easy to make cat toys, catnip, scratch-post | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Easy To Make Catnip, Cat Toys

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My cat.

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Colleen Richmond
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Reward your cat with a special treat! At a small cost, you can grow your own catnip, with enough to supply the whole neighborhood, make a home-made scratch post so your cat doesn’t claw your furniture, and make cat toys out of things you already have in your house.

How To Grow Your Own Catnip

  • Start with seeds. You can usually get a packet for a couple of dollars from a local nursery or home supply store or from a mail-order seed company.
  • Plant outside.
  • Sow the seeds in rows 18 inches apart in a garden or in one row down the middle of a flower box at least 16 inches wide and 10 inches deep.
  • Plant in well worked soil and in an area that receives moderate to strong sun. The seeds are fine, like basil seeds, so you might want to mix them with sand for sowing.
  • Mulch. The plants prefer rich soil as long as it’s mulched with hay, dried lawn clippings, or straw.
  • Harvest. Catnip grows quickly and can reach a few feet high in a few months.
  • When the plant reaches at least 18 inches high and has thumb-size leaves, but before it turns yellow, strip the leaves or cut the entire stalks.
  • Dry. Tie the stalks together and hang them upside down in the shade for a couple of days. Or lay the leaves on old newspaper in the shade.
  • Play. Bring a stalk out for the cats to rub against or roll on. Or crumble dried leaves and/or stems and tie them into four-inch squares of material using cotton string or thread. The cats will bat them, bite them, and possibly eat the contents.

How to Make Your Own Scratch Post

  • Start with a log (complete with bark) about three feet high and a base about two feet square.
  • Cover the bottom of the base with felt to prevent it from scratching the floor, then nail the end of the log into the base.
  • You can screw a strong spring into the top of the log and attach a bit of fluff to the end of the string as a play-toy.
  • Alternatively, instead of a log, use a pyramid-shaped block of wood and cover it with burlap, which can be applied with staple gun or carpet glue.

Other Easy Kitten Toys

  • Pour catnip into an old sock and knot it.
  • A feather from a crafts store (don’t substitute a stray in the yard; it may not be sanitary.)
  • A finger-width stick from the yard with a piece of string tied to the end.
  • A dried sea oat.
  • A drinking straw.
  • Paper grocery bag.
  • Ping Pong Ball.
  • Shine a flash-light and watch them chase the beam.
About The Author

Heidi Stonehill

Heidi Stonehill is a senior editor for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, where she focuses much of her time on managing content development for the Almanac’s line of calendars. Read More from Heidi Stonehill

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