Although you want to buy a few quality toys, one great thing about cats is that they aren’t exactly discriminating when it comes to play. They will pretty much play with anything. That’s a double-edged sword, as we don’t want them playing with rubber bands, paper clips, or pieces of string, necessitating a trip to the vet that will cost quite a bit more than a new toy would have.
Here are a few things that you can make for your cat easily with what you most likely have on hand:
- Catnip Toys – These can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Any fabric you have around will do, although cats tend to like a rough-textured fabric. Use a good-quality organic catnip, and make sure the seams are sewn tight, with no frayed edges or hanging thread. Since most cats like to kick and lick these, make a couple so that you can rotate them. If they start to lose their catnip smell, a few short seconds in the microwave will re-energize the smell. Just make sure the toy is not hot before you give it to your cat.
- Ping Pong Balls – OK, we aren’t making these, but this is one item you might already have on hand, or can buy cheaply. Because ping pong balls are so light, they bounce easily on a hard surface and are fun for a cat to chase around. This toy requires supervision, however, since the balls are not sturdy and could easily be bitten through and come apart. Don’t leave these around where kitty might choke.
- Wands – Most cats love fishing-pole type wand toys. These are quite easy to make with a piece of dowel and string tied to one end. For safety sake, the string is better to use than yarn since it doesn’t shed, and drillling a hole at the end of the dowel and tying the string in a knot is safer than stapling it to the dowel. Tying a knot at the hanging end of the string also helps kitty grab the string and feel some sense of satisfaction at “catching” something.
- Tunnel – What cat doesn’t love a tunnel? Cats love to hide and hunt and pounce, and tunnels are a great way to satisfy this desire. Tunnels can be made out of paper bags or boxes. Make them as big or as small as you want, and change it up now and then. Make sure any paper bags have the handles cut off so that you cat doesn’t get caught unintentionally.
Most of all have fun! Your cat will love whatever you do.