Crocheting toys for cats
We have a never ending need for cat toys!
The other day I learned to crochet a ball. I was very pleased with the result, placed the ball next to the computer and thought it might be a fun cat toy. I had barely finished the thought when I saw a black cat face with big, round, golden eyes appear behind the screen. She looked straight at me and then at one fell swoop grabbed the ball, jumped off the table and disappeared! Later I found her playing soccer in the kitchen …
I put catnip inside the toys. In the pet store I found out that there’s also a catnip spray available. I chose the dried leaves but I will go back and check that spray again. The magic in the dried leaves will fade over time and I see the spray being an easy way to bring that magic back.
There’s lots of items around a house that make surprisingly interesting cat toys. The other day my cats found the plastic ring of an empty tape roll. It kept them occupied for a long time!
But sometimes it’s fun to give them something special. Here are some fun crochet cat toys:
#1 Yarn Bundle with Bell
Cut a bunch of yarn into 4″ to 6″ pieces. Take one piece and tie all pieces together. Thread a bell on one piece and tie it with another end at the first knot. Then tie some random ends until it seems the bundle will stay together. Ready!
#2 Catnip Mouse
Cut a triangular piece of fabric. A piece of an old T-shirt is perfect! Fold the piece in half and sew the edges almost together, leaving a space of about 1” open. Do not cut sewing thread yet. Stuff the mouse with small pieces of the old T-shirt. Add some catnip. Then finish the seam and bind off. Done!
#3 Crocheted Balls & Animals
You’ll need yarn, a hook, a tapestry needle and filling.
Teresa Richardson, better known as Crochet Geek, has a very basic, easy to follow video tutorial on crocheting a ball:
On her blog she has written instructions and also instructions for a left handed version. Just follow her instructions and you’ll have a nice little ball, perfect as a cat toy as it is. You can use any kind of yarn and a crochet hook that is a size smaller than what the yarn manufacturer recommends. That is to make the crocheting somewhat tighter than normal. Also, Teresa will ask you to mark the beginning of the round with a piece of yarn.
Adding a Rattle
I added a rattle to the ball. The rattle is made of a metal bottle cap with tiny screws inside. You can use other small objects that make a nice sound. I tried rice, gravel and seeds. They all made interesting rattling sounds when I shook the wrapped up cap.
After placing the screws into the cap, I taped a round piece of cardboard over the opening, placed the cap on a piece of foil and sprinkled some cat nip over it. Then I wrapped the foil around the cap.
At the point where Teresa tells you to stuff the ball with your filling, add some fiber fill – polyester, cotton or wool – around the edges and then place the rattle in the middle. Add more filling. You can push it down around the rattle with the blunt end of your crochet hook.
Then continue with the instructions. Before you pull the yarn to close the opening, you might want to add a bit more filling to soften the ball.
Making the Chicken
You’ll need yarn, a hook, filling and a tapestry needle for the ball and a rattle (see above!), feathers and a glue gun.
Follow the instructions for the plain ball with a rattle until you have finished round 12. That is the row before you start decreasing. At this point the opening is as wide as it gets making it easy to work inside of it.
Thread the beginning yarn tail onto the needle and fasten it a bit around the starting hole. Do not close the hole and do not cut the yarn yet. From the right side, push 3 to 4 feathers through the hole. Inside of the ball, gather the feather ends and hot glue them together. I also wrapped them in a small piece of fabric. When the glue is set, take the needle and make two or three stitches through the bundle of feathers. Fasten the yarn and continue crocheting until the ball is done.
You can add a face by making a few stitches with a black yarn for eyes and orange yarn for the beak. The beak can also be made of a piece of felt.
Making the Mouse
You’ll need yarn, a hook, filling and a tapestry needle for the ball and a rattle and a cord for the tail. For the face you’ll need black yarn and material for the ears. I’ve used felt, felted wool and leather.
Crochet the ball following Teresa’s instructions. When you’ve finished round 12 it’s time to add the tail.
You can make the tail from some jute cord as it is, or you can make a yarn cord from a 24”/60cm length of yarn.
Making the Tail
Hold the cut ends with your left hand and stretch out the loop with a finger of your right hand. Hold the loop tight and twist it several times by rolling your finger in the loop. You could use a pen instead of your finger, too.
When the yarn is tightly twisted, bring the loop end to the cut ends. The yarn will twist itself into a thicker cord. Make a knot at the end with the cut ends. Smooth out the cord if needed by pulling or twisting.
With a crochet hook pull the looped end of the cord through the hole in the middle of the mouse from the right side. The knot should rest against the hole inside of the mouse. Attach a needle to your beginning yarn end and sew stitches to close the hole and through the tail to secure it. Weave in the end of the yarn and remove the needle.
Continue crocheting the ball according to the instructions.