Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving the Planet One Cat Toy at a Time BONUS GIVEAWAY!

Mon, Mar 9, 2009

Books, Giveaways, Green Design, Toys

It all started when Holly Tse adopted Furball, a tiny little bundle of energy who never slept but only wanted to play. To keep her sanity, Holly searched through pet stores for cat toys to entertain the crazy little guy. Finally she began to craft her own cat toys from recycled and discarded items. Holly points out that there over 60 million cats in US households and that reducing the resources and waste used to make toys for these cats would certainly have a positive impact on the environment. So she decided to compile her years of experience in making greener cat toys and share them in Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving the Planet One Cat Toy at a Time.

All of the toy ideas in the book are classified into one or more of five different play categories:

  • Catch – Toys that encourage kitty to leap straight into the air and pretend like she’s snaring a bird.
  • Chase – These toys are meant to be thrown across the floor, like a mouse scurrying away.
  • Stalk – Interactive toys designed for you to move, like a mouse rustling in the grass, so kitty can practice sneaking up on her prey.
  • Wrestle – These allow kitty to test her strength as she grasps the toy in her paws and jaws and bunny kicks the stuffing out of it.
  • Lazy Cat - After kitty has played good and hard, she may still want to take a lazy whack at these toys.

Each idea is marked with the difficulty level and estimated time to make the toy. You’ll find ideas for toys made out of everything including packaging, household objects, craft materials, office and school items, and even old clothing. With toys like the Candy Rocket, Tubular Tubes, the Whipper Snapper, and the Kitty Broomstick, you’ll have just as much fun making the toys as kitty will have playing with them. You’ll also enjoy Holly’s tips for greening your kitty’s lifestyle.

Make Your Own Cat Toys is available at Amazon.


One lucky winner is going to receive a copy of Make Your Own Cat Toys! To enter, please leave a comment on this post with your tips for making greener choices for your cat. The winner will be chosen in a random drawing on Sunday, March 15.

We’ll also be giving away 20 rats from Cat Livin’ in the same drawing, so don’t miss out!

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355 Responses to “Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving the Planet One Cat Toy at a Time BONUS GIVEAWAY!”

  1. 1

    I love the idea of this book. I’m always looking for new ways to keep my cat entertained. I love the whole green movement. I made my cat’s bedout of old clothes and hangers it looks so cool and didn’t cost me a penny!

  2. 2

    This is so incredibly nifty! I keep my Tai entertained rather simply: He gets to play with our trash. Any toilet paper rolls, empty soda boxes, and especially old paper bags (from before we had so many reusable ones) are fair game for this nutty little beast. When we first moved in, we cut up many of the older and more worn boxes, compacting them until we had a satisfactory scratching post.

    His favorite thing to do is attack the table leg: Fortunately, we saw this coming and lessened the blow by tying rope around the leg, giving us another scratcher that used almost no resources!

  3. 3
    a f r

    My cat is big into recycling. After I open a bottle sealed around the top with plastic wrap, I toss it down for her. Hours of entertainment ensue!

  4. 4

    Whenever I have a cardboard box I make doors and little peep-holes into them, cats love it and you don’t have to spend a dime.

  5. 5
    Paula Klug

    This book sounds great, especially when people are economizing. I am sure it has lots of wonderful ideas. Oreo’s favorite cat toy is the Sheltie, but all that fur means he never gets a good grip!

  6. 6

    I make a lot of my cat’s toys, mostly knitted/stuffed shapes. But one of her favorite toys is the plastic caps from a soda bottle. I leave it on my desk so she can “steal” it, and she’ll bat it around for days lol.

  7. 7

    My biggest cat likes to play with aluminum foil balls. He also waits for the plastic from DVDs to be turned into an awesome ball. Its really funny because he will come running from the opposite side of the house when we have bought a DVD. He will play with them for days and then loss them for a while.

  8. 8

    I love that polar ribbon idea. My mom came back from the grocery store one day with one of those big long twirling ribbons on a stick. You know, the one like the gymnasts use? Best fifty cents she ever spent. I’ve had to put new ribbon on twice my cats play with it so much.

  9. 9

    Our male is a pure green machine. He’ll play with anything except for most of the actual toys that we bring home. He loves the little plastic seals from orange juice and soy milk cartons. He likes to play with my old hair ties, but our female cat started that by stealing all of my fiances hair ties once.

    They’ve decided that a blanket given to me (out of spite) from my future mother-in-law is theirs. So, that now serves as one of the many kitty beds. ;-) As well as old jeans and a mattress cover. I guess that they like that they smell like us.

