February 9, 2021 by Eden Hughes

My cat Eyebrows looking silly. 

Did you know that cat owners in America pay up to 25 dollars for toys annually? That doesn’t seem like a lot but in these difficult times, some cat owners put buying toys at the bottom of their to-do list, and if you’re anything like me, this can cause some serious guilt for those of us trying to maintain a budget.

Well, now you can kick that guilt aside because I’m going to give you some simple DIY ideas that’ll save your budget and keep your fuzzy feline happy at the same time. After all, your cat deserves a gift every once in a while too!

1.     Homemade Cat Wand

This one is very easy to make, all that you need is a stick, some string—something sturdy such as twine- and some colorful ribbons (or feathers if you prefer) to create this fun toy. Tie the ribbons (or feathers) together to one end of your string then attach the other end of the string to the end of the stick.

To avoid having the string coming off during playtime, either drill a small hole into the stick and loop the string through the hole, tying it firmly, or simply wrap the string multiple times around the stick before you tie it. Another fun idea is to use strips of cloth instead of ribbons if you wish.

2.     Fish Socks

Got a pair of old socks that you want to get rid of? Well, don’t! Because you can use those socks to make fun catnip filled fish socks for your cat to play with. First, you need a sock. A colorful sock is more appealing to the eye but it isn’t a must, any old sock will do. Second, you need some catnip, and third, you need some paper and a marker.

Wad up the paper and stuff it into the sock, then add the catnip. Tie the sock at the end with some string. Lastly, draw an eye on the sock. You can add a smile too if you want.

3.     Yarn Balls

My cat loves yarn balls. I found that you can make these two different methods: you can wrap the yarn tightly around a styrofoam ball, which you can find at any arts and craft store, or you can wind the yarn around itself continuously until you have a ball.

The first method is faster and a little easier than the second method but if you don’t secure the end of the yarn well after you wrap it around the styrofoam, there is a risk that the yarn will come loose. To counteract this problem, you can tuck the end of the yarn under the yarn wrapped around the styrofoam and glue it with a hot glue gun. Be careful though, that glue can burn you!

The second method takes a little more time and effort but the result is a fun, squishy ball of yarn that your cat can pull and tug on. To get that ball of yarn started just wrap the yarn around your fingers until you’ve got a good chunk of yarn, then slip the yarn off your fingers and wrap it across the chunk of yarn.

Keep wrapping the yarn around itself, turning it frequently. Eventually, you’ll end up with a thick ball of yarn. Instead of gluing the end of your yarn, you can tie it to another piece of yarn that is closer to the inside of the ball.

4.     Treat Filled Toilet Paper Rolls

I had never thought of this idea until I saw it online. I thought that the idea was so cute that had to share it. The idea is to take an empty toilet roll, fold one end closed, and fold the other end partially closed so the treats can fall out. You can decorate the roll with straws, strings, fuzzy pom-poms, or anything else that your cat might find entertaining.

My cat Rusty sitting in front of the fireplace.

5.     T-Shirt Cat Toy

This another idea that was too cute not to share. Just cut your old t-shirt into strips, bunch several pieces together, and tie it all into one big knot. You couldn’t ask for a more simple toy to make!

These last three ideas aren’t necessarily DIY but I do believe that they’re worth mentioning purely because they’re common household items that my cats love to play with.

6.     Bottle Tops

Stop! Don’t throw away those bottle tops! Give them to your cat instead. Your cat will kick that bottle top around the house for hours. Mine do!

7.     Paper Balls

There are times when my cats want to play but I’m really busy and I don’t have time to search under the furniture for the myriad of toys that they’ve lost, so I turn to my go-to item: the paper ball. I grab a piece of paper, wad it up, and toss it to my furry babies. They love batting that paper ball all across the floor and competing for dominance with my other cats!

8.     Hair-ties

Last, but certainly not least, is my cats’ number one favorite item to play with… the hair-tie! It’s stretchy so they can pull at it with their teeth, they can carry it around the house, and they will swipe it across the floor for hours on endl (mine like to play with them under the table, the couch, the bed etc. It’s a quick and easy way to get them moving.


These DIY toys are a great way to save money, especially if you’re trying to stick to a budget. These toys are easy to make and you can make them as simple or elaborate as you want. Your cats will love their new toys. Making a toy by hand shows them how much you love them, and leaves you with a sense of fulfillment and dedication, plus it’s tons of fun for you and your cats!