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16 Common Household Items Cats Like to Play With

Written by: Cassidy Sutton

Last Updated on January 26, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cute ginger cat sitting in a paper bag and looking curious sideways

16 Common Household Items Cats Like to Play With


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM) Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Are you tired of spending money on toys your cat doesn’t like? Maybe your cat likes it for a few days but loses interest after a while. What if you stopped buying cat toys and instead started using items you already have around the house? You’d get your money’s worth in more ways than one.

Nobody wants to waste money on toys their pets don’t play with. Instead, check out our list of 16 household items cats often like to play with.

cat + line dividerThe 16 Household Items Cats Like to Play With

1. Boxes

Leave a cardboard box on the ground and wait. A cat will be in that box in a matter of minutes—if not seconds. Cats love concealed spaces, and boxes offer a tight enclosure that acts perfectly as a mini cave, helping your cat feel safe and secure.

Take it to the next level by stacking boxes and building a kitty fort!

Cat inside the Cardbox
Photo Credit: JulieK2, Shutterstock

2. Bottle Caps and Ping Pong Balls

Bottle caps and ping pong balls are lightweight and easy to flick around the floor. Ping-pong balls are amusing because your cat can chase them faster than bottle caps.

Get involved with your cat’s playtime and toss a bottle cap or ping pong ball on the floor. It’s a great time for everyone involved!

3. Stuffed Animals

Some cats, kittens especially, will grow an attachment to a stuffed animal and carry it around the house. You can find all kinds of cat-sized stuffed animals with hidden pouches where you can hide treats and cat nip.

Cat playing with stuffed toy
Photo Credit: guvo59, Pixabay

4. Bed Sheets

Have you ever finished making your bed, then stopped to see a lump under the sheets? That’s your cat. Go figure.

Like boxes, bed sheets provide a flowy enclosure that’s soft, warm, and filled with your scent. Plus, they’re just plain fun. We suppose it’s similar to playing in a bed sheet fort. And who doesn’t love a bed sheet fort?

5. Rugs

Rugs are sturdy and fibrous, yet light enough to lay under and bunny kick. Rugs also mimic grass, which is why your cat scurries to the carpet at 3 AM to vomit. Take our advice: Don’t spend too much money on rugs if you have cats.

cat laying on rug
Photo Credit: N K, Shutterstock

6. Wine Corks

Like bottle caps, wine corks are small enough to bat around the floor and chase. The only difference is that it’s easier to bite into a wine cork. Watch out for cork crumbles.

7. Mattresses

We’re certain you want to keep your mattress intact. Still, cats go bananas for mattresses. They’re basically giant cat trees—easy to climb and scratch, and perfect for nesting.

young woman scolding her cat on the bed
Image Credit: Rommel Canlas, Shutterstock

8. Paper

Some cats love shredded paper because of the wispy effect when it catches wind. For some cats, it’s like chasing a bug. Again, be sure to supervise your cat while playing with paper, as you don’t want them to ingest it.

9. Toilet Paper Rolls

When you do run out of toilet paper, save the rolls. They’re perfect for hiding toys and snacks and are safe to chew. They’re also lightweight, making them perfect for chasing around the house.

mackerel tabby cat playing with roll of toilet paper
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

10. Ice Cubes

These are a bit messy but make great summertime toys, especially on the slick kitchen floor. Plus, you can flavor the ice cubes with tuna and chicken juice. Your cat will have a blast and a tasty treat all in one.

11. Running Water

It’s a cliche that cats hate water, but some cat breeds love water so much that they’re willing to hop in the shower with their owners. Turn on the faucet occasionally or buy your kitty a water fountain for Christmas and watch their curiosity come out.

cat drinking from faucet
Image Credit: Sample Stars, Shutterstock

12. Socks

You can hide anything in an old sock, giving your cat a fun hunting experience. Hiding their favorite treats inside also gives them plenty of mental stimulation while they try to remove them.

13. Bags

Laundry bags and paper bags are excellent options for extreme cat entertainment. If the bag is strong enough, you can pick it up and take your cat for a ride. Use bags that don’t have handles to avoid your cat getting their head caught in the handle loop!

cat in paperbag
Image Credit: chaiyawat chaidet, Shutterstock

14. String & Rope

String and rope perfectly resemble slithering prey, ready to be captured at a moment’s notice. Be careful, though. A thin string can be very dangerous if your cat swallows it, so you should always supervise them during playtime, and put string and rope out of reach when you are not around.

a red string of yarn
Image Credit: sweetlouise, Pixabay

15. Lights

Cat lasers are cheap and easy to find, but it’s challenging to find a quality cat laser that lasts. Still, cats can’t get enough of the red dot!

16. Plants

Plants naturally enrich a cat’s life by offering a taste of the wild outdoors. Distribute some cat-friendly plants throughout the space and your cat will immediately fall in love.

cat palm plant
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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Household Items to Avoid

Several household items double as fun cat toys, but there are a few that you should avoid giving to your cat.

  • Plastic Bags: If you’re not careful, plastic bags will suffocate your cat and tear it to bits. The tiny pieces can be eaten, which isn’t healthy for a feline.
  • Thin String and Yarn: String and yarn can become choking hazards and cause GI blockage if ingested. Stick to thicker, stronger fabrics instead, and always supervise them around string.
  • Toxic Houseplants: Plants will affect your cat differently depending on the plant. Some cause mild stomach upset, whereas some can be fatal. Research the plant before bringing it home.
  • Jewelry: The sharp edges and gemstones can destroy your cat’s insides. If you see jewelry on the floor, don’t hesitate to pick it up and put it away before your cat snags it.
  • Aluminum Foil: Aluminum foil is thin and easy to tear, so your cat may ingest some of it. Avoid offering aluminum foil as a toy.

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Some household items should be avoided, but there are several items you can offer your cat without concern. Save your money on expensive cat toys and start DIYing for fun kitty entertainment!

Featured Image Credit: Chaiwat Hemakom, Shutterstock

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