Interchangeable/breakaway Fishing Lure Cat Toy




Introduction: Interchangeable/breakaway Fishing Lure Cat Toy

About: Marine Biologist. Bryozoan-lover. Photomicrographer. Mocha latte addict. Artsy-craftsy and overall dorkus. I love to think of ways I could make something that I can't afford. Also, cats!

I don't know about yours, but my cats loooove fishing lure toys. The problem is that both cats are A) rough on toys and B) too smart for their own good, which means that their lure toys don't usually last very long and, if they are sturdy, they get bored with the same one.

The Pet Contest had me thinking about what I could make for my cats that was more complicated than rolling up a ball of foil, but involved craft stuff I already have around the house. The interchangeable fishing lure toy was perfect because it lets me use mostly what I already have around and have a toy that can be changed so the cats don't get bored. And, unlike bought lure toys, once the lure gets destroyed, a new one can be made without throwing away the entire thing.

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Step 1: Gather Materials (and Helper[s])


  • A 3/8" dowel rod
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wood glue, super glue, or any other glue that will bind wood with plastic
  • Package of 5mm parachute breakaway safety buckles (bought at craft store)
  • Hemp
  • Ribbon of various colors (I already had these rolls, but they costed about 50 cents each)
  • Feathers
  • Raffia
  • Anything else good for these types of toys (i.e., pieces of feather boa, strips of fabric, raccoon tail, etc.)


  • Pita (like the bread) - tan tabby
  • Sibyl - bengal

As soon as they saw the ribbon, I knew I was going to have a lot of "help"!

Step 2: Make the Hemp Dangler

What you'll need

  • 2 of the smaller buckle pieces
  • Hemp cord

The hemp I already had is pretty thin so I decided to braid it to give the dangler some extra weight and so it would stay in the breakaway buckles when tied at the ends and pulled. If you have something thicker it might not need to be braided.

If braiding, cut the hemp cord into 3 equal ~20" pieces (or however long you want it) and tie a knot at one end. Push the cords at the opposite end through one buckle piece and slide the buckle so the knot fits inside. After the braid is done, pull the hemp through the small opening of the other breakaway buckle and tie a knot, once again so it fits inside the buckle.

Optional additional safety breakaway

Make 2 shorter braids, one with a smaller buckle piece on both ends (attached to rod) and one with a small and large breakaway piece (attached to first braid and then to the lure). This might be especially useful for braided hemp - in case your cat's claws get caught in the braid, it will break away.

Step 3: Develop Lure Style

What you'll need

  • Ribbon
  • Raffia
  • Feathers
  • Whatever else you creative!

I wanted to recreate a fishing lure toy that my cats loved and destroyed (also I already had the materials), so one of my lures is made with raffia and feathers. The other lure made with ribbons takes after a catnip toy they love with ribbon on the ends, but is not a lure toy.

Cut ribbon and raffia to desired length. My ribbon ended up about 9" and raffia about 6" on average. The amount of pieces cut depends on your ability to get them all into the buckle opening. I managed to get 15 pieces of ribbon and 8 pieces of raffia through.

Step 4: Create the Lure

What you'll need

  • Scissors
  • Two of the larger breakaway buckle piece

Pull ribbon and raffia through the buckle opening and then for the raffia lure, push the feather quills up through the buckle opening wherever you can manage. In preparation for the next step, cut the ends of the ribbon/raffia bunches on the buckle's snapping side (where the lure will attach to the hemp dangle) so they're even.

Step 5: Glue!

What you'll need

  • Hot glue gun

For both lures, group together the ribbon/raffia and put a blob of hot glue on top and spread it on the sides just a bit. Before the glue has cooled, pull on the opposite end of the ribbon/raffia just until the glued end fits inside the breakaway buckle. Let dry completely and make sure they're glued well. Remember, cats are destructive!

Step 6: Make the Fishing Pole

What you'll need

  • 3/8" diameter dowel
  • Hemp dangle (Step 2)
  • Glue that will bind wood and plastic

The dowel I bought was originally 48", but for this project I only used about 1/3 of that, so my pole is roughly 15" long.

For this step, simply glue one end of the hemp dangle to one end of the dowel and go do something else while it dries.

Step 7: Have Fun!

So there you have it! Without glue-drying time, this probably took about half an hour to make.

What you'll need for this step

  • Your helper(s)
  • Your new fishing pole and lures

Snap and unsnap the lure from the hemp dangle to switch lures. So easy! Now you only need one base pole that can be switched with all the lures made! The breakaway also serves as a safety function if your cat pulls too hard or gets snagged!

My cats love both lures, but really have a blast with the raffia/feather one. I think it's because of the crunchy noise it makes, so get creative using crunchy materials for the lures, I know I will! I'd love to see your creations if you use this instructable!

Don't be fooled by the video. Sibyl also plays with both lures, but often won't join in while Pita plays and instead, waits until Pita is tired out so she can have it all to herself!

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    2 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I edited Step 2 to include an option for including an additional safety breakaway, that way if claws get stuck in the braid it will also break.

    Love the name Diddlebopp!!!