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Easy-to-Make cat toys for older cats That Your Elderly Cat Will Love


An elderly tabby cat happily playing with yarn balls, a cardboard box, and feather wands.


Hey there, cat parents! Have you noticed that your senior kitty isn’t as active as they used to be? Well, you’re not alone. As cats get older, they require some extra stimulation to stay happy and alert. And that’s where senior cat toys come in handy. These toys are essential for keeping your older cats interested and their minds sharp, ensuring their golden years are filled with joy and curiosity.

But here’s the best part: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your elderly cat entertained. Making homemade cat toys is not only cost-effective but also allows you to customize each toy according to your feline friend’s specific needs and preferences. Whether it’s making adjustments for their slower movements or creating sensory-rich experiences to capture their attention, DIY toys can make a world of difference.

In this article, we’ll share a variety of ideas for homemade toys that will bring endless joy to your mature mouser:

  1. Physical Health: Toys that encourage movement help maintain muscle tone and agility.
  2. Mental Stimulation: Brain games prevent cognitive decline and keep problem-solving skills sharp.
  3. Emotional Well-being: Engaging playthings reduce stress levels and boost happiness.

Ready to get creative? Let’s explore some simple yet exciting DIY toy ideas that will make playtime enjoyable for your beloved older cats. And if you’re interested in learning about ready-made options specifically designed for senior cats, Cat Toys for Older Cats explains the advantages of cat toys for seniors and suggests the best ones to keep your senior feline engaged!”.

1. The Benefits of Senior Cat Toys

Senior cat toys are more than just playthings; they’re essential tools for promoting a healthy and happy life for your aging feline friend. Let’s dive into the benefits these toys offer:

Physical Health and Agility

Active play sessions with senior cat toys keep older cats physically engaged, helping to maintain their muscle tone and joint flexibility. This is crucial because as cats age, they tend to become less active, which can lead to weight gain and associated health problems.

Mental Stimulation

Just like humans, cats need to keep their minds sharp as they age. Senior cat toys that challenge their thinking can prevent cognitive decline. Toys that encourage problem-solving — like puzzle feeders or interactive games — can keep a senior cat’s brain firing on all cylinders.

Emotional Well-being

Cats experience stress and anxiety too, especially in their golden years when they may be more sensitive to changes in their environment or routine. Engaging with appropriate toys provides a sense of purpose and pleasure, keeping stress and anxiety at bay.

Remember, the right kind of play can make a world of difference for your elderly cat. It’s not just about keeping them busy; it’s about enriching their later years with joy and vitality. Now, let’s explore some specific DIY toy ideas that will surely spark some excitement in your furry companion!

2. DIY Catnip Yarn Balls

Catnip yarn balls are known for being irresistible to cats of all ages. Whether your furry friend is young or old, a catnip yarn ball can bring them hours of joy. Here’s how you can make this classic toy with a twist that’s perfect for seniors.

What You’ll Need:

  • Soft yarn (choose a color that your cat can easily see)
  • Organic catnip
  • A small bell (optional)
  • Cotton or wool for stuffing
  • Scissors

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Start the Ball: Wrap the yarn around your fingers several times to create a loop, then tie off the loop to begin forming your ball.
  2. Build It Up: Continue wrapping the yarn around the loop, changing directions frequently, to build a round shape.
  3. Add Some Zest: Halfway through, sprinkle in a generous pinch of catnip and add the bell if you’d like some jingle in your toy.
  4. Stuff It: Fill the center with cotton or wool to give it some bulk and more catnip before sealing it off with additional yarn wraps.
  5. Secure the Ball: Once you’ve reached the desired size, cut the yarn and thread it through the ball with a needle to keep everything tight and secure.
  6. Trim Loose Ends: Give your ball any final trims to remove excess or loose yarn.

Older cats might not pounce as they once did, but these DIY cat toys are perfect for encouraging gentle play that awakens their predatory instincts. The texture and scent of the catnip yarn balls stimulate their senses, providing a delightful experience that can keep them active and engaged.

By choosing soft materials and avoiding anything too heavy or hard, these toys are kind on aging paws and teeth—just what older cats need.

3. Repurposed Toilet Paper Roll Toy

Got a pile of empty toilet paper rolls? Perfect! You’re on your way to creating an eco-friendly playground for your senior cat. DIY cat toys like the toilet paper roll toy are not just a blast to make, they’re also about giving a second life to everyday objects—hello, environmental enrichment!

