Introduction: Magnetic Cat Toy
Today I will be showing you how to make a magnetic pendulum toy for your cat.
This toy offers slightly more interest than a standard ball/string scratch post as the magnets add an extra dimension to movement.
This is a fairly simple instructable, providing you have access to basic tools and a local hardware store.
build time for me was approximately 1.5 hours. I already had all the materials due to other projects so i'm guestimating what it'd cost to buy outright.
22mm pvc elbow ($2)
Standard 22mm diameter broomstick ($5)
6mmx10mm hessian rope ($8 optional)
Faux fur (find something cheap from an op shop)
500mm wire or string or pipe cleaners ($ varying )
Screw in eye hook ($2 pack)
370mmx240mm wood ($6 use something solid, i used 15mm pine, cats wont play with flimsy plywood)
Carpet (free, if you're nice to a carpet store assistant, ask for scrap)
Screw (around 30mm long)
Screw (around 20mm long, not in picture)
Washer (not in picture)
2x magnets (I stripped mine off a magnetic led light but here's a link to where you can get your own http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102642 )
Cat (must be playful and awesome)
Jigsaw or hand saw
Drill (with 18 and 20mm hole spade, phillips head attachment)
Staple gun (8 or 10mm staples)
Heavy duty craft knife
Needle nose pliers (not in picture)
Glue gun (optional, not in picture)
Flathead screwdriver (not in picture)
Step 1: Prep the Base
Cut wood and tail to size. Counter to my written notes in the picture, I suggest 370mm by 240mm, otherwise you may have a very small platform.
Using 18mm hole spade drill 1/4 way through one end of the base at the center.
Place magnet in slot, negative side up. (hot glue in place if you like)
At opposite end, use 22mm hole spade and drill 2/3 way through at the center. (write down the distance from the broom hole to the magnet, you'll need the measurement in step 3)
Step 2: Upholstering the Base
(Read whole "pic 1" step before proceeding) Trace around your base with a marker, then cut near the base leaving about a 120mm space between where you're cutting and where you've traced. (Do not cut on traced line).
Also pay no attention to the fact I have the pole installed I only had to take it out again when I started upholstering.
Measure the distance on your wood base from the 2/3 hole to the closest end (should be about 30mm), use that measurement to mark out a circle, then cut the circle so the post can go through.
Ok, now the fun part. Staple one of the long sides, being careful to leave around 100mm unstapled each end. Do the same to it's opposite.
You’ll also need to cut out a space in the carpet so you can install the backing screw and washer (applied in step 3)
Starting at about 100mm in from the end of the base, cut towards the corner.
When at the corner, cut downwards flush with the end of the base. After cut, staple the whole angle.
You should now be able to fold that end over. As shown in pic, staple about 15mm from the adjacent carpet.
Fold back the end on an angle and cut parallel to the opposite piece.
Staple down then rinse and repeat...for each corner.
DONE! uurbody move ta tha nek step!
Step 3: The Arm
Cut 600mm of broomstick from the non-rounded end, and 250mm of the rounded end.
Using a hammer, tap the pole into the slot, then pre-drill the screw hole from the back to prevent the pole splitting.
Use a phillips drill attachment to fasten the screw and washer into place.
Prepare the arm!
Take your 250mm broomstick, place the pvc elbow on the cut end and smack in with a hammer (hot glue if you like).
(Using the measurement you took in Step 1, Pic 3) Starting at the inside angle of the pvc elbow mark out where you'll need to put the eye hook. Depending on what size eye hooks you're using, use a smaller drill bit and pre-drill the hole then screw in the eye hook.
Place the open end of your pvc elbow on the upright broomstick and lightly push into place (when I say lightly I just mean make sure you can get it off by hand because that's what you'll be doing in step 6)
Your scratch post should now look like a game of hangman for your cat.
Step 4: The Bait Part 1
It's worthy noting at this point that if you decide to use string instead of wire, you'll have to be a little creative in how you attach your magnet, you could use hot glue or tape, just wing it.
Take your wire and pliers and bend one end of that sucka' into a triangular shape, leaving space so you'll be able to thread it through the eye hook.
Do the same with the opposite end but this time add and extra bend so that your magnet will sit flat, you can hot glue or tape the magnet to the wire.
Step 5: The Bait Part 2
Take your faux fur and cut a square approximately 100mmx50mm.
Fold the 100mm side of the fabric in half (furry side in) and sew the 3 open sides, leaving one side with about 20mm unstiched as pictured. (Pay no attention to the excess length in my picture, I first had a 100mmx100mm square and ended up trimming it after sewing).
Take your needle nose pliers and insert them into the open 20mm gap, pinch the opposite corner and pull that corner out through the hole, keep working the fabric so that you end up with the whole thing now inside out.
Now that all the fluffyness is on the outside, insert the magnet end of the wire into the sock, it might be a tight fit, so use force.
My magnet was very secure in the fur sock, if your's isn't, hand stitch closed. Additionally, if your magnet wont fit in, all you'll have to do is cut some of the stitching to make the opening bigger.(if you like, pour dried catnip into the toy, don't put a bell in there, the magnet renders it redundant).
Hook the wire to the eye, the toy should be about 10mm from the base. If the toy is too close to the base, re-bend the wire shorter. If the toy is too far from the base, cut the upright broomstick slightly shorter. Remember! the toy will sit a about 10mm closer to the base after you hammer the elbow down (in step 6. Don't hammer it down yet!)
Step 6: Rope Sratcher
Remove the pvc elbow from the upright broomstick. 20mm below the top of the broomstick pre-drill a hole. you will be using this hole to fasten the rope with a screw. It is however worthy of noting at this point that this may be an ineffective way of fastening, and hot glue may be a more suitable alternative. or both... whatevz... Either way make sure you have the drill with phillips head attachment and screw; or hot glue gun handy for when you've finished the winding.
Using a flathead screw driver, wedge a gap between the carpet and the broomstick, what you want to do is create a space to slide one end of the hessian rope in. Once in I used my staple gun to try fasten the rope, it wasn't super-effective! But still did the trick. I would suggest maybe using a glue gun instead.
Wind some rope up the stick clockwise, then push the rope down to compact it, periodically grip the roped area of the broom and rotate clockwise to tighten. Repeat this action till you reach the top.
When at the top, put the screw through the middle of the rope and fasten with the drill. I left about 150mm of rope with a knot in it as a dangle toy for her to play with. This is optional.
If you don't want the dangly bit and want to cut it just in front of the screw, I suggest using a bit of hot wax to stop the end from fraying.
Reattach the pvc elbow, hammer into place and boom! your cat can be stupidly content till it finds your curtains again.
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8 years ago on Introduction
I'm a bit confused about the magnet part, is the bait supposed to be attracted to the base, or repelled? Thanks.
Reply 5 years ago
I'd like to know this too. Presumably it would repel so it swings around erratically.
9 years ago on Introduction
Looks good. I think I'm unclear on a concept here: does the magnet mean the toy is deflected away from the cat?
10 years ago on Introduction
That is great! I can see cats loving this so much more than something just hanging there. They so love to catch things!