Monday, February 1, 2010


(picture of my cat Amber.)

Today we are all looking for ways to save money and I love this one. If you have a cat of any age, or especially if you have multiple cats, as I do, you will love this too. Cat toys are expensive but cats and kittens need to be able to entertain themselves so I am offering some tips today on how you can make lots of playthings from things you have around the house.

#1. Make paper mice...fold a sheet of paper in half, and half again (computer paper is perfect).Cut or tear on fold lines into 4 pieces. Roll each quarter sheet of paper  into a small tight wad or ball. Hold in the open palm of your hand and with the fingers of your other hand flick it across the room while saying "Get the mouse!"  Flicking it is important because it gets the cats excited. Cats love to retrieve things and they love paper mice. (If you see your cat trying to chew up the mouse, take it away and say,"No!".) You will find yourself making a lot of these. Cats and kittens especially love to play with these under chair rungs in the kitchen or dining room.

#2. Save paper towel or toilet tissue tubes...kittens love to pounce and wrestle with things. Be careful not to offer your fingers or toes for this purpose, because kittens have sharp teeth and claws. Cardboard tubes are perfect for wrestling. Rolled up socks are also good wrestling toys. You can also insert a paper mouse inside to make the tube more interesting.
#3.  A brown paper grocery bag...can be a wonderful place to hide. Open the bag and stand it up so that you can roll the top down an inch or so making a cuff. When you lay the bag on its side it will help hold it open for play. Toss a paper mouse inside and watch the fun. Kitty will run in and out and bat the mouse around.

#4.  Kitty House or Kitty City(drawing at left)...You will need a cardboard box big enough for the cat to move around in. Tape one long flap closed. and one or two short flaps closed. The other long flap can be left loose and used as an awning. (Not shown in drawing) This should leave an opening big enough for the cat/kitten to jump in the box when it is laid on its side.  Have an adult carve a door on the opposite side of the box just big enough for the cat to go in and out.  The house now has a front door and a back door. Holes a little larger than paw-size can be carved on either end. If you have the space you can put a group of these houses together and watch as your cats go in and out with their toys and have great fun. You can join in the play by crouching down and scratching on the box while your cat is inside. (Warning: keep your face away from the openings so that you don't get your face or eyes scratched.)
#5.  Babysitter Bird Feeder (drawing at right)...Have an adult help with this project. You can recycle a large creamer bottle that has been well washed and dried for this craft project. Using an awl, have an adult poke a hole through the neck of the bottle below the cap. Insert a quarter inch dowel, six inches long, through the holes in the neck. Use a wire coat hanger to make a hanger for the feeder.  Have the adult  hold the hanger by the hook that goes over the clothes rod. Measure down from the hook to the dowel on the bottle neck and cut wire leaving enough wire to wrap securely around the dowel (one wire on each side of bottle).  Measure up about 3 inches from bottom of bottle and cut an arch big enough for a bird to poke its head inside. Just above the bottom of the bottle punch another hole all the way through and insert a quarter inch dowel to provide a perch. Make sure dowel is through both sides to provide stability for the bird. Fill with birdseed and hang outside of a window where the cats can watch the birds. Now you have a babysitter for your cats.

I would love to hear if you have some free cat play ideas.


A Wings of Faith Children's Book excerpt page

Author: Carol J. Douglas
Artist: Eugene Ruble
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-933090-67-2
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-935137-08-5


By Shari Lyle-Soffe
Illustrated by Jack Foster
Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

(c) 2010 Sharon A. Soffe


Cheryl said...

Oh, this is great stuff. Cat towers and other toys are so expensive.

Thanks for sharing.


Shari Lyle-Soffe said...


As an owner of two cats I must agree. But,like children, you find the cats would rather play with the packaging. LOL.

They love it. We have a whole cat city in our family room. We are entertained every morning as we drink our morning coffee. If you rearrange them a bit each day they are excited about the new arrangement and really have a field day.


Dixieland57 said...

You are amazing.... Always creating... I love it.

Anonymous said...

When I had a cat we made it a wood cat tree. A cheap way (FREE)to get carpet to cover the tree is to visit your local carpet store. Ask for the old carpet squares or remnants.
Happy Valentines Day,
J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Children's Author

Janet Ann Collins said...

Here's one cats might like, but humans won't.

Years ago I had a cat was fascinated watching me use SOS pads to scrub the dirt off of pots. Whenever I wasn't home she would steal and hide the pads - in my bed! When I climbed in my feet would discover the wet things between the sheets.

Shari Lyle-Soffe said...


Yuck! I can't recommend that one. I suggest using an old sugar bowl with cober to keep your steel wool pads away from kitty.


Shari Lyle-Soffe said...

J. Aday Kennedy

You are very talented! That is a wonderful suggestion. Often places like wallpaper stores and carpet stores will let you have their samples for free. Great for craft projects.


0:-) Shari