Homemade Cat Toys: Making a Cat Puzzle Feeder

DIY Cat Puzzle Feeder Hero

Puzzle feeders come in all shapes and sizes, whether they are balls, tube-shaped or contain multiple compartments. However, they have one thing in common: they challenge your cat to work for their food. Making your cat hunt for food is a great way to appeal to their desire for physical and mental stimulation during feeding. What is not quite appealing is the cost of most puzzle feeders available in stores. Let us teach you how to make some homemade cat toys!

Getting creative for your cat

A couple of things to note before you get to making your homemade cat toys. Puzzle feeders are meant to be supervised activities, make sure you do not leave your cat unattended. Also, it’s okay if your puzzle feeder doesn’t last long. Cats like variety, so consider it a success if your cat only uses the feeder for a week. If you see that your cat is getting bored, try to give them a break or create a new version of the toy and add it to your toy rotation.

Wheel

What you’ll need:

  • A round food container, like a container for sour cream or cream cheese, or a similar sized plastic storage container, preferably with a screw-on lid. To be safe, don't use PVC-based containers.
  • A strong, non-toxic glue.
  • An X-ACTO or utility knife.

How to make it:

  1. Make sure your container is completely clean and sanitized.
  2. Use an X-ACTO or utility knife to cut a few small holes in the sides of the container that are large enough for a piece of kibble to pass through.
  3. Next, glue an additional lid to the bottom of the container that is slightly larger in diameter. This will alter the way that the feeder rolls and adds variety to the experience for your cat.

Bottle

What you’ll need:

  • A plastic water or soda bottle (8 - 24 ounce size).
  • An X-ACTO or utility knife.

How to make it:

  1. Make sure your bottle is completely clean and sanitized.
  2. Use an X-ACTO or utility knife to cut a few small holes in the sides of the container that are large enough for kibble to pass through.
  3. Place some kibble in the bottle, screw on the cap and let your cat get to work.

Egg

What you’ll need:

  • A small or medium sized plastic holiday egg.
  • An X-ACTO or utility knife.

How to make it:

  1. Make sure your holiday egg is completely clean and sanitized.
  2. Cut a couple of holes in the top and bottom section of the holiday egg using the X-ACTO or utility knife. 
  3. Next, trim away any remaining plastic so the opening is as free as can be.
  4. Place some kibble inside the holiday egg, reassemble it and give it a test before giving it to your cat to play with. Widen the holes as needed to ensure kibble can fall through.

Reach box feeder

What you’ll need:

  • A sturdy shoebox.
  • Three or more plastic water or soda bottles (8 -24 ounce size).
  • An X-ACTO or utility knife.
  • Duct tape or a non-toxic glue, just in case.

How to make it:

  1. Make sure your bottles are completely clean and sanitized.
  2. Use your X-ACTO or utility knife to cleanly cut the tops off each of the bottles. Vary the height at which you make the cuts in order to make things more challenging for your cat.
  3. Next, trace around one of the water bottles on the top of the box. Repeat it in different locations on the box top - one for each bottle.
  4. Use the X-ACTO or utility knife to cut holes in the box top. If you cut the hole slightly smaller than the border you traced, the narrow bands in the plastic bottle will help hold it in place without having to be glued or taped.
  5. Set the box so the bottle is open from the top and place some kibble inside each bottle. This way, your cat has to reach down and scoop the food out. Or you can set it on its side so your cat has to reach in to pull the food towards her.

Turtle

What you’ll need:

  • An empty egg carton.
  • Non-toxic white glue.
  • Scissors.
  • Pencil.
  • Crayons or non-toxic, water-based paint.
  • Four (4) binder clips.

How to make it:

  1. Cut one egg cup from the bottom of the egg carton. This will form the shell of your turtle feeder.
  2. Place the egg cup adjacent to the spacer bump on the reverse side of the top of the egg carton. Trace around the perimeter and outline the contour of the spacer. This will form the head of the turtle as well as a base to keep the kibble inside the “shell.”
  3. Cut the lid following the outline you’ve made.
  4. Apply glue around the edge of the egg cup.
  5. Clamp the two pieces together using the four binder clips. Allow adequate time for the glue to set.
  6. Use the crayons or non-toxic water-based paint to decorate your turtle.
  7. Fill the turtle feeder with kibble and let your cat bat it about to get her reward.

We hope you enjoyed learning how to make your own homemade cat toys. If you’re interested in more do it yourself projects for your cat, check out our article on how to make DIY cat feeding stations.

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