Cats take as much pleasure in everyday objects as they do in expensive toys. Take aluminium foil – just scrunch up a piece, throw it and watch your furry friend chase around the house after it. Other ‘free’ toys are plastic caps from bottled water bottles, golf balls, plastic bottle tops, shoeboxes and heavy-gauge wire, with one end held in place by closing it in a door or drawer and the other end looped, with a feather or thread attached to it.

Rattlin’ good fun

Use plastic medicine bottles or old film canisters to make toys for cats. Fill the vessel with coins, paperclips or buttons – any small items that will rattle when shaken. Roll the toy out onto the floor and watch as your cat delights in batting it around.

Sock it to ’em

Clean an old sock, stuff the toe-end with some catnip and tie it off tightly. Dangle the tempting toy from a string and you’ve got a game going with your cat. Alternately, tie the filled sock to a doorknob and let your cat bat it about on his own. A sock isn’t the only thing to use: try stuffing a baby bootie with catnip or cut off the sleeve of a worn-out blouse or shirt and turn it into a catnip holder.

You’re pulling my leg!

That’s the name of the game you can play with your cat when you stuff a leg of old tights and a feline–human tug-of-war ensues. Cut off one leg and fill the toe with catnip. Knot the stocking above the filled area and make several more knots along the length of the leg. A catnip-free version of the toy uses old rags or wadded-up tights as stuffing; in this case, engage your cat in a game of ‘chase the snake’ as you wiggle the toy around on the floor.

Watching your own wild kingdom

If you have a frequently visited bird feeder and a video camera, you have the makings for hours of unbridled entertainment for a little indoor hunter. Video the birds in action, pop in the DVD or tape where your kitten can see the television, turn it on and watch the fun unfold.

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