Here’s how you can turn those rolls into your older cat’s new favorite toy:

  1. Grab a roll: Start with a clean toilet paper roll. You might want to have a couple because, let’s face it, once your cat gets going, they’ll want more!
  2. Make it irresistible: Cut some holes in the roll—big enough for treats to fall out but small enough to make it challenging. Drop in some kibble or treats that are sized just right for your older buddy.
  3. Add some pizzazz: Decorate with feathers or soft fabric strips glued safely at one end. Think sensory delight with every swipe!
  4. Seal the deal: Squeeze and fold in both ends of the roll to keep those goodies locked in and get the curiosity wheels turning.

Why is this simple toy such a winner for older cats? It’s all about stimulating their senses without going overboard:

  • Sound exploration: As the roll bobbles around, those treats rattle inside, tickling those keen feline ears.
  • Gentle movement: Pushing and batting at the roll gives just the right amount of physical activity—enough to engage but not exhaust.

The toilet paper roll toy is a match made in heaven for older cats who thrive on gentle play that’s low on intensity but high on interest. Plus, it’s a feel-good upcycling win—good for your cat, good for the planet!

Homemade Feather and String Wand

When it comes to senior cat toys, safety is always the top priority. With feather and string toys, certain precautions are essential to ensure your older cat’s playtime is not only fun but also safe. Long strings can be a hazard, potentially leading to choking or ingestion, so keeping them short is key.

Here’s how to make a safe DIY feather wand for your elderly companion:

  1. Gather Materials: You’ll need a stick or rod, a piece of string no longer than 18 inches, feathers, and a bell if desired.
  2. Attach the String: Securely fasten one end of the string to the stick. Ensure it’s tied tightly so that it won’t come loose during play.
  3. Add Feathers and Bell: Tie the feathers at the other end of the string. If you want to include a bell for extra stimulation, thread it onto the string before adding the feathers.
  4. Double Check Security: Make sure all knots are secure and there are no small parts that could come loose.

During playtime with this DIY cat toy, it’s important for pet parents to stay engaged. Supervised play prevents any chance of accidental swallowing of toy parts by your older cats. This hands-on interaction not only keeps them safe but also strengthens your bond. Remember to put the toy away after each play session—this minimizes risks and keeps the toy intriguing for next time!

5. Interactive Whack-a-Mole Box Game

Food puzzle toys are not just entertaining; they serve up a feast of benefits for your senior cat’s brain. They keep the mind sharp and aid in managing how much your fluffy friend eats. Enter the whack-a-mole game, a brilliant DIY cat toy that brings these advantages right to your living room. Here’s how to craft one that’s purr-fect for older cats:

Materials You’ll Need:

  • A sturdy cardboard box
  • A few toilet paper rolls or small containers
  • Cat treats or kibble
  • Non-toxic glue or tape
  • A craft knife or scissors


  1. Take the cardboard box and seal the bottom with tape.
  2. Cut holes in the top large enough for your cat to fit a paw through, but not their entire head.
  3. Arrange the toilet paper rolls or containers inside the box underneath each hole, securing them with glue if necessary.
  4. Sprinkle some treats into the containers – enough to spark curiosity but not too many.

This homemade whack-a-mole game has a delightful twist: it dispenses treats! It’s like a mini arcade game, but every hit wins your cat a tasty prize. The anticipation of snacks popping out keeps those whiskers twitching, and it’s gentle on aging joints.

For our wise whiskered friends, short bursts of play are key. Keep sessions brief to make sure fun doesn’t turn into fatigue. Think of it as snack-sized entertainment – just enough to leave them satisfied without wearing them out.

Remember, this isn’t just about tapping into their hunting instincts; it’s about keeping life exciting and rewarding, one paw punch at a time.

