If you have cats, you know that some of the lowest quality toys on the market are the most expensive. For example, a short thin plastic wand with 1 foot of string and a non-replaceable feather toy can cost up to $15. I don't mind spending money on my cats, but I'm not happy spending money on a cat toy that only last one play session if even that long. I have had and still have some large male cats that are over 15lbs.
So I set out to see if I could come up with something better. I started walking around Home Depot and found the Driveway Marker rods for about $2.50. Within about 10 minutes I had all the parts needed. In the case of my Home Depot, all these items are in the same aisle.
I made the first version of this cat wand several years ago. I have changed out the cat toy a few times, but the wand is the same as the day I built it. The only I have changed, since the initial build, is adding the tape and heat shrink.
For the cost of one crappy cat wand and toy, I can build two or three of these and they will last forever. In a future Instructable, I will show you how to make the replaceable cat toy very inexpensively.
1 48" Driveway Marker (fiberglass rod) ($2.50)
1 48" x 1/16" vinyl-coated cable ($.30 ft)
2 1/16" cable ferrules ($1.24)
1 1/2" split key ring ($.50)
(Be sure to get a quality split key ring where the split goes completely around the key. See first key ring photo. If you get a ring where the split only goes partly around the ring(second photo), you will end up with a ring like in the 3rd ring photo.
Interchangeable feather cat toys(already assembled for $2 to $3 each) (Future Instructable on how to make these is coming soon)
2 1" x 1/4 inch heat shrink.
Drill with 3/32" bit
Hammer or vice
Approximately 15 minutes to make.
There are similar Instructables on making cat wands. But they all used plastic or wooden rods. Neither would hole up to a 15lb cat pulling as hard as it can on them
Step 1: Strip Cable.
Step 2: Drill Hole in Rod.
Step 3: Loop and Secure Cable to Rod.
1. Slide one hole of the ferrule on to one of the cable.
2. Slide the cable through the hole in the rod.
3. Slide the cable through the other hole in the ferrule.
You should now have it looking like the photo.
Step 4: Smash the Ferrule
Step 5: Wrap With Tape (optional)
Step 6: Slide Heat Shrink From Other End of Cable (optional)
Again, strictly for aesthetics and added safety.
Slide a 1"L x1/4"D heat shrink tubing over the taped area and heat with heat gun to shrink it tight. You can use a lighter for this, but be careful not to let the heat shrink tube catch fire.
Step 7: Complete Loop on Other End of the Cable.
This step is basically the same as the first loop we created. If you are using heat shrink, be sure to put it on the cable before starting this loop.
Step 8: Add Key Ring and Cat Toy.
Hopefully you do not need step-by-step instructions here. :-)