20 Homemade Cat Toys Your Pet Will Love 

cat playing with a toy
iStock.com/Svetlana Popova

Written by Stephanie Heath

Published: November 21, 2023

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Cats have been a favorite pet and companion to humans for many years. They are loved pets because of their ability to keep rodents at bay and for their independent nature. While cats are independent and might not need your constant attention, they will still need ways to entertain themselves. Luckily, you don’t need to break the bank in order to entertain your cat. Here are 20 homemade cat toys your pet is sure to love. 

20 Homemade Cat Toys Your Pet Will Love 

Your cats will not care if you are paying for the most expensive or newest toy. Cats enjoy various forms of entertainment, and these 20 options below are the perfect DIY homemade cat toys for your furry friend. They are separated by difficulty level, ranging from items lying around your house to ones involving a little craftwork. Let’s get started. 

Easy Toys

The toys in this section are the most simple homemade cat toys. Most of them are objects that are probably already lying around your home.

1. Crumpled Paper 

Adorable fluffy white ragdoll cat playing with paper balls on the floor in light room and looking at the camera with blue eyes. Lovely cute purebred feline pet outdoors with toys

Crumpled paper balls are one of the easiest homemade cat toys you can create for your pet.

Cats are simple. The crinkly paper offers a fun sound when played with and is non-threatening prey for your furry friend. Have any extra newspapers lying around the house? Crumple a few of those together and make a nice crumpled paper ball. Toss it on the floor and watch your furry friend have a blast.

2. A Box

Why do cats like boxes

The main reason that cats like boxes is because it provides them with a sense of safety.

Another thing that you probably readily have in your home is a box. Have you ordered anything from Amazon lately? Any box will do! While it may seem silly to you, cats like boxes for various reasons. One reason is that it provides them with a sense of safety. It also acts as a snug little hideout for them and helps to keep them warm. Regardless of their reason for enjoying this toy, it is definitely one that you should keep in your DIY arsenal.

3. Toilet Paper Roll

Cute cat playing with roll of toilet paper in bathroom

Toilet paper and toilet paper rolls create homemade cat toys for your pet.

Another easy homemade cat toy is a toilet paper roll! While you can spice this toy up, having just a plain roll will also suffice. If cats see a piece of toilet paper fluttering off the end of the roll, it engages their hunter instincts, and they may attack it. This usually results in them unraveling the entire roll. Keep your bathroom door closed and give your cat the roll to avoid that mess.

4. Ball of Yarn

A small striped kitten sleeps on balls of yarn and thread

The slithering motion of the string as it unravels from the ball of yarn enacts your cat’s natural hunting instincts.

You don’t need the most expensive or fancy ball to entertain your pet cat. A ball of yarn is the perfect toy for your cat. When the ball begins to unravel, it becomes a fun object for your cat to chase. Many people believe that the slithering movement of the string resembles that of prey, and it appeals to your cat’s natural hunting instincts. Be mindful when allowing your cat to play with this toy. If the yarn is ingested, it can be potentially harmful to your cat.

Moderate Toys

This next section of homemade cat toys is still easy to make but requires a little more effort than the previous section. Like the section above, many of these toys can be made with objects found around your home. However, it will take a bit of craftsmanship and time to make them come together.

5. Scratch Pad 

young cat playing on the multi-level scratch

A simple DIY cat scratch pad is gluing some sisal rope around a wooden plank and hanging it in your home.

You can create a DIY cat scratcher to help prevent cats from scratching your furniture. All you need are some plywood, nails, screws, some sisal rope, and maybe a bit of carpet and glue. The shape and design of your scratch pad is up to you. Some people make the traditional pole shape, while others make a triangle. Some people even use cardboard and tree bark to make a more natural-looking tree-stump scratch pad.

6. Cat Wand 

Orange cat playing

Cat wands are a great interactive option for homemade cat toys for you and your pet to enjoy together.

This is the perfect toy if you want to play with your cat. You would need a wooden dowel, twine, glue, and scissors. Wrap the twine around the dowel, leaving enough to dangle off of the wand. You can add additional things to dangle from your wand, such as feathers, fabric scraps, or bells. Then, wiggle the wand to move the twine and decorations across the floor and catch the interest of your feline friend.

7. Wine Cork Toy 

Wine

Wine corks make a fun and simple homemade cat toy for your pet to play with.

Having that drink after work can benefit someone other than yourself. After you have opened that bottle of wine, be sure to save the cork. Boil the cork to soften, and poke a hole into the top of the cork. Then stuff all sorts of fun things into that hole. Examples include feathers, ribbons, pipe cleaners, or anything that is sure to get your kitty’s attention. Use epoxy to hold it all in place and let your cat have fun. 

8. Treat Tube 

best cat treats

Cats go wild for soft treats. Try stuffing some of them in your toilet paper roll for a DIY treat tube toy!

If you want to take your toilet paper roll toy to the next level, create a DIY treat tube for your cat. Fill that toilet paper roll with your cat’s favorite treats. Then, slightly close off both ends of the roll by folding them almost in half. You may decorate your toilet paper roll with things like pom poms if you’d like. Once the treats are secure in the roll, give the tube to your cat and enjoy watching them hunt for their treats.

9. T-Shirt Knot Toy 

Men's t-shirt of white color against a dark background

Old, unwanted T-shirts can be perfect for making homemade cat toys.

Instead of throwing out those old, unwanted T-shirts in the back of your closet, use them to make your next cat toy. Cut the T-shirt into various strips of similar size. Then, tie those strips into knots. You now have a simple, affordable, homemade cat toy for your pet to play with. 

10. Pill Bottle Rattle 

Generic ibuprofen tablets spilling out of an open bottle on a blue background

Be sure to empty and thoroughly clean your pill bottle before transforming it into a homemade cat toy.

