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Unique Cat Toys: Homemade Cat Toys to Make from Household Items

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

No matter how many cat toys you have, cats would always rather play with forbidden household items.

No matter how many cat toys you have, cats would always rather play with forbidden household items.

I'm branching out from my usual topics here to touch on another favorite subject of mine: cats. I have had cats since I was five years old. The cat featured in the photos in this hub is my sweet lady cat Angel. Over the years, I've watched cats play with many different kinds of toys. There are a few store bought toys that have been popular, namely foam balls, catnip mice, and flat scratching posts (for those with claws). But many favorite toys have been items that are not marketed as cat toys. Here are a few that I've witnessed first hand. If anyone has others, please feel free to add them in the comments section.

Angel hanging out with plastic packing pillows.

Angel hanging out with plastic packing pillows.

Q-tips: I discovered that Angel liked Q-tips when I dropped one accidentally, and she batted it away before I could pick it up. After playing with it for a few minutes, she hid it under a DVD shelf so we couldn't take it away from her. Like most cats, she has to be in the right mood to play with them and prefers to do so when she thinks that we aren't watching.

Hairbands: I've known very few cats that did not go crazy for hairbands. I've had hair long enough to tie back since I was little and always have hairbands around. One cat growing up would steal them and put them, along with other toys and favorite items, in her food bowl. One of my college roommates had a cat who would run into my closet any time I left the door open because he knew where I kept them in there. Angel likes to steal them out of my suitcase when my husband and I are getting ready for a trip.

Laundry baskets: This isn't so much of a toy as it is a weird fascination. I don't know if it's because they're plastic, which many cats prefer, or for some other reason. Angel gets excited when I do laundry and have the baskets sitting in the living room. She loves to sit with them and to work her paws through the holes, even though she doesn't have claws. I've known other cats that enjoyed various aspects of laundry baskets and laundry time as well.


Woman Displaying Clothing Her Cat Has Been Stealing

Great Cat Toys

Angel loves the small bags that we get from Best Buy and Barnes and Noble.

Angel loves the small bags that we get from Best Buy and Barnes and Noble.

Kitten Loves His Spool

Plastic packing pillows and plastic bags: If you've ever ordered from Amazon, you know what plastic packing pillows are. They also make wonderful kitty pillows. Many cats also enjoy sitting with plastic grocery bags.

Spider rings: I haven't had one of these in years. They are still available here from Oriental Trading. A cat I had growing up went crazy for them. We would throw one on the floor for her, and she would bat it around with her paws like it was a ball.

Grape stems: I've seen cats play with grape stems in a similar fashion to the spider rings. They are slightly springy when they bounce. Because they have irregular shapes, the bouncing is erratic, which just adds to the excitement of the game.

Empty thread spools: If you sew, save one of your empty thread spools and give it to your cat sometime. The cat may think that it's the stupidest thing in the world and completely ignore it, but it could become a new favorite toy. My brother's girlfriend's cat will hook his paw around one and shoot it across the room.

Plastic milk rings: If you drink milk that comes in a plastic container with a ring, save the ring for your cat. This is another great toy for batting around the room or simply carrying around. If they start disappearing, your cat may be stashing them somewhere. Have fun trying to find the hiding place!

Angel's favorite part of any special occasion is the wrapping and boxes.

Angel's favorite part of any special occasion is the wrapping and boxes.

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Wrapping paper: Angel loves presents of any kind because she loves the wrapping paper. She loves to sit on it or sit right next to it. Lots of cats will also burrow in it, toss the balled paper around, etc.

Ribbons/bows: The excitement of present time continues for cats with ribbons and bows. Some cats will chase a long ribbon if you pull it around behind you. Bows are fun to bite or even tear apart.

Anything on the floor: If you couldn't already tell from the pictures, Angel loves to sit on or with almost anything that's on the floor. We allow her to sit on any of our furniture, but she would still prefer to sit on the floor with a pile of books than to curl up on a pillow on our bed. She gets frustrated when the floor is exceptionally clean.


