DIY Cat Toys: 7 Variations for Maximum Fun!

By Jessica De Rubeis March 13, 2019

Is your kitty looking a bit bored?  Was the latest cat toy you bought a total flop?  If your finicky feline prefers to play with a ring from the milk jug or the mint you left on the coffee table, then these DIY cat toys should be right up their alley.  And the best part?  You already have everything you need to make them!  Check out the following DIY cat toys that you can easily make at home.


Every cat loves a good box.  While we humans have yet to figure out why, this common cat trait can be used to your advantage!  Big boxes, small boxes, and every size in between – your kitty will find a way to enjoy them all.  As the saying goes, “If it fits, it sits”.  Test your kitty’s willingness to maintain this tradition with boxes of all sizes.  Leave them open for optimal sitting opportunities or use them to engage your cat’s play mode with the following trick! 

Take a cardboard box and cut a hole in one side.  Make sure the box is taped together securely on all remaining sides.  Throw a few treats inside and watch kitty try to swipe them out with their paw.  Let’s be honest, though… if the hole in the box and the box is big enough, your cat is probably going to climb inside, eat the treats, and then take a nap.  And that’s okay too.


While tennis balls may seem like the stereotypical dog toy, cats love them too!  Roll them down the hallway and watch your little one spring into action.  These balls are tough enough that your cat can use their claws and teeth to safely play and bite.  If tennis balls aren’t an option, try ping pong balls.  These little white balls spin across linoleum the same way a more expensive cat toy would.  Your furbaby will love batting them across the floor and chasing after them when they inevitably skitter away.

Looking to make things even more interesting?  Wrap a few pipe cleaners around the ball to give it a new feel and texture.  Then take a few of those pipe cleaners, bunch them together and toss them on the floor.  Kitty will love sending them sliding across the linoleum at high speeds.

Paper Bags

In much the same way as boxes, cats are invariably drawn to paper bags.  You can obtain large paper bags from the grocery store on your next visit, or you can use this as an excuse to go order take out for your next meal to get a paper bag.  Either way, kitty will thank you as you give them the opportunity to dart in and out of the bag at top speed.  The crinkle of the paper will stimulate her hearing, and the material will feel unique on her paws.

Is your little one not terribly interested in this new paper bag toy?  Try placing some catnip in the bag to entice her! This will help activate all of kitty’s senses and get her in play mode.  Tip: Make sure to use paper bags without handles so kitty doesn’t get tangled up.  Another option is to use scissors to cut off the handles first before letting your cat play with the bag.

Laundry Baskets

These baskets are another great DIY option for your cat.  Some cats enjoy jumping inside and curling up for a nap (bonus points if the basket has clean laundry in it).  Try putting the baskets somewhere high up, such as on top of your dresser.  Cats love being high up and yours will feel both superior and secure when she snoozes the day away inside her basket.

Toilet Paper Roll Cat Toy

Is your cat fascinated with toilet paper?  Are they constantly unraveling the whole roll while you’re not looking?  While that is quite a pain to deal with, you can use the now-empty toilet paper roll to make a toy for kitty!  Cut one or two small holes in the cardboard tube, and throw a few treats inside.  Then seal both ends of the tube with tape, but leave the hole in the middle you cut unsealed.  Roll the tube along the floor to get your cat interested.  Now watch as they bat their new toy with their paws, and nudge it with their nose to get to the treats inside to fall out.  Want more of a challenge for your cat?  Try this same technique with a paper towel roll!  The longer tube means more treats, but also more work (and stimulation) for kitty. 

Sock Fish Cat Toy

Did you just lose a sock doing laundry? Better yet you want to get rid of some of those socks that have long lost their mate.  Grab one of those random socks and stuff it with something crinkly, like tissue paper or the brown packaging paper inside delivery boxes.  Stuff the sock until it’s full.  Then tie the cuff end of the sock with a pipe-cleaner or create a knot yourself.  Bonus points if you sprinkle some catnip inside as well!   Now kitty will have a new crinkly toy that they will love to play with.  This toy is perfect for them to throw around or scratch at with their claws.  Moreover, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing you have one less missing sock to worry about, and a fun new toy for kitty.

Wine Cork Cat Toy

Got a few wine corks lying around?  Turn them into a tantalizing toy for your kitty.  Wash the corks and then boil it in hot water for about 10 minutes to soften them up.  This will make them more pliable and easier to puncture.  Once the corks are soft and cool enough to touch, use either a pair of scissors, a paring knife, or a screwdriver to create a hole on the top flat circular surface of the cork.  The hole should go halfway deep in length with respect to the full length of the cork.  Then, take some pipe cleaners or scrap fabric and twist them together until they come to a point at one end.  Dip the pointed end in some glue, then insert it into the hole you made in the cork.  Allow the glue to dry completely before giving the cork toy to your furbaby.  However if you are lazy, you can always tape some pipe cleaners at one end of the cork to speed up the process.  Either way, the end result is a cork with some stringy fabric sticking out on one end.

The wine cork cat toy is a great way to use up pieces of spare fabric or leftover crafting supplies.   It is also a great excuse to get a bottle of wine or open up the bottle you already have.   After all, it’s for a good cause!

Christmas Décor

Ah, Christmas time.  This is the time of year when you put up all of your holiday decorations - much to your cat’s delight and curiosity.  However, these are the items that you don’t want your cat to play with.  Here are a few helpful ways to keep your cat away from those Christmas decorations.

  1. Choose shatterproof ornaments – if kitty does happen to get a hold of some ornaments off the tree, you won’t have to worry about shards of glass in their paws or all over the floor.
  2. Use a citrus spray – apply around the base of the tree or anywhere else you don’t want your cat to go. The smell of citrus has been shown to deter cats and their sensitive little noses.
  3. Choose an artificial tree – your cat may be less interested in an artificial tree than its real counterpart. Use sprays or oils to create the smell of pine in your home.  
  4. Give kitty something better to do – make one of the toys from the list above and give it to your furbaby as a means of distracting them from the shiny lights and ornaments.

If you need more information about spending Christmas with a cat, then read our article here.

These DIY cat toys are simple and easy to make, using items you likely have in your home.  Kitty will appreciate the effort, and you will feel good about your ability to reuse, reduce, and recycle.

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