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How to make DIY cat toys

Here we explain all you need to know when it comes to making homemade cat toys, from the materials you’ll need, the techniques to use and how to keep them clean long term.


cat wanting to play with toy

Key steps

  1. Cats love scratching, jumping and pulling; so, sturdiness is key for making cat toys and structures that last
  2. Remember to clean them regularly to prevent the build-up of cat smell
  3. For more inspiration on DIY cat toys, check out creative sites like Pinterest

The only thing that’s better than seeing your cat explore new toys or structures is knowing that you have lovingly made them yourself. Here you can find ideas for three homemade cat toys: how to make a scratching post, a DIY cat house, and a DIY cat tree.

Always make sure your fabric cat toys are clean and dirt-free to avoid persistent cat smell.


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1.     DIY cat tree

Wondering how to make cat toys? Why not try your hand at building an easy DIY cat tree?

  • Decide on what materials you want to use. Cat trees can be made from wooden boards, piping, various sizes of wooden rods or plastic tubing. You might have some of these lying around the house already, from old appliances or packing materials – as much as possible, try to make use of what you’ve already got!
  • Attach the pieces together in a vertical structure using a hot glue gun. You could even build in some platforms along the way for your cat to jump on, using differently sized wood boards. For stability, keep the largest and heaviest pieces at the bottom of the structure
  • Attach the bottom of this structure to a large wooden board, which will act as a base. Ideally, the base should be wider than the height of the cat tree, to avoid the whole structure toppling over when your cat climbs on it.
  • Sand down any sharp wooden corners, and cover sharp edges of plastic tubing with a few rounds of duct tape.
  • Then, you can cover the surfaces of your DIY cat tree in feline-friendly materials such as rope or hessian.

2.      DIY cat house

When it comes to building a DIY outdoor cat house there is a variety of materials you can use. Here is one of Cleanipedia’s suggestion for a fun DIY outdoor cat house:

  • Get four plastic box containers, two of these in slightly smaller sizes.
  • Place each smaller container inside each larger container.
  • Fill the space between the smaller and larger containers with an insulating material such as paper or fabric.
  • With a fine-toothed saw, cut large, cat-sized holes on two opposite sides of each new structure. Cover the cut edges with duct tape to protect your cat.
  • Line up the boxes so the holes on one side meet, and attach them together so that your cat can move from one box to another. You could simply glue the sides together with a hot glue gun, or even use large plastic piping to create a cat tunnel.
  • The two outer holes of your new structure should act as an entrance and an exit.
  • Place the lids on top to make sure your DIY cat house is waterproof.

Safety Warning

Not all materials are suitable for cats and smaller toys can cause choking hazards, so always safety-check your homemade cat toys before allowing your pet to use them.

3.     DIY cat scratching post

Want to give your pet a really special treat? Here’s how to make a cat scratching post your cat will be sure to love:

  • The first thing to do if you’re making a DIY cat scratching post is to get the materials together. You’ll need plywood, rope, a PVC pipe, and a glue gun .
  • Cut a rectangular piece of plywood and use it as the base for the scratching post.
  • Attach the bottom of the PVC pipe to the base with a thick layer of hot glue. Leave to dry and set overnight.
  • Using the glue gun, attach the end of the rope to the bottom of the PVC tube and wrap it around the base closely, with a line of hot glue all the way around, Then continue to carefully wrap the rope around the pipe upwards in order to cover the whole surface. Add a little hot glue at every few inches of rope to keep it secure.
  • And voilà, a beautiful DIY scratching post for your cat!

Now that you know how to make cat toys, you can try your hand at anything. There are lots of different potential projects out there, just get started and see what you can produce for your beautiful feline friend. 

Originally published