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DIY Cat Toy Using a Toilet Paper Tube

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Read this article if you want a cheap and easy way to entertain your cats!

Read this article if you want a cheap and easy way to entertain your cats!

Cat toys are expensive. Make this free cat toy out of something you'd normally just throw away—an empty toilet paper tube. If you're just tossing the empty toilet paper tube anyways, what do you have to lose?

It only takes five minutes, plus it's such an easy project that anyone old enough to use scissors can make it.

Craft a Cat Toy With a Toilet Paper Tube

Here are the steps necessary to craft your own cat toy using a toilet paper roll:

  1. Clean off the toilet paper tube
  2. Cut a slit in the tube
  3. Cut even more slits
  4. Repeat on the other side
  5. Splay out the tabs
  6. Let your cats have fun

By following these six easy steps, you'll have a new toy to introduce to your cat fairly quickly, and without having to spend money!


To make the cat toy, you'll only need two things:

  1. Empty cardboard toilet paper roll
  2. Scissors

You can also use empty sections of wrapping paper tubes and paper towel rolls (once you're done playing lightsaber with them, of course).

Cut an even, parallel slit in the tube.

Cut an even, parallel slit in the tube.

Step 1. Clean off the Toilet Paper Tube

  • If there is any toilet paper left on the empty tubes, peel off as much as possible. Some brands are easier to clean than others.
Cut a second slit next to the first.

Cut a second slit next to the first.

Step 2. Cut a Slit in the Toilet Paper Tube

  • At one end of the toilet paper tube, use the scissors to cut about an inch-long slit into the tube. Try to make it as close as possible to parallel with the side of the tube.

Step 3. Cut More Even Slits

  • Make another inch-long slit into the toilet paper tube, parallel to the first, but about a quarter-inch over.
  • Then, next to the first two slits, cut more. Each should be about one inch long and about a quarter-inch apart. Go all around the base of the toilet paper tube.
  • Try to keep the slits as even as possible.
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Step 4. Do the Same on the Other Side

  • After you finish that end of the toilet paper tube, flip it over and cut the other end of the toilet paper tube into tabs as well.
Splay the split ends like spokes on a wheel.

Splay the split ends like spokes on a wheel.

Step 5. Splay Out the Tabs

  • After the ends are all cut, splay out the ends of the toilet paper tube. Each end will look like a wheel with spokes.

Step 6. Let Your Cats Have Fun!

  • Toss the toy to the waiting kitties for them to enjoy. Each cat responds differently.
  • My Imp likes to rip them to shreds.
  • My Yuba likes to wallop them across the kitchen floor.
  • And my William just likes to claw at them after I bury him in all his new toys.
  • They may bat it around or carry it, but all cats seem to love it.
Even rabbits like this toy.

Even rabbits like this toy.

A Cheap, Easy Way to Entertain Kitties

Since the cat toy is free and easy to make it's super simple to make a ton, enough to tire out even the most active of kitties.

This is also a great project for a classroom, as it's easy enough for even fairly small children to make. It teaches kids to recycle and care about animals, plus it's great for their hand dexterity. All the kids need are safety scissors and empty toilet paper rolls. Even if the children don't have pets, the toys can be donated to the local animal shelter.


Store-Bought ToysHomemade Cat Toys


Cheap or free


Far safer

Possibly dangerous materials

You know what you used to make it

Cats refuse to play with them

Cats love them!

Make More Homemade Cat Toys

  • Make Your Own Homemade Cat Toys
    Homemade cat toys are super easy to make and way more fun for your cats than expensive store-bought toys. On this page you can learn how to make all sorts of homemade cat toys.
  • Free Ring Cat Toys from Toilet Paper Rolls
    These cat toys are free, easy, safe and fun for your cat, and you can make them in minutes. Don't spend tons of money on cat toys that are demolished in minutes or ignored altogether. Make these and recycle while you're at it.
  • Make Your Own Cat Trees, Towers, and other Cat Structures
    Cat trees, condos, and scratching posts can be some of the most expensive items you ever buy for your cat, yet they really enrich the lives of our feline friends. It's far cheaper to make your own and then you know it's safe.

What do you think of this project?

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 Alisha Vargas

Have you made the toilet paper tube cat toy?

Alisha Vargas (author) from Reno, Nevada on February 25, 2020:

There's a bunch more homemade cat toys. Check out this page too:

Meena on June 15, 2019:

Wish you had more ideas for me

Lena - 6 Weeks Old Bunny Name Bear on April 04, 2017:

No I Havent But Im going To Try It To See If He Will Play With It

Goohahoold on June 22, 2016:

Easier yet ,, just crunch a piece of paper into a little tight ball and toss it down the hall ;)..

gottaloveit2 on June 12, 2013:

I LOVE the pic of your cat inundated with these great cat toys. Off to make one right now - seriously!

Susanna Duffy from Melbourne Australia on February 08, 2013:

Great idea for a cat toy!

workable on January 05, 2013:

What a wicked idea for a cat toy. My cat loves to push grapes and blueberries around, but I hate finding them months later on furniture. Great lens:)

persistance lm on January 01, 2013:

Kudos to just_Dawn, my cat LOVES playing with toilet paper too. He often make his imprint on it so bad when it's my term to use the toilet, it's already ruined and I had to get a new roll out. >.< I also feel strongly about Alisha's comment about how it is such a gamble when you purchase a cat toy. I always get my hopes up, and, sorry, not interested.

anonymous on September 14, 2012:

This idea is awesome! Easy to make and cheap. My cat loves it! :)

AnnMarie7 on April 07, 2012:

Good idea. I'm going to try this for my cat. As you've stated before, cats just don't like store-bought toys for some reason, and it's a waste of money. Thanks for sharing.

justDawn1 on March 18, 2012:

My cat makes her own toy out of toilet paper! She shreds the TP with her front claws while kicking the roll with her back feet! Fun for her, but not for me! :(

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