    When our male was young he got bored REALLY easily. In the middle of the night he would scratch the walls to make this horrible screeching noise to wake me up. And as soon as I was awake he would go to sleep. To give him something to do, I took some old plastic easter eggs and filled each with different amounts of and different sized bells. Then taped the center so none of the bells would escape. I figured he would enjoy this. Nope. Wrong. How could I have ever been so naive. Instead, we had a few spare bells, big enough to not have to worry about him swallowing them, that we had tossed out along with the eggs. He LOVED them. They, for a time, were his favorite fetching toy. Go figure. ;-)

  10. 10

    It sounds like a great book!

  11. 11

    sometimes i think all the toys are lost & think i need to buy more when my cat’s old favorite will show up on the floor out of nowhere (hasn’t been seen for weeks!). kitties like to hide and seek, so i hold off on getting new suprise toys when i am reminded of that!

  12. 12

    Almost all our cat toys are recycled.. Our kitties love paper & plastic! :)

  13. 13

    My cats have had their share of recycled toys, and I’m always looking for new ideas for them. :)

  14. 14

    I wanna win! Thanks a lot!

  15. 15
    Keli T

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who sometimes entertains my cat with trash…I would love this book!

  16. 16

    Mine love cardboard toilet paper rolls. And I’ve made them a cardboard scratcher out of old boxes that they fight over.

  17. 17

    This looks like a great resource that doesn’t require advanced sewing and crafting skills. I’d love to give some of these a try!

  18. 18

    I switched to corn litter after you did your tests and we fenced the yard so the kitties could play outside more.

  19. 19

    For years I have been crumpling up paper to make small paper balls for my cats to play with – kittens especially love the balls because it is light enough for the kittens to carry around. Great giveaway !

  20. 20

    I belive that switch to a eco-friendly litter is the best choice.

  21. 21

    This is gross, but used tissues are one of my kitten’s favorite toys — she finds them in the trash and bats them around until I catch her and throw them away again.

  22. 22

    ooh, I’m always looking for books like this. it is now on my wish list – thank you

  23. 23

    What a great idea! And who doesn’t love the name whipper snapper? Seriously that could sell alot of products.
    I love finding recycled cat toys for our skin kids (naked cats) – the little plastic piece from plastic milk bottle tops are a big hit, as are small enough boxes that one can get in and ‘hide’, and the others can scratch the outside.
    Plus there is enough junk in the world to begin with, no need to buy more when you can just reuse it!

  24. 24

    Hey hey! Leaving comment to win!! =)

  25. 25

    Any type of paper bag or box that makes it way into the house gets used as a kitty toy before going into the recycling bin. Our kitties also get the ties from old robes or the drawstrings from old pajama bottoms. They love to drag them around the house. And of course a wad of paper is always a favorite–what kitty can resist that?!

  26. 26
    Robyns Online World

    Great book idea! My cats love to recycle anything into a toy – paper bags, milk rings, bottle caps, toilet paper tubes, etc. They will play with so many things, but I would honestly love to have some more visually appealing (to me even) toys laying around rather than it just looking like I threw my trash on the floor LOL!

  27. 27

    My two cats are always into everything and make daily attempts at making their own toys from anything they find. But for an easy DIY/green cat toy that we can all agree on I cut up paper towel rolls into smaller round toys that they can toss and carry around. And as an added bonus the reusable shopping bags are just as much fun to crawl into.

  28. 28

    always looking for new ideas…i like cutting the sleeves off of old sweaters and making beds out of them…then using the wool from the sleeves to make small matching toys…but for some reason, my gresicy still prefers playing with the sweaters i happen to be wearing at the time…

  29. 29

    Great idea. Old toys should be thrown out after a few months anyway so you can never have too many

  30. 30
    Stephanie LaPlante

    Oh this would be awesome. I have 6 cats and my mother and I are kinda crafty. It would be a lot of fun. <3

  31. 31

    Maya certainly needs some good wrassling toys and Magnus loves to leap up at “birds.” Hurray for home made kitty toys!

  32. 32
    Sheila Gross

    We forgot to mention that we grow our own catnip in the back yard. In the summer we eat it like a salad. We fill up old socks with leaves & stems and they are fun for years. More ieas for homemade toys are great!

    However, we are dismayed that Moderncat is using information from HSUS. They only pretend to love animals, but they are persuading legislators all over the country to introduce bills that would make it harder for pet breeders to breed & raise good pet dogs and cats, and to require all pets to be “fixed” usually at ages that are too young. Most pets are spayed or castrated already (about 79 to 80 of all pet dogs and about 90% of all pet cats), but it should be a decision by the owner and the vet, and NOT required by law.

