Homemade Cat Toys

Reader Contribution by Courtney Denning
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I love pampering my three cats with toys and treats. They are my and my husband’s “fur babies” and we adore them. Our cats are strictly indoor only, we feel it’s better for their health and for the local wildlife population. We also live in an apartment that doesn’t have a backyard.

Another way we keep our cats healthy and happy is by providing them with toys, games and plenty of places to sleep and hide if they need to get away from their sisters. We use some store-bought toys like a laser pointers, a large cat tree and an interactive food dispenser, but many of our cats favorite toys are homemade.

I have made them a cat tent, a cat bed (following directions for The Purr-fect Homemade Cat Bed from Elizabeth Atia in the October/November 2014 issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS), catnip stuffed creatures, cardboard tube tunnels, foil balls, fabric pom-poms and cardboard kitty forts. The most popular cat toys have been some of the simplest and easy to make. I’ll show you how to make Amelia’s favorite, the socktopus, and tell you where to find Emma and Olivia’s favorites out of items you already have at home.

How to Make a Catnip Socktopus

To make your own socktopus cat toy you will need:

  • An old sock, (a partnerless one with a hole in the heel, not the toe area, will work perfectly)
  • Scrap fabric for eyes or other facial features, optional
  • Polyfil stuffing
  • Dried catnip
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Thread

Gather your materials, and let’s DIY!

If you want to sew on some fabric eyes or other facial features, do this first. I know our cats probably care very little for how their toys look, as long as they’re fun, but I think having eyes on the socktopus makes them cute. Do not use buttons for eyes as your cat could pull them off the toy and swallow or choke on them. I used brightly colored thread to sew scrap white and black circles on our socktopuses, but you can decorate however you want.

Make the head by filling the toe area of the sock with the dried catnip and polyfil stuffing (I make mine the size of my fist, you could go larger or smaller than that). Finish the head by gathering the sock at the base of the polyfil area and sewing the opening shut. You should have what kind of looks like a balloon with a sock tube on the end. For a no sew version, tie a knot at the base of the polyfil. Cut eight strips for legs from the tube portion of the sock. Voila! Give to your cat to enjoy!

The socktopus is one of my cats’ favorite toys. This toy is so easy to make I’ve made several as Christmas gifts for my family members’ cats.

A lot of our cats favorite toys are not store-bought or even technically homemade. I’d call them re-purposed. Emma’s beloved “red stringy” is a drawstring I pulled from a hoodie. Olivia loves playing kitty “soccer” with a ball made out of aluminum foil. Cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls and plastic milk bottle caps are fun to bat and roll around. An empty (or just open) cardboard box makes a great napping spot. Take a look around your home before buying expensive toys from the pet store, you may already have something your cats will love!

Do you have a toy that your felines adore? I hope your cats enjoy your creations! Let me know if you make any of these cat toys in the comments below.

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