Toys offer much needed exercise and excitement for indoor cats. They are also a wonderful way for feline people to spend quality time with their fur babies. According to statistics, catnip toys proved to be the most popular, and inexpensive, of any on the market. Of course, for crafty, creative people, there are many different options and ideas for making things your cats can’t resist right at home!
I Just Bought That!
Have you ever shed tears over seeing your cat’s favorite toy torn to pieces? Do you have several ripped fabrics remnants, devoid of their original stuffing? Get out your sewing kit and do not fret!
Hand-wash the material gently and leave it to dry overnight to remove any smelly or musty odors. Create an opening in the old toys (or hold together whatever remains of your demolished material), and refill with fresh stuffing. Sew up the seams, patch up any holes and presto! You have fresh cat toys in which you can take pride, and your sweet feline baby will love you for them!
But Wait, There’s More!
For those of you who are extremely creative and talented, you may find as much enjoyment in toy making from scratch (pun intended) as your beloved cat will find in playing with them! Get creative! There are all kinds of things from which to make awesome kitty toys. For example, find some child’s foam shapes or tracing patterns, transfer onto colorful pieces of cotton or felt, and cut out the pieces. Fill them with catnip as you would with old toys, and using either a needle and thread or fabric glue, seal the edges. You can eve tie some of these to strings or sticks and make them an interactive creation for both you and your pet. Or, if you would prefer a sturdier, longer lasting fabric for a toy that could withstand more abuse, use a stronger material such as burlap or canvas in place of felt and cotton.
Not every feline lover can find the time, or the ability, to sew even our own hand to our pockets. The most simplistic substitute for hand sewn toys is the ever-useful sock. All it requires is a couple of handfuls of catnip and a little fabric dye, if you want a little extra color. Just dye the sock according to the directions on the package, make sure it is 100% dry, so no dye transfers to your house (or your baby), and pour the catnip in the top of the sock. Then, simply tie the top into a knot. It will give your cat hours of playtime and not take up too much of your busy schedule.
The Catnip Smelled ‘Round the House
You can also make your own catnip spray at home! I have done it, and everyone loved it! Catnip spray is handy when you have frisky felines; one pump on a worn-out toy or in their food or water dish, and your mischievous little darling will forget all about sharpening their claws on the drapes or shredding important notes in the notebook they conveniently hid under their behinds during naptime. All it takes is a little catnip tea, spray bottles, and a little storage space. Warning: you might want to wait until you let them outside, take them to the vet, or send them with Nanna for the day. The smell of catnip permeating through the house will have them scaling the walls to find the source! Once it’s safe, proceed!
- Get plenty of catnip (of course). Some cat lovers enjoy gardening, so they plant some catnip seeds in their own little corner and keep the leave growing all year round. However, if your thumb is as green as Santa’s suit, you can buy your supply at any pet or grocery store.
- Heat the water to a nice boil. The amount of water will depend on how much you intend to make. Measure out water from the containers in which you plan to store it, or just guesstimate. (NOTE: Use caution when reusing spray bottles from around your house! It is NEVER ok to use bottles that EVER contained toxic or corrosive chemical, ANY amount of bleach, ammonia, or ANYTHING that says it’s harmful if ingested. Even after soaking and cleaning these bottles until they shine does NOT ensure that the plastic did not absorb some of the harmful components it once held. Residual chemicals can seep into the new liquid over time, making your pets ill, or even cause their death! If you can’t find any small, cheap bottles at a local store, do your homework before cleaning, and using, bottles from home!)
- Add the catnip. Just like when making tea, once the water is boiling, remove it from the heat, and add the catnip. I recommend either making a “tea bag” out of a piece of thin pantyhose or even a coffee filter, or using a small mesh strainer, if you have one lying around in your kitchen. The larger catnip flakes can be troublesome if they get stuck in the nozzle of your spray bottle! Or, you can put the catnip right into the water, and strain it out carefully once the water cools.
- Let it steep. Like the tea we drink, the longer you allow it to steep, the stronger it will be. After about 10 minutes or so, the water will start to look and smell different, which means the tea is almost ready. However, if you want stronger stuff, just let it sit a little longer!
- Remove the catnip while it cools. Once you’re satisfied with your catnip tea, remove your homemade teabag, or filter, or strain all the catnip pieces, from the liquid. There is no correct temperature; I usually wait about 10-15 minutes. You can also leave the catnip in the tea the entire time it’s cooling, but don’t forget: it will continue getting stronger until you remove the catnip. Just be sure to strain out as much catnip as you can!
- Prepare the spray for use/storage. I recommend using a funnel for this to avoid spills. I can never find a funnel to save my life, so I fashion one from construction paper, old envelopes, or thin pieces of flat cardboard. Or, you can put the tea into a pitcher, and use the spout to pour it into the bottles with more accuracy. Then, just stash the full bottles in a cool, dry
Cats adore your affection and attention, but they also appreciate the toys they get to use that allow them to exercise and stay fit little critters. Homemade toys and catnip spray are simple to make, and they come straight from the heart, so your kitties know just how special to you they are!