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. 51
    Mayuko Wong

    This is a great way to get cat owners around the world to make their lifestyle and their cats better for the environment :) I’ve been making my own toys for my cat (Bruce, the funniest most energetic scottish fold tabby around) for the past year or so, and it’s great! Not only can you conserve, reuse, and have peace of mind for being more “green”, but it also saves in your pocket book! It’s refreshing to see a book like this, finally someone has done it! :) Yay!

  2. 52

    I like this idea! One of the best toys my cats know about is a twisted candy wrap :)

  3. 53

    My cat loves playing in empty cardboard boxes and laundry baskets. Cheap fun!

  4. 54

    What a terrific book! The other day I made a cat toy…an unused bit of tin foil rolled into a ball…does that count?–My kitties are fairly green. They were raised on fresh raw food (no tins to recycle), have a recycled wood “kitty playpen” my dad built that (they access it through one of my windows) and are just plain good for the environment–certainly for my environment! :o )

  5. 55
    Anlina Sheng

    I make a lot of my own cat toys at home. One of my favourites recycles old socks: and there are also piles of things just laying around the house that are good fun:

    I also use compostable litter in half my litter boxes (Feline Fresh pine) and compost cat hair from brushing sessions.

  6. 56
    Jenn Miller

    Best toy ever: teeny piece of paper, wadded up. I always feel bad vacuuming up their playthings when I clean house!

  7. 57

    Pretty much anything that falls on the floor in my house becomes an instant cat toy, but I’d love to make some anyway!

  8. 58

    My secret is that I use scraps of fabric from sewing projects and discarded memo samples from my job as an interior designer to create little mice stuffed with catnip. When I do buy toys, I try to get ones with material that can biodegrade. Also cardboard and junk mail make excellent toys that don’t cost a thing and can be recycled once kitty gets bored.

  9. 59

    Reduce, reuse and recycle…….that’s my mantra. I use odd tube socks to make one of our cats favorite toys. Take sock and stuff with any kind of crinkly paper(clear cellophane is the crinkliest), I save up enough till I can make a couple of toys at once, add some catnip too. Place a rubber band about 5″ down to close, then fold the 5″ over the body to cover the rubber band. My cats love biting and wrapping their paws around one end while their feet attack the other. Add fresh catnip every couple of weeks and check to make sure rubber band stays covered and tight. Book looks great, love new ideas!

  10. 60

    It’s all about the paper bags for our cat – an eco-friendly choice that can be recycled after she’s pounced it into a crumbled mess. Also, if we place one of her organic-catnip toys underneath the bag, it adds another dimension of the “peek-a-boo” toy/crumpling bag fun. It sounds simple, there is not paper bag that wanders into our house that is safe. Also, if you scratch on the outside of the bag while she hangs out inside, that will give you a good half hour of interactive fun with your kitty :)

  11. 61
    Jason Bodary

    What an awesome idea! My feline masters (and my artist boyfriend) would love this book.

  12. 62

    This book looks wonderful. What great gifts we could make not only for our furballs, but also for the kitties at local animal shelters, AND help save our beautiful planet at the same time. Thanks for another terrific giveaway! :-)

  13. 63

    To help the Earth, I suggest skipping on buying edible treats for your cats. It will keep them slimmer and reduce global consumption and disposal issues just a little bit. I find that a piece of regular cat food works just as well as a fancy treat! :) Holly

  14. 64

    The most-loved toys I’ve made are scraps of polarfleece from my sewing. I harvest catnip form my yard and dry it to put inside when I make little mousies.

  15. 65

    My number one tip for greener choices for cats is growing your own patch of catmint. Once established it will provide plenty of fresh fodder during the summer months and one or 2 clippings a year will keep you in dried organic catnip through the winter. NB: Catmint is amuch prettier plant than catnip and has the same effect on cats.

  16. 66

    what a great idea!

  17. 67

    My new kitty loves anything he can get his teeth on. I’m looking for ideas for teething toys. Can’t wait to get a look at this book!

  18. 68
    Jamey Scally

    !love making toys for my pals…..they love shiny things!

  19. 69
    Meredith Molenar

    what a great idea as we all know cats prefer the empty tube to the $14 toy.

  20. 70

    My kitty’s favorite toy are my Ipod earphones. He flings them around and gnaws on them until the Mama has to take them away! This book is a great idea! I am excited to discover the possibilities.

  21. 71

    My cat still loves a good old fashion piece of string, a paper bag to climb in and a pile of laundry to roll in! I’m going to grow my own catnip this year. This looks like a great book!

  22. 72

    My greener choice for my cats is to recycle the cans I use for the canned wet meat I feed them. Use the cans as organizational tools, put felt covers in them for decorations, decoupage them, make statues/stands for them.

  23. 73

    to keep my cats’s lives green, i’ve refilled their toys with catnip after the stuffing’s been knocked out. i also get their litter from a store that lets me refill the container from the bulk bin, and some of their food from the bulk bin at the local coop. i love the other ideas i see here and plan on incorporating some of them.

  24. 74

    I would love this book. I’m sick of spending money on cat toys that last two days.

  25. 75

    Since my cats don’t read…I’d love to win this book so I can make toys for them =:)

  26. 76

    I would love to read this.

  27. 77

    That’s awesome! Definitely will check it out.

