5 Homemade Cat Toys I Made from Empty Toilet Paper Rolls


Everyone who shares her life with a cat knows that store-bought cat toys are nearly always shunned in favor of found objects like straws, milk jug rings and wadded-up paper balls. Why do we even bother?

A cat in a toy box.

In last week’s Kids, Cats, Chaos! column, I shared some crafting ideas that you and your child can make for your cat. In my search for cat-toy crafts, I happened upon a fantastic array of ideas for fashioning kitty playthings out of empty toilet paper rolls. Everyone has these things lying around — why not upcycle, channel your inner Martha Stewart (or Martha Poo-wert, as it were) and create some fun for your cat!

Here are five homemade cat toys you can make from empty TP rolls.

1. Simple rings

This one is about as uncomplicated as it gets. An uncomplicated toy for a complicated animal. We have these rings scattered all over the house. They’re nice and light so my cats can toss them into the air and Phoebe even carries the little rings around in her mouth.

You’ll need:

  • An empty cardboard TP roll.
  • Scissors.

Two cats with a piece of a toilet paper roll.


  • Mark four, 1/4-inch (or finger-width) marks on the side of the cardboard roll.
  • Use the scissors to cut each ring.

2. Ring ball

Here’s a variation of the ring toy. It’s only slightly more complicated, but I have faith in my directions and the intelligence of Catster readers, so follow along! My favorite part about this toy is how crazy my cats get trying to retrieve the treats from inside the ball. And I know the cats don’t care, but I found entertainment in decorating the ball with smiley faces and other fun shapes. Fun, fun, fun!

A ring ball cat toy, made out of toilet paper.

You’ll need:

  • An empty cardboard TP roll.
  • Scissors.
  • Treats (optional, but highly recommended!).

A cat playing with a homemade toilet paper roll toy.


  • Mark four, 1/4-inch (or finger-width) marks on the side of the cardboard roll.
  • Use the scissors to cut each ring.
  • Insert the first ring into the second ring, then continue with the third and fourth, until you’ve formed a ball.

3. Sunshine toy

Good day, sunshine … cat toy. Grab a pair of scissors, and within a couple of minutes, your cat will be on the fringe. Cats love batting this around and you can even place a treat inside for extra play action!

A homemade toilet paper roll cat toy.

You’ll need:

  • Empty cardboard TP roll.
  • Scissors.

A cat playing with a homemade cat toy.


  • Cut the ends of each end of the roll, creating tabs.
  • Fold tabs back, creating a “sunshine” look.

4. Treat rattle

My cats love noisy toys and this one fits the bill, for sure. The ends don’t close super tightly, so it’s fun for kitty to try and remove the treats. Mine are persistent so the treats never really stand a chance!

A homemade cat toy.

You’ll need:

  • An empty cardboard TP roll.
  • Treats.

A homemade cat toy for treats.


  • Fold one end of the TP roll inside, creating a semi-closed end.
  • Place several treats inside.
  • Fold the other end of the roll, creating another semi-closed end.

A cat sniffs a homemade cat toy.

5. Treat puzzle

Phoebe is a smart cookie and gets bored easily. I have several interactive toys just for her because if I don’t provide her with self-play opportunities, she finds mischief! You can purchase toys like these, but why would you when you can create one from empty TP rolls?

Cat toilet paper rolls and a glue gun.

You’ll need:

  • Multiple empty cardboard TP rolls.
  • Glue gun.
  • Treats.

Cats playing with homemade cat toys.


  • Use the glue gun to connect the rolls into desired shape.
  • Allow to dry.
  • Drop treats inside rolls and let cats go crazy!

Have you made any homemade cat toys? Tell us about it in the comments!

About the Author: Angie Bailey is a goofy girl with freckles and giant smile who wants everyone to be her friend. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, and thinking about cats doing people things. Wrote a ridiculous humor book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that may or may not offend people. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.

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