The father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, once said that time spent with cats is never wasted. Some people might call me the quintessential cat lady, but I agree with Freud wholeheartedly.

We were curious about cheap and easy toys for cats that you can make yourself, even if you have two left thumbs.

Here’s what we found:

1. Pom-poms

Cats love anything that’s round and fluffy – this might explain the dead pigeon you found on your doorstep or in your bed. This pom-pom made out of wool and cardboard will have your feline friend freaking out.

You’ll need:

Wool in various colours

How to do it:

Cut a doughnut shape with a diameter of about 10cm out of a piece of cardboard with your scissors. Start winding the wool around the cardboard as indicated in the picture. Keep going until the hole in the middle of the cardboard has disappeared. Use the scissors to cut through the wool all around the circle. Fluff the wool to make a ball, throw it on the ground and watch your cat go wild.

Cat toys

Idea from imgfave.

2. DIY Scratching Post

Cats are notorious for sharpening their nails on furniture. You can turn a table leg into a scratching post for your cat, and save your leather couches.

You’ll need:

The leg of a table or desk
Sisal rope

How to do it:

Keeping your furniture safe from the cat’s claws couldn’t be simpler. Tightly wind sisal rope around the leg of a table or desk, halfway up the height of the table or desk. Knot it tightly at the top.

cat toys 2

Idea from thriftydiydiva.

3. Jingly Cat Wand

Cats love dangly things, and if they have a little jingle, it’s even better. Use these items from your junk drawer to create something that will bring your cat immeasurable joy.

You’ll need:

1 Wooden dowel
Keys from your junk drawer
Fabric scraps

What to do:

Start by wrapping wool around the dowel. Glue the last piece of the wool to the dowel to stop it from unraveling and leave a piece of wool of about 10cm at the end to attach the dangly bits to. Tie the fabric scraps and keys to the end of the wool.

Cat toys 3

Idea from IrresistablePets.

4. Toilet Roll Puzzle

You can bet a can of tuna that your cat will find this irresistible. You know what they say about curiosity and cats…

You’ll need:

Old toilet rolls
An empty shoe or tissue box

What to do:

Paint the box and toilet rolls a colour you like. Glue the toilet rolls together to stop them from moving around. Make a hole in both ends of the box and put some string through it. The string can be used to fasten the box to the leg of a table, so it doesn’t move around too much when your cats play with it. Put the toilet rolls in the box.

Once you’re done, tie the box to the leg of a table, put a treat in one of the rolls and see how long it takes for your cat to figure out which hole contains the treat.

Cats 4

Idea from fourwhitepaws.

5. Lunch Box Puzzle

We guarantee this toy will keep your cat entertained for hours.

You’ll need:

An old lunch box
A knife
Little balls

What to do:

Cut holes in the lid of the lunch box – just big enough for your cat to stick its paw through, but smaller than the balls. Put the balls in the lunch box, put the lid on it, and watch your cat try to get the balls out.

Cat toy idea

Idea from The Glam Cat.

6. Self-scratcher

If your cat is a sucker for attention, but you’re not always there, this self-scratcher will ensure it can take care of itself during the day.

You’ll need:

2 scrubbing brushes
2 hinges
A screwdriver
A hammer
A pencil
Double-sided tape

What to do:

Mark the brush to indicate where you will fasten the hinges. Gently tap the screws to make a little hole where you will screw in the hinges into the brush. Screw one side of the hinges into one brush, then screw the hinges into the other brush. Put pieces of double-sided tape on both brushes, then stick it onto the leg of a table where it will be easy for your cat to reach. View a step-by-step video tutorial on how to make the self-scratcher here.

7. Wine Cork Ding Dong

An excuse to finish a bottle of wine, and an entertained cat – what more can you ask for?

You’ll need:

A wine cork
A large nail
A hammer
A large needle

What to do:

Use the large nail and hammer to make a hole from the top of the cork through to the bottom. Use the pliers to remove the nail once you’ve made the hole. Use the needle to thread some wool through the hole. Tie it securely on one end and leave some wool to dangle through the other end. You can make tassels if you really want to impress your puss. Simplicity is key here – your cat will love it.

Cat 6

Idea from The Links Site.

8. Traffic Cone Scratching Post

That traffic cone you’ve been hauling along every time you moved because you’re sentimental about that time you stole it while you were a student? Put it to good use by converting it into a scratching post that will keep your cat occupied.

You’ll need:

A traffic cone (DO NOT steal a random traffic cone in the road for this project – a large piece of PVC pipe that is mounted on a piece of wood will work just as well)
Sisal rope
Glue gun

What to do:

Starting from the bottom of the cone, glue the rope to the cone. Continue winding the rope around the cone until it is completely covered. If you like, add a pom-pom to the top of the cone.

Cat toy ideas

Idea from So Fancy.

Remember: cats are fussy creatures, and chances are they probably won’t be as impressed as you think by the expensive jungle gym you paid hundreds for at the pet shop, and it’ll become a pink elephant that takes up space in your house, and is, quite frankly, ugly. These budget toys will keep cash in your pocket and happiness in your cat’s heart.

About The Author

Angie Gallagher

Angie Gallagher is a freelance writer in the Upper Karoo. Aside from writing content for Counting Coins, Angie has tried her hand at a few juvenile attempts at poetry filled with storms and stress, and a marginally successful radio station, Radio Grootoor, recorded on cassette tapes when she was ten.

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