6. Sensory Sock Fish Toys

Older cats often retain a kitten-like curiosity for textures that crinkle and crunch. Sock fish toys hit the jackpot here, with their irresistible crinkly sounds that mimic the rustling of leaves or scuttling critters. Here’s how to whip up a batch of these sensory delights:

What You’ll Need:

  • A pair of socks (the brighter, the better)
  • Crinkly material like cellophane or plastic wrap
  • Catnip (optional but highly recommended)
  • Filler material (cotton, wool, or scrap fabric)
  • String or ribbon for the tail
  • Scissors

Step-by-Step Creation:

  1. Select Your Socks: Choose ones with vibrant patterns or high contrast colors. Bright blues, reds, and greens are great picks as they stand out to cats whose vision may not be what it once was.
  2. Cut and Stuff: Snip off the toe area to create an open pouch. Line it with your crinkly material and add a sprinkle of catnip.
  3. Fill ‘er Up: Pack in your filler material until the sock starts looking like a plump little fish.
  4. Secure the Tail: Tie off the open end with your string or ribbon to form a fish tail – this also adds an extra fluttery element for paw batting fun.
  5. Finishing Touches: For added charm, draw on eyes and scales using non-toxic markers.

There you have it – a handcrafted sock fish toy that’s perfect for senior feline paws and noses. The combination of sight, touch, and sound stimulation is just the ticket for keeping those older cat reflexes sharp.

Not only will these DIY toys keep your kitty engaged, but they’ll also add a sprinkle of homemade love to their playtime routine. Grab those socks and let’s bring some joy into our aging furball’s day!

7. Cardboard Cat Palace Retreat

Cardboard isn’t just for boxes—it’s the perfect material for building a cardboard cat palace that your senior kitty will adore. Cardboard is warm, easy to work with, and can be shaped into just about anything. For older cats that cherish a cozy spot to lounge, this DIY project hits the spot.

Here’s how to craft a multi-level palace:

  1. Start with sturdy cardboard boxes: Find various sizes that can stack securely. Cut out doorways in each box so your cat can explore from level to level.
  2. Add vertical elements: Create platforms for your cat to climb or stretch on. Ensure they’re low enough for easy access by an older cat.
  3. Incorporate scratching areas: Line some internal and external surfaces with corrugated cardboard or wrap them in sisal rope for satisfying scratch sessions.

Remember, older cats might have arthritic joints, so keep those climbing spots reachable without too much effort. Scratching is not only fun but it’s therapeutic—helping to keep claws healthy and providing a gentle way for older cats to stretch their muscles.

By designing a DIY cat toy like the cardboard cat palace, you give your elderly feline a personal haven that satisfies their need for privacy, exercise, and entertainment all in one go. Plus, you get the joy of creating something special and tailored for your furry friend’s golden years.

8. Engaging Cardboard Mouse Hunt

Ignite your older cat’s predatory spirit with a homemade cardboard mouse toy. These DIY cat toys are perfect for encouraging your senior kitty to stay active and engaged. Here’s how you can create a mouse toy that will excite and entertain:

1. Get Crafty with Templates

Start by finding or creating a simple mouse template. Think about making the cardboard cutout larger than a typical toy mouse to accommodate easier treat retrieval for your older cat.

2. DIY Step-By-Step

  1. Trace your template onto a piece of sturdy cardboard.
  2. Cut out the mouse shape with safety scissors.
  3. Make sure to smoothen any sharp edges for safety.
  4. Create an opening on the belly of the mouse, wide enough to slip in some treats but secure enough they won’t fall out without some interaction.
  5. To add allure, consider rubbing a little catnip onto the cardboard.

3. Senior-Friendly Features

Keep in mind that older cats might have reduced mobility or vision. Opt for bright colors and ensure the treat hole is easily accessible.

4. Playtime Perks

Use these toys to encourage short bursts of hunting-style play, which can keep your senior cat’s body moving and their mind sharp.

With these enticing cardboard mouse toys, you’re not just creating an opportunity for exercise; you’re enriching your elderly feline’s life with fun and interactive play sessions. Keep those tails wagging with this pawsome project!

9. Homemade Puzzle Feeder Mat

Food puzzle toys for cats are more than just a way to pass the time; they’re a tool to boost mental acuity and manage munchies. Think of it as a double win for your older cat: brain games meet snack time. Now, let’s get crafty with pipe cleaners – yes, the vibrant, fuzzy wires from your childhood art projects can be repurposed into DIY cat toys that are purr-fect for your senior kitty.

