Easy pet toys you can make at home

Amuse your animal with free playthings

Dog with leash

For cats

Fun glove: Sew or attach pieces of string (with safety pins) onto the fingers of an old glove. Put on the glove and dangle it above your cat, wiggling your fingers. Your cat will go crazy trying to catch the bouncing strings.

Wrestle sausage: Stuff a plastic grocery bag and a tablespoon of organic catnip into an old sock. Tie a shoelace about 2 inches from the sock's open end. Dangle it in front of the cat so your pet can wrestle with it. The cat will love the crackling noise the bag makes.

Ring toss: Flatten an empty paper-towel roll and cut as many ¼-inch rings out of it as you can. Throw them above the cat's head one at a time to entice your pet to leap.


For dogs

Kibble carton: Put some dog treats inside an empty cardboard milk carton. Close it and poke a few small holes in the ends for the food to fall out. Your dog will enjoy batting the container around to get the kibble out. To increase the challenge, vary the size of the holes.

Treat tenpins: Gather empty water bottles. Put them on the floor one at a time. Encourage your dog to knock over each one; when your pooch does, offer a treat. Repeat this until your pet learns that you want the bottles toppled. Next, put water, sand or pebbles into some of the bottles so they are harder to knock over. Set up the bottles like bowling pins, and let your dog have at it.

Cardboard box tunnel: Ask your local appliance store for an empty refrigerator or washing-machine box. Turn the box into a tunnel by laying it on its side and cutting off the ends. Let your dog run through it.