Jennifer is a writer, editor, feminist, and Potterhead. She also loves her cat and studying cat behavior.
Have an overly needy cat? Does your cat seek attention every hour of the day? This can be stressful, annoying, and distracting, especially if you have work that needs to be done.
Keep your cat from being bored, and you will have a content pet that will come when he/she is called and will gladly keep you company by quietly snuggling. After a day of chasing a ball of yarn, what else can a contentedly worn-out kitty do?
Here is a list of 10 easy cat toys that you can find around your house or make using stuff that you already have! With little to no alterations, you can come up with ways to entertain your puss for hours.
1. The Milk/Orange Juice Jug Ring
These are plastic and sturdy, and they are cheap. They are also most likely already in your home! Check your milk or orange juice jugs for those plastic rings under the caps. Take it off and show your cat how to roll it across the floor. Your cat will be mimicking the rolling, the spinning, and the jumping as it chases this simple pleasure around.
Beware. These toys are often lost. Make sure to keep up a good collection. And clean underneath as well as behind everything when you sweep!
Need I say more? What cat doesn't like to play with string? The curiosity of where it goes or may lead to is irresistible! It changes shape and skips along the floor nicely when pulled. You can tie a long piece of string to a doorknob or even loop it around a chair. You will keep your feline friend occupied with this nice piece of stalkable string for hours on end!
Beware: Allowing your cat to play with string gives them the idea that any other balls of yarn or string-like things are also on the play list. If you sew, knit, or crochet, be prepared to kitty proof your bags of yarn. It's also a good idea to lift and tuck the cords on blinds so your cat doesn't rip them down.
3. Something Fuzzy Tied to Your String
Want to make your string a bit more interesting for your cat? Tie something soft and/or fuzzy to the end of it! I prefer to use companion-less socks. It will stay in one place without threat of being lost forever because the string will already be tied to something, and the extra pull the string has will entice and challenge your cat to try even harder!
Beware: If you tie something hard to the string, it won't be fun hearing it smack against everything as your cat plays with it, especially if he is more active in the middle of the night. Same goes with something that has a bell inside of it. Choose wisely!
4. The Sock
Grab a long sock. Stuff it with long shreds of newspaper. Tie the end of the sock together. This toy is easy to handle, hold, and swat around. It's soft on the outside, and crinkly! Your cat will go gaga over this paradox and play with the sock until curiosity runs out. (Does that ever happen?)
Beware: You may have to hide your socks after this.
Every home has a box! Whether it's from a shipment of books from Amazon or from your latest shoe shopping spree, you've got to have something. Size does NOT matter in this case. Partially remove the lid/flaps to the box and lay it in the middle of the floor. Nothing else needs done! Catnip is optional and may entice your cat faster. Watch your cat slink in and out and swat at the box for hours.
Make the Box Extra Interesting by Cutting Some Holes Into It!
No joking, this is a simple way to keep your cat interested in said box. Put two holes near enough together, and then put another toy on the outside of the box, and then see if your cat is silly enough to try to get at the toy by putting their paws through the holes! Don't forget to video it.
Beware: Some cats may view boxes as hiding spots and then pounce from them later. Again, please do not teach your cat that hands and feet are prey. Teach them that these human body parts are for snuggling with only!
6. The Light on the Wall
Or the floor. Also includes shadows. This can be done with a laser pointer, a flashlight, or even from the sunlight coming through the window and reflecting off your watch, phone, or laptop screen. Move it back and forth, up and down, and make your cat track it! Even fat cats like my Prince Fredward will spend a couple minutes wearing themselves down over these magnificent miracles.
Beware: Using a reflective surface may cause your cat to think that your phone, laptop, or watch is a toy for them. They may then be stolen, hidden, or played with while you are trying to use them.
7. Dryer Lint/Sheet
It's fluffy. It's linty. It's a cat dream! Especially if you've seen your cat licking dust off the dining room chairs. It comes in different colors and scents, and it's the fun that comes out of you doing your chores. Let your cat get a hold of this stuff, and you'll see her attacking it left and right.
Beware: Hairballs can be a result. My cat does not make dry hairballs; they are usually more like vomit. So if that's what your cat does, then I suggest the dryer sheet rather than the lint.
8. The Dog's Tail/Floppy Ears
Prince Fredward loves to hide underneath the dining room table and wait for our cocker spaniel to pass him. When Jamie trots passed, Fredward will pounce and then dart away again. His eyes will get huge, too, when he darts off, as if he knows for sure that this time he'll get caught doing something naughty. My family and I die of laughter each time. Luckily for us, Jamie is mostly oblivious of what the cat likes to do to her.
Beware: If your dog does not like the cat, or the cat's attentions, you'll probably see cat/dog fights. Another way of entertaining the cat is highly recommended if this is the case.
9. Plastic Bags
For the most part, cats absolutely love the texture and the sound of crinkly plastic bags. The bags are cooler, so cats will lie on top of them. They crinkle, so cats will attack and swat them. They actually open, so cats will climb in and out of them.
Beware: I suggest cutting the handles open or completely off. You'll have less of a chance of your cat getting stuck in the bag and injuring himself from running around and trying to get it off, or suffocating.
Whether they are the small, thin bands or the large, fluffy scrunchies, hairbands are endless enjoyment. Soft and pliable, a hair band is easy for a cat to maneuver and toss and hold between their teeth or claws. Prince Fredward prefers my green scrunchy because it has little fluffs and feather-like things sticking out of it on all ends. I don't think I'll ever get it back.
