DIY Cat Toys Checklist

Use this DIY cat toys checklist to create a toy for your cat using craft felt, twine, and a wooden dowel. This version of the classic “fishing rod” toy requires the use of basic sewing skills, but overall, the project is quick and easy to complete.

Supplies Needed

  • 9 inches (23 cm) by 12 inches (30 cm). Any color works.
  • Loose catnip and catnip buds are both good options.
  • Dowels approximately 1 foot (30 cm) long are easier to handle.
  • Jute line or other heavy string could also work. You need at least 40 inches (102 cm).

Preparing the Fishing Pole

  • If starting with a longer dowel, use a hand saw to cut the wood down to a length between 1 and 1.5 feet (30 and 46 cm).
  • Thoroughly file the cut edges of the dowel with 100-grit sandpaper. Both ends should feel rounded and smooth when finished.
  • Unroll roughly 40 inches (102 cm) of heavy twine. Cut the twine with scissors.
  • Apply hot glue to one end of the dowel rod. Use enough glue to cover 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) of wood.
  • Carefully press one end of the twine into the glue at the bottom of the glue patch. Wind the twine around the end of the dowel several times until it reaches the end of the rod.
  • Use scissors to cut the remaining loose twine down to a length between 28 and 30 inches (71 and 76 cm).
  • Tie a simple overhand knot onto the loose end of the twine. Position the knot roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm) away from the end of the twine.

Making the Toy Fish

  • Sketch a simple fish outline onto a piece of felt using fabric pen or marker. The outline should be approximately 4 inches (10 cm) long and 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 cm) wide.
  • Fold the felt in half, then cut along the sketched outline using sharp scissors. Doing so should produce two identical halves.
  • Apply a ½ inch (1 cm) dot of hot glue to the center of one fish half. Carefully press the knotted portion of twine into the hot glue, then allow the glue to dry.
  • Stack one fish half on top of the other. Keep all edges evenly aligned. The “wrong sides” of the material should face inward, trapping the knotted twine in between both halves.
  • Prepare a sewing needle with all-purpose thread. Stitch along the top half of the fish, from nose to fin, using a blanket stitch or other type of edging stitch. Sew over the twine during this step, as well.
  • Stuff the fish with a small bundle of poly-fill. The fish should have more dimension, but the open edges must still be able to meet when brought together.
  • If desired, wedge a tiny amount of dried catnip into the poly-fill. Use one catnip bud or ¼ tsp (1.2 ml) of loose catnip.
  • Join the remaining open edges using a blanket stitch or similar edging stitch.
  • The cat toy is now finished and ready for your cat to enjoy.

DIY Cat Toys Checklist Tips

  • Create a simpler cat toy by skipping the fishing rod steps. Your cat can play with the catnip fish on its own.
  • Get creative by changing the type of toy attached to the fishing rod. You can create mice, birds, balls, feathers, and many other simple shapes using felt.