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10 Simple Cat Toys You Can Make At Home

10 Simple Cat Toys You Can Make At Home

Cat bored? These simple cat toys you can make will soon solve that!

By Chere Di Boscio

Most cat owners have experienced this: you see a fancy toy in a store. Or maybe it’s even more than that – a cat tree or something high-tech and automated. You think to yourself: ‘Oh, Fluffy will love this!’ You spend your hard earned cash and bring said toy home, only to have Fluffy gaze at it with disdain and ignore it for the rest of her life.

There’s no doubt that cats are very intelligent and inquisitive animals. So indoor kitties are particularly prone to boredom if they don’t get enough mental stimulation and physical exercise. And the result? Obesity. Depression. Behavioural problems.

There’s a myth that cats are totally independent all the time. But nope! Cats need tons of attention and playtime. When you’re away, make sure they’re not bored by setting up a room in your home with tall cat trees and perches. Be sure to give them space to run around like the little wild animals that they are! And provide plenty of toys that give them the opportunity to practice their pouncing and hunting skills.

They might do that on their own, but it’s even more fun when you’re around to spur them on! You’ll be rewarded for playing with them with plenty of love an affection.

That being said, cats can become bored with their toys over time, so it’s recommended to rotate them, and provide new ones sometimes as well. So why not keep your cats happy by making these DIY cat toys and games, below?

But you don’t even need to get that fancy. I’ve found that cats are perfectly happy to play with:

  • Tightly rolled up balls of aluminium foil
  • Pieces of dangled string or wool
  • Little rubber balls

The most important thing is this: make sure whatever your cat is playing with is made from non-toxic materials!

Now, let’s get started, shall we?

Easy Cat Toys You Can Make At Home

cat toys

1. Cardboard Box Toy

It’s a fact that cats LOVE cardboard boxes. If they fits, they sits! So why not just give your cat a cardboard box? I find that my cats love it when the box is opened from two ends, so they can enter it as a ‘tunnel’. They love to sleep in there. And if you poke holes on the top and dangle a string in there, all the better!

Image below: Pinterest

Cardboard Box Toy

If a plain box doesn’t quite match the aesthetic of your living room, no worries. You can get the instructions for making a rather attractive cardboard cat ‘house’ (as seen below) here!

simple cat toys to make

2. Feather Cat Toy

The only thing cats might love more than cardboard boxes? Feathers! And making a feather cat toy is easier than you’d think. Simply get a piece of string (preferably one with some elasticity). Tie a feather (or two or three!) tightly to the end. Get a thin stick – any stick you find in the garden is fine. Tie the string to the stick, and viola! One of the most simple cat toys to make, right?

If you’re wondering where to get feathers, you can usually find some if you live by the sea or in the city. Yep, you will need to clean them with soap and water! Otherwise, look for a feather duster and pluck a few feathers out. Much more eco-friendly than the plastic ones usually available to buy.

feather toy for cats

3. Knotted Ball Toy

From little kids to adults, from dogs to cats, everyone loves to play with a ball! And now a ball is a simple cat toy to make at home. Using old textiles! Which means you’re reducing waste, yay! All you need to do is follow this tutorial.

Your cat will have hours of fun chasing it, batting it, and let’s be honest: destroying it. But that’s fine! You can always make another one…

simple cat toys to make

4. Sewn Catnip Mouse Toy

Is your kitty a bit of a catnip head? Then this sewn toy will make them very, very happy! It isn’t hard to make, and you can use any scrap fabric you have on hand. You can find the instructions here.

And did I mention: it’s a great idea to make a whole bunch of these an leave them around the house for Fluffy to find? They also make great gifts for those with cats. And you can even tie their tails to a stick for some dangling fun!

Tip: Why not stuff these with catnip?

simple cat toys to make

Cats 100% need to stretch their paws and scratch with their claws. So why not convert an old magazine rack into a cat scratcher? It’s so easy to do! All you need is an X shaped magazine rack, and some rough hemp or jute rope. Staple the end of the rope to the bottom of the back of one side, then wrap it around and around until the bottom of the X on one side is covered. Staple the end of the string to the top, cut, then do the other side. They’ll love this, but it’s also still functional as a magazine rack on the top, and will look great with your decor!

Image credit: Martha Stewart

cat scratcher magazine rack

6. Simple String Toy

I’m going to share a secret. The toy my cat loves the very, very most is probably the dumbest one. The simplest one. In fact, the one I made my mistake. It’s basically a stick from my garden with the drawstring from a pair of my pyjamas tied to it. So, why is my cat so obsessed? Mainly because the string is made from an elasticised fabric and springs back after he grabs it. I also tied a knot on the end of it, which he loves chewing.

Bonus: I soak that knot in tooth-cleaning enzymes, which seems to really work to ‘brush’ his teeth! (He used to have gingivitis, but it’s now gone!)

Photo: By me!

cat chewing string

See Also

7. Food Puzzle Toy

Is your cat alone a lot? Make him think a bit by giving him a food puzzle! He’ll get the rewards, and will have fun doing it. It’s so easy to do! Just get some toilet rolls, fold their ends over, poke a hole in the middle that’s big enough for the treats to get out of, and fill with treats. My babies love Greenies. And they manage to get each one out every day!

Alternatively, recycle a plastic bottle by putting on its top, cutting a hole in the side, and filling it up with treats. Your kitty will have to roll it around cleverly to get a snack.

Definitely one of the more simple cat toys to make. And the cheapest!

Image credit: Pinterest. Second image credit here.

cat food puzzle

8. Brainteaser Toy

Cat want to play, but you’re not around to help? Does your furry friend love tossing balls of wood around? Then we have a great idea for you! This is another of the more simple cat toys to make at home. All you’re going to need is a large jar and some balls of wool to fit inside. They’ll have to tease the balls out, then they can start going crazy!

Learn more here.

9. Toilet Roll Toys

Don’t throw those cardboard toilet roll centres out. They are super useful! You can use them to make a food puzzle, for example. Just fold the ends over so they close up, then put a big piece of tape on each end to ensure they stay folded. Then, pop in a hole in the middle of the roll with a pair of scissors. Stick in some dry cat treats, and voila! Fluffy will have to roll the toy and figure out how to get the treats from inside.

Alternatively, you can make one of the toys in the picture below with these instructions:

What you’ll need

  • Empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls
  • Pom Poms
  • String
  • Hot glue
  • Straws


  1. To make the DIY cat toy using straws and an empty toilet paper roll, poke holes in the toilet paper roll, then put the straws through the holes. Put the straws in straight, up, or down to make it interesting. To make sure the straws don’t fall out, hot glue them at the points where they go throw the empty toilet paper rolls.
  2. To make the DIY cat toy using pom poms, hot glue different sizes and colored pom-poms to the empty toilet paper roll.

10. T Shirt House

Got a ratty T Shirt you never wear anymore? Don’t throw it out! It can easily become a really cool house for your cat! This tutorial explains how to do it. It’s the perfect little hideaway for shy cats, or for multiple cat households, where each pussycat is looking for his or her own space.

Do you know of any other simple cat toys to make at home? Let us know in the comments, below!

Chere Di Boscio
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