Chaser

Materials: Toilet paper roll or paper towel roll

Optional: Catnip or cat treats, string or yarn, feathers, hot glue

Finally, something to do with your old toilet paper rolls. Once the paper’s off, hand them over to your kitty! Cats love chewing and shredding cardboard, so with any luck, you won’t even have to modify the roll. But if you want to up the challenge for your little tiger, you can always put some catnip inside and fold the ends closed. You can also attach a string to one end, glue some colorful feathers to the other end, and voila! You’ve got a dangly, chase-worthy toy for your fur baby. You can even use a paper towel roll for a bigger toy.

The best part about this toy is that the possibilities are endless. Instead of a dangly toy, you could leave off the string and give your feline friend a rolling toy they can chase across the floor. When your cat gets tired of the feathers, bust out a new roll and glue colorful pom poms onto it, or cut some holes and stick in a few bendy straws. Let your imagination run wild! 

5. Cardboard House

Materials: Cardboard box, scissors

Optional: spray paint, construction paper, hot glue or tape

You may have noticed your kitty likes to hang out in cardboard boxes. Enclosed spaces help cats feel safe and reduce their stress. So if you’ve got a cardboard box lying around, turn it into a cozy hideout for your fur baby. Cut a hole in it for your cat to use as a doorway, and throw a blanket in there so they can get comfortable. Let the purrs begin!

If you want to take things to the next level, you could even remodel that box into a cute cat house. Spray paint the inside or outside, cut out some construction paper shingles, and make a chimney from one of the box flaps. You can also forget the construction paper and just paint the box to look like a house.

6. Cat Tent

Materials: Medium t-shirt, 15″ by 15″ piece of cardboard, two wire hangers, tape, four safety pins, pliers

Here’s another idea for your feline’s top secret hideout. Got an old t-shirt you don’t know what to do with? Repurpose it to make the perfect cat tent! All the materials for this DIY project are things you probably have already, and the tent is a cinch to make. Just follow the steps in this Friskies tutorial. Complete the tent by throwing a cuddly blanket inside. 

Of course, there’s no guarantee your little tiger won’t destroy the tent you lovingly created for them. But you won’t know until you try!

7. T-shirt Bows

Materials: T-shirts, scissors

While you’re looking for ways to reuse those old t-shirts, try making these ridiculously easy toys from Muslin and Merlot. Just cut an old t-shirt into a 3 by 10 inch rectangle and tie it into a knot. For the most colorful, cat-friendly toy, cut up a few different colored shirts and tie them together.

8. Cat Wand 

Materials: wooden dowel, twine, fabric or hot glue, scissors

Optional: Feathers, fabric scraps, bells

Cats can entertain themselves for hours chasing balls of yarn or scratching to their hearts’ content, but when you want to play with your furry friend, nothing does the trick like a wand toy. 

To make a cat wand, wrap twine around a wooden dowel and leave 10 to 12 inches of twine at the end to dangle. Glue the twine in place at both ends of the dowel. Now comes the fun part. Find some things you can dangle from the end of the wand: feathers, fabric scraps, bells, or other colorful items. Tie or glue them onto the end of the twine and you’re ready for playtime! Dangle the toy in front of your furry friend and watch them go crazy.

9. Scratching Post

Scratching posts are a great way for your kitty to keep their claws healthy. But if you’ve got a cat who likes to scratch, you may find yourself replacing their scratcher a little more often than you’d like. A DIY scratching post can be a more affordable option, and if you do it right, can last for years. 

This homemade cat scratcher from Dream a Little Bigger is definitely more involved than your average DIY cat toy, but the work pays off.  

If you’re looking for something slightly easier, you might try wrapping a traffic cone in rope. We recommend sisal, the best rope for cat scratchers. You could even glue some pom poms on for a fun, colorful scratching toy. 

10. DIY Cat Tree

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you might try a DIY cat tree. You’ll probably need to purchase supplies for this one, but you might have some things around the house you can repurpose too, like a basket, rope, and cardboard boxes. You’re also going to need specific tools, like a hammer, table saw, and staple gun. But if you love breaking out the tools and going to work, this could be a fun project – and your feline friend will love having their own cat tree!

Ready, set, play!

Ready to dangle wands, throw balls, and refill catnip? The fun never stops with your little fur baby.

Erin Kahn

Erin Kahn

Erin is a writer and artist obsessed with all things literary. She's also obsessed with Sparky, a scruffy poodle-terrier mix.
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