How To Make A No-Sew, DIY Catnip Cat Toy From An Old Shirt

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I was wearing an old shirt that was pretty stretched out, and I decided that it was time to retire it. I decided to try to make a disposable catnip cat toy from it since I had some loose catnip and some bored cats.

I gave myself the challenge to make it a no-sew project, and I think it turned out pretty well.


Make a no sew DIY catnip cat toy with a photo of a cat holding the toy

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Materials that you’ll need.

old shirt, packing material, and loose catnip in a bag

To make this no-sew, DIY catnip ball toy, you’ll need an old shirt that has long sleeves, some packing material that makes a crinkly noise that you can put inside, and some loose catnip. You’ll also need a pair of scissors.

You can get loose catnip at pet supply stores, and usually in the pet aisle at any grocery store. I’ve had some lying around for a while, and I have no idea why, but I was able to use it for this project.

I used an old shirt that was a knit fabric, but you might want to use something that’s woven because the cats won’t be able to rip it as easily. If you’re not sure what the difference is, knits are stretchy like a t-shirt, and wovens don’t stretch, it’s what dress shirts are made out of.

I decided to take a chance with this shirt, even though I knew that my cats would probably destroy it, because it really was too stretched out to donate, and I didn’t want to just throw it out without trying to make something else out of it.


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Make the toy.

cutting the sleeve off

turn the sleeve inside out

This process took literally 5 minutes. Start by cutting the sleeves off of the shirt and turning them inside out.


end of the sleeve cut in half

On the cuff end of the sleeve, cut the cuff right down the middle to make two tie ends, for lack of a better term.


knotting the end of the sleeve for the no-sew DIY catnip toy

Tie a tight knot in those two ties and make sure that it’s secure.


turning the no-sew DIY catnip toy right side out

Turn the sleeve right side out.


right side out no-sew DIY catnip toy

It should look like this now, with the knot on the inside of the sleeve.


knotting the no-sew DIY catnip toy

Test to see how much room you’re going to need to make a knot in the other end of the sleeve once you’re done filling it, and make sure that you don’t fill it more than that.


filling for the no-sew DIY catnip toy

Cut the packing material up (I used some old foam packing stuff that came in a package from somewhere) and stuff it into the sleeve.


testing the knot for the no-sew DIY catnip toy

Leave enough room that you’ll be able to tie a knot in the open end.


adding catnip to the no-sew DIY catnip toy

Pour some catnip into the sleeve on top of the packing material. The more you add, the stronger it’s going to be, but I wouldn’t put too much in. No matter what you do, it’s possible that the cat will rip through the fabric, and you’ll have catnip everywhere. That’s no big deal, but you will need to vacuum if that happens, so if you put way too much catnip in there it’s going to be a bigger mess.


knotting the no-sew DIY catnip toy

Tie a knot in the end of the sleeve that’s still open and make it really secure so that the cat won’t be able to rip it open while they’re playing with the toy.


finished no-sew DIY catnip toy

That’s it! Now you have a catnip toy, and you’ve reused an old shirt that you would have thrown out anyway.


For an article with some unique gifts for pet owners, click here.



Give the toy to your cat.

showing a cat a catip toy

Now you can wave the toy under the cat’s nose to get its attention, and then throw it so that the cat goes to play with it.


cat playing with a catnip toy

If your cats are anything like mine, they like a toy for about 20 minutes, and then they forget that it ever existed.

(Side note: Yes, I know that I need to vacuum the carpet in here. I feel bad that the vacuum scares the cats, though, so I put off doing it since they’re always hanging around in here. So…oh well.)


cat playing with a catnip toy

Catnip toys are a little bit different from other kinds of cat toys, because as long as the catnip has a fragrance to it the cat’s going to come back to it eventually.


cat playing with a catnip toy

My cat seem to enjoy this toy, and I made a second one while he was playing with that one because I have two cats.


cat playing with a catnip toy

This way they can each have one and play with them at the same time if they feel like it. Or what could also happen is that they will ignore them at the same time once the catnip loses its fragrance.

At that point, I can either just throw it out or I can open the knot and put more fresh catnip in there. That’s a good thing about a no-sew toy, you won’t have to undo seams to replace the catnip on the inside.

Have fun making yours, and leave me a comment telling me whether it went well and whether your cats liked it or not.


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Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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