Introduction: Practically Free Cat Toy: Cardboard Mouse

On occasion, you may find yourself under the constant gaze of your kitty who, at a moment's notice would be ready to jump up and have some fun, except you have nothing to offer.

This instructable will show you how to jazz up a lazy Sunday afternoon for your lovable little feline in just a few minutes with a simple piece of cardboard!!!

Step 1: Background:

Cats find interest in the most unusual items, in this case we are using a material that is readily available, easy to work with, non-toxic and recyclable to boot!: Cardboard!

Curiously attracted to cardboard either by its texture, smell and/or sound as it glides across the floor, cats find this toy fascinating. The rigid, yet light-weight construction is great for tossing in the air and batting around.

Overzealous kitties may mangle the cardboard cat toy, but this is intended to be a cheap and easy project; and given enough time, you can produce tens or even hundreds of replacement cardboard toys for no cost at all.

This instructable should not be used in homes where children and or dogs are present as it contains pieces that are small and easily broken which may present a choking hazard.

I personally designed the cardboard cat toys featured in this instructable as a promotional object commissioned by Marmalade pet care ®. It's a very simple concept and provides hours, (sometimes minutes) of fun! With Marmalade pet care's ® permission, I am sharing this project and its design template with you!

Step 2: Supplies:

1) A clean piece of kraft cardboard;
2) Printed or hand drawn template;
3) Tape (to secure template);
4) A sharp X-acto Blade and handle;
5) Cutting mat; (or another sheet of cardboard to cut on);
6) Elmer's non-toxic glue

The basic concept behind this toy is to create a 3-dimension form by juxtaposing (2), 2-dimensional planes on to one another.

Or in classic 'breakfast cereal box' language: by inserting "slot-A into slot-B".

These toys can be made in any form you can conjure up! But for the purposes of this instructable, we will be using the 'mouse' cat toy template (available in the following link in step 7).

Step 3: Secure Template to Cardboard

The pre-designed template assumes you are using a 3/16" thick piece of cardboard. If you are using a thinner or thicker piece of cardboard, adjust the width of the slots accordingly.

Tape the (computer printed or hand sketched) paper template to your piece of cardboard.

Pay particular attention to the direction of the corrugated flutes: to retain enough structure, the flutes should run perpendicular to the tail.

Step 4: Cutting Out the Cardboard Mouse

Using an X-acto blade, carefully score the cardboard along the lines of the template shapes.

First trace the image with your blade, cutting through the paper and just scoring the cardboard underneath, (this is easier than cutting through the paper and cardboard all at once).

Remove the paper template and completely cut out the pieces using the score lines as a guide.

Step 5: A Dot of Glue

A dot of Elmer's non-toxic glue is sufficient to hold the pieces firmly in place when in use!

Step 6: Assembly

Assemble the pieces by "Inserting slot A into slot B."

Step 7: Even More Shapes!

As mentioned earlier, you can create these toys in any shape you can imagine! Once you have gained a basic understanding of the toy's construction, create new shapes by sketching them on a piece of scrap paper, or even directly on the cardboard using a non-toxic pen or pencil.

Downloadable templates can be found here:
Cardboard mouse

A Jack and Ball shape template are also available through these links:
Cardboard Jak
Cardboard Ball

Step 8: A Healthy Cat Is a Happy Cat!

"...Hours, (sometimes minutes) of fun!!!

Pic below: Oscar, his mouse toy and his tongue...
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