Catnip Toys: Best Toys for your Cats
Catnip cat toys are excellent treats for your favorite feline friend. These toys may come in all sorts of different guises; some of which can be refreshed and used over and over again. Recently, catnip toys have been tremendously acknowledged due to the fact that many cats undeniably love catnip since it gives them a euphoric feeling and makes them very happy.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial herb plant of the mint family Labiatae. It has a chemical called Nepetalactone which is responsible for the reaction, though no one really knows what about it produces the effect in cats. While people usually buy catnip, it has become widely prevalent as something of a weed in the Northern Central United States and in Canada so you may have some catnip growing in your backyard and not know about it! In that case, you might as well try and take advantage of this potential cat toy. Just make sure that it is indeed catnip and not some other plant because some other plants are harmful or even fatal to cats.
Why Choose a Catnip Toy for Your Cats?
Your cat doesn’t need to have an expensive toy to enjoy. Just a catnip toy can entertain and make your cat happy. With the great effects of catnip, you can just give your feline friend a pinch or two of the loose catnip leaves and watch her have a great time. In most cases, it’s perfectly safe for your cat to even eat the leaves. However, some people have concerns about giving their cat loose catnip.
Catnip in a toy will have the same effects on your cat as fresh catnip leaves. Your cat will still sniff it, roll around on it, salivate and go into a euphoric state. It’s not the leaves themselves, but the scent of the plant leaves that causes the happy reaction.
The fresh leaves in a toy can make an otherwise boring toy quite exciting! You can even roll an old cloth mouse in a bag of catnip leaves to bring new life to the old mouse. For the majority of kitties, catnip is a wonderful treat. If you’re concerned about your feline comrade eating the leaves (some felines do get an upset stomach from eating the leaves) then stuffed mice or other toys are a great option. This way, he can enjoy the catnip and you don’t have to worry about him eating or inhaling the leaves.
Aside from the safety of catnip toy for your cat, the quality and freshness of the catnip is what’s most important in choosing a toy. Catnip toys come in all various shapes and sizes, from furry mice to fish with scales. Your feline friend may have some favorites based on the size of the toy and the material used, but the quality and freshness of the catnip is what really matters to your friend. If you choose a safe cat toy with fresh catnip, your cat will probably love it whatever it is.
How to make cat toys with catnip?
There are a variety of ways to make catnip toys, ranging from simply hand-sewing toys to knitting and felting toys for cats. Handmade catnip toys can make marvelous gifts for cat owners, and they can also save money for people with cats, as they can be made from scrap materials and homegrown catnip, rather than being purchased at a pet store. For cat owners with cats who tend to go through catnip toys quickly, being able to make replacements can cut down on costs significantly.
When making catnip toys, the key thing to remember is that they should be fun and safe for kittens. This means that care should be taken during assembly to avoid the use of dangling strings which could detach and be swallowed, along with other small pieces which could pose a choking hazard. If cats swallow things like buttons, strings and beads, they may be able to digest and pass them but they could potentially choke or develop an intestinal blockage, which could require costly surgery. Therefore, catnip toys should be made from sturdy materials and they should be well-constructed. They should also be replaced if they start to fray or fall apart.
In providing your cat with catnip toys, you don’t have to spend a fortune buying expensive toys at the pet store. You can make a great catnip toy by using just a scrap of material and some dried catnip. Here are some steps that can help you be on your way to entertaining your cat.
Steps in making a catnip toy:
Prepare the following materials:
- Scrap of material
- Cardboard or paper grocery bag
- Sewing needle
- Fresh, dried catnip (either store-bought or home-grown)
- Twine (optional, for the mouse shape)
- Make the pattern.
Decide on the shape of the toy whether a mouse, heart, ball or any other shape. Relatively simple shapes are the easiest to cut and sew. Draw the shape you’ve chosen on a piece of thick paper, like cardboard or a paper grocery bag. The pattern should measure approximately 4 inches across, although you can also make larger or smaller toys. Leave a 3/8″ to 1/2″ seam allowance on the sides of the pattern, since the seams will make the finished toy slightly smaller than the pattern you’ve drawn.
Cut out the pattern using a pair of sharp scissors.
Cut out the material.
First, pin two pieces of scrap material together, with the right sides facing each other. Then pin the pattern onto the scrap material, and cut out both pieces of fabric at the same time. You may want to use a pencil to trace the pattern onto the fabric first.
Stitch together the toy.
With the right sides facing each other, sew a seam to keep the two pieces of material together. Leave about 3/8″ between your stitch and the edge of the material. Leave about an inch opening. This is where you’ll fill the toy with catnip. If your feline likes to play rough with his toys, sew the two pieces of material Test the stitching by sticking your fingers inside the toy to make sure there are no leaks for catnip to escape.
Fill the toy.
Now, use the small opening to turn the toy right-side-out, and fill it with dried catnip. If you don’t have enough catnip, you can use a mixture of regular stuffing and catnip in the toy. For extra catnip scent, spray it with a catnip-scented spray, which is out in some pet stores.
Sew the remaining 1 inch closed without turning the toy inside out. If your catnip toy is in a mouse shape, add a tail into this small opening by placing a piece of twine or string inside as you sew it. A long end inside the toy will keep it from being easily pulled out by your cat.
Once you’ve finished your catnip cat toy, give it to your cat and watch him play happily. Most cats love rubbing and rolling with toys that have catnip inside. Microwaving the toy for a few seconds can bring out the catnip scent, especially after your cats have enjoyed the toys for weeks. Do not wash the toy or it won’t smell like catnip anymore.