DIY Cat Toys

As most cat owners know, cats will play with just about anything that entertains them.

So why pay for cat toys when you can easily create some of your own with everyday items found around the house? Check out these fun DIY cat toy ideas from The Honest Kitchen and get to creating!

Sock Cat Toys

The next time you start seeing holes in your socks, don’t throw them out. Instead, easily turn them into cat toys. Take one of the socks and roll it up inside the other. Add crinkly paper and some catnip in there before tying the open end of the outer sock into a knot. Give it to your cat or throw it for him to chase.

Toilet Paper Roll Toys

Cat owners know how easily a feline can be entertained—for a time—with the right kind of toy. It can be as simple as a rolled up piece of paper destined for the garbage that didn’t make it into the bin. But after 20 minutes of intense play, that “toy” may easily be forgotten—which is why it is a good idea to have a variety of options. One common household item that lends itself well to this is the toilet paper roll. There are several toys you can make out of these rolls, including balls. It can also be as simple as just giving your cat the roll that he can unwind. When you make the toys, avoid using anything on the rolls that would make them unsafe or toxic, including staples.

Newspaper Toys

All you need is a single sheet of newspaper to create a crumpled-up ball, thick strands torn from the sheet and a loop cut from the edges. Recycle when used and start from scratch (pun intended) with a new sheet.

Straw Toys

Offer your cat a couple plastic drinking straws for batting, chewing, chasing and pounce action. Keep an eye out for the cat chewing pieces of the straw up, though. Replace the straws as needed.

DIY Whack-a-Mole Toy

Have an extra soda or cardboard box laying around? Turn it into a whack-a-mole game for your cat! Cut holes in one side and use your sock toy (or anything else that will work) for hours of DIY cat enrichment.

What cat toys have YOU created that we should add to the list? Have fun playing with your furry friends!


Cats Bond Through Scent – And You can Help!

Cats rely on scent more than any other sense, and they rely on group scent, in particular, for social comfort. Cats that are friends groom and rub up against each other to create and maintain their ever-important group scent. For example, if you have a five-cat household, each cat will have a “five cat” scent associated with their specific identity as a group, rather like we have last names that are family names. This group scent helps cats feel affiliated, friendly, and relaxed with one another.

In a group, one cat may be the “social facilitator” cat. These cats groom and rub up against all the cats in the home to generate a group scent, which fosters positive social behavior. If you think your cats are lacking a group scent, you can become a social facilitator “cat” yourself, by brushing all of them daily with the same brush. If your cats don’t mind being brushed and remain calm when smelling a brush that contains another cat’s scent, you can easily facilitate more social and friendly interactions among them by doing this. By promoting “social glue” between your cats, an environment that was once a war zone can be transformed into a feline utopia. The cats will essentially feel a collective belonging to the group instead of discomfort with other cats that smell so distinctly different.

The technique: brush each cat two to three times a day, four to ten strokes for each cat every time you brush them. Rotate the order of cats as you go. The areas to brush are the areas where the cats themselves maintain the group scent—the entire head, neck, shoulders, and rib cage area. Use the same brush and don’t remove the hair from the brush between cats. Eventually you will remove the hair from the brush as it becomes full, but remember the idea is to spread the scent of each cat to the other. Before brushing, let your cat sniff the brush that contains the other cat’s scent. If his response is relaxed, proceed with brushing.

This can go a long way towards helping your cats get along and giving them the stress-free environment they deserve. Brookside Barkery has everything you need to make your cat feel like the royalty that they are. Stop by today and pick up a new bed or a new toy like the Neko Flies Cat Toy!



Thank you to for the great article!

How to Really Play with Your Cat

Cat never want to play with you? Check out these tips from Modern Cat magazine to jump start your cat’s play sequence!

Cats are such agile, stealthy, and athletic predators. The same characteristics that allow a jaguar to ambush prey permit house cats to jump with precision off the sofa. We only need watch cats play to gain an impression of their predatory prowess. And yet many people are unable to get their cats to play at all. This is not actually so remarkable if you watch how they’re playing with their cats. In short, they’re doing it wrong.

