Homemade Cat Toys

Homemade Cat Toys

Homemade Cat toys can provide hours of fun playtime for your feline friend.

Have you ever watched in frustration as the cat turns up its nose at an expensive toy to play with a ball of string or jump into a cardboard box instead?

Making your own toys also means that your pet will have new playthings quite often.

Best of all, creating cat toys can be quite cheap if you use items easily found at home.

Homemade Cat Toys
with Toilet Tissue Tubes

Making homemade cat toys from toilet tissue tubes is easy and cheap, and one way to re-purpose them instead of throwing them into the trash.

Once all the tissue is finished, remove all traces of paper and get to work. Use a pair of scissors to cut 1-inch strips all around both ends of the tube. Fold the strips back towards the body of the tube and let your cat explore the different ways the new toy can be batted and rolled.

If you do not want to cut the edges, your cat will probably be happy to play with the tube as is. For even more fun, give kitty a roll that is not quite finished — but be ready to do some cleaning up afterwards.

The cardboard core from a roll of paper towels can be just as useful as the tissue tube. For added fun, tie a ribbon around the middle of the tube, making sure to leave a short piece trailing off for kitty to try grabbing.

But be careful not to leave too much ribbon, as your cat may try to eat it, which could be very dangerous.

Making Prey

Cats love chasing prey, and these types of homemade cat toys can be lots of fun. Two common options are a mouse or a snake. Simple items for making a mouse are:

  • A piece of felt (a 12 inch square is ideal, or less for a smaller mouse)
  • 2 large pompoms
  • Non-toxic glue
  • String for the tail
  • Needle and thread
  • Marker


  1. Fold the felt in two and use the marker to trace a large teardrop shape, with one edge of the teardrop at the fold of the fabric.
  2. Cut the felt so that you have two teardrop-shaped pieces. Leave the two pieces attached at the fold.
  3. Sew or glue the pompoms together.
  4. Place the pompoms between the two pieces of felt.
  5. Sew together or glue the open sides of the felt.
  6. Draw or embroider eyes on the tapered part of the teardrop.
  7. Attach the string as a tail at the other end.
cat playing with felt mouse

Empty Plastic Bottles

We all have empty plastic bottles lying around, and cats will enjoy batting them with their paws. Plastic bottles make the perfect durable homemade cat toys.

cat playing with plastic bottle

For variety, fill the bottle with beads of different colors, leaving enough space for the beads to roll around and make sounds. Be sure that the cover is secure to prevent accidental ingestion of the beads. If you are using a pill bottle or other similar container, wash it thoroughly first.

Consider giving your cat a treat and toy all in one, by placing food or edible treats in a wide-mouth bottle. As it moves, the food will fall out and kitty can eat it before going back to play.

Hide and Seek Box

Cats cannot resist exploring boxes. Whether it's playing hide and seek or jumping out unexpectedly; a large box can be the perfect hiding place.

Fold back or cut off the box covers so the cat has an easy way to get in and out. Place some toys such as ping-pong balls, yarn or scrunched up paper inside for playtime.

cats playing in cardboard box

Other easy-to-make prey includes snakes and birds.

These homemade cat toys can be as simple or as elaborate as you want them to be. Sew a few old socks together and attach a string so you can pull it along, and your kitten will pounce on its moving prey with glee. Use bright colors to help capture your pet’s attention.

Playing With Your Cats

Tying scraps of fabric or strings to the end of a twig can create a simple toy for a kitten. Your pet will love moving it around or chasing after it if you throw it.

You can also attach string to the fingers of an old glove. Put on the glove, dangle it in front of tabby and move the fingers to make the strings dance. You can also use fishing poles and rods to achieve the same effect.

Why not use what you can find in nature? Cats instinctively enjoying playing with real bird feathers; next time you come across a feather, keep it for kitty!

cat playing with peakcock feather
Photo courtesy of J. Dwyer

Attaching feathers or tiny bells to a pair of old slippers can provide fun and exercise for both you and your pet. Run around in your slippers and let your pet try to catch you. Make sure to wear thick socks to prevent accidental scratches and bites.

Homemade cat toys save money and give you creative ways to recycle household items.

Letting children help to make them can help to unleash the youngsters’ creativity. With these playthings, you can easily keep your pets occupied while giving them exercise.

But be sure to observe this word of caution: do not use anything that your cat can swallow or which can become loose and cause choking.

Homemade Cat Toys
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