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Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 04, 2013:

Thanks, Vicki! You could easily write this same article topic with an entirely new list of ideas. Cats are so innovative, and you're right that they don't need the expensive toys.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on August 03, 2013:

These are so right on! I was actually thinking a while back of writing a hub similar to this topic. LOL. If I do, I'll try to come up with my own spin on things. Cats are so innovative. They can make toys out of anything. They don't need the expensive toys! Great hub!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 30, 2012:

Thanks, Christy!

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on October 30, 2012:

What creative ideas here for cat lovers!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 29, 2012:

Thanks, Cyndi! That's awesome. I have known a handful of cats that would hoard items in different places around the house so I can definitely believe that.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on October 29, 2012:

Fun hub!! I can relate to a lot of these ideas, too. :) I've had cats for a long time - I even had one that would "hide" my jewelry in the couch. I kid you not. Hehe. Voted up and shared.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 29, 2012:

That's awesome, Kelley. Hope that it goes well!

Thanks, Deepak. :)

Deepak Chaturvedi from New Delhi, India on October 29, 2012:

Informative and creative hub thanks to share.

kelleyward on October 29, 2012:

I'll have to try the Q-Tips! I'm sure Jazzie (my cat) would love them! Voted up and shared. Kelley

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 27, 2012:

Thanks Annette! That's great about the laundry baskets!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 27, 2012:

There are a lot of Angels out there. It's a great cat name. I love the tuxedo look. Those are all awesome cat toys.

Annette R. Smith from Ocala, Florida on March 27, 2012:

Hi, Rose. What a fun read this evening. I love to watch my cats explore around the house, and they will play with just about anything they get their paws on! Like your Angel, my Elvis and Prissie love laundry baskets, too.

Lisa Kroulik from North Dakota on March 27, 2012:

I have a cat named Angel now and your cat looks just like Mickey, the cat I grew up with. My cats like pipe cleaners, twist ties, candy wrappers and just about anything they can bat across the floor.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 27, 2012:

Thanks iamaudraleigh!

Jessi, it's so funny how cats will latch onto random items like that and ignore the regular cat toys.

Jessica Rangel from Lancaster, CA on March 27, 2012:

These are some weird cat toys.. I once had a cat that didn't like her toys, instead she LOVED to play with my sweaters, and my purse String. Anything else, she hid from me!

iamaudraleigh on March 27, 2012:

Love this!!! Cats love everything related to all of those things! Very fun hub!!!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 27, 2012:

Thanks Jeannie!

Cyndi and B., thanks for sharing your cat stories! The things that they come up with like the earrings and toilet paper attacks are priceless.

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on March 27, 2012:

A cat we fostered a couple of years ago liked to play with Q-tips. Another cat we used to have was always on the hunt for toilet tissue rolls to attack. We had to keep them in a closet with the door closed and to hide the roll that was in the bathroom. A cat we have now likes to nonchalantly bat whatever it can off of any table or desk.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on March 27, 2012:

So cute. I wuveds sum kittehs. ;) Hehe, I just love cats. My dad was allergic, so I couldn't have them until I became an adult. But, boy, I have had at least 1, up to 4 at a time, since I was 18. I LOVE kitties and this is a cute hub. One of my cats likes rubber bands hanging on doorknobs. He also likes to attack toilet paper. We have to keep the TP hidden in a door, otherwise he will shred it to pieces. I had another cat fascinated with my earrings. She would take them off the vanity, and hide them in the couch. No kidding. I kept wondering why my earrings were disappearing until one day I was turning the pads over on the couch and I found a whole pile of them! Hehe. Life just wouldn't be the same without those kitties.

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on March 27, 2012:

This is so cute. Angel is such a pretty cat. This is great information for people with cats who'd like some inexpensive cat toy ideas. Voted up and shared!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 28, 2011:

We get Angel a few store bought toys throughout the year, too. I love the stockings idea! Cats definitely do spend most of their time watching us and are regularly amused by the things that they get us to do or not do.

Catherine Tally from Los Angeles on April 28, 2011:

I agree that cats do not need expensive store-bought toys although I do treat my kitty with one or two during the holidays.:>) I also stuff a ittle catnip into old nylon stockings, tie a knot, and trim off the excess. She also enjoys found bird feathers tied on the end of a ribbon. Of course a cat's favorite plaything is YOU.

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