15 Household Items that Make Great Cat Toys

If you’ve ever owned a cat, you know that there is almost always no point in actually purchasing cat toys. Many felines look on in disdain at store-bought toys they’re supposed to play with. They like their own toys much better, thank you very much. Those toys just happen to be things they find on the floor at home. Or, if you’re a cat owner like myself who likes things very clean, they’re toys the cat finds on counters, in drawers and just about everywhere else. These are 15 of the best household items cats like to turn into their personal play things.

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Hair Ties

No matter how many hair ties you purchase on a regular basis, you will inevitably never be able to find one to actually place in your hair. Why? Because between the kids and the cats, your hair ties are missing in moments. If you make the mistake of leaving a hair tie on a table or at your bedside, you will find almost immediately that your little feline friend finds your hair piece and makes it his own. He will swipe it across the floor, chase it, paw at it and whine for it when it’s too far beneath a piece of furniture and he can no longer reach it.

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Yarn

If you’re looking for an expensive cat toy at home, ball up some yarn for your feline friend. They love the idea of chasing something they can hook their paws into and bite. They like being able to bat it around, chase it and look for it when it finds its way beneath something in your living room. Cats also love to chase yarn when it’s not balled up. They see it as a mouse’s tail or something else, but whatever they see it as doesn’t matter. It’s something that will keep them entertained for hours.

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Baby Toys

If you have kids, you have cat toys. Cats love little toys, whether it’s a small stuffed animal or a Barbie shoe. Anything that’s small and light enough for a cat to push around the floor and chase with wild abandon is perfect. Of course, it’s always a good idea to make sure neither your kids or cat are playing with anything too small that could be swallowed, but other than that, cats find that children’s toys make for great things to call their own. They’re not good at sharing, however (kids or cats).

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String

If you have a string on a blanket, attached to a shirt or anywhere else, your cat is going to find it and make it a personal toy. Remove that string from your shirt before your cat does it for you and you’re going to find him entertained for hours. All you have to do is put some in a ball for the cat and let him run around after it. It makes a light toy that’s easy to move around the floor and to attack, which is why cats enjoy it so much.

(Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for American Kennel Club)

Bags

If you shop, you have bags. Plastic, paper or whatever, cats love bags. Just remember that if you wouldn’t let your kids play with a bag (let’s think about the dangers of plastic bags for a moment), you don’t want to let your cat play with it either. However, if you are a paper bag or gift bag user, you’ll find that your cat enjoys using these as play toys. He may try to get inside them, knock them around or even hide other toys inside of bags. They make a noise that cats find fun, so that’s part of the reason they’re such popular cat toys.

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Balls

Small balls, bouncy balls, or just balls that come with children’s toys are considered very, very entertaining by all animals, whether you have a cat or a dog. Your kids will love this one, too, because they can play with the cat. While the cat’s not about to fetch the ball like a dog, he or she will enjoy chasing the ball and batting it back and forth across the floor either alone or with a human partner. It’s a great way to distract your kids and your cats when you need a few moments to yourself.

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Boxes

Parents say it all the time, and so do pet owners. There is no reason we spend so much money on toys, vacations and entertainment for our animals and kids when we could really just provide cats and kids with the boxes those expensive items are packaged in and watch them play for hours. Cats love boxes as much as kids. They love to hit them,  knock them, climb around in them and use them to their advantage. What they see in boxes, we don’t know. All we know is that it’s a cheap cat toy, and you won’t worry about it getting lost under furniture.

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Paper

If you ball up some paper, your cat is going to have a blast. It’s like a ball, but it makes a much cooler noise – in your cat’s opinion. Paper is virtually free when you consider you get hundreds of pages for a few dollars, so it’s the cat toy that keeps on giving. An entire $1 notebook will provide your cat with 75 toys. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Just be sure to replace this paper ball every so often as it doesn’t do well when it gets wet with kitty saliva.

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Jewelry

If you’re going to let your cat play with jewelry, make sure it’s big jewelry. Don’t give him a ring or earrings or anything else small enough for him to swallow and choke on. Big, fake beaded necklaces make great cat toys. They love the sound the beads make on the floor, and they love the fact that these necklaces travel fast when they’re thrown around. It’s great exercise for your feline friend, and he or she will have hours of entertainment playing with this item. It will, however, get lost beneath furniture, so that’s something to take notice of.

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Shoe Laces

Shoe laces are especially entertaining in a cat’s eyes if they are attached to your shoe. This makes them all the more interesting for two reasons. For one, cats love shoes. Cats have weird obsession with rubbing themselves all over shoes that have been abandoned in closets or by doors. If that shoe has untied laces, cats are going to find them twice as pleasurable. They’ll bat them, bit them, chance them and play with them for hours. You’ll want to make sure, however, that you don’t let cats play with your good shoes. They can ruin them if you’re not careful.

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Hair Clips

Bobby pins, clips or little barretts used by your kids; they all make great cat toys. They are small and light enough for the cat to push around the house, to chase and to make some strange noises the cat likes to hear. Your cat is not likely to pick up something of this size and swallow it, so it’s an okay toy to provide your cats with when you’re at home. Be careful, however, not to leave hair clips you want to use on bathroom counters. Even the most well-trained cats sometimes find it hard to resist temptation.

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Aluminum Foil

A ball of aluminum foil is going to make a great cat toy. It’s a great alternative to paper balls since it’s not damaged by moisture. When balled up, it’s strong and not all that easy to destroy. Your cat will find that this entertains him for hours as he chases it around the house. For a fun game, try playing a game that involves rolling this foil ball back and forth across the floor with another person and watch your cat as he reacts to it and attempts to catch it as it moves around.

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Bottle Caps

Bottle caps make great cat toys. The next time you finish a bottle of water, take the cap and place it on the floor and watch as your cat goes to town. Be careful not to provide your cat with too many of these, however, because he or she is going to knock them under furniture frequently and you’re not going to want to find out you have 45 bottle caps under the couch the next time you move it to clean up for your house guests or friends to come over. Also, these can be pretty loud if you have tile or wood.

(Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Pencils/Pens

They’re big. They move easily on the floor. They’re entertaining. There is no reason not to give your cat a pen or pencil to play with on the floor. Of course, if you have small children at home, you might not want to give a cat a pen or pencil. Not only could little kids accidentally hurt themselves this way, they could also accidentally on purpose create a piece of artwork on your furniture, walls or clothes. Pens and pencils only make good cat toys in homes where there are not kids running around.

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Toilet Paper Rolls

You don’t use your toilet paper roll for anything when you’re finished with the roll, so why not give it to your cat and let him use it as a toy. It’s not something he or she will be able to destroy easily, so it will last a while as a cat toy. Your cat will love being able to see through it and move it around on the floor. It’s easy to grab, too, so the cat can almost throw the roll to himself when he’s playing with it. It makes a fun toy for any cat to play with, and everyone has one of these lying around.

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