Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

July 24, 2015

How to Sew Your Own DIY Catnip Stuffed Cat Toy

When Handy Hubby was in high school, a teeny, scraggly stray kitten found her way to his childhood home.  He and his Dad welcomed her into their lives and, some 15 years later, Wido Piddy continues to melt hearts.

Wido Piddy, the Ever-Kitten
Wido Piddy, the Ever Kitten

Her small stature leads many to believe that she's still a kitten; an ever-kitten.  She now lives in my father-in-law's woodworking shop, along with another kitty and some canine companions.  In the spring she started excessively grooming and essentially pulling out her beautiful fur in tufts.  In an effort to help soothe her, I decided to make her a catnip stuffed cat toy. 

After an afternoon of our own hair pulling, my Mom and I finally made this adorable, DIY catnip-stuffed felted fish toy:

Easy DIY Felted Fish Catnip Toy

But first, there was some trial and error (you can skip to Version Three if you just want to know how we made the little fishy).

DIY Cat Toy Version One

Supplies:
We originally made a catnip-stuffed toy out of my favorite cowboy fabric ;) 

Steps:

I cut out one of the lone cowboys, leaving enough fabric for a half inch seam allowance.  Then I cut out a corresponding shape from a plain, colour-coordinating cotton (for the back), and two pieces of fusible interfacing to match the shapes.  (My Mom thought that interfacing would help give this toy some strength against sharp kitty claws).  I ironed on the interfacing, as per the instructions, and the two shapes were ready for sewing.

Make your own cat toys

After pinning the right sides facing each other, we sewed along the edge, leaving a half inch seam allowance and a small opening under the horse's belly.  When the edges were sewn, we tied off the thread and snipped the edges to make the curves easier to shape once they're right side out:

Sew a cat toy

Then, as I spent a good twenty minutes struggling to turn this tiny cowboy right side out, I wondered why I didn't just buy a $5 cat toy.  The complicated, small shape, and the stiffness from the interfacing made it a struggle but eventually I got it.  Using a small spoon to help poke and prod everything into place helped.

Triumphantly, I stuffed it with loose catnip, stopping periodically to make sure the catnip was worked into the legs, head, and tail.  Once it was packed full of the good stuff, the bottom was sewn shut by hand.

Sew Your Own Easy Catnip Toy
Sew Your Own Easy Catnip Toy

DIY Cat Toy Version Two

Supplies:
  • Scrap Fabric
  • Thread
  • Catnip (10-20 grams)
  • Sewing Machine
  • Needle
  • Scissors
When we were done with the cowboy, I wanted to experiment with a simpler shape - and no interfacing - in the hopes that it would be easier to make.  I cut out a little "mouse" shape from scrap cotton and we sewed the edges again.  After we snipped the edges, I turned it right side out with more ease.  I stuffed it full of catnip and things were progressing fairly smoothly, although it was still piddly work. 

Then my Mom and I had an argument about whether it was a mouse, rat, or parsnip.  She wanted to sew a bunch of leaves on the top and call it a day, but I fought hard.  We ended up adding a braided string tail, some whiskers and beady eyes.

It's a mouse, dammit. 

DIY Catnip Stuffed Toy

DIY Cat Toy Version Three - THE WINNER!

Supplies:
  • Felt
  • Catnip (10-20 grams)
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
Totally dejected by our weird little cat toys, but figuring Piddy wouldn't care what they looked like because she'd loose her mind for the drug inside, I started fiddling with some felt earmarked for another project.  That's when it dawned on me that felt would be much easier to use for a cat toy too, because we wouldn't need to flip it right side out.  Because it doesn't fray, we could just sew the shape on the right side.

I cut out a simple little fish shape from two pieces of felt.  I cut out pairs of smaller and larger circles for eyes and then cut out little fins.  I hand sewed on the eyes with a few stitches and then we attached the fin at the base with the sewing machine while the fish body was still in two pieces.  We pinned the two fish sides together and sewed around the edges, leaving the tail open.  I tied off the threads and stuffed the fish body with catnip, leaving the tail empty.  Once it was stuffed, we sewed the bum shut and did some decorative stitching on the tail.