Here’s how to spin pipe cleaners into fun puzzle feeder mats:

  1. Begin with Basics: Start by twisting several pipe cleaners together to form a flat spiral mat. The idea is to create loops and knots where you can hide treats.
  2. Treat Tuck-ins: Nestle some kibble or treats into the nooks you’ve created. These should be easy enough for your older cat to fish out without too much fuss.
  3. Engage and Encourage: Place the mat in front of your cat and watch them use their paws and nose to explore and retrieve their rewards.

Remember, it’s all about keeping those senior minds sharp and appetites in check. You might want to start with simple puzzles and as your furry Einstein gets the hang of it, add layers of complexity. How about threading a treat onto a pipe cleaner and then weaving it into the mat? Or creating a mini maze for an extra challenge?

By tuning into your cat’s abilities and preferences, you can design puzzle feeders that light up their whiskers and keep them engaged meal after meal. And who knows? You may just discover your older cat has a knack for solving puzzles that would stump even the cleverest kitten!

10. DIY Felt Emoji Interactive Toys

Dive into the colorful and creative world of felt crafting to delight your senior feline friends with DIY felt emoji toys. Cats, no matter their age, are drawn to playful objects that pique their curiosity. These handmade toys blend the softness of felt with the allure of catnip, making them irresistible to older cats who may need extra enticement to engage in play.

Why Choose DIY Felt Emoji Toys?

By making your own felt emoji toys for your older cat, you can:

  1. Create visually stimulating toys that keep older cats intrigued by experimenting with various facial expressions and shapes.
  2. Enhance their emotional well-being and even encourage social behavior if you have multiple pets.
  3. Provide companionship and mental stimulation through these expressive toys that become part of your senior cat’s daily routine.

How to Make Your Own Felt Emoji Toys

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to creating these interactive toys:

  1. Choose Your Emojis: Think happy faces, winking eyes, or even those quirky cat emojis! The range of options is limitless.
  2. Crafting Time: Cut out two identical shapes from your chosen felt color for each emoji. Sew them together and leave a small opening to stuff with catnip.
  3. Personal Touch: Insert a generous amount of catnip and some crinkle material for added sound effect before stitching up the final edge.

As you follow these steps, you’ll not only be engaging in a fun crafting activity but also providing your senior cat with a personalized toy that suits their preferences.

Benefits of DIY Felt Emoji Toys for Older Cats

The benefits of these homemade toys go beyond just playtime:

  • They stimulate both the mind and senses of your elderly companion.
  • The interaction with these toys can bring joy and happiness to your senior cat.
  • They provide a bonding experience between you and your pet as you create something special together.

Remember, it’s the simple pleasures in life that often bring the most happiness. So why not give it a try and see how much your older cat enjoys their new felt emoji toys?

11. Upcycled Textile Mice Toys

Repurpose those old button-up shirts and retired suit jackets from the back of your closet to create stylish menswear mice toys for your senior cat. Here’s why and how:

1. Sustainable Fun

Embrace eco-friendly play by transforming textiles into charming mouse-shaped toys. Not only does this approach support sustainable living, but it also gives a new lease on life to clothing otherwise destined for the donation bin or landfill.

2. Sound and Texture

Amp up the fun by adding bells or crinkly materials inside these DIY cat toys. The sound elements pique curiosity and draw in older cats for a sniff and a swat, offering an enriching sensory experience.

3. Soft and Safe

Older cats will appreciate the gentle touch of these soft toys. Opt for materials that are easy on their paws and teeth, ensuring they can enjoy their tactile playtime without any discomfort.

Creating these textile mice toys is simple:

  1. Cut fabric into a mouse shape—think oval body, circular ears, and a long tail.
  2. Sew around the edges but leave a small opening.
  3. Stuff with filling, add some crinkly material or a bell for extra excitement, then sew up the opening.
  4. Add details like little eyes or whiskers with safe materials—remember, everything should be securely attached to avoid any choking hazards.

By crafting these toys, you’re catering to your older feline’s play instincts while giving them something wonderfully unique to bat around. Plus, they make for an adorable addition to your cat’s toy collection!

12. Other Creative Ways to Keep Your Senior Cat Entertained

When it comes to keeping older cats engaged, there are plenty of options for making your own cat toys! Here are some new ideas that your senior cat might enjoy:

Plastic Easter Eggs Delight

Transform those leftover plastic Easter eggs into an enticing toy. Fill them with treats or a pinch of catnip and watch your senior cat pounce and roll them around. The erratic movements of the egg will capture their attention and the rewards inside provide a tasty surprise.