  28. 78

    Not only would my own cats benefit, but Happy Strays Cat Rescue would love this!

  29. 79
    ann marie

    What a cool idea! Not sure if this is in the book, but a cool use for no longer wearable sweatshirts, is to remove a sleeve and stuff it with enough remaining sweater or other worn, soft material like socks, and sew it securely shut at about the length of your cat. This is a great “grab it and eviscerate it” kind of fun toy. Just watch with thread and cats, don’t leave anything to unravel – major headaches if your kitty swallows several yards of thread, and needs surgery. Yow.

  30. 80

    My kitty and I love to make arts and crafts!! We would love to have this book!

  31. 81

    I’d love to have this book. For a Valentine’s gift for my cat, I sewed a little squid with dangling tentacles (he loves anything dangly) out of an old shirt and some ribbon. He loves playing in boxes and with the little rings from milk jugs. He probably makes more of an effort to reuse them than I do!

  32. 82

    sounds cool

  33. 83

    A few low budget cat toy ideas that my guys like:

    The plastic ring off a jug of milk
    Tissue paper, wrapping paper or packing paper – laid flat or balled up
    The lids off plastic drink bottles
    Packing peanuts (supervise so your kitty doesn’t ingest them)
    Scrap ribbon, string, shoelaces, etc. (supervise so your kitty doesn’t ingest it)

    And lowest budget of all: YOU!
    We play chase, hide and seek, and peek-a-boo. None require any purchase and you’ll be amazed at how smart your cat is. Well, maybe. Our Jr is a master at all these games. Tank, on the other hand, still hasn’t figured out to come look when you hide, he’s more brawn than brains. But we all have fun and the kitties enjoy the attention.

  34. 84
    Lauren Fasceski

    My cats also love the cardboard boxes and the tissue-paper balls. This is a little weird, but one time I made mice out of old socks and stuffed them with sock scraps and cat fur brushed off of the cats. But is it weirder that I did this or that the cats actually enjoyed playing with the “cat-scented” mice?

  35. 85

    Instead of tossing out ribbons and bows that make their way onto Christmas packages, I always just keep them for playing with my cats!

  36. 86

    I am just learning to sew. These would be great starter projects.

  37. 87

    I really want this book. One of the issues at our house is safety, Kuma the maincoon likes to chew and eat toys so we have to be very careful what he plays with. Most cats just play with the plastic rings off milk jugs… but he tries to eat it. He swallowed a string once before we could catch him, we were even supervising! Needless to say there are no more string/ribbon toys, even for interactive play with us. Any toy that can be swallowed or have bits easily chewed off can’t come live with us. That said, he is really easy to please. Socks, paper bags, his siblings tails.
    Our other eco-habits are using wheat litter and growing our own nip :) Nothing quite like fresh nip just off the bush.

  38. 88

    I need to get better about recycling. My kids are spoiled, but you’re right…they don’t care if they’re playing with an old sock or something fancy.

  39. 89
    Kat Bryan

    Give my cat a large paper sack or empty box and she’s happy. She loves it when I throw a mousie in the sack and she can dive in after it.

  40. 90

    something my husband and i do–if we buy small groceries or pastries (like for breakfast) we save the bag, bring it home, and use those as kitty poop bags. i read that if you dispose of kitty poop in plastic bags it goes to landfill, while disposing in paper bags makes it biodegradable. this practice allows us to reuse something that would normally just get discarded, and dispose of our kitty poop in a more eco-friendly way

  41. 91

    Our cat is the female version of Furball (in looks and behavior). She needs us to obey this book.

  42. 92

    Love the idea about the tubesock and newspaper, above. I’m pretty sure my boy would go for that.

    I make little knitted toys from scraps leftover from knitting projects. Then I stuff them with wool batting from my mom’s supply.

  43. 93

    Personally, I prefer self made toys. – and they are always a green choice.

  44. 94

    I love crafting especially if it is for the kitties. My cats like to play with a old wine cork. Endless amounts of fun.

  45. 95
    Jennifer Velasco

    What a great idea! Even though I make cat toys alot, there is something about that twist tie or the reusable grocery bag that my cat can not resist!

  46. 96

    our cats love ANY sort of cardboard box. little ones are left around the spare room for them to hide in/behind while playing hide-and-chase. and after our move, my boyfriend and i constructed a kitty castle for them out of the leftover moving boxes and some old clothes that were too tattered to rescue any other way.

  47. 97
    edyta szyszlo photo

    it seems that the only toys that i make, the kitties love! anything costing over $5 they just stare at :)

  48. 98

    I love crafting and I would love to craft for my cat, especially since Velcro gets bored of all his toys so quickly. Some of the greener choices I make for my cat are to buy organic cat food and to buy environmentally friendly cat litter (I currently use Swheat Scoop).

  49. 99

    What a great book! One of the things we do is grow our own catnip. It’s so easy, and looks great on the window sill. When we need a new toy, we cut and dry a bit and then stuff an old sock with the stuff. (Okay, 3 old socks or we get kitty wars.) Great toys that are cheap, easy, and green! You’re recycling something that would get pitched (the sock) and you know your ‘nip is organic!

  50. 100
    Shay Williams

    This would be the perfect book for both myself and my three cats. Please enter me in the drawing


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