Curious’ Cat Toy: How-To

A few years ago a toy that resembles a type of fishing pole was given to our cats for Christmas, and Curious just happened to fall in love with it.  It became “his” toy, and it is his favorite thing to play with—he even sits by it and cries until someone will play with him! (It’s actually quite cute….pathetic, but cute).

Needless to say, it has been through a lot, and has gotten to the point where it’s falling apart.

Rather than attempt to find a pet store that carries the same thing, Cliffpro and I decided to make one! A quick trip to Home Depot and only a couple of dollars later, we had everything we needed.

A 1/4″ wide 2′ long piece of tubing (we found ours in the plumbing section of Home Depot—it was a 5′ long piece that we had cut into 2′ and 3′ pieces.  You can make yours any length you want though).

Ribbed Plastic Anchors (for screws). As you can see in the picture of the original toy, there are these little plastic caps on each end.  We looked everywhere in the store to find something suitable (including asking a few different employees, most of whom gave us weird looks when we told them what we were making), and ended up finding these babies that fit perfectly in the tubing while still catching the edge as to not fall through.  Super cheap as well!  It was less than $2 for the whole package.  (They come in different sizes, so just make sure the ones you get will fit in your tubing)

Ribbon in various colors/sizes

Elastic Cord (we found ours at a craft store in the jewelry making section)

A plastic bottle cap

You will also need basic materials such as E-6000 glue and/or double stick tape, scissors, a small drill (for drilling a hole in the bottle cap), and maybe a ruler, if you really want precise measurements (or you can just sorta wing it. I’m cool with that too)

Start by cutting a piece of the elastic cord to your desired length.  (Just make sure there is enough to go through the tube and have some slack at the other end for the bouncy part of the toy). Tie one end around the larger end of an anchor, as shown above.

Then pull the elastic through the anchor (there will be a slit through the middle of it).

Pull the free end of the elastic through the tubing, then add a bit of glue to the anchor.

Push into the opening of the tube so that the glue will seal it in place.

Pull the free end of the elastic through another anchor, starting from the bottom this time.

Glue into the end of the tube as before. (Make sure to pull the elastic through so that it doesn’t get caught inside the tube!)

Cut two pieces of thicker ribbon that is about a foot or so long.  If you don’t have this size ribbon, a strip of paper would work as well.  This is what you will be adhering your ribbon loops to.

Cut a pile of ribbon to make the loops out of, in varying lengths.  Then adhere one of the ribbon/paper strips to a flat surface (I used masking tape. The other strip will come into play a little bit later, so just put it aside for the moment) and squeeze a bead of glue going across.  Double stick tape might actually work out better (so long as it is strong enough to hold the ribbon loops), since you wouldn’t have to worry about working fast before it dries.  Glue can get a bit messy as well, but it will work and end up being a bit stronger in the end.

If using glue, make two strands of glue, leaving a little bit of space between them.

Take one of your ribbon strips and fold it in half (shiny side out). Then adjust so one side is slightly shorter than the other.

Flip over so the shorter side is facing the glue, and glue the strip down. (The shorter side should adhere to the lower bead of glue, and the longer side should adhere to the upper bead of glue. You can use a Popsicle stick or like tool  to press it down.

Continue across the ribbon/paper strip using various color and sized ribbon. Remember if you are using glue to work quickly so the glue doesn’t dry!

Once you have finished placing your loops, glue the other ribbon/paper strip on top. This will keep your ribbon loops down if they haven’t dried or are being difficult.

While you give that a moment to set, drill a hole in the center of your bottle cap.

Pull the free end of your elastic cord through the top of the cap.

Place the free end of the elastic cord in between the ribbon/paper strips. (You can tie a small knot at the end to keep it from slipping through.)

Place another trail of glue on the top ribbon/paper strip…

…and start to roll! (from the side with the elastic).

Keep rolling until you get to the end.

Place some glue in the bottle cap and slide down until it fits over the ribbon roll.**Note: You may find that the ribbon roll is not large enough to fit in the cap—if this is the case, simple cut another ribbon/paper strip, and glue around your existing roll until the desired thickness is reached.

Let dry overnight, and ta-da! A brand new toy for your furry friend! I decided to cover the tubing with some ribbon as well, cause the gray was a little drab.  You can either tape/glue ribbon to it (as I did), paint it, or decorate it in any way you see fit!

We couldn’t wait for Curious to test this out, and here is what he thought of it:

Curious playing with his new toy

I will say, however, to make sure you are gentle when playing with this—ours turned out a little bit heavier than his original, so a blow to the head probably wouldn’t feel too good. Exercise caution when playing, but have fun!


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