Puzzle Food Storage Fun

Grab a plastic food storage container and drill some paw-sized holes in the lid. Pop in some treats or their favorite small toys, and you’ve got a puzzle toy that encourages clever paws to work for their prize. It’s great for keeping older cats’ minds sharp.

Toilet Paper Roll Tower

Stack toilet paper rolls inside an empty tissue box to create a budget-friendly activity center. Cats can swipe at the rolls, poke their paws through, or even drop toys into the box for added interest. This setup promotes natural batting and pouncing behaviors, keeping those senior reflexes as keen as ever.

Ping Pong Bathtub Party

Toss a couple of ping pong balls into a dry bathtub when it’s playtime. Under your supervision, your older cat can have a blast chasing them around — they won’t be able to resist the bounce! Just remember to keep an eye out for safety.

DIY Cat Tents

Craft a homemade cat tent using old t-shirts and wire hangers, or even by draping blankets over furniture. These cozy hideouts offer the perfect escape for cats seeking solitude or a quiet nap spot, giving them a sense of security and comfort.

Each of these creative play options provides unique benefits that cater to an older cat’s preference for lower-stress activities while still stimulating their senses and encouraging physical activity.


Elderly cats still have a playful spirit and it’s essential to tap into that with engaging senior cat toys. By crafting easy-to-make cat toys, you can provide your older cats with a sprinkle of excitement and heaps of happiness in their golden years. Remember:

  • Playtime is prime time — Use the insights from this article to tailor delightful play experiences for your elderly cat.
  • Health and safety first — Chat with your vet about the DIY toys you plan to introduce, ensuring they align with your cat’s health status and physical abilities.
  • Community spirit rocks — Got a nifty idea for a homemade toy? Drop it in the comments! Let’s help each other keep our senior kitties purring with joy.

Your creativity and care can make all the difference. So grab those socks, cardboard boxes, and yarn balls; it’s time to craft some magic for your furry friend! 🐾

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the importance of providing stimulating toys for older cats?

Stimulating toys for older cats are important in maintaining their overall well-being and quality of life. These toys provide mental and physical stimulation, prevent cognitive decline, enhance problem-solving abilities, and contribute to emotional well-being by reducing stress and anxiety levels.

Why is making DIY cat toys a fun and cost-effective way to meet the specific needs of elderly cats?

Making DIY cat toys is a fun and cost-effective way to meet the specific needs of elderly cats because it allows for customization based on their age-related requirements, preferences, and limitations. It also provides an opportunity for bonding through creative interactions.

What are the benefits of senior cat toys?

Senior cat toys help in maintaining the physical health and agility of older cats through active play sessions. They also provide mental stimulation, prevent cognitive decline, enhance problem-solving abilities, and contribute to emotional well-being by reducing stress and anxiety levels.

How can one create DIY catnip yarn balls for older cats?

One can create DIY catnip yarn balls for older cats by following a step-by-step guide that includes using senior-friendly materials. These textured balls infused with catnip are appealing to senior felines and promote stimulating play behavior.

What is the concept behind repurposed toilet paper roll toy for older cats?

The concept behind repurposed toilet paper roll toy for older cats involves environmental enrichment through repurposing household items into interactive toys. These simple yet engaging toys provide sound exploration and gentle physical activity suitable for older feline companions.

How can one make a homemade puzzle feeder mat for older cats?

One can make a homemade puzzle feeder mat for older cats by repurposing pipe cleaners into a variety of puzzle toys that can be easily manipulated by older cats to retrieve treats. It is important to start with simpler puzzles and gradually increase difficulty level based on the cat’s abilities.

About The Author

Toys Cats Like

Toys Cats Like

The author behind Toys Cats Like is a dedicated expert and enthusiast in the world of cat toys. With an extensive collection and a deep understanding of what makes cats tick, they bring a wealth of knowledge to each article. Their reviews and recommendations are tailored to help cat owners find the perfect toys to engage and entertain their pets. From interactive gadgets for playful kittens to comforting items for older cats, the author's insights ensure that every toy choice leads to happy, healthy felines. Their passion shines through in every piece, making them a trusted source for anyone looking to enhance their cat's life through play.

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