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Homemade cat toys

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By Stacey Brecher

Short on cash, but still want to entertain your cat? Get creative with a homemade cat toy. Kevin Kelly, author of Entertaining Your Indoor Cat: 50 Fun and Inventive Amusements for Your Cat, advises that "cats tend to get bored with the same toy after a while, and instead of constantly buying new, pricey gadgets for them, use something simple from around the house, like a tinfoil ball."

According to Kelly, other items from around your home that make great cat toys are "any piece of string or ribbon that you can dangle or drag across the floor -- empty cardboard boxes, empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls -- and hallways and doors for playing hide-and-go-seek." For the curious cat, open a cardboard box, lay the box on its side, cut a hole in the top and set it on the floor. Dangle a string with a ball or feather attached to it through the hole for your cat to swat at.

The toys you make for kittens and for older cats should differ. "Kittens are fascinated by new, simple toys -- pulling a piece of string across the floor can keep a curious kitten happy for hours," says Kelly. "Adult cats get bored more quickly, so hiding little toys in new places for them to discover can be fun, or constructing differently shaped cardboard tunnels are good options for the jaded adult cat." He also recommends tossing ping-pong balls into the bathtub; cats love the clattering sound.

Use caution when making toys for your cat. Avoid sharp or small, easy-to-swallow objects. Swallowing string can be very dangerous to cats, so always supervise your pet during playtime.

Stacey Brecher is an editor at Woman's World magazine, and a contributor to Animal Fair magazine. 

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