Cat Yarn Ball




Knitting and cats are not a good combination. Both my kitties are intolerable when my girlfriend and I are doing our various needlecrafts. To distract them, I first tried rolling up a yarn ball and then securing the loose end with a slip knot to keep in from unraveling. This loop would quickly be pulled off the ball by kitty claws, undoing the entire ball. I came up with this method to make the yarn ball toy slightly harder to destroy.

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Step 1: Materials

To build the yarn ball you'll simply need a length of yarn and a tapestry needle, both very common in a knitter's bag. My yarn was a few yards long, but a bit too short to make the toy, so I supplemented the center of the ball with a handful of yarn bits. This isn't necessary if you have a long enough piece of yarn to begin with.

Step 2: Wind Up the Ball

If you begin your ball with yarn scraps like me, begin winding the long piece of yarn around the scraps, continually wrapping around the loose pieces. If you start with just a single long pieces, loop it several times around 2 fingers, pull the loops off your fingers, and begin wrapping the long piece around this bundle as with the other method.

Once you've formed a cohesive yarn ball that won't come apart on its own, continue wrapping the ball, changing directions often, until the ball is as big as you'd like or the tail is as short as you'd like, whichever comes first.

Step 3: Lock the Loose End

To finish the ball, thread the tapestry needle on the end of the tail. Push the needle through the center of the ball, and pull the entire length of the tail through.

Step 4: Repeat

I usually repeat the previous step 2 more times, rotating the ball and piercing it 90 degrees away each time.

Step 5: Finished

Now you have your completed cat ball. I've found the ball stays together despite some very vicious attacking.

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    10 Discussions


    4 years ago on Step 5

    You just never know what you'll need to know on any given day. Today, this is what I needed to know. Thanks!

    You should not give your cat this toy because if the end of the strand frays, then your cat could eat some of the yarn. Acrylic yarn is TOXIC to cats.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Check out the summer yarns contest today, and vote for your favorite!

    if you work a desk job, you could hang it from your office ceiling and bat at it when you are bored or need to think up something.

    if you doon't have a desk job, do the same thing in theroom of you choice.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    You can also dangle the ball in front of the cats face to play with.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I am all for making cat toys and this is a good instructable, cats certainly do love playing with yarn/string. I'd just like to add a safety warning that yarn/ribbon/strings can be dangerous if swallowed by cats. They create a string foreign body which stretches out through the intestines and creates a sawing motion as the intestines move. It might be safer to make a shorter "tail" on the ball unless you plan on hanging it from something. Also be sure you keep an eye on the toy, make sure it's always accounted for and check regularly for unraveling. If it does unravel then replace it. I think I will make some of these to hang on objects, like the cage doors where I work to keep the clinic cats and visiting kittens amused. Not that they need enticing to play with yarn but you could probably add a little catnip to the center of the ball, maybe make a small pouch for the catnip out of fabric scraps and then wrap your yarn around that. There is just one problem with your instructable though - no pictures of a cute cat playing with the finished item.

    1 reply

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I made the tail long for this particular toy because one cat is completely uninterested in the ball end, and just likes chasing the trailing yarn. I sometimes hold the ball in my hand as I walk around the apartment doing other things and the cat will follow continually attacking the tail. The other cat enjoys grabbing the ball end with her front paws and kicking it with her back, so that's mostly for her. I'm aware of the dangers of string with kitties and we do our best to keep all the yarn out of their paws when we're not around to watch or play with them. I would love to have some pictures of my kitties playing with their new toy, but as you probably know, the second the camera comes out cats suddenly feel the need to bathe, or nap, or go hide under the bed. I'll try again sometime, but I'm not making any promises.