DIY Cat Toys
Are you on a budget but facing down a bored (destructive) cat?
Here are a few piece-of-cake DIY cat toys that you can whip up from stuff that’s already floating around your house. Bonus: none of them require much “doing” it yourself beyond what you can do with a pair of scissors and your own two hands.
Shortly after my husband’s cat was adopted—a scraggly, worm-infested kitten who showed up on his doorstep in the middle of the night—he had to go out of town. The pet sitter dropped by to meet the cat and showed him an array of cat toys all made from a single sheet of newspaper: a crumpled-up ball, of course, but also long, thick strands torn from the sheet and a loop cut from the edges. We regularly “make” her a fresh batch of newspaper toys. Then, when they get bedraggled, off to the recycling they go.
Cardboard Paper Rolls
Another recycling-friendly, zero-effort cat toy is the cardboard tube from inside a toilet paper or paper towel roll. Cut them to different sizes, put a slit down the middle or leave them as is. If you have a small box lying around, trim the rolls to varying heights and stuff them in the empty box. Scatter a handful of treats into the various rolls and allow your cat to use her natural “paw fishing” skills to extract the treats.
This tip came from a veteran kitten foster mom: Toss a couple plastic drinking straws out for your cat to bat, chew, chase and pounce. Keep an eye on the straws, though. Tiny chunks of plastic (depending on the thickness of the straw) can break off easily. Replace the straws when the plastic loses integrity. One warning: If you use the paper straws available at dollar stores, consider them a one-time use for your cat. The paper deteriorates too quickly to last more than one play session.
What to Avoid
Despite the time-worn image of a cat batting around a ball of yarn, skip the skein. Cats can swallow the long threads and cause significant bowel obstructions that require expensive surgery. The same holds for any string-like plaything: ribbon, thread, hair ties, rubber bands and so on. Also, while cats love to jump in and out of bags and boxes, remove any handles on paper bags and recycle boxes that have handles punched into the side—your cat’s cute little face can get stuck!
Whatever you choose to play with, monitor your cat’s interaction with these toys, and remove any small, torn, shredded or broken pieces.