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Homemade cat toys?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I will soon be getting a kitten (my first cat) and I love to sew and be crafty whenever the opportunity arises! I read that its nice for the kitten to have a fluffy toy to snuggle with, and can even help with the anxiety of leaving its mother when you first bring it home and I was hoping to make a toy similar to the kitten's mother. As she is a Birman tho, I would be looking for somethign nice and fluffy, especially like the lovely fluff tail the mummy has.

I was concerned if there were any materials I should stay clear of when it comes to making cat toys. To make my fluffy toy I was looking into using faux fur that you buy from a regular haberdashery, but wanted to check this would be kitty friendly! Don't want any extra unwanted furbals building up or bad tummies. And is regular stuffing from a haberdashry ok to use?

And I was wondering if anyone has any nice tips or links to good home made cat toys and the like. I don't mind buying the toys of course, but I just can't resist arts and craft time
post #2 of 20
Here is an idea to make a toy:


Hope that works for you.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
This is really a good idea! Thank you Worriedmommy! My boyfriend's size 13 socks should make a fun sized ball
post #4 of 20
I'm not sure about the fabric but I know we've had several threads about homemade toys!

Toilet paper tubes aren't exactly homemade, haha but they're practically free... as are the rings from milk jugs (I noticed you're in the UK... not really sure how milk is sold over there - it's been so long since I visited haha)... you can also just sew up basically little pillows and add catnip inside when you're stuffing them (if you're really crafty, you could make them mouse shaped!)... you can also make your own fishing rod type toys easily with a dowel, some string and possibly some feathers or gift wrap ribbon or bells.... hmm that's about all I can think of other than making a bed or special blanket that's just for the kitty... I've made Oliver some bandanas (worn loosly of course) and a big 3 foot scratching post too

Basically look at the toys in the store and see if you could come up with a way to make them yourself!

My dog (black lab) has all stuffed animal type toys... I sew those up until there's no fabric left to sew, haha... gotta get my money's worth out of them!
post #5 of 20
You want to avoid anything that a cat can chew to pieces, rip up into small pieces, and swallow, if it's not digestible. I've made quite a few cat toys. You can use feathers, raffia, ribbons, crepe paper, leather, jingle bells, pipe cleaners (be sure to make sure the pointy ends don't stick out.) Just use your imagination. But remember that what might seem to be an appealing toy to you isn't necessarily so to a cat. Observe your cat's play and notice what attracts her attention. Cats like things that move in funny, jerky ways, things that make rustly noises and squeaky noises, things that are shiny, things that skitter across the floor, things that float through the air. Basically, things that emulate their prey: insects, small rodents, small birds, etc. Have fun!!
post #6 of 20
Mine love till receipts, screwed up newspaper, toilet rolls, ping pong balls, the thicker paper bags you get from clothing shops (like Zara) and cardboard boxes as you can see

Be careful of string, wool and toys on rubber bands/elastic as they can chew these type of toys apart and can eat the string which could be very harmful to cats. I don't have any of those toys for that reason, but generally if you just keep an eye on the play things and throw them away when they start to fall apart
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the really great ideas guys!

I am definately going to make some cat toys, but will wait till I know what my kitten likes and make something to really suit her
post #8 of 20
If you sew your options are endless. If you want a soft furry material, the best way to check for it's safety is to pull on the fluff / fur at the cut end of the fabric. If it sheds a lot, avoid it. Also grab some of the fluff in the middle and pull to test. They do sell children friendly fabrics which I assume if they are safe for human children, they should be safe for 4 legged children also.

If you make toys, avoid putting on things that your kitten/cat can ingest. Don't add embellishments like strings, eyes, tassles or even feathers. They will chew them off and swallow them.

Look for materials that are machine washable, particularly if you are doing a bed.

You mentioned that you can sew. Are you able to look at something and figure out how to make it from that? (check out my link below)
post #9 of 20
all of my cats favorite toys are homemade. her three most favorite took minimal or no sewing skill:

i tied - very tightly - skinny satin ribbons to a small hair scunchie. then I tied a cord to the hair scrunchie and used duct tape to affic the cord to a skinny dowel. she will chase that thing as I flick it and drag it until she is so tired she lies on her back and swats at it.

the other best toy is a sheer piece of chiffon to which I sewed long fringe. she loves to hide under it and stalk things we place on he veil. She also loves to get rides on it and i drag her all along the hardwood floors and tilles floors of out first floor. It's a hoot.

as for the last I discovered she loved the paper twine handles from shopping bags. so I bought a large roll of the plain stuff and make knots that she loves to chase and gnaw on, when it gets frayed I toss it and give her new ones, when she was teething I put them in the freezer and they seemed a great comfort to her.

