Favorite Household Toys for the Frugal Cat Lover
Dr. Debra Primovic
What do you have lying around you house that might make a great toy? There may be things you already have that will work well as a new toy instead of spending money at the pet store. Milk Top Rings. Plastic milk top rings are a long favorite of cats. They will try to loop them in their paw, toss, chase and catch.
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. It is recommended to monitor your kitty when playing with any new toy to make sure that he or she does not try to eat it. Ingestion of any toy can cause serious and life threatening gastrointestinal obstruction.
Play provides fun, entertainment and exercise for your pet. Here are some favorites for cats:
Wadded up Paper Ball. When you are going through your mail, roll one of those bills into a ball and create a cheap and fun toy for your cat.
Aluminum Foil Balls. Making a ball of aluminum foil is heavier than paper and can travel further and move faster than paper. These can be great if you incorporate a piece of heavy string in the center, secure with tape and hang from the back of a chair.
Twist Ties. Cats love the twist ties that come on bread wrappers or trash bags. Their favorite game is to make it into a large circle – they often will catch, toss and play for hours.
Paper Bags. Try getting paper bags next time you get groceries. Save them and next time your cat looks bored, open one and let him have a new place to go.
Boxes. Next time you receive a package in the mail, save the box for your cat. They often jump in and out and if you have more than one, they will eventually take turns (normally with the dominant cat being first).
Flashlights. One night, light up your cats night by having some fun with a flashlight. Shine the light on the floor and up walls and let your cat stalk and chase.
Ribbon, String or Ties. Have you ever tried to wrap gifts around a kitten? This can be impossible. Kittens and cats love to chase and play with ribbon and string. If you do, make sure you don't let your pet play unsupervised. Ingested ribbon and string can cause fatal intestinal obstructions so you if you do this, you need to be extra careful. A better option might be an old men's tie. The idea is that something is moving that they can chase and it much less likely to be ingested. Check fabric for loose ends...
Grow Cat Grass. Pick up seeds at your local garden or pet store and grow cat grass year round. To grow your own, Plant some seeds in a small pot, cover with a about ¼ inch of soil, water and cover with saran wrap. Place in a sunny window. When grass starts growing well, remove plastic wrap and allow to grow until it is about 3 to 5 inches tall. Then present to your cat.
Grow Catnip. Catnip (Nepetia cataria) is a herb relative of the mint family. It causes excitement, allowing 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 catnip. Finish sewing to close and you have the perfect toy!
Faucet Drips. Some cats love water, especially dripping faucets. Place your cats favorite faucet on a slow drip and keep him entertained.
Bubbles. Blow some bubbles and let your cat watch, wonder and try to catch them! They also make "catnip bubbles" but plain old bubbles can work just as well.
It is recommended to monitor your pet when playing with any new toy to make sure that he or she does not try to eat it. Ingestion of toys can cause serious and life threatening gastrointestinal obstruction.