Beware: You will find them all over the house. Any and all hairbands will become your cat's possessions after you introduce these things to him.
Feel Free to Mix It Up With Your Own Ideas
Keep in mind that these little projects can always be altered and changed. Have fun as you discover what your pet prefers, and then improvise! Make your home a kitty paradise. A cat worn out from playing all day is a cat happy to cuddle and hang out when you get home.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2011 Jennifer Kessner
Jennifer Kessner (author) from Pennsylvania on April 11, 2013:
An easter egg! XD That's super cute. Haha good luck on the quiet toy, but it sounds like she prefers the noisy ones! =)
Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on April 11, 2013:
Cute hub! I have seen cats play with the strangest things. Scrunchies are always a favorite. My current cat likes a plastic Easter egg that she stole from my daughter. It can be VERY noisy when she plays hockey in the kitchen. I will have to make her the crinkly sock toy. She needs a quiet toy! Loved this! Voting up!
Jennifer Kessner (author) from Pennsylvania on April 11, 2013:
=P Yes, definitely! Keep in mind to buy a couple different kinds of toys. Your future pet may have a preference. And good luck! ^_^ Let me know how it goes.
Rick Grimes on April 10, 2013:
I'll have to check back to this hub when I buy my cat :P
Jennifer Kessner (author) from Pennsylvania on February 01, 2013:
Thank you very much for reading and commenting! ^_^ I'm glad to hear that Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel approve and are lucky enough to have had experience with these ideas.
My little prince is always letting me know when he's bored. XD Luckily, I've become creative enough to have multiple things as options. I never do the same thing twice in one week with him. Thanks again, and I hope you keep reading! =)
epigramman on February 01, 2013:
Hello Jen and I live not too far from you across the lake here at lake erie time 4:22pm ontario canada (47 miles across from Erie, Penn.) and my cats, Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel , really love this hub presentation of yours and so do I , as many of your great ideas have been tried out by me and they succeeded very well.
Of course , cats are very smart that way - they let you do all of the work -lol - and then say - what else can you come up with , we're bored already.
sending you warm wishes and good energy for a job well done says Tiff and Gabe - big time meow for this one.
Jennifer Kessner (author) from Pennsylvania on December 09, 2012:
Again, thanks for the comment, Nat! =) Yeah, Fredward is my favorite baby boy. ^_^ I love his smiles.
Nat Amaral from BC Canada on December 09, 2012:
Very useful! I love cats. I especially love your pictures--that one up top has a cute smile! ;) Oh, and those lint rollers...I had a cat, and she would love it whenever I'd use it to brush the excess fur off her. She'd purr like crazy.
Jennifer Kessner (author) from Pennsylvania on November 11, 2012:
Thanks for the comment, Lily! Absolutely make sure your cat's mouth isn't large enough for milk rings. As I stated above, cut apart the handles of your plastic bags so your cat doesn't get stuck. If your cat is allergic to your lint or dryer sheets, don't give them to them. And don't point the light in their eyes. All good advice. I hope people who have animals and see that anything is harming them will make sure to avoid harmful situations.
lily on November 10, 2012:
These may seem like fun, but most can be very harmful to your cat. DO NOT give your cat plastic bags or milk rings, they may swallow them and get very sick or even die. Also do not give them dryer sheets or lint/ hairbands. Some cats may be allergic to the chemicals inside a dryer sheet , or they might swallow them and get a blockage, which may result in death or expensive vet bills. Last but not least make sure NOT TO SHINE THE LASER IN YOUR CATS EYES. This may blind them, so be very careful. This post has very well intentions, and i appreciate that, But you must always make sure these toys are safe.
Jennifer Kessner (author) from Pennsylvania on July 19, 2011:
Thanks for the comment! =) And good luck with the sock haha. I hope they go just as nuts for that.
Kari_24 on July 19, 2011:
Great ideas! I might have to try the sock and paper one because my cats love when I crinkle up a small piece of paper into a ball. They go nuts just over the sound of it :)
Jennifer Kessner (author) from Pennsylvania on July 18, 2011:
Thanks! =) Haha I know right. I love the laser pointer. Prince Fredward will only do it for a couple minutes before he just sits and watches me play with it. xD
lejonkung on July 18, 2011:
Voted up and awesome! Really great hub!
I really enjoy that laserpointer play as much as the cat does! so funny!
Jennifer Kessner (author) from Pennsylvania on July 16, 2011:
Let me know if you are able to utilize any of them! =) And thanks haha, Prince Fredward is an endless source of entertainment for us.
Debra Buckland from United States on July 16, 2011:
Thanks, for the tips! Loved the videos and pics. Prince Fredward is quite the ham. lol.
Jennifer Kessner (author) from Pennsylvania on May 29, 2011:
Oooh on the hardwood floor? We don't have much hardwood showing, as most is underneath rugs. I wonder if Prince Fredward would be interested in it if we put the dining room rug away.
Thanks for the comment! And good luck with the diet haha. I've found it's more difficult to diet cats than anything else on the face of the planet.
CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on May 28, 2011:
A great hub- my boys like boxes and tiggy likes slithering over our hardwood hall. They are both adept at lying in the sun and lazing- they are now the laziest cats around and I have to watch their diet or else they would be the fattest cats around.