Many cat owners tell me they have “tried everything” and have had no luck getting their cats to so much as bat at a toy mouse. And those cat owners that can get their cats to play often find that play culminates in nothing more than frustration for both cat and owner. During such scenarios, the cat’s tension and stress build, and the appetitive behaviour (that which fulfills a need or compulsion to hunt, for example) may not be fulfilled, leaving the cat dissatisfied. In my practice, I try to help the cat owner get inside the mind of their cat to help them help their cat fully express all of his instinctual behaviours, including the hunting motor pattern sequence. This sequence includes the eye stare, the stalk and chase, the grab and bite or pounce and bite, and even the kill bite.

Cats are Lone Hunters
Really, with the exception of lions, cats are solitary hunters. Instinctively, our domestic cats do not hunt together. Because of this, if you have a multi-cat household, it’s important to avoid creating group playtime with your cats. Countering your cats’ instincts by trying to get them to take turns pouncing on a wand toy that you’re maneuvering can backfire. You can inadvertently encourage competition and spur on territorial disputes that can lead to ongoing hostility among cats. I’ve seen many cats blossom into confident players once other cats were removed from the scene. Relationships can improve between cats once you stop the group playtimes. It’s really amazing how issues resolve themselves when you create an environment that fits with your cat’s natural instinctual behaviour.

What Toy to Choose
Wand toys are some of the best toys to help simulate a “real” hunt for your cat. These are toys that require the owner to maneuver them. (Visit the Barkery for all sorts of toys!)

How to Play with your Cat: From Eye Stare to Kill Bite, the Complete Sequence
You are essentially the life of the prey target. Be cautious of the following, as I state in my book, The Cat Whisperer:

Don’t wiggle the toy in your cat’s face or move it toward your cat. This won’t make sense to your cat and it might frighten him. Real prey moves away. Real prey hides. Your cat also needs the mental stimulation of strategizing how he’s going to ambush that mouse behind the couch. It’s not all about chasing and pouncing and biting.

That being said, cats love the chase! This is their utopia. In fact, “the chase” is often preferred more than actually catching their prey or eating it. Most cat owners have heard of cats “halfkilling” their prey and then releasing the prey only to catch it over and over again. When the injured prey runs behind a bush or flops around incapacitated behind a fallen tree where the cat can hear it, but can’t see it, a feeling of eager anticipation sets in and really gets the feel good brain chemicals going. Be sure to hide the toy for several seconds behind some furniture (making flopping and scurrying sounds) before presenting it again. If you’re like most cat owners, chances are you’ve looked under the sofa or refrigerator only to find a stockpile of cat toys from yesteryear. What most cat owners don’t know is that cats often bat them out of reach on purpose to create this feel good experience.

Your cat’s menacing stare is the beginning of the sequence, as he orients himself to the toy. Watch him stalk or chase it…the stalk or chase may be brief. Then, depending on your cat, he may assault the toy immediately, biting into it, or he may signal an impending attack by wiggling his behind. After grabbing and biting, many cats will play with their “prey” by purposely releasing it, repeating the stalk-and-chase and grab-and-bite steps over and over again.

Let your cat repeat this stalk, chase, bite, and release scenario over and over again and let the “prey” slowly die just like it would out in nature. Don’t make the game impossible or too easy for your feline family member. Let him decide how many stalks, chases, grab-and-bites, etc. he needs.

You may also witness something that looks like the Kill Bite. That’s when your cat won’t want to let go of the toy and may even try to carry it off. Or he’ll roll onto his side and kick against the toy with his back legs while biting into it. Letting your cat “finish the kill” can be very satisfying and rewarding to him. I’ve seen cat owners frustrate their cat by stopping far too soon, putting the toy away mid-hunt when the cat is completely revved up to chase and grab over and over again as a cat would in the course of weakening real prey.

I recommend at least one play session a day that lasts about 10 to 20 minutes, using an interactive wand toy. Some cats might do better with more frequent playtimes that are shorter in length—play around with time and duration to establish your cat’s particular preferences. In addition to interactive toys that you maneuver for your cat, it’s also important that you let him play on his own so he doesn’t become reliant on you to stimulate his prey drive every time. There are some great battery operated toys such as the Undercover Mouse and the Panic Mouse 360 and a wide variety of toys he can bat and chase by himself.

Make sure your cat always has several toys out available to him. Rotate toys each week to help ensure the play environment doesn’t become mundane.

It’s okay to offer cat food or treats after the playtime to further satiate your cat, but because eating and hunting are independently controlled behaviours, it’s not imperative to feed them afterwards.

Remember that cats enjoy different types of toys, but they also enjoy different types of play. Variety and experimentation is the key to keeping kitties happy. Have fun!