Playtime provides fun, entertainment and exercise for your cat. Of course, your cat deserves great toys to play with, including new ones from time to time. However, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on store-bought toys. You and your feline playmate can find lots of fun ” toys” right in your own home. Most cats aren’t picky about what they will play with — especially when they are bored. Indeed, sometimes the best toys aren’t toys at all… but something just laying around the home that your cat develops an interest in. So… what might you have on hand that will appeal to your kitty’s playful nature?
Here are some inexpensive favorites:
- Ribbon, String or Ties: Anyone who has tried to wrap a gift in the same room as a kitten knows it is almost impossible — because the kitty will chase, wrestle and and play with the ribbons you use.
- Wadded up Paper Ball: Anytime you are doing paperwork, paying bills, writing a note, take an extra piece of paper, crumple it in a ball and toss it on the floor. Your cat will respond with an impromptu game of soccer. Afterwards, pop the crumpled ball into the recycle bin.
- Aluminum Foil Balls: Crushing a piece of aluminum foil into a ball makes for a “ball” that is heavier than a paper ball, and rolls faster and further than paper while also making an attractive noise. For an added twist, crush a ball of aluminum foil around a string and hang the ball from the back of a chair or a door knob for a game of dodge ball.
- Old Pill Bottles, Tic-Tac Container: Leave a pill or tic-tac in the container so it rattles, close it tight and throw it for the kitty.
- Twist Ties: There is something about the lightness of the twist ties that come on bread wrappers or trash bags that cats find irresistible. Curl one into a semi-circle and your cat often will catch, toss and play with it for hours.
- Newspaper: Place a sheet of newspaper on the floor and your cat will attack it!
- Paper Bags: Paper bags are not only eco-friendly, but when your cat looks bored, just place one on the floor and watch kitty investigate. Cut a hole or two in it so the cat can peek out.
- Cardboard Boxes: Most people have a collection of Amazon boxes on hand. Your cat will happily spend an hour jumping in and out of a box repeatedly. If you have more than one feline, they will eventually take turns.
- Flashlight: Your home flashlight isn’t only for electrical failures. After the sunset, light up your cat’s night by having some fun with a flashlight. Shine the light on the floor and up walls and let your cat stalk and chase. Even shine it on the ceiling and watch your feline try to figure out how to reach it!
- Faucet Drips: Perhaps your cat is a water baby? Some cats love water, especially dripping faucets. Place your cats favorite faucet on a slow drip and keep him entertained. Be prepared for wet paw tracks on the floors…
- Bubbles: Buy a child’s bubble kit and blow bubbles and let your cat watch, wonder and try to catch them! It is good for your child-within too :-).
- Grow Cat Grass: Pick up seeds at your local garden or pet store and grow Cat Grass year round as a special treat for your cat.
- Grow Catnip: Catnip (Nepetia cataria) is a herb relative of the mint family that causes excitement, allowing some cats to let go of their inhibitions. Cats will act like crazy by: pawing, licking, rolling, rubbing, falling, and dancing like out of control. Seeds are available at most pet supply stores and small plants are available seasonally in garden centers.
- Make Your Own Catnip Toys: Cat toys do not have to be fancy for a cat to love them. A very basic “mouse” can be created by sewing two half circles together tapering one end more than the other giving more of a back/tail shape. When almost close, invert and fill with fresh catnip. Finish sewing to close and you have the perfect toy!
Remember, your cats don’t care how much money you spent. They only care if their toys are fun. As you consider the list of “frugal toys”, make sure you keep your pet safe. Any toy has the potential to become a risk if your cat is able to swallow, puncture, or chew off pieces of it. Don’t let your kitty play with toys unsupervised.