10 No-Cost Cat Toys That Entertain (and Save Your Furniture)

cat toys

Keep your cats entertained with these no-cost cat toys! Cats need healthy food, access to fresh water, and plenty of stimulation and exercise to maintain mental alertness, strong muscles, and overall good health.

And it can be challenging at times, to keep our furry friends engaged. You could spend hundreds of dollars on toys at your local pet shop on commercially made cat toys, but thankfully, it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money to entertain your kitty! Great cat toys can be found in many ordinary, everyday items at virtually no cost. Bored cats will entertain themselves, usually in ways we humans don’t appreciate—like shredding furniture or chewing plants.

No-cost Cat Toys

Here are ten no-cost cat toys, you probably didn’t know you already had around the house.

Plastic Bottles

Empty plastic bottles — think of the ones used for juice or water — make great cat toys. Fill the bottle with a tablespoon of uncooked rice and put the cap back on the bottle. Make sure it’s secure. You can wrap a length of duct tape over the seal to guarantee the cap is securely attached to the bottle. Roll the bottle across the floor for kitty to chase and “hunt.”


If you’re like me, you probably have a few odd laces lying about the place, after your feline friend decided to chew up one from your favourite pair. Take one shoelace and loop-it-back and forth, in a ‘figure eight.’ Tie the middle with a tight knot. Now tie the looped shoelace to the end of the other lace and cut off the plastic sheaths at the end. These ‘anglets’ can easily be swallowed so be sure to remove them. Pull the figure eight part across the floor and watch your little hunter spring to life. The activity also helps strengthen their eye-paw coordination.

Plastic Jar Lids

Wash plastic jar lids in warm soapy water, then let your cat shoot them back and forth across the floor. They’ll keep you entertained with their own game of kitty-football!

DIY Cat Toys: Gift Bows

Fill a cardboard box with used or new bows. Kitty will jump and pounce in and out of the box chasing the bows. And don’t be surprised if she carries them around the house! For safety, remove any staples at the bottom of any bows.

Cardboard Box

We call cardboard boxes “cat-traps” in our house because our cats stop what they’re doing and jump into the box. No matter what size or shape, whether the boxes are too small, or large enough for the dog to get in, cats love boxes. Surprise games of hide-and-seek (if you have two or more cats) will spring up with little prompting. Before putting the box out for playtime, check for any staples or sharp edges that might hurt little paws.

Gift Cards

When you’ve spent all the money that was on a gift card, don’t toss it in the garbage, put it on the floor for your cat to enjoy. Much like the jar lids, gift cards are small enough for cats to chase and carry around the house. But make sure there’s no money on it. If your cat goes grocery shopping — he’ll only buy cans of tuna.


After kitty has destroyed a few bows, take the ribbon and tie them together, tightly, at one end. You’ll see your cat chase, jump, and run after these little ribbon-monsters with antics sure to keep you laughing.

Paper Bags Make Great No-Cost Cat Toys!

Almost as good as a box, paper bags are an ideal no-cost cat toy. Cats will crawl inside, and play — or take a nap, after burning up all that energy from their new escapades. Only use paper, NEVER plastic and cut off any handles to prevent kitty from getting tangled up.

Scrunched-Up Balls of Paper

Take a clean sheet of paper, free from ink and chemical treatments, and squeeze it into a tight ball. Because of its light weight, kitty will kick it around the floor and possibly into one of the boxes or bags you now have about your place.

Paper Towel Tubes

Empty paper towel or wrapping paper tubes are another fantastic no-cost cat toy. And by cutting the ends and bending the fronds backward, you’ll be giving kitty a nemesis worthy of their energy and their evil masterminds.

Always remember to supervise your cat, to prevent injuries. Never let your pet play with toys if you are out of the house, especially string, ribbon, or thread.

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