DIY Cat Toys: Fun and Easy Projects You Can Make at Home

By Upkitty Team 6 Min Read

Creating DIY cat toys is a wonderful way to provide your feline friend with fun, engaging activities while also recycling household items into something useful. This article explores a variety of simple, safe, and enjoyable DIY projects that you can start today. These toys not only save money but also allow you to tailor the play experience to your cat’s specific preferences.

The Benefits of Making Your Own Cat Toys

DIY cat toys have several advantages over store-bought alternatives:

  • Cost-Effective: Utilize materials you already have at home, reducing costs.
  • Customizable: Adjust toys to suit your cat’s size, preferences, and play style.
  • Safe: Control the materials and design to ensure safety and durability.
  • Bonding: Spend quality time crafting toys that will enhance your bond with your cat.

Essential Safety Tips for DIY Cat Toys

Before we jump into the projects, it’s crucial to prioritize safety:

  • Avoid Small Parts: Ensure there are no small parts that could be swallowed or choked on.
  • Non-Toxic Materials: Use materials that are safe for pets, avoiding toxic glues, paints, or other hazardous substances.
  • Regular Inspections: Check homemade toys regularly for signs of wear and tear, replacing them as necessary.

Project 1: T-shirt Yarn Ball

Materials Needed:

  • Old cotton T-shirts
  • Scissors


  1. Cut the T-shirt into strips approximately 1 inch wide.
  2. Stretch the strips to make them curl into cords.
  3. Braid or twist the strips together and then wind them into a ball shape.
  4. Secure the end by tucking it into the ball or using a small stitch.

Why Cats Love It: Cats love the texture of the T-shirt yarn and the springiness of the ball, which makes it perfect for batting and chasing around the house.

Project 2: Cardboard Scratcher

Materials Needed:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Non-toxic glue or double-sided tape
  • Ruler and utility knife


  1. Cut the cardboard into strips of the same width using the ruler and utility knife.
  2. Fold the strips accordion-style or roll them tightly into a circular or rectangular base.
  3. Use the non-toxic glue or double-sided tape to secure the shape.

Why Cats Love It: This scratcher mimics commercial ones, providing an ideal surface for nail care and stretching muscles.

Project 3: Catnip Sock Toy

Materials Needed:

  • Old socks (preferably without holes)
  • Catnip
  • Cotton or scrap fabric for stuffing


  1. Fill the sock with a mix of catnip and cotton or fabric scraps.
  2. Tie the open end of the sock in a knot to secure the contents.
  3. Optionally, add more knots along the length of the sock to create more interest.

Why Cats Love It: The scent of catnip stimulates cats and encourages play, while the softness of the sock makes it ideal for carrying and cuddling.

Project 4: Interactive Wand Toy

Materials Needed:

  • Stick or dowel
  • String or ribbon
  • Feathers, fabric scraps, or other safe attachments


  1. Secure one end of the string to the stick using a strong knot.
  2. Attach feathers, fabric scraps, or other items to the other end of the string.
  3. Ensure all parts are securely attached and cannot be easily pulled off during play.

Why Cats Love It: Wand toys encourage interactive play between you and your cat, helping to strengthen your bond and provide exercise.

Project 5: Puzzle Feeder Toy

Materials Needed:

  • Small plastic containers (like those for yogurt)
  • Cat treats or kibble
  • Knife or scissors


  1. Make small holes in the lids of the plastic containers.
  2. Place a few treats or pieces of kibble inside the containers.
  3. Scatter the containers around a safe play area to encourage your cat to hunt for their food.

Why Cats Love It: Puzzle feeders stimulate your cat’s brain, mimicking the challenge of hunting, and reward them with a tasty treat.

Maintaining and Updating Homemade Cat Toys

To ensure ongoing interest and safety, it’s important to regularly inspect and refresh your DIY cat toys:

  • Inspect for Damage: Look for any loose parts, tears, or potential hazards.
  • Clean Regularly: Wash fabric toys and wipe down hard surfaces with pet-safe cleaners.
  • Update and Rotate Toys: Keep your cat engaged by rotating toys and introducing new ones.

FAQs about DIY Cat Toys

  • What are the best materials for DIY cat toys?
  • How often should I replace homemade cat toys?
  • Are there any common household items that are unsafe for cat toys?
  • How can I make a cat toy if I’m not very crafty?
  • What is the simplest DIY cat toy I can make?
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