Posted by Lora Shaw on September 24, 2013
Americans spent $53B on their pets in 2012, from vet care to toys to grooming and boarding. We love to buy monogrammed sweaters, personalized water bowls, and treats for our precious pets. But when it comes to cats and their toys, simple items you already have around your house can be just as intriguing as store-bought toys. Here are five to try out on your frisky feline:
It’s the same story with cats as it is with toddlers—you buy them a fancy new toy, and all they want to do is play with the box. If you’ve ever left an empty soda can box around, or caught your cat sitting in your open board game box, you know that cats love playing with boxes. Cut holes in a cardboard box and put some toys inside, or put a ping-pong ball or walnut inside an empty tissue box and watch the fun.
Cats love the smell of catnip, and there’s no shortage of toys for sale that allow you to place catnip inside them. But if you’re like most people, you have several socks that have been separated from their partner by the dryer. Take one of those socks (a baby’s sock or small workout sock is best), fill it with some catnip, and stitch it closed with a sewing machine or needle and thread. Your cat will go absolutely wild!
If your cat likes to sit in or play with toys in boxes, take it to the next level: find two or three boxes and tape them together to make a kitty super-fort. This can be as elaborate or as simple as you’d like. You can even cut the bottom off some paper bags and tape those together into a tunnel that’s connected to the box fort. Put some toys or treats in the corner. Your cat will turn into Indiana Jones.
Make another simple toy by taking a bell or two and placing them in an empty plastic aspirin bottle. This toy (if it doesn’t drive you crazy enough to throw it out immediately) works well with the boxes—place the bottle in the fort or the tissue box.
This last toy is a great way to actively play with your cat. Take some yarn or an old guitar string, punch a hole in a ping pong ball, pull the yarn through and knot it, and tape the other end of the yarn to a popsicle stick. Now you can bob the ping pong ball in front of your cat and watch her go crazy.
There you have it: five cheap toys that are easily made at home. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself spending a lot more time playing with your cat—after all, who can resist a cat jumping out of a box fort to pounce on a catnip-filled baby sock?
About the author
Lora Shaw is currently the Vice President of Operations at Pet Palace.