  33. 33
    Debra Bashford

    Would love to win this, would like to give my Willy something other than a cardboard box to play with

  34. 34

    I agree with 22, my kitty loves playing with “trash” so unexpected guests probably think i’m a total slob.

  35. 35

    when my younger cat got neutered, i tried making a neck brace for him to keep him from licking the wound, by stuffing a tubesock with newspaper, tying it together like a big sausage and fitting it comfortably around his neck. (those big plastic funnels look so uncomfortable and with this kind they can still eat, drink and wash their face properly.)

    well, i found out within minutes that my feeble attempt made for a lousy and easily removable neck brace, but for an *awesome* toy to kill! the rustling sound and crunchy texture drives him crazy :D he loves to bunnykick it and carry his “prey” around by the “neck”!

    my older cat goes absolutely bonkers (almost unhealthily so *shifty eyes*) for when i comb him and roll the fur up into a tight, almost felted, sausage by rolling it back and forth between my hands while pressing together. we call it “the cigar” because he likes to carry it around in his mouth and looks like Groucho Marx! XD completely free, you’re reclycing the cat itself! WOO! (just watch out so he/she doesn’t try to eat it! my other cat does… weirdo.)

  36. 36
    Kaitlin M

    This looks like a wonderful concept, great idea to help the environment and keep your kitty entertained at the same time! My tabby loves to sleep on our cloth recycled grocery bags and sometimes plays inside them too. She also loves anything to do with paper – after I’m done with paper fliers or mail I leave it on the carpet and she likes the crinkling nose, both to sleep on and to run and attack, and of course once she has determined it cannot be wrinkled any more, it goes in the recycling bin!

  37. 37

    Oh! I need new ideas everyday! My cats get bored very quickly after playing with a toy! Actually, I should say.. After destroying the new toy…

  38. 38

    Foil balls are my cat’s favorite toys!! But anything that crinkles and is light also works – small candy wrappers or wine bottle corks are also fun. And of course, a cardboard box or paper bag is more fun than lots of the expensive kitty toys we’ve bought over the years LOL

  39. 39

    I really need this book!

  40. 40

    This book would come in very handy. I am sure the cats would love to see some new toys.

  41. 41

    My cats have a love affair going with the hair shed from my dogs. They chase the tufts across the floor cuddle with it, wrassle with it, and gather it up in convenient (for me) wads that I can them put out for the nesting birds in my area.

    They also like the socks balled up oin my drawer. It’s a game to leave a drawer open a little,a nd watch them steal my socks. They do all sorts of catly things with those sock rolls. yes, I have to wash the socks again when the cats are through with them, but tht’ a small price to pay for their increased activity!

  42. 42

    what a fantastic book! Def. going on my wish list if I don’t get it here. I love to make toys for the kitties. They are my spoiled brats!

  43. 43

    What a wonderful thing to share! My daughter and I have rescued hundreds of cats in the last 20 years, and making our own cats toys for them was a part of the job — I couldn’t afford to buy toys all the time. I wish we’d had this information back at the beginning!

  44. 44

    What a great idea for a book. My kitty makes his own toys – from anything he can find, reach, or touch in the house. The book is a natural extension of that, very inspiring!

  45. 45

    This is wonderful. I have two cats of my own, and my granddaughter and I volunteer at a no-kill cat shelter, and foster kittens. How great to be able to entertain them in a ecological and economical way.

  46. 46

    This sounds excellent. My cat’s love to play. I cut up the toilet paper roll or paper towel roll into little loops which they love to bat around!

  47. 47

    My cat’s love batting around the used paper towel or toilet paper roll. I cut them up into little loops!

  48. 48

    That looks like a great book!

    My husband and I are thinking of growing some of that kitty grass for our little ones as soon as we get settled into our house.

    They have a few little toys but last night the item for fun as a small piece of felt. Of course, nothing beats each other for our kitties. The best play toy is the other kitty :)

  49. 49

    SOunds like a great book — we could get a bunch of volunteers making them and sell them to help rescue!!!! Go Green!!!!!

  50. 50

    this will be a welcome how to book for cat owners (i use the term owners loosely as we all know that you never really own a cat). there is nothing worse than buying a toy and then finding out kitty has no interest in it. another unwanted toy = another donation.


  1. [...] crafty and want to make easy cat toys yourself, you can make your own cat toys. Modern Cat has a weekend giveaway of cat toys made by Etsy designers. All you need to do is make a comment on the various posts to be entered [...]

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