DIY Cat Toys: How to Make a Wand Cat Toy
There are countless cat toys on the market today, and it can be hard to pick the perfect one for your cat. However, DIY cat toys are a great way to see the world through your cat’s eyes, get creative and make a toy that can enrich your cat’s day. DIY cat toys can be used to key into your cat’s natural energy cycle of “play, eat, rest.” Put the toys into motion and let your cat play and pounce, then feed her after your play session as a reward for the “hunt.”
In this article, we’ll teach you how to design an interchangeable system of wand toys that are easy to swap in and swap out. First, you will learn how to make the cat wand and then we’ll provide a series of accessories that you can make for your cat to entice her in play.
Before you get started, here are a couple of things to consider:
- Avoid little bits that could be choking hazards.
- Put the wand and toys away when not in use. This is for safety reasons, and to prevent burnout.
What you need
From an arts and crafts store:
- A sturdy wood dowel – 3-feet in length and ½ inch in diameter
- Tan and/or black suede laces
- Small coloured pompoms
- Coloured felt
- Jingle bells (with eyelet)
- From a tackle shop or sporting goods store:
- Fishing line (try 15-20 lb. test)
- Barrel swivels (both with and without a clip end)
- X-ACTO or utility knife
- A sewing needle and thread
- Drill with a small bit
How to make a wand toy
- Depending on your height, you’ll want 2-3 feet of dowel. (Start long and wait to cut it down to size once you’ve had a chance to play).
- Drill a small hole through the dowel about an inch from one end.
- Tie a barrel swivel (with clip) to one end of a length of fishing line. Then, thread the other end of the fishing line through the hole and tie it off. You’ll want to leave about 6-12 inches of line between the tip of the wand and the barrel swivel. This will keep the clip a safe distance from the toy and out of reach of claws and mouths. Trim away any excess line.
How to make wand toy accessories
Here are some wand toy accessories you can make to switch out and keep your cat excited to play. Make them all, or choose which ones you think your cat would like best!
A couple of feathers and a jingle bell can make your cat jump with joy.
- Cut about 3-feet of line from the spool of fishing line. Tie multiple knots at one end to make a stopper for the feathers. Trim any excess.
- Take a feather. Since the quill is hollow, use a needle or safety pin to punch a hole in the quill about where the quill starts to narrow and the barbs begin.
- Thread the fishing line through the hole you punched and down the length of the quill and out the end. Pull the line through until it hits the knot.
- Repeat this with another larger feather.
- Thread the fishing line through a small jingle bell, working from bottom to top.
- Next, wrap the line twice around the eyelet at the top of the jingle bell. This will help hold the bell in place directly on top of the feathers.
- About 18” from the top of the bell, tie another barrel swivel (without clip). Trim away excess line.
- Clip the bird toy to the line attached to the wand and give it a test flight.
A little felt, some tan suede laces and some simple stitching can make a critter for your cat to chase.
- Trim the silhouette of a mouse or small rodent from a piece of felt.
- Repeat with another shade.
- To make the tail and legs, cut 3 strands from the tan suede laces. Tie a knot in one end to make the tail. Tie knots in the middle of the other two pieces to make the legs.
- Place one piece of felt on the table. Next, position the legs and tail where you want them. Align the knots down the midline of the body – this will help give dimension to the body. And place a barrel swivel (without clip) near the head of your rodent so one eyelet is inside the toy; the other sticking out.
- Place the second piece of felt over the top of the other to cover the suede laces. Align the edges.
- Double thread your sewing needle, and stitch around the perimeter of the rodent. Stitch directly through the suede laces to help keep them in place. And make a couple of extra stiches through the eyelet of the barrel swivel to fortify it as it will be the point of attachment.
- Cut a 24-inch strand of fishing line. Tie a second barrel swivel (without clip) to one end. Tie the other to the eyelet on the barrel swivel sticking out of your rodent toy. Trim away any excess line.
- Clip your critter toy the DIY cat toy wand, drag it along the floor in front of your cat and watch her pounce.
Small pompons mimic the body segments of an insect, while strands of suede laces make for legs.
- Cut four short strands (about 3-inches long) of black suede laces. Tie a knot in each so the knot is centered in the strand.
- Take a little over 24-inches of fishing line. Tie a few knots on top of each other to create a stop. Trim away any excess line. Thread the opposite end of the fishing line through a sewing needle.
- Use the needle and fishing line to begin stringing through the center of the pompoms.
- Alternate pompoms with the short strands of suede laces. String the fishing line through the middle of the knot.
- When your bug is as long as you want it, tie a knot or two as close to the top of your bug’s head to help keep everything in place. And trim the laces to the desired length.
- At the far end, tie a barrel swivel (without clip) about 18-24 inches from the top of the bug’s head. Trim away any excess line.
- To make your own touch on this design, consider using ribbon instead of the suede laces. Or use a jingle bell at the front to give it some weight, and help it make noise.
- Clip this toy to your wand and bring it to life!
We hope you enjoyed learning how to make your own DIY cat toys. If you’d like more inspiration for homemade cat toys, check out how to make a homemade puzzle feeder.