Keep your cat or dog happy with these 3 simple DIY toy ideas

Make your own cat toy: a red cat plays with a brightly coloured cat teaser
Here's our three simple DIY pet toys

Pets love playing with things, so we have come up with a few ideas on how you can make your own cat toy – and make a big impact with minimal effort. An activity board or a wooden cat teaser with bright strings and balls will definitely get your cat's attention. And we've thought of something for dog lovers too: you can train your dog's nose and let it have some fun with a snuffle mat containing hidden treats. So let's get building and then you can let your pets play to their hearts' content.

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Test your cat's dexterity

Make your own cat toy: a cat plays with a wooden board which has some balls and strings tied to it.
Your cats will spend hours playing with this activity board. ©

To make your activity board, you'll need: cordless combi drill , wood drill bit that matches the size of the wooden dowel pin, jigsaw to cut the wood if necessary, jigsaw blade for wood, hardwood panels, wooden strips, round and rectangular sticks, wooden dowel pins , elastic threads, wooden balls in different sizes, wood glue.

Cats love things which they can move around and explore. So they'll have lots of fun with a DIY activity board! A wooden board is used as the base for your new cat toy. Cut this to the desired size, along with the wooden slats which you can use to raise the sides.

Set up different play areas: you can arrange the wooden dowel pins at different heights or keep them the same height if you prefer. Use a cordless combi drill to make a row of holes in the wood for the dowel pins. But don't drill all the way through the wood to ensure the pins stay in position once you've inserted them. A drill stop or a a piece of tape should help make sure that you don't drill all the way through. Cats are crazy about things that dart around: if you secure elastic threads or wooden balls between the wooden dowel pins, your cats will play with them for hours. Large holes in the sides of the board, towers made of wooden boxes or a maze made of different-sized wooden blocks will arouse your cat's curiosity – especially if you hide treats inside them. Let your imagination run wild and design the board so that it has lots of different areas for your cat to discover.

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Build your own cat toy: a wooden cat teaser

Make your own cat toy: a red cat plays with a brightly coloured cat teaser.
Your cat definitely won't be able to get enough of a brightly coloured cat teaser © istock

To make your cat teaser, you'll need: jigsaw , jigsaw blade for wood , cordless combi drill , wood drill bit , round stick, brightly coloured strings, feathers, wooden balls with a hole in the middle, walnut halves.

This wooden cat teaser with brightly coloured strings, balls or feathers is really quick and easy to make, and it's perfect if you want to play games with your cat. Cats love chasing these types of toys because they are brightly coloured – and because they dart around so quickly.

To make your DIY cat toy, use a saw to cut a round stick to the desired length (e.g. 50 or 60 cm), or buy one that's already the right size from the hardware store. Then drill a hole in the end of the stick using a cordless combi drill and a thin wood drill bit. Thread one or more strings through the hole and tie them firmly into a knot.

The strings alone would probably be enough to arouse your cat's interest and entice it out to play. But to add a bit more variety, you can thread the strings through balls, feathers or walnut halves. Drill a hole through each of the walnut halves to attach them to one of the strings. To do this, use the same method outlined in our walnut wreath project . Different materials and colours make the teaser particularly interesting for your curious cat! The more variety you add to the cat toy, the more fun your cat will have playing with it.

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Make a snuffle mat for your cat or dog

  • A white Maltese dog lies on a wooden floor with a light-blue sniffing toy in front of it.
    Create a sniffing toy for your nosy friend. ©
  • The DIY dog toy is a success: a white Maltese dog looks for treats in a snuffle mat.
    Hide treats in a snuffle mat for your dog to sniff out. ©

To make your snuffle mat, you'll need: universal cutter or pair of scissors/carpet knife, unwoven fabric in different colours or an old T-shirt, sink mat.

Dogs aren't known for their sense of smell without good reason and cats are curious creatures too. Train your pets' noses with a DIY snuffle mat. You can hide treats inside for them to seek out. The result? Great fun for everyone.

Before you start making your dog or cat toy, you should wash the material you want to use first. It's best to use a fragrance-free detergent to avoid distracting your pets' noses. After washing it, cut the material into large strips measuring 30 x 4 cm (L x W). Thread each strip of material through two holes in the sink mat and tie the ends into a knot. Using different coloured strips will result in a great pattern. Remove any excess material or fluff once you're done – and your new toy is ready for play time!