Introduction: Easy Mental Stimulation Toy for Cats
Before i begin, i am taking part in the Cat Contest on this website, so please do vote for me.
This is a fun and easy toy that you can make at home with your kids for your cat. It is a multi purpose toy which can be utilized in many ways. Once its completed, you can play whack-a-mouse, Catch that annoying thing, Find the ball and puzzle feeder with your cat. It really drives cats crazy and keeps them interested for hours at end.
What is a Whack-A-Mouse game ?
Its a fun game where you stick the "mouse on the stick toy" through the holes on the box and your cat responds by whacking it back into the hole. The key is to be random and fast so that its interesting for the cat and it does not get bored.
What is a Catch that annoying thing game ?
Its also a fun game where you suspend a sparkling ball tied to a stick via a string in the air and prevent your cat from grabbing it. Once again, the key here is agility and making it interesting for your cat.
What is a Find the ball game ?
This is a simple game where you use a ball that can fit in the holes of the box and get your cat to grab it while its inside. It is interesting for the cat because the ball keeps rolling from its field of vision into another hole and it has to move to find it.
What is a Puzzle feeder game ?
By placing food inside the box in random holes, the cat is encouraged to find the food and get it out with a little degree of difficulty. This makes it interesting for the cat because it acts as a sort of reward, encourage a cat to eat slowly and Incorporate some reward-based solo playtime into your cat’s day. This also ease boredom, redirect a cat from engaging in destructive behavior, provide a little added exercise, encourage a cat to think and stay mentally stimulated, healthier option to free-feeding, aid in weight control and may help with cats who are prone to vomiting (from eating too quickly).
This toy box can be a very effective tool for adding mental stimulation into daily life. When you think about it, your cat is a hunter and the natural way she would get her meals would be to hunt them down. In the wild there are no stainless bowls filled with mice or serving trays holding beautifully prepared birds and chipmunks. For the hunter to get her meal she must first stalk it, pounce and then capture her prize. For the hunter, a successful meal requires mental and physical stimulation. Many of us want our cats to stay indoors for safety reasons but then we don’t supply enough environmental enrichment to keep the cats mentally stimulated and physically fit. Using a puzzle toy box is just one aspect of an all-around enhancement of your cat’s day-to-day life.
Step 1: Things You Will Need
This project is really simple and can be made according to personal preference of materials. For my project, i found most of the the materials laying around the house. You can purchase most of the materials at your local hardware or arts and crafts shops.
- A small empty box (I used an old cake box)
- White masking or porous tape (This is optional. I used medical tape)
- Spray Can paints ( The colors are entirely your choice)
- A marker (I used whiteboard maker, but any will do)
- A cutter
- A small piece of sponge (I used sponge from my dish washing paste)
- Colored strings ( just need little pieces)
- Sewing needle
- A Piece of stick ( I used a Chopstick)
- Something for an eye ( I used small star glitters x 2 )
- Glue (super glue)
- A spool (I used mine from the ribbons)
- Multi colored shiny ribbons (came with the spool)
- A ball ( i used golf ball, something that can fit through the holes would do)
- A small bowl ( You will put cat food in this)
- A cat ( That is what all this is about )
Step 2: Preparing the Box
Once you are ready with your empty small box, take out your porous or masking tape and cover all the outside surface of the box.
It is important that the tape is white colored so that it it easier to show the paint.
You can also go ahead and just paint over the box without using a tape.
Go ahead and let your imaginations run wild with this step.
Once your paint had dried up and your imagination fatigued, we would move on to the next step.
Step 3: Cutting the Holes in the Box
So by now, you should be ready with a very attractive painted box.
You need to use something to mark your circles on the box.
I used the spool from the ribbons and a marker to make 3 circles on the top and 3 on the bottom with a paw design on the middle of the box.
Also mark a similar circle on one of the sides of the box and cut it out.
Once you have decided on your arrangement of holes on the box, grab the cutter and cut out this markings.
At the end of your cutting, paint the edges of the cut to give a good finish.
By now you should have a beautiful colored box with holes and a paw on it.
The size of the holes depends on the size of your mouse toy and the ball that you would be using.
Step 4: Preparing the Mouse Toy
It is time to make the mouse toy now. Grab the small piece of sponge and cut it out into the shape of a mouse, keeping in mind that the mouse should be able to sneak out of that holes on the box.
Then cut your strings into small pieces for the tail and the whiskers, followed by sewing them onto the sponge mouse.
Go ahead and make your custom mouse, the way you want it.
I made mine with silver colored strings, sponge from the dish washing paste and glitters for eyes.
Do not forget to paint your mouse using the color of your choice.
Once you have finished your toy mouse, grab the stick (Chop sticks in my case) and glue your mouse on one end of the stick.
Now try to put your stick with the mouse through the hole on the side of the box and sneak your mouse through the holes on the top.
You got yourself a sneaky mouse ready to be whacked by your cat.
Step 5: Making the Annoying Ball Thing
This a very easy step and toy to make.
Cut your ribbons into small pieces about 4 inches in length and stick it onto the spool in all directions, forming a ball shape.
Cut another piece of string (30cm) and stick one end to the spool with ribbons and the other to the end of the stick.
You should a ribbon ball thingy suspended in the air via a string that is tied to a stick.
Now test it out with your cat. Make a small hole on the side of the box to hold this toy.
Step 6: Finishing Off
We have finished making the box, the mouse on the stick and the annoying ball thingy.
The main components of the toy have been made. All you need now is a ball to play the "Find the ball Game" and a bowl filled with cat food to play " puzzle feeding game" as explained earlier.
Now set up your box on the floor with your trusty cat in front of it and bring that sneaky mouse out randomly. Your cat would be surprised to see it and whack that sneaky mouse. For the annoying ball thingy, just wave it in the air like you don't care and your cat will surely go crazy about it. Do not forget to drop that ball in the holes and watch you cat wave paws in that box. Same goes for the food in the bowl.
Best of luck with your project and may you have heaps of fun with your cat. I would love to see what you guys come up with so make sure to post in your projects. I am taking part in the cat contest so make sure to vote for me to win. Thank you for your cooperation. Vinaka.
Step 7: Some Ideas
My source of inspiration and research on cat behaviors were through multiple searches on google. :)