Have you ever bought one of those ridiculously expensive cat toys from the store (often proudly printed with the word "Catnip" on the packaging) only to come home and have your cat promptly reject your thoughtfulness? Yet when you open up a milk jug an hour later kitty finds more enjoyment from the free milk ring you dropped on the floor.
And I don't have to explain what "the crazies" are to any cat owner. Suddenly kitty is seeing 100's of invisible ghosts on the walls and darting room to room like he's deranged and trying to catch these supernatural beasts who are clearly taunting him.
No, kitty does not need an exorcism. He needs a REAL toy!
So let's combine these two things that kitty finds mysterious enjoyment out of (free things, and ghosts) and involve our furry member of the family in the Halloween festivities because these ghosts make spooky decorations too! I simply love a duel purpose project!
If you're feeling skeptical about whether or not you can make a toy that's far superior than store bought (and for free or near free no less) I'd like to share a video of what happened when my cat woke up from his nap and I was trying to prep for a cover photo for this project. I ultimately had to distract him with wet cat food to get the photo done!
Although... I frankly have to question whether or not kitty liked it more or if the other kiddies liked it even better!
(I promise this was was not staged. I hung these up for our two cats and this was what immediately happened!) So... actually this a trio-purpose Halloween decor item! This is simply fantastic!
*** Turn this into an awesome learning experience for the kids by visiting my website: TheHomeschoolHouse.com
Materials That Will Be Used For One Ghost
* 2 old socks (1 holey sock and 1 partner that was abandoned by the allure of the dryer would be perfect. We need one sock to be free of holes but yet something that you don't care about re-purposing)
* old shoe string
* dried catnip - As a cat owner I always have some catnip hiding in a cupboard. But if you don't have any on hand I highly recommend an organic variety - we love kitty too much to let him sniff and chew on something that might be full of harmful chemicals. I'm all about being inexpensive when I can, but this is one area that I prefer to play it safe: Organic Catnip
* Optional:scrap yarn
Tools That Will Be Used
* Optional:yarn needle
Important Note: It is imperative that you do not use materials that could be harmful to your cat. Do not use any kind of beads or buttons for the eyes and I recommend that you do not use any sort of glue either. Many glues are FULL of nasty chemicals that would be very harmful to your cat if it was ingested. Please, please, always keep the safety of your cat your #1 priority!!!
Alright, feline safety in place... let's get started!
Step 1: Make Crazy Brains
We're going to take our holey sock and cut it up into pieces or strips. It doesn't really matter. We're going to use this as stuffing to shape the head of the ghost, it doesn't need to be perfect, no one will see them.
Put your strips into a bowl.
Now for the secret ingredient!
We're going to go deliciously insane with the amount of crazy brains we're going to give our ghost. It should suit kitty very nicely! So add a very generous amount of catnip to your sock stuffing bowl. I used several tablespoons. This is what's going to make this toy so much more special than the "catnip" toys from the store, trust me! So be generous.
Now mix it up. It doesn't have to be perfect. The above image is my crazy brains mixture.
Step 2: Optional: Creepy Eyes
Go ahead and sew some eyes onto your other sock about 1/2 - 3/4 inch from the tip of the toe area. Make this easier by rolling up the bottom of your sock as seen in the above image. Be creative with what you have. I found some scrap yarn in my sewing box.
Remember: no glue, no buttons, no beads, etc. Also you don't have to make eyes. Feel free to skip this step if you desire. This is really for the pleasure of us humans. Kitty doesn't really care either way.
Step 3: Brain Injection
Now we're going to take our crazy brain mixture and stuff it into our creepy eyes sock. Just push that stuffing all the way down to the toes of the sock. It doesn't need to be perfect.
Step 4: Hang 'Em High!
We're going to use a knot made from our shoe string to keep our crazy brains in place and to give us something to hang the ghost from!
I decided to give my ghost an extra creepy touch by having him hang from a noose as you can see from the first image. You certainly don't need to do this. Simply tying your shoe string to the bottom portion of the ghost head with a standard knot would be just fine too.
If you'd like to create a noose for this project (they're a lot easier than they look) I recommend following this tutorial: The Forbidden Knot
Keep in mind that tying your ghost in this fashion will make his head fall to the side, making him truly look dead... as a real ghost should! However, if you'd prefer to have him hang with his head held high you can simply use your yarn needle to pull a long length of yarn through the top of his head (as seen in the second image). Secure this anyway you wish. I decided to to create a crochet chain until I felt I had enough length for my second black ghost. If you'd like to try this method but don't crochet it's very easy and doesn't require a crochet hook! Learn how from this easy to follow video: How to Make Chain Stitch Without A Crochet Hook
Optional: Once your knot is in place cut the bottom portion of your sock into strips from the bottom up to the ghost's head to make fun string-like pieces that easily move about for kitty's enjoyment.
Step 5: Final Thoughts
I decided to hang my ghosts from a doorway making an interesting Halloween decoration that our kitty can enjoy too and join the whole family with the Halloween festivities!
Important Things to Keep In Mind About Catnip
Kittens usually don't respond to catnip. It's not until a kitten is about 3 months old when they do typically begin to show interest in catnip. Also, some adult cats do not respond to catnip. Most do, but just like people every cat is different.
Don't forget to have fun with your cat! This toy will give your kitty the opportunity to get a great workout and have a lot of fun too. It will satisfy his need for exercise and entertainment while keeping him an important part of the family. Win/Win!