Sounds that mimic the rustling of their prey are enticing to your cat and are a favorite way to pass their time. If you want an easy DIY cat toy for your home, try repurposing old pill bottles. Empty the bottle and thoroughly wash it before making it into a cat toy. Once it is cleaned out and ready for use, add some things to make noise. Good things to add are rice or small beans.

11. Easter Egg Toy

baby rabbit pups

After the holiday, find a purpose for those easter eggs by converting them into a DIY cat toy.

If you don’t have any pill bottles lying around, you can use some of your eggs from the last Easter holiday. Take the easter egg, open it up, and place the noise-making objects inside of it. You can fill this egg with the same small beans you would have put in the pill bottle.

12. Feather Toy

Cute persian cat playing toy

A feather toy is a great interactive choice of DIY cat toy for you and your pet.

Attaching a feather to a piece of string can seem simple, but it can provide you and your pet with hours of entertainment. If you want to spice it up even more, you can add a bell as well so that it makes noise as you pull the string across the floor. This is another great choice if you are looking for an interactive homemade cat toy. 

13. Sock Fish Toy

Orange socks on an isolated white background

Fish sock toys are a great DIY toy to create for your cat.

Another great homemade cat toy to add to your collection is the sock fish toy. Fill an old sock with catnip and tie off the end to make it resemble a fishtail. Now, you have a toy that your cat will enjoy playing with for hours. 

Toys That Require More Effort

The homemade cat toys in this section require the most effort out of the list. While still simple and completely DIY, these toys require a bit more time and creativity to create. If you have the time or are feeling creative, try making these awesome homemade cat toys for your pet.

14. Cardboard Kitty Castle 

handmade cat house with using cardboard

Elevate your cat’s cardboard box by creating a cardboard kitty dream castle.

Why not build your cat a kitty dream castle? Take one or more cardboard boxes and position them in a way that resembles a house. Cut out a hole for the door, and add some windows as well. You can make the inside cozy by adding other toys and a soft blanket for them to curl up in. Feel free to make the castle as simple or complex as you like.

15. Kitty Puzzle 

Cute tabby kitty enjoying caresses of his human. Female hand petting european shorthair cat, close up. Domestic animals. Purring cat.

Puzzle boxes are a great way to entertain your cat for hours.

A kitty puzzle is another great homemade cat toy that can be made from household items. Cut holes into the top of the lid of a disposable food container. Then, fill the container with interactive objects such as pom pom balls, treats, and catnip. Your cat will have a great time trying to move and remove objects from the puzzle box.

16. Cat Tent 

Homemade hut with a box. Teepee for a cat with a paper box on a white background is isolated.

Homemade cat tents and tepees are a simple DIY project.

All you need to create this is an old T-shirt, a couple of wire hangers, and a piece of cardboard. Use the hangers to shape the tent, spread the T-shirt over the hangers, and put a nice blanket inside to make it extra cozy. Additionally, you could easily make a teepee for your cat using cardboard, sheets, and wooden sticks.

17. Felt Mouse Toy 

cat staring intently at toy

If your cat is treating your hand like a mouse, it might be a good idea to get him a toy to chew on instead.

For this homemade cat toy, you will need to be able to sew. Get some felt pieces and sew them into the shape of a mouse. Next, stuff them with catnip. You can also tie a string around the tail of the mouse and pull it along the floor. Your cat is sure to love chasing this homemade cat toy around.

18. Soda Box Hide and Seek 

cat curiously looks out from a dark hole in a cardboard box

Cats are very curious creatures and love to explore.

Grab a soda box and cut a few holes onto the top of it. Have one side of the box open as well. Have balls or other toys your cat is interested in and drop them into the holes to “hide.” You can also use this piece for a whack-a-mole type of game. Placing your cat’s balls or toys on top of the holes and allowing them to hit them down into the box. 

19. Self Petting Station 

Ragamuffin sitting on a woman's lap

Although cats have a reputation for being aloof and distant, most enjoy affection from their owners.

For the times you are too busy to pet your cat, build them a self-petting station. You will need some toilet cleaning brushes, a plank of wood, a small board of wood, some nails, glue, and fabric. Create a U shape with the brushes so that when your cat wants a pet, it can just go underneath and rub until it feels thoroughly petted. 

20. Cat Sensory Stand 

Gray cat paws and accessories for pets: ball, mice, comb. Yellow background, copy space, top view. Pet supplies concept.

Try building a cat sensory stand if you want a homemade cat toy that encompasses it all.

Create a cat sensory stand using common household objects. Objects like a stool or a box can be your base. Hang different fabrics and strings for them to play with. Have sections with sisal rope for them to scratch. Have different textures to walk on in different areas. Get as creative with this as you’d like.

Summary of 20 Homemade Cat Toys Your Pet Will Love 

RankDIY Toy
1Crumpled Paper
2A Box
3Toilet Paper Roll
4Ball of Yarn
5Scratch Pad
6Cat Wand
7Wine Cork Toy
8Treat Tube
9T-Shirt Knot Toy
10Pill Bottle Rattle
11Easter Egg Toy
12Feather Toy
13Sock Fish Toy
14Cardboard Kitty Castle
15Kitty Puzzle
16Cat Tent
17Felt Mouse Toy
18Soda Box Hide and Seek
19Self Petting Station
20Cat Sensory Stand


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About the Author

Stephanie is a writer at A-Z Animals that primarily covers a variety of animals and unique destinations. Stephanie is a published author and has been writing for many years. With a Bachelor's Degree in English and Elementary Education, Stephanie is familiar with writing for a variety of ages and audience types. As a Virginia resident, Stephanie enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and snuggling up with her beagle named Pooch!

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