Cats love to play, but they’re notorious for being both fickle and finicky when it comes to cat toys. If this describes your cat, then you’ve probably spent hard-earned money on a new cat toy and been disappointed when your cat got bored with the toy after only a few minutes. It’s even more disheartening when your cat has absolutely no interest in the new toy and instead prefers the packaging.
You’re left with an abandoned cat toy that you either throw away immediately or place in storage to toss out at a later date. So, how do you lavish your kitty with new toys without breaking the bank or filling up the trash can?
The eco-friendly solution is to create your own green cat toys by upcycling items from your blue bin. Here’s how to take three commonly recycled items and turn them into fun toys for your cat.
1. Old Business Cards
If your cat loves to play catch, then old business cards might be just the thing to catch her attention. Take a standard sized business card and pleat it accordion style along the longest edge of the card. The pleats should be approximately 1/3″ wide. This is easiest to accomplish with business cards that are printed on uncoated paper. After you’ve finished pleating, fold your pleated card in half so that it looks like a fan.
If you press the fan rapidly between your thumb and forefinger, it will make a tiny clicking sound to pique your cat’s interest. Once kitty’s watching you closely, simply flick the business card fan into the air above her head and watch her leap up to catch it.
2. Used Paper Bags
Every cat lover knows that large paper shopping bags are loads of fun on their own, but did you know that you can also create fun toys with small lightweight bags, too? Clean muffin bags or used lunch bags are ideal for crumpling into paw-sized balls for batting around. Compress the bag firmly to form a dense ball that rolls faster.
Lunch bag paper can also be turned into a twisty and crunchy loop for your cat to chase or catch. Cut a 12″ x 6″ rectangle from the paper bag. Hold one end of the paper in each hand and then start twisting it. Continue twisting until you have a tightly wound twine-like rope. Finish the toy by tying the rope into a knot. This twisty loop is great for a game of catch if you toss it into the air. To encourage your cat to chase it, just slide the twisty loop across a hard floor. For extra fun, place the loop in a sealed bag overnight with a couple of tablespoons of organic catnip. The catnip scent will infuse into the toy and provide an added dimension of enjoyment.
3. Junk Mail
You can transform an unwanted piece of mail into a fun game of peek-a-boo with your cat. Take a letter-sized piece of junk mail and roll it lengthwise into a narrow tube. Press it flat so that it holds its shape. Using a pair of scissors, make a couple of 1″ long cuts into the base of one end of the tube to create bristles. Fan out the bristles to resemble a broom.
To play peek-a-boo with your cat, place a large paper shopping bag or a cardboard box on the floor. Dust the surface with the broom to create an irresistible rustling noise and dart the broom along the edges of the bag or box while your cat hides inside.
Here’s one more tip if you’d like to save some trees and reduce the amount of junk mail you receive. American households can visit the Direct Marketing Association’s website at DMAchoice.org to get your name added to their “Do Not Contact List.”
With this many toy ideas, visiting the blue bin will no longer be a chore. Instead, it will be a source of free materials for making cat toys and hopefully a source of creative inspiration too. Best of all, if your cat doesn’t like the toys, they won’t cost you any money to make and you can simply throw them back into the blue bin.
About the Author: Holly Tse is a green cat expert and also the author of Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving The Planet One Cat Toy At A Time. Her blog, Green Little Cat, shares eco-friendly tips and ideas for cats and cat lovers.