Felted wool cat toy
DIY Felted Fish Catnip Toy

SUCCESS!  It turned out to be so stinkin' adorable.

Make Your Own Easy Catnip Toy
Sew an Easy to Make Felted Cat Nip Toy

This version was faster (think minutes, not hours) and so, so easy.  Plus, it looks infinitely cuter than the rat/turnip and cowboy.  If you don't have a machine, you could even do a simple blanket stitch around the edges - felt is so forgiving.  If you use felted wool - and not a synthetic felt - you could even needle felt some designs or details onto a simple shape. 

How to make your own catnip cat toy

A note on catnip: I found catnip locally, in a shop that sells loose leaf teas.  But you can also track it down on Amazon: this listing seems like a good deal.  I used 50 grams for all three toys, but the amount you need will depend on the size and quantity of toys you make.  You can also mix in some catnip with some batting, if you only want to purchase a small amount of catnip.  I looked at store-bought toys and some boast 100% catnip filling while others have a mix of batting and catnip - you might have to test it out and decide what amount you can give your kitty with her going totally batty.

Where to buy loose catnip?
SHARE:

13 comments

  1. Awww. Piddy is so adorable. I have an older cat myself - Napoloen turns 15 this October. Ever since his litter mate passed away over Christmas, I have been adding a couple of toys here and there to help soothe him. I had been trying to come up with something more unique of late, when I saw your post! Thanks for the inspiration and resources provided :) Jelica

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Poor Napoloen! It just breaks me heart when animals lose a buddy because they can't understand or rationalize it the way humans can. I'm happy to hear that toys soothe him - hopefully Piddy feels a little better. I'm happy to hear Napoloen might be getting a DIY fish of his own :) Happy to help!

      Delete
  2. oh my - how cute! if you sold these I would totally buy them! the process you finally decided on wouldn't be too hard if you wanted to do a mouse - or little birds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!! We have been considering making some for sale. We'd have to experiment with a mix of batting and catnip because with the amount of catnip I used, it ends up a bit expensive. But the construction definitely lends itself to resale because it's quick and fun and you're so right - we could easily to mice, birds, parsnips (lol). First I'll give it a few months and make sure it can withstand some playful kitty claws!

      Delete
    2. Awww, thanks for the vote of confidence!

      Delete
  3. Cute. I made a couple mice for my kitties to play with. I found a mouse pattern somewhere on the web ages ago and had the printout stashed away in my "to do" pile. I also have tons of felted wool sweaters from other projects so used some of it up. I didn't use any catnip, but that doesn't seem to be much of a problem. Of course the cat who pulls her hair out, like yours does, doesn't care much for toys.

    Here's a link to pictures of the mouse I made.

    http://jaskets.blogspot.com/2013/10/what-i-have-been-up-to-lately.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just took a look at your link - that mouse is ADORABLE!!! Super, super cute. I think I'll have to take another stab at making a mouse, but this time use felted wool and maybe track down a pattern like you did. Thanks so much for sharing.

      Delete
  4. Awww what a totally beautiful story!! I can also relate to the "ever-kitten"... I wonder if theyre actually a special breed.? ;) Heartwarmingly unforgettable anyway. Sweet project, kudos to u i wouldnt be able to turn sewing machine on! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, you could totally whip these up without a machine, too. It would just take a little longer... The ever-kittens sure capture our hearts, don't they?

      Delete
  5. What a great idea! I absolutely adore the horse one, so fun!

    ReplyDelete

You've made my day - I love hearing from you! I approve comments only to keep out the spam, so don't worry if your comment doesn't pop up right away.

© Dans le Lakehouse | All rights reserved.
See What Inspires Me on Pinterest