I knew very little about cats when I adopted my oldest one; I naively assumed that she would be similar to dogs as far as her needs and desires. Consequently, during my run to Wal-Mart for cat supplies, I purchased a big bag of the catnip-filled mice so that I could make her feel welcome. Seeing the new toys, she walked away in disdain. Obviously, I had a lot of learning to do.
Since then, I have realized that cats often prefer frugal, homemade toys over the expensive ones found at pet stores and mass merchandisers. Too, with their claws and sharp teeth, they can easily destroy the poorer quality toys, making these toys a needless expense for you and a possible health hazard for them. By making your own toys from materials at home, you can avoid these problems and provide your cats with hours of safe and cheap fun.
When I looked for ideas for frugal cat toys online, I found many websites that referred to toilet paper rolls, foil, milk rings, and such, but very little in the way of something new that could be achievable by anyone. Below you will find some tips for making paracord toys for your cats.
You may be familiar with paracord in relation to the survival bracelets that are so popular right now. Paracord is essentially a “tube” of material with smaller strings inside to provide strength. Although paracord can be found at your local hobby store, you will most likely find a better bargain by purchasing it online at one of the larger websites that specialize in it. Many of them regularly run sales for the larger quantities, thus making the purchase a bit more frugal. To get updates on their sales, I recommend following the company’s Facebook page as they will often post their latest bargains and coupon codes on Facebook.
When you are shopping for paracord, you will find several different weights, including nano, micro, and 550. I prefer 550 paracord for making toys for our cats as it is strong and thicker than the others. You can also find many different knots to use in making your toys, and your cats will most likely enjoy all of them. As far as videos and instructions on tying knots, I can recommend FusionKnots.com. You will find many exciting and inspirational guides on this site.
As you make your toys, one thing to keep in mind is varying the length of each toy as well as the knots used will provide your cat with an assortment of choices, thus eliminating boredom. Too, be very careful in securing the ends of any cut paracord. The ends should be melted completely so that the inner strings cannot come loose and endanger your cat. Always monitor the current condition of these toys for any fraying or the loosening of these inner strings. Personally, I prefer to keep these toys out of the cats’ reach unless we are playing with them.
Adding Found Objects
We have made several cat toys made of paracord alone, but we have also tied on objects for added interest. For example, my husband added wires to one toy so that our cats could have “ribbon” that could not be shredded. Other items to look for might be milk rings and plastic caps. The only limit is your imagination.
One important caveat: make sure that any attached item is securely knotted onto the paracord. Also, as with the above toys, always observe the condition of the toys and keep them out of your cats’ reach when not in use.
Long Lasting Toys
Personally, we have found cat toys made from paracord to be very durable and long-lasting. This makes them much more frugal than the commercial alternative. Too, you are making these toys yourself, and so it is a nice way to show your cat just how much you care. Additionally, the homemade aspect allows you to make toys that will fit your cat’s personality and special needs, thus making them very personalized.
Above All, Be Safe!
Above all, consider your cat’s safety when making these toys or playing with them. The toys’ condition should be regularly inspected, and I highly recommend that these toys be kept out of your cats’ reach when not in use.
Although you may be purchasing paracord to make cat toys, you might possibly find that tying paracord is an enjoyable hobby. My husband certainly enjoys making us many different useful and fun items. Not only your cats, but you yourself may benefit from the venture. Creating cat toys—and stuff for humans—from paracord can be a cheap means of entertainment. Just use your judgment when playing with your cats and their new toys, and you both can have frugal fun.