Every winter, my cat, JFK, who is usually an outdoor cat, gets a little bit crankier . . . well, a lot crankier. When he’s not sleeping directly in front of the heater or scarfing food, he’s begging me for attention. On my last trip to New York, I learned a lot of great tips from Grace and Amy, both experts at owning indoor cats, for keeping your cat happy. It essentially boils down to the following: keep them warm and cozy, give them plenty of affection and make sure they receive a sufficient amount of entertainment and exercise daily.
After scouring my local pet shops, I realized that nothing was quite up to snuff for me visually. JFK loves wand toys and scratch pads, so I decided to make my own versions of these toys. They were easy and cheap to assemble, and unlike most plastic toys, I could actually see myself displaying these proudly. Yes, I’m a cat lady, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be a stylish cat lady. If you have a free afternoon and some basic woodworking skills, you can easily craft these gifts for your feline companions in time for the holidays. Happy crafting, and here’s to all cats, however ornery they may be. :) — Kate
Read the full how-to after the jump . . .
- two 1″ x 3″ x 24″ pieces of wood
- mitre box and saw
- 1/4″ sisal rope
- hot glue gun
- neon pink string
- leather cord
- drill with 3/8″ bit
- wood glue
- yarn and embroidery thread in a variety of colors
- wood beads
- wood dowel
For the cat scratch door hanger:
1. Measure the boards and make a mark at 22″. Cut the boards at a 30-degree angle and sand all sides with sandpaper to remove any splinters.
9. Cut a 10″ or longer strand of leather cord (depending on where you plan to hang the cat scratcher) and tie a knot at one end. Thread the cord through the right hole from front to back, then back through the left hole to the front. Tie a knot at the other end of the cord to secure.
1. Grab several colors of yarn and thread, and begin wrapping them around your fingers to start a pom-pom (some people like to use forks, which is genius, but I also like to use my hands — either way is fine).
2. Once you have all of your yarn wrapped around in loops, remove the whole bunch from your hands a tie a very tight knot (tight as you can get it) around the center of the bunch. I prefer to use the neon string for this task because it is stronger than the soft yarn and won’t break when I pull it really tight.
3. Snip all the loops in half, and you will start to see the pom-pom take shape. It will be messy, though, so to go back in and clean it up (and add fluff), you will need to trim all of the ends. You are sort of pruning the pom-pom like a hedge until you feel it has reached a full, fluffy and clean shape.
5. Cut an 8″ piece of leather cord and sew a few feathers onto the end of it. Slip on a small lightweight bead (air-dried soft clay would be best because it’s squishy, but a very lightweight wood or plastic bead will work, too).
8. Put a very small dab of glue on the end of the dowel and lay two of the small pieces of leather over it. Also, put dabs of glue on the sides and adhere the ends of both cords down to the dowel. Repeat with the other two pieces attached perpendicular to the first. This covers the base of the dowel.
9. Place a very tiny dab of glue on one corner of the dowel right at the bottom edge. Take a long strand of leather cord and begin wrapping it tightly around the dowel, covering the ends of the smaller leather pieces that you just glued down, and continuing to wrap beyond those pieces about 4″. When you have covered about 6″ of the end of the dowel, cut off the excess cord and glue down the end to secure.