You and your kitty are going to love these homemade cat toys and treats!
Cats are supposed to be bored and disinterested with human behavior–so why would they want anything more than to be left alone to take a nap on Christmas morning? If you have cats, you’ll know they secretly love Christmas. The crinkle of the wrapping paper, bits of discarded ribbon sprinkled across the floor, and the space that is now open under the tree with all those pesky presents removed are all irresistible.
Homemade Cat Toys and Treats
We have always put kitty gifts under the tree. Cats are typically far less apt to open their own presents, but there are still some fun ways to let them discover their new treats. In the past we have placed a few catnip mice in a large, empty box, or simply put toys in the bottom of a stocking. The stocking method is particularly entertaining as they tend to play with and rub on the stocking first before diving headlong inside. Just make sure the stocking can accommodate the size of your kitty.
Your cat may act cool, but there is a reason they’re floating around the edges of all the action on Christmas morning. They’re wondering what Santa has brought for them and they simply aren’t going to admit it. Here are two of the treats I’m making for our cats this year.
Homemade Cat Toys
Amped-Up Catnip Mouse
Supplies & Ingredients
- duck cloth: find it here
- mullein leaf (Verbascum thapsus): find it here
- catnip leaf (Nepeta cataria): find it here
- valerian root (Valeriana officinalis): find it here
I like to use duck cloth for my cat toys. It is a type of canvas and can take the back-footed bunny kicks and ecstatic chewing of even the most tenacious kitty. If you can’t find duck cloth but have a pile of old jeans, jean fabric will work well also.
Everyone makes toys with catnip, and catnip is definitely a cat favorite, but there is another herb that really drives them wild. Valerian takes the mania to a new level and I always add just a pinch to my toys. Don’t go too crazy with the valerian. I once had a cat that loved this herb so much that I would give him a little every time I opened the jar. One day I found him stumbling into walls as if he didn’t see them. I suspect in large doses it may cause seizure-like behavior. So, keep it to just a pinch AND if your kitty suffers from a neurological disorder it may be best to just use the catnip.
The mullein I add to these treats is the “stuffing” component. In the past, I’ve used the white fluffy fiber from the fabric store. I worry about kitty safety when the toy is torn open and they start to eat the inside. So, long ago I switched to an edible stuffing. Mullein is very fluffy and doesn’t flatten down.
- Cut your desired shape from the duck cloth. Don’t get overly ambitious, remember you have to sew this toy and then turn it inside out. A mouse should be a rounded triangle. You might get even more basic and just do a square.
- Sew three sides of your creation, leaving an opening on the last side. Turn your creation inside out through the hole you left.
- Add a good handful of catnip, a pinch of valerian, and stuff to your hearts content with the mullein. When you are happy with the toy, stitch up the remaining opening.
Homemade Cat Treats
Herbal Kitty Treats
- 1¼ cup rolled oats
- 3 Tbsp dried catnip leaf (Nepeta cataria): find it here
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup tuna oil (from a can of tuna)
- small plastic bottle cap
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a food processor, pulse the oats a few times to make them a bit smaller and easier to eat.
- Make yourself a tuna sandwich. Reserve the oil in the can for making these treats.
- Blend all ingredients together and roll out on a floured countertop. Using a recycled plastic bottle cap as a cookie cutter, cut small circle treats.
- Place the treats on a silpat lined cookie sheet. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Store these treats in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
You’re now ready for hours of enjoyment–both yours and theirs!