Today many people think of their pets as family members.
Couples often acquire a pet before having children, and the beloved animal becomes their “baby.” Pets often become part of the family when a child is small and they enjoy growing up together, almost as siblings. Many empty-nesters get a pet when their children leave home so they’ll still have someone to care for and to keep their days full. Still, others will acquire a pet in a time of loss, either death or divorce, and the animal serves as a form of therapy and healing.
As with any family member, when the time comes for giving gifts, many pet owners now bestow gifts on their pets and encourage others to do the same. Often among extended families, gifts are sent at Christmastime and other holidays for both family members and pets. If you would like to provide gifts for your pet or the pet of one of your friends or loved ones, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money and you’d like to give it that personal touch, homemade pet gifts are wonderful alternatives. Some of the easiest and least expensive homemade pet gifts to make are cat toys.
Cats will play with just about anything small that moves and they especially like anything that emulates a bird, mouse, or another small animal. The following are a few ideas for making homemade cat toys.
1. Fishing-rod Feather
This toy is great fun for cats and owners alike. All you need is a long stick, about 3 feet in length, and even longer string, perhaps 4 feet, and a feather or two. Tie the feathers to one end of the string and then tie the other end of the string to one end of the stick. The owner can either walk along dragging the feather, so the cat will chase it, or if the owner is busy reading or otherwise engaged, he can simply hold the stick and shake it occasionally to keep his cat entertained.
2. Cardboard Coat-hanger
This toy has the same principle as the Fishing-rod Feather, but the coat hanger gives it the bending effect. Take a few small pieces of cut cardboard, about 1-inch square; not much bigger than a quarter. Bend each piece in half (this can be a bit difficult) and then using a pencil, poke a small hole through the middle of each folded piece. Then thread some string through the holes so that each folded piece of cardboard has a string running through its sides; each piece should look like a small opened book with a string coming in one side and out the other. Knot the string and tie it securely to the end of an un-bent coat hanger. For some odd reason, cats love cardboard and will become very excited at the bending motion of the coat hanger as it shakes the cardboard in front of them.
3. Foil balls
Perhaps the simplest, least expensive, and longest-lasting cat toy around. Simply take a piece of aluminum foil, crumple it into a ball and toss it for your cat. Usually, you only have to toss it once; he will take it and chase it around the house long after you’ve lost interest.
4. Catnip pillows
Catnip will turn the most sophisticated cat into a puddle of purring and drool. For this toy, simply obtain some fresh catnip from a pet store or discount store. Take two pieces of fabric, about 2-inches square, and sew them together, leaving a small opening for the catnip. Add about 3 tablespoons of catnip and then sew up the rest. Your kitty will play with this toy for hours and you’ll see sides of her personality that will amuse and entertain you.
Homemade pet toys are fun for the cat and fun for the owner. In addition, giving homemade pet toys to the pets of your family and friends will show them how much you really care.