It's been my experience that except for the colorful ages and stages toys she prefers anything homemade.
post #10 of 20
This thread brought a great big smile to my face so it did

We got all the toys for our boyo's when they was kittens and soon found out that string is the best toy for cats, at least with ours.. I used to tie toy mouses to a bit of string and walk around the house.. for a while the cats chased it but soon lost interest..we called the toy "mouse on a string" now we call it "string on a mouse" and the cats go absolutely berserk for it i think theres nothing worse than buying your cat something in the supermarket to play with and you get home and they just aint interested at all LOL..

they also love shoe boxes or anybox come to think of it
post #11 of 20
You can make your own fishing rod toy really easily. Suprevised play only!

You will need:
Button or bead
Upholstery thread (this is very strong thread) & needle
a wooden dowel, cut to a comfortable length
Hot glue (optional) & small scrap of cloth

Thread about 3 feet of the upholstery thread onto the needle. Stick the needle through the big shaft of each feather in turn until you have a nice bunch of feathers on the thread. Then tie the end of the thread around the bunch of feathers, and thread the button or bead onto the thread and knot that as well (for a weight--otherwise the feathers just float in midair forever and are no challenge for kitty!). The other end of the thread goes around the dowel; wrap it several times before you tie it firmly, so that it will stay on the dowel. You can use hot glue to secure either or both ends of the thread--to stick the top of the bundle of feathers together, and to keep the thread around the dowel. If you use hot glue on the top of the bundle of feathers, get a scrap of cloth and wrap it around the hot glue so that the cat won't chew directly on the glue and perhaps eat it!

This toy is not kitty-safe; it must be put away when not in use to avoid the cat eating the feathers or getting tangled in the string.
post #12 of 20
Oh, also, very easy project, a catnip mouse:

Dried catnip
3" radius circle of cloth

Take the cloth circle and fold it in half, wrong side out. Sew all but a little of it closed; then turn it right side out. Put about a teaspoon of catnip into the toy, then fill up the rest with stuffing and hand-sew the opening shut.

You can add little details if you want. Eyes can be added with embroidery thread. Beware, though--tails can be chewed off and cause problems when swallowed, so it's best not to add a tail! Same with button eyes (can be swallowed) and permanent markers (the ink could be poisonous). Best to choose cute fabrics, rather than worrying about decorations, in my opinion.

Naturally these toys can be made in just about any shape. If you're lazy, feel free to make a little catnip "pillow" (from a rectangular piece of fabric about 3"x6"), which is easier to sew than a circle.

Store the toy in an airtight "zipper" type plastic bag when it's not in use. It's best not to leave catnip toys out all the time, because the cat will just get used to the catnip smell. Better to bring them out for a special treat!
post #13 of 20
Our abyssinian kitten loves bottle caps. Plastic ones don't shred and make a good noise, especially on hardwood or vinyl/ceramic tile. He tries to pick it up with both paws and bounce it in the air, only for it to fall and slide away -- which he then loves to pounce at.

Even more fun, since he paws at it and plays by himself, it's very easy to reach down and play with him -- just scoot it around with your fingers. I joked with my wife that apparently bottle caps are fun for people to play with, too.

If you have an old tie that will never be worn again, they also make good cat toys. Some cats prefer if there's a knot in there, for something to grab on to -- others will always jump after the end of it. Ties are a very, very tight weave, so they don't shred or lose strings very easily, which is perfect for cats. But use old ones, or else they're quite expensive cat toys!
post #14 of 20
Thrift stores often sell ties for 50 cents apiece
post #15 of 20
milk jug rings were a fav of all of my cats thru the yrs... bread ties( once they are no longer chewing).. boxes ...
post #16 of 20
Originally Posted by Callista View Post
Thrift stores often sell ties for 50 cents apiece
That qualifies as old!
post #17 of 20
Weed Wacker String, about 9"
Ping Pong Ball in Bowl
Catnip Branch
Bowl with Ice
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
Apologies for the super late reply!!

Got so caught up with re-enrolment in college, getting my dissertation video project underway and business meetings snatching up all my time I finally get some me time!

Kitten may be arriving earlier than expected due to mummy being ill, so I have a nice quiet week of toy making ahead of me! So many great ideas and easy ways of toys (note to self: hide all of my boyfriend's ties before kitten arrives )

Thank you all for these great ideas, I think I will enjoy making these more than the kitty will like playing with them
post #19 of 20
Fleece won't unravel into strings, comes in all colors and thicknesses, is easy to wash and dries fast. And it's made from recycled pop bottles!
post #20 of 20
I make catnip chew toys for my kitties. It's basically just a tube of thick fabric- mine are canvas upostery type fabrics, with a rope sewn into one or both ends. My cats LOVE these things more than any store bought catnip toy. You wouldn't want to make it out of white fabric though. My cats tend to suck on these as well an they now have kind of a green tint to them. I took some pictures for you!

Action shot! You can also see a crocheted 'squid' in the background and a 'mouse' made the same way as the chew toys, with a loop of rope for the tail.
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