Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cat Toys!

My cat Drusilla just became a senior citizen. To celebrate her seventh birthday Shannon and I made her some special toys. Even though she is getting up there in years, she still likes to play as ferociously and exuberantly as a kitten. Dru's favorite toys are always ones with bells on them. Nothing gets her in the mood to pounce more than the jingle jangle of a bell. As an indoor cat, she has a fascination with birds, so our first toy was bluebird with a bell beak attached to a bamboo stick with a piece of fishing wire. She also likes toys that she can pick up in her mouth and carry. Since I am a fan of stereotypes (the good ones anyway) I decided she should have a mouse. We made sure to give it a long enough string tail for her to comfortably carry it by and attached another bell to the end. After playing with several of our puff balls we determined that Drusilla was most attracted to the pink ones, so that decided our color for us.

If you are interested in making these for your own cat, or enjoy playing with bells as much as Dru, you will be happy to hear that they are terrifically simple and take less than 10 minutes to make one.

Supplies for Bluebird Cat Toy
2 Large Pom Poms (blue, or any other color you might like your bird to be)
Bamboo Stick (at least 30" long)
Fishing Line (or string)
1 Small Bell
2 Googly Eyes
Craft Feathers
Tweezers (optional)
Hot Glue Gun (and Glue Sticks)

Step One: Glue your ribbon in an "X" pattern on one of the larger pom poms using your hot glue gun. Then glue another of the larger blue pom poms to the first pom with the ribbon "X" sandwiched between the two of them. These two poms will be your head and body.

Step Two: Cut a piece of fishing line to a length of about a foot in a half to two feet long. Tie (double knot) one end of the fishing line to the mini craft bell and cut off the excess. Then glue the bell (knot side down) to one of the poms. This pom just became the head! Since birds lack ears, not eyes, you are going to want to glue your googly eyes to this pom, one on either side of its "bell beak". This is where I like to use tweezers
(to hold and attach my googly eyes)...Shannon never does and always gets burned by the hot glue. Then glue feathers of various sizes randomly to cover the "body" pom.

Step Three: Use your needle to poke a hole through one side of your bamboo stick. Thread your fishing line (or string) through the hole and double knot the end. I like to put a dab of hot glue over the knot just to make sure it doesn't untie itself. Then pull the string tight so the knot goes back into the hollow opening of the bamboo stick. The knot will keep the string from slipping back through the hole you poked with your needle. Now you are ready to whip your little birdie around the room enticing the predictor in every feline.

Supplies for Mouse Cat Toy
4 large Pom Poms (two brown & two pink)
4 Small Pom Poms
Googly Eyes
1 Bead
1 bell
Tweezers (optional)
Glue Gun (and Glue Sticks)

Step One: Glue the two brown poms to one of the pink poms for ears. Then glue the two googly eyes on the face (using tweezers if you prefer). Before gluing on the nose cut three strings (I unraveled kite string which is why my whiskers are all wavy) and glue them intersecting where the nose will go. Then add another dollop of glue and cover the string intersection with your bead. If you glue the bead on the side you then have the option to tie a piece of fishing line through the bead later to make your mouse into a pull toy.

Step Two: Take another piece of string and tie a bell to one end, cutting off any excess. Thread your other end of string through a needle and push it through your unused large pom so that your string appears to have grown out of the pom into a tail. Tie the string on the other side in a double knot. On the front of the mouse's body you glue the four small poms to create little mouse paws.

Step Three: Glue the two pink poms together where your string is knotted and admire your adorable new mouse toy!

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