Keep Your Cat Busy With These DIY Games

Photo: iprogressman / Getty Images

Looking for fun ways to spend time with your cats and get crafty at the same time?  DIY puzzles and games are fun to build and provide your cat with fantastic mental exercise. Just remember it’s important that cats be supervised while playing with these games to make sure they are playing safely and appropriately.

Related: How to Entertain Your Cats During COVID-19 Pandemic

keep your cat busy
Photo: Melissa Pisani / Getty Images

Keep your cat busy with these DIY cat puzzles 

Treat Fishing

Cat’s love to use their paws to “fish” for things.  Batting at skittering food comes naturally to cats, and this game channels those natural skills. When finished, this toy will be a box filled with up-facing tubes for your cat to puzzle how to fish treats out of!

You’ll need

  1. Multiple toilet paper and/or paper towel tubes
  2. A small box
  3. Scissors
  4. Cat treats


  1. Take a small box that has come from deliveries, a Kleenex box or a shoebox that is the right size.
  2. Collect several toilet paper and paper towel tubes.
  3.  Cut down the paper towel tube into different heights of tubes.
  4. Put the tubes into the box until the box is full and the tubes are steady.
  5. Sprinkle a few cat treats into some of the tube holes and give the puzzle to your cat to enjoy.

Peekaboo Box 

This box is a version of the whack a mole arcade game except instead of the “moles” popping out of the holes, your cat will be reaching in to try to grab at the toys!

You’ll need:

  1. Large box
  2. Scissors
  3. Packing tape or duct tape
  4. Cat toys, ping pong balls, or tennis balls


  1. Take a large box and cut different sized holes in each side of the box.
  2. Drop balls or other cat toys into the box.
  3. Tape the box closed.
  4. Enjoy!

For an added challenge, make the holes in the box different sizes, with some being big enough for your cat to pull toys all the way out of and with other holes too small for toys to be pulled out of.

Treat Dispenser

Looking for a creative way to feed your cat? This easy-to-make food-dispensing toy is a great way to make kitty mealtime interactive and fun. If you don’t feed kibble, you can also use this puzzle for giving your cat crunchy treats.

You’ll need

  1. Plastic water or soda bottle
  2. Scissors
  3. Cat treats or dry kibble


  1. Punch a few holes in the bottle.
  2. Make sure the edges of the holes aren’t sharp.
  3. Confirm the holes you punch in the bottle are large enough to allow a treat to come through.
  4. Put a  handful of treats or your cat’s dry kibble inside.
  5. Screw the lid back onto the bottle.
  6. Shake the bottle and show it to your cat and let her play. As your cat bats the bottle around the room, treats will be dispensed.

As the game progresses and there are fewer treats or bits of kibble in the treat puzzle, the more work your cat will have to put into getting the treats out making the game progressively harder.

Photo: cgbaldauf / Getty Images

Games to keep your cat busy 

Bag Hunt

Anytime I get home from grocery shopping my cats (like most cats) are curious about the paper bags. Paper bags on their own make wonderful toys for cats to pounce onto and hide in. For added fun take a paper bag and place balls and cat toys inside. Make sure to remove any handles before your cat plays in the bag.

Corner Games

Wand toys connected by a string to a toy on the other end are popular with most cats. Follow these simple instructions to make your own and then take your gameplay to the next level. Go into one room and drape the string of the wand toy around the corner of the doorway so you aren’t visible. Start to wave the wand to make the toy on the other side of the corner dance!


It’s not just humans who find bubbles irresistible. When faced with floating bubbles most cats are inspired to pounce! You can purchase catnip flavored bubbles designed for cats online. Alternatively, you can get non-toxic bubbles online or at most retailers.

When you have your cat’s attention, blow bubbles to give your cat the opportunity to chase and catch them. Be sure to blow bubbles away from your cat, not directly onto your cat or into your cat’s face. Bubbles can be a little messy, so this game is best to play in the kitchen or in another area of your house with an easy-to-clean floor.

Top photograph: iprogressman/ Getty Images

Read Next: Should You Clean Your Cat’s Paws?

11 thoughts on “Keep Your Cat Busy With These DIY Games”

  1. Pingback: Keep Your Cat Busy With These DIY Games – Growing Social

  2. Pingback: What Games Can I Play With My Cat? – Kotikmeow

  3. Pingback: Keep Your Cat Busy With These DIY Games – Blog

  4. The only toys my cat shows any interest in are the feather wand (the Jackson Galaxy Air Prey) and the occasional wadded-up piece of paper. The only thing is, she has an attention span of less than five minutes. As for plastic grocery bags, my Gracie loves to sit/lie on those. Other than that, she has no interest in bags or boxes.

  5. For kittens, make a box for them to jump through. Similar to Whack A Mole but for the cats to be the “moles”. Cut large holes or squares out of the sealed end of a taller box. You want them to have room to stand up inside it. Put holes on the sides as well. Instant entertainment as kittens jump into and out of the box through the holes. Mine love it. It is great fun to bat a playmate through a hole from the top of the box as well as jump on them!

  6. I tie long tough stingy like stuff on door handles and their scratching posts or the leg of the coffee table. Like shoe laces, (without, and I can’t stress that enough, the plastic end. Cut the plastic off or cut from the end and tie a knot ar the end or throughout) they have a blast safety.

  7. A fun variation of the corner game is the blanket game. I use thin leather cords with toys tied on the end. The cord goes under the blanket with only the toy peeking out. Tug a little on the cord to get your cat’s attention. Then pull the cord to make the toy disappear under the blanket. Watch your cat dive and grab under the blanket to get the toy! This is an energetic game, so use an old blanket.

  8. Please do not ever picture a paper bag with corded handles as something for a cat to play in. Years ago My mother’s kitten got her head stuck in just such a handle. We had the hardest time trying to remove it as she panicked and raced around the house! She easily could have gotten caught on something and choked herself, especially if we weren’t there. Plain paper bags or those with the handles removed are fine.

    1. This is great advice. A picture is very impressionable and some people would not know any better to cut the handles off first. Also, plastic store bags can also choke a cat who runs through the house and then under furniture and gets lodged between the legs of the furniture. A very dangerous scenario especially if the owner is not home. This happened to my kitty last year and thank goodness I heard the commotion and got the entangled bag off his poor neck before it was too late. Do NOT let reusable Grocery Bags with built in handles stay opened in the house, if you can’t put them away immediately, then tie the plastic handles securely and get them out of the kitty’s reach!

    2. i totally agree That happened to my cat Buddy and I had a tough time chasing him to get the bag handles off his neck. I’m glad people can see this important advice.

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