Introduction: Feather-on-a-Stick Cat Toy

Cats love to be entertained, and they love feathers. But the claw factor makes it dangerous to simply hold a feather in front of a cat.
The solution is to separate yourself from the sharp end of the kitty by putting the feather, or feathers, on a string on a stick.

Yes, it's been done before and you can buy such things anywhere, but it's super simple and it costs next to nothing to build one yourself!

Plus if you want a healthier feather toy for your cat, this is the way to do it.

This project started for me while we were kayaking down a river in BC (Canada), and the local geese had left us lots of little feathers scattered all over the river. I knew that the kitty would be upset at me if I didn't fetch him a few.

So if you have a few minutes to spare, let's go build a cat toy!

The usual disclaimer applies: Be safe and keep your kitty safe. I'll happily take credit for things going well, but I'm not responsible if anything goes wrong :)

Step 1: Parts

You don't need much to make a cat toy like this.

For this instructable, I used the following:
- 20" piece of 1/4" dowel
- 1" piece of clear tubing, 3/8" outside, 1/4" inside dimension.
- 18" piece of strong cord.
- feathers
- a pen cap
- a stick of glue gun glue

Tools:
- Glue gun
- scissors

I already had all the parts lying around, but you can buy most of the pieces inexpensively or free.
For the dowel you could use any stick (plastic or wood) that you might already have.
For the tubing, mine was from a wine-making place, usually used for moving wine or filling bottles. It needs to fit snugly on the stick.
I used a kind of string/cord often used for roman blinds. Any strong string should do.
The feathers were donated by the local geese (in a peaceful manner, I think they were preening themselves). The blue feathers in this instructable were from the dollar store. Obviously the blue ones are not as environmentally or bird friendly, and the blue colour isn't as good for the kitty as natural feathers (but no worse from store-bought toys).
The pen cap was easy - it's from those cheap stick pens that you get at any hotel or conference. It's nice in that the plastic is strong but handles chewing well. Make sure you use one that won't shatter, as the kitty will be chewing on it.

Step 2: Assemble the Stick-Cord-Cap

To assemble the stick, cord, and cap:

1. put a knot in one end of the string/cord
2. using the scissors (or any suitable pokey-device), trim the tab (if any) off the pen cap, then poke a hole into the top of the pen cap that is big enough for the string/cord to go through, but not so big as to let the knot through.
3. thread the string through the hole in the cap, so that the knot ends up on the inside of the cap. For me I just pushed the string through and then pull it out the hole. You might need to use a needle or skewer to help it through.
4. put the other (non-knot) side of the string through the tubing piece
5. push the tubing onto the end of the stick, so that it holds the string in place.

In my case, the string was held on so tight by the tubing that I didn't need anything else there. If it's loose, you could add a knot to that end of the string/cord, or add a drop of hot glue.

Step 3: Just Add Feathers

The final step is to add the feathers into the pen cap:

1. select a bunch of feathers and align them with the pin ends all pointing one way
2. test fit the feathers into the cap (pin ends into cap) - add more if needed, or remove some if you had too many. Take them out before the next step.
3. squeeze some hot glue into the cap. Fill it maybe halfway.
4. before the hot glue sets, push the bunch of feathers into it. Pin ends go into the cap, into the glue. Some hot glue will likely ooze out the end of the pen cap - keep fingers clear!
5. remove excess hot glue from the end of the pen cap (wipe it onto some paper or cardboard).
6. let the hot glue cool and set
7. remove any loose feathers

I'm actually quite impressed by how well the hot glue holds the feathers in place.

Step 4: Finished!

That's it! The cat toy is complete and ready to be beta tested!

Step 5: Beta Testing

This is where you see if the new toy works ;)

Step 6: A Variation on the Theme

I noticed that our kitties like to pack the toy around, so I made one without the stick.

For this case, I used the grippy part of a pen which is basically just a rubbery tube.

The concept is the same - hot glue holds in place a bunch of feathers. I started by putting a bunch of feathers in one end, then adding the glue, and then pressing another bunch of feathers into the other end.

This one is very packable. Beta testing lasted at least 2 hours for this item! (We lost one feather in the process, not bad!)

Comments

author
Kittenluv (author)2016-05-14

i absolutely love making these with all the various left overs from other craft projects. I always have an abundance of feathers that friends send me from hunting trips. So whatever isn't used for crafts, gets used for cat toys. One of my cats has a favorite pheasant feather one that he carries around the house with him, as if he caught the actual bird! So much fun to watch them play. Thanks for sharing this!

author
ntewinkel (author)Kittenluv2016-05-30

Awesome! Thank you for your reply. I'm glad you and your kitties are enjoying it!

author
charmay58 made it! (author)2015-02-22

Both of my cats are going crazy over these! And they were so easy to make! Even my lazy cat who hardly ever plays with toys is throwing the portable one around all over the place and actually jumping to get the one on a string! Finally something that will get her to exercise, thanks!! :D

temp_-1461571758.jpgtemp_-1869434897.jpg
author
ntewinkel (author)charmay582015-03-04

That's so awesome! I'm glad your cats love it! Thanks for sharing pictures too!

author
catlily (author)2015-01-22

Neat and clever, and what a cutie cat!

author
grace6 (author)2014-11-16

Wow great cat toy, and really cute cat♥

author
ashbegash (author)2012-03-02

AWESOME!! Your cat is SOOOOO cute! :)

author
ntewinkel (author)2011-12-19

Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful comments :) Our kitty (Linus) is about 4 months old right now. @ dimmaz88: LOL! he's even cuter in real life... except at 5am ;)

author
dimmaz88 (author)2011-12-19

Did you photoshop your cat to make him cuter?

author
Penolopy Bulnick (author)2011-12-17

I love when kitties play with toys like that! Awesome job!

author
ChrysN (author)2011-12-17

Your kitty is so sweet, that looks like a great toy

author
sunshiine (author)2011-12-16

Is he content or what! Thanks for sharing and have a splendorous day!
Sunshiine

author
happi cat #71 (author)2011-12-16

Awww....I love your kitty! Great project and I love the goose feathers idea! =^..^=

author
jessyratfink (author)2011-12-16

What a pretty cat! Goodness. I squealed. This is a great build. :)

About This Instructable

23,049views

89favorites

License:

Bio: Hi There! I'm a mobile app developer (iPhone and Android) in British Columbia, Canada. I also write firmware, and enjoy dabbling with electronic circuits ... More »
More by ntewinkel:Arduino Nano with WIZ550io = Easy InternetArduino Echo LocatorCrazy Countdown Timer
Add instructable to: