Cat owners know the feeling of coming home with a brand-spanking new toy for a beloved pet, only to have the animal favour the box or wrapping it came in. Most cats are easier to please than we think and here are five simple toys made out of household objects that make great alternatives to store-bought varieties - and can be fun projects for kids, too.
Cardboard box castle/maze
Just moved house? Don't throw out your cardboard boxes...well, not until you've fashioned at least a couple of cat toys from the leftovers. There's a reason why Rufus the cat was so happy in his cardboard tower - according to a recent study, cardboard boxes reduce stress levels and provide cats with a feeling of security and shelter from prey.
Watch how much fun cats have with boxes here.
Scrunched-up paper magic
Don't mess with the classics. It's amazing how engrossed domestic cats can be with a simple bit of scrunched-up paper dangling from a stick.
Dangle it above your cat for hours of entertainment.
Remember the pom-pom toys you used to make in primary school? Turns out cats love these too (especially when they're attached to a bit of string - like most cat toys, for that matter). It's astounding what you can achieve with a few bits of wool and some scissors. For extra fun with the kids, why not fashion eyes, a beak and a pair of wings to turn your pom-pom into a bird? Your cat will appreciate the new toy to chase. Just don't be upset if they rip it to shreds.
Jingle all the way
If you don't mind the noise, it's easy to make a jingle-bell toy for your pet. Bells can be bought at any haberdashery or fabric store, and popped inside an old water bottle or pill bottle. Ask the kids to paint the outside in the design of their choice for extra fun.
There are all kinds of ways to fashion your own scratching post out of household objects. Try these variations using cardboard box scraps, colour-blocked twine and a fence post, or even a real tree.