DIY kitten toys can be a great way to save money on the more expensive store-bought items lining the shelves, plus they give you the chance to get creative and whip up something new and exciting for your little bundle of fluff. While shopping for the best kitten toys is certainly convenient, nothing quite says 'I love you' like a homemade toy.
Kitten toys are vital for your new addition's health and wellbeing, offering them a great mix of physical and mental stimulation. Not only that but they can also be a wonderful way to banish boredom and provide your kitty with something to engage with.
As a new pet parent, learning how to play with a kitten is one of the most important skills you can acquire. As well as helping your fur baby grow into a well-adjusted adult cat, regular play sessions also help to develop a strong bond between the two of you.
With that in mind, you’ll find the DIY kitten toys below will tap into all of your kitten’s natural instincts, including the desire to stalk, bat, chase, and pounce. And if your little one is currently losing their baby teeth and going through the painful process of having their adult chompers grow in, check out our guide to the best kitten teething toys, which have a range of options to soothe sore gums.
- 5 homemade kitten teething toys to soothe sore gums
- Five essential kitten training tips: a vet's guide
- Top six kitten care tips: a vet's guide
1. DIY macaron cat toys
What you’ll need:
- Pastel felt
- Contrasting felt
- Hand stitching needle
- Pillow stuffing
- Use an object to outline four equal-sized circles on a piece of pastel-colored felt, about 3 inches wide. For example, I used the bottom of a wine bottle. Then cut each one out so that you do not see any pen marks.
- Cut one circle out of a contrasting piece of felt that is about 1/2-inch or so larger. Note, that it does not need to be perfect because it will be trimmed later.
- Layer two pieces of pastel felt and thread a needle with a long piece of thread (doesn't necessarily need to be matching thread) and knot the end multiple times.
- Poke through the top layer only, about 2cm from the edge. Pull the thread through so that the knot catches in between the two layers.
- Make small stitches around the edges of the felt, keeping a 2cm distance from the edge and securing the two layers together. Occasionally, pull tightly on the thread to gather it and keep it appearing ruffled as you go. Note, you do not need to pull hard and you do not want to pull hard enough to risk breaking the thread.
- Keep stitching until you have about one inch left. You’ll notice that pulling the thread may make the piece appear misshapen, but ignore this and keep stitching so that the edges of the circles are together. When you have one inch left to stitch, add about one tablespoon of catnip (if desired), followed by stuffing. Then keep stitching and add more stuffing as needed to fill completely.
- Stitch until you reach the end, and lastly poke through only one layer and then thread the needle through an existing stitch, loop the thread and pull through to create a knot. Repeat at least twice to secure. You should now have a plush macaron shell. Repeat with the remaining two pieces of pastel felt so you have equal-sized plush shells.
- Sandwich the piece of contrasting felt between the two shells. Thread the needle with a long piece of thread and double it up to make it stronger. Knot the two ends together.
- Poke through only the top shell so that the knot is hidden on the underside. Stitch all layers together the same way you stitched the shells, pulling them all together tightly. If possible, try to retrace the stitches you made on the shells originally (as this will look best but is more time-consuming).
- Stitch until you reach the end and pull all layers together tightly before pressing the needle through only one layer and knotting the thread with a double or triple knot the same way you did before.
- Lastly, trim the excess 'filling' so that it fits close to the shells, taking precautions so that you don’t trim the ruffles. Then your macaron is all done!
2. Knotty spider
Made from felt and a plastic ring from a milk container, this cheap and cheerful lightweight toy is ideal for swatting, biting, and pouncing. It will keep your little bundle of fluff happily engrossed for hours.
3. Pom pom cat wand
What you’ll need:
- Wooden dowel rod
- Flat leather cord
- Glue gun
- Baker’s twine
- Embroidery thread (I chose metallic gold – cats like shiny things!)
- Small strips of felt
- Drill a tiny hole in one end of the dowel rod, approximately 1/4-inch from the end.
- On the opposite end, place a small amount of glue and begin wrapping the flat leather cord. Add more glue along the rod as you wrap, enough to create a comfortably sized handle.
- This next step is as simple or as intricate as you choose to make it: create a variety of colorful braids or simply gather together a few straight pieces of whatever textiles you choose (yarn, twine, embroidery thread, woven cord) to add color and length.
- Knot each section at both ends, leaving tails long enough to tie to the next section. I channeled my inner 12-year-old and made some varying lengths of five-loop-square-braids with yarn and standard braids with sparkly baker’s twine and metallic embroidery thread.
- Create enough pom-poms (find an easy how-to here (opens in new tab)) to intersperse between each section of textile material.
- And create a tassel or two (find another easy how-to here (opens in new tab)).
- Use baker’s twine or embroidery thread to tie and knot the pom-poms between sections of the braid.
- Repeat to attach the tassels, one to each end.
- Attach your string creation to the dowel rod by threading the baker’s twine through the drilled hole and tying a secure knot. Before tying that final knot, I topped it off with an extra pom-pom for good measure.
- If you want to take the embellishing a step further, wrap and straight-stitch a couple of felt tabs along the dowel rod, one near the handle and another at the end of the dowel rod.
4. Kitten puzzle toy
It’s never too early to provide your kitten with toys that will stimulate both their bodies and their minds, and this puzzle toy is sure to give their brain a workout. We recommend filling the cavities with a few of the best kitten treats to make this toy even more exciting for your feline fur baby.
5. Feather cork cat toys
What you’ll need:
- Hot Glue
- Drill a hole into your cork using a screwdriver. Be sure it is deep enough to fit the stems of the feathers.
- Using some hot glue, secure the feathers into the cork.
- And voila! You have a feather cork cat toy for your playful feline friend.
6. DIY whack-a-mole cardboard cat toy
Guaranteed to provide you and your feline friend with hours of fun and laughter, this entertaining toy will help to train your kitten’s reaction times and concentration, making it both enjoyable and educational.
Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.
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