Cats are homebodies and feel most secure in familiar environments – so the busy, changeable festive season can come as a shock. Unfamiliar smells, twinkly lights and a constant procession of new faces can leave the most easy-going cat feeling out of sorts.
To help your puss stay happy throughout the festive season, keep to regular feeding routines, make time for one-to-one play, and put your cat’s favourite toys, bedding and litter tray in a quiet, safe place. Make Christmas extra-special for your moggy, too, with these simple stocking fillers – nothing says ‘I love you’ like a thoughtful handmade gift!
Bottle of crunchy treats
This simple toy is a great way to recycle an empty 50cl plastic bottle and keep your puss entertained during the season’s festivities.
- Wash and dry the bottle thoroughly, removing all labels.
- Using a sharp craft knife, cut four or five little holes in the bottle in different places – the holes should be large enough to easily release pieces of kibble but small enough that your cat’s paws can’t go through or get stuck.
- Put a teaspoonful of crunchy treats inside the bottle and replace the lid tightly.
- Tie some festive paper streamers around the neck of the bottle to catch your cat’s eye, then roll it along the floor – your puss will enjoy batting the bottle back and forth to release the treats.
Fishing rod toy
Cats love to catch and chase, so this colourful rod is sure to become a festive favourite.
- Gather a selection of fabric scraps and cut them into chunky, ribbon-like strips, around 2cm wide by 20cm long.
- Holding the ends of the strips firmly, stitch them together into a tassel with a needle and strong cotton.
- Cut a length of unbleached cotton twine, around 40-50cm in length.
- To make your rod, use a wooden dowel or a garden cane around 30cm long, and apply a band of solvent-free glue around one end (try organic Auro 390 Contact Adhesive or Evo-Stik Gripfill Solvent Free).
- Wrap the twine around the end of the rod several times, pressing it firmly onto the glue and leave to dry.
- Finally, tie the other end of the twine around your tassel several times, knotting it tightly. Just watch as your puss jumps and chases the tassel, encouraging exercise as well as some special time together.
Cardboard treat holder
Recycle an empty toilet paper roll and make your cat very happy at the same time!
- Mark four lines around the cardboard roll, about 1.5cm apart. Use a craft knife to cut along the lines and make four cardboard rings.
- Push one ring into another ring, to create a cross shape, then insert the third and fourth rings at an angle – you should now have a looped cardboard ball.
- Draw on some pretty festive patterns with a nontoxic pen – like stars or Christmas bells – and tuck a couple of tasty cat treats inside. It’s important to encourage playtime during the festivities, and with this homemade toy your cat can have lots of fun patting it along the floor until the treat comes out – the perfect festive reward!
Safety first – always supervise your puss when she is playing with any toy, in case parts come loose or break.
For more information about looking after your cat at Christmas, watch our festive video featuring moggy Tinkerbell, as she navigates the hazards of the household at Christmas.