My cats love toys. They also like to break them (out of love). And one thing any cat owner can attest to is: good cat products are expensive.
I’m a big proponent of make-it-yourself cat things, like scratching posts, food puzzles, and catnip mice. But there are some store bought things that the alcohol cats just go crazy for that are harder to replicate. One such toy is the Da Bird Cat Catcher.
Now, under $10 for a wand toy is fairly standard. And not too unreasonable considering my cats go nuts for this toy. They will scale walls, do back flips, and once the mouse is caught, drag the entire thing into their cardboard castle (which I made from a box), and gnaw on it until it’s covered in drool.
After a few months, it looked like this:
So finally, I thought it was time for an old-fashioned repair job, which would help me figure out how to make my own wand toys for cheap (or if not cheap, at least more durable).
On my way home from work, I stopped in the local hardware store and craft store to see what I could find. (It’s a great benefit of living in a city, because they were right next to each other.) The hardware store is generally cheaper (great for buying new wire), but the craft store has a wider selection of items (like pre-cut wooden dowels and jewelry connector pieces). Here is what I came up with:
I bought two types of wire because I couldn’t find quite the right kind (I ended up using a braided wire, but it’s thicker than the original wire on the toy). I bought more stuff than I ended up using (such as the twine). But I’m sure I’ll find other uses for them.
After about 30-40 minutes, and with the help of some very sturdy pliers, I had finished the repair job. I decided for the time being to re-use the end part of the Da Bird toy, since I know my cats love it and because I couldn’t decide what to make for the end of it. (I will probably end up knitting something with catnip inside.)
Here is the final product:
This is wand toy prototype 1. I had to fiddle with the connecting part from the wire to the actual toy to make sure there weren’t any sharp ends*. I couldn’t find eye screws small enough for what I wanted, so where the wire meets the dowel, it moves around a bit. But at least it’s not held together by a wad of duct tape!
*I got the toy to the point where I trust my own two cats with it, and could run my fingers all along it without feeling anything sharp. But it needs further adjustments in order to be truly pet-safe, which is why I’ve excluded full details.
Now I just have to work on perfecting the design!