Super-Simple DIY Holidays Gifts For Cats & Their Humans

Most of us want to include our four-legged family members in our letters to Santa…

…but gifts for cats and their owners can get spendy. Try these easy, do-it-yourself gift ideas for your favorite feline this Christmas season.

Cardboard Castle

Cats love to explore boxes, so for an extra-special treat, try creating your own homemade cardboard box castle. Save a couple of differently-sized boxes, tape them together, then cut interesting doors/windows/peep holes into the sides. For an extra dose of family fun, let kids get involved with markers, stickers, and creative designing. If your cat is shy about exploring his or her new kingdom at first, hide treats inside for a tasty surprise.

Homemade Kitty Treats

If you’re feeling inspired in the kitchen, try whipping up a batch of homemade cat treats. Try this simple recipe: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine one 6-ounce can of tuna (undrained) with 1 cup of cornmeal, 1 cup of flour, and 1/3 cup of water. (If you have dried catnip on hands, sprinkle in a pinch of that, too.) Mix all ingredients, then roll into 1/4-inch balls. Place onto a greased cookie sheet, then flatten with your thumb or a fork. Bake for 20 minutes, or until treats are crunchy. Store in an airtight container for up to a month. If you’re gifting these as a holiday surprise, wrap them in a fun tin or jar with festive ribbon.

A Patch of Catnip

While live catnip can be expensive at the store, it’s simple, easy, and cheap to buy a package of seeds and grown your own. For a fun DIY catnip kit, find a small pot (the size and shape that might fit on a windowsill), fill it with potting soil, and plant seeds according to directions. (Or if the recipient of your gift is the green-thumb type, make it a kit and let them plant the seeds themselves.) To keep costs as low as possible, consider hitting your local Goodwill or secondhand store for pots, and buy seeds in bulk online. Just be sure to include care instructions: put the pot in a warm sunny place, water occasionally, and wait for your cat to sniff out the fun! If you’re feeling extra ambitious, grown your own catnip before the holiday season. Dry it, then sew it into tiny sachets.

The “Fishing Pole”

Young energetic cats love to chase, bat, and stalk their prey—even if their food isn’t actually alive. For a fun holiday gift, tie a string to a long pole. At the end of the string, affix a pom-pom, cluster of yarn, sparkly piece of wrapping paper, or whatever catches your cat’s eye. Let the fun ensure! For an extra-festive gift, use holiday-colored string or ribbon. Just be sure that the pole isn’t too long to be used inside, and double-check that all ingredients are nontoxic.

Meet the Author: Charlotte Austin

Charlotte Austin is a Seattle-based writer and mountain guide. She has climbed, explored, and led expeditions in North and South America, Nepal, Europe, Alaska, and Patagonia. Her writing has been featured in Women's Adventure, Alpinist, Stay Wild, and other national and international publications. When she's not guiding in the Himalayas, she's exploring her hometown (Seattle, Washington), trying new recipes, and hanging out with Huckleberry, her giant black Great Dane-Lab mix. Read more about their adventures at

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