PlanetJune Craft Blog

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making cat toys

Today is my furbaby Maui’s 6th birthday. (Well, we adopted him when he was a year old, so we don’t know his actual birthday, but we settled on this date for him so it wouldn’t be too close to Christmas.) If you don’t know my lovely boy, here he is:

Awww, handsome cat!

The actual subject of this post is making toys for your cat, and whether it’s worth the effort. I’d like to demonstrate with a couple of toys that I made for Maui three years ago (please excuse the photos – my photographic skills have clearly improved since 2007!)…

First up, when I made my Fuzzballs crochet pattern, I made a cat-safe version with stitched-on felt eyes and a black yarn smile, and of course the secret ingredient of a little catnip inside with the stuffing.

fuzzballs by planetjune
Maui’s fuzzball is top right in this photo

Yep, it’s safe to say that he liked this one! Groovy catnip-induced motion blur is purely intentional 😉

And secondly, I spent an entire evening stitching up this lovely little mouse as Maui’s third birthday present. This was the one that made everyone think I was crazy for spending all that effort on ‘just’ a cat toy:

Yes, I know it’s a lot of detail for a cat toy!

Maui with his favourite toy

Fast forward three years. Both of these toys were hugely successful with Maui, and he still plays with both! So now for the big question: how have they fared after three years of serious mauling by a miniature tiger?

  • The fuzzball lost its felt eyes and mouth some time last year, but the crocheted stitches have all held up, and the stuffing is still in place inside (although it does show through the stitches in places).
  • As for the lovely mousey, those felt ears lasted for over a year before falling off – and they were only made of acrylic craft felt! I tied a knot in the end of the tail before the string had unravelled too much, and the tail is still intact and firmly attached to the body. And the eyes are still fine too, which is quite surprising given that this is Maui’s absolute favourite toy and has seen a lot of play over the past three years!

So, is it worth the time to make toys for your cat? YES. Absolutely. Maui by far prefers the toys I’ve made for him to almost all of the many toys we’ve bought from pet shops, and they’ve certainly held up better. Plus it still makes me happy to see him enjoying the results of my work, years later.

The birthday boy today, with his handmade toys

Happy birthday, Maui!


  1. Karen said

    My cat rarely played with any toys and had little interest in catnip, but when I started crochet & knitting he’d pester me a little, bat at the needles and play with the yarn, as cats will do. So I tried some basic ami-mice, stuffed with batting and the potent, mess-free catnip pellets, and he loved them. He could roll all over them and dig his teeth & claws deep in the stitches and tear at the yarn. By far his favourites!

  2. Bri said

    Oh! He’s so beautiful! (handsome I mean 😉 ) Please tell Maui he is very lucky to have beautiful fur (and eyes…and tail etc.) Not to mention beautifully handcrafted toys! Such luxury! Great job, I adore the mouse =))

  3. Andrea said

    Your cat is gorgeous and its great to know that I wont be wasting my time on toys for my 3 cats! =) I love your site!

  4. Arianna said

    I recently made a sardine tin ami for a friend’s siamese kitten…and she went insane! (The cat, not the friend. *grins*)
    We couldn’t talk much for laughing at the Siamese-coloured blur that was flinging crocheted sardines around the living room. Several times the cat did what looked like somersaults in her hurry to get to the fish. ^_____^

  5. melissa said

    happy happy birthday maui!
    you are a beautiful kitty with a wonderful mom!
    i love the toys you made june!

  6. Diandra said

    That’s a beautiful cat!

  7. June said

    Amber, that’s a really good point – I’m sure you’re right! Maui probably doesn’t care about the cuteness of his toys – that’s more for me 😀 But as long as he likes to play with them, that’s good enough for me!

  8. amber said

    Just a random thought, but I wonder if the kitties like the homemade toys so much because they smell like us? I mean, no matter how clean your hands are when you start crafting some of the oils/scent from your skin probably gets transferred to the toy while you’re making it. My parents have a closet with knitted gloves/mitts in it, and when my parents are away and the kitty misses them, he pulls out the gloves and plays with them. We’ve always figured it’s because he can smell them on the knitted fabric. Perhaps it’s the same with the toys. Knowing cats, I’m sure it’s not because they admire the time and effort we put into making them gifts!

  9. Jana said

    Happy Birthday, Maui! Bibi loves the toys I have made for her too. However, her favorite thing lately has been pulling my stuffed animals off the shelf! She didn’t play with them, just wanted to see them fall! Kind of like a kid in a high chair! 😀 SO…………….I FIXED her wagon! LOL! I took long rubber bands and wrapped them invisibly around the necks of the animals and attached them to the back of the shelf. You should have seen Bibi that night trying to knock them off and they wouldn’t budge! I laughed my head off watching her till she got disgusted and gave up! 😀 Too funny!
    One of her toys, a spiral crochet hanging thing with a ball on the end was given to a friends kitty a couple of weeks ago. She says he LOVES it. Is it worth it to spend time on making toys for our furballs? YES!!!

  10. Sara said

    Happy birthday (a bit late) to Maui! What great handmade toys! I love that pets seem to love something special we’ve made them more than something we’ve purchased from the store.

  11. Christy said

    It always made me happy when I saw the catnip toy I made for my boyfriend’s cat was still around and still getting played with–a lot! It was one of the few toys he kept around for his cat. 🙂

  12. Robyn said

    Aww he looks so sweet! I can tell he loves those toys! I like the motion blur pic of his fuzzy belly! Too cute! BTW he has awesome eyes! So pretty! Happy Birthday you handsome fuzzball! 🙂

  13. June said

    Maui says thanks for the birthday wishes! And, Alisha, it’s easy to take a gorgeous picture when you have a gorgeous model to pose for you 🙂

  14. Alisha said

    Wow, that is a REALLY gorgeous picture!

  15. happy birthday maui… so cute

  16. Emily said

    Aww! Happy Birthday, Maui! I want to give his big tummy some kitty rubs! 🙂

  17. barbara said

    beyond adorable!! happy birthday maui!!!!

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