Six Budget-Friendly Enrichment Ideas for Your Cat | Lola The Rescued Cat
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Six Budget-Friendly Enrichment Ideas for Your Cat

Welcome to the third post in our new series, Enriching Your Cat’s Life. Today we are going to discuss inexpensive ideas to create an enriched environment for your cat.

Enriching your cat’s space not only makes them happy, but it can also reduce stress and eliminate behavior problems. There are some very nice products available to cat parents, many of which can be on the expensive side. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enrich your cat’s life, though. I have some fun, easy ideas that are cheap or free! 

Six Budget-Friendly Enrichment Ideas for Your Cat

Muffin Tin Food Puzzle

Give your cat’s brain a workout and fulfill their natural instinct to hunt for their food at the same time. 

Note: Lola The Rescued Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

The materials you need are a muffin tray, treats or kibble, and a few of your cat’s toys.

Place a few treats or pieces of kibble in some of the muffin cups, and fill the tray with some of your cat's toys. Set the tray down and let your cat go hunting! 

Paper Products

If you order from Chewy or Amazon, you have free enrichment materials right at your fingertips. Before you take that box and paper packaging out to the recycling bin, think twice. Placing the box on the floor instantly creates something new and exciting for them to explore and nap in. Try putting the box in a private place, like a corner, so your cat can have a new hiding place.

Our friends Alli and Max of The Kit Kats love playing with the packing paper from their Chewy orders. Throw some of the paper down on the floor so your cat can have hours of fun. Allie and Max say "Chewy Crinkle Paper = pawesome fun!" 

Lola and Lexy's friends Alli and Max of the Kit Kats. 

A paper bag can give your cat a fun place to play and hide in. (Make sure you remove any handles so your cat doesn't injure themselves by getting stuck in them.)

Cat Carriers

That's right, I said cat carriers. Keeping the carrier out gives your cat a nice, cave-like hiding place. (This can also get your cat better acclimated to the carrier which can reduce stress during vet visits.) 

If the door is removable, you can take it off if it makes your cat more comfortable. 

Teach Your Cat a Trick

Teaching your cat a trick is a fun way to interact and spend more time with them. Many years ago I taught my cat to fetch, and it was a game we enjoyed for a long time together. Jackson Galaxy has a few tips to get you started. 

I taught Lexy to do a high five, and she's very proud of it. (She is not proud, however, of the poor quality of the video! We're still learning.) 

Lola and Lexy's pal, Summer, has a few tips about training your cat outdoors (on a leash and harness, of course!) 

Make Your Own Cat Toys

Pipe Cleaner Corkscrew Toy

Wrap a pipe cleaner around different sized pens or markers to make a corkscrew toy. (Make sure to bend the ends in because they could be sharp if you don't.) 

Toilet Paper Roll Fringe Toy

This couldn't be easier. Cut approximately one-inch strips into the toilet paper roll all around the tube on both ends to make fringe. Fan out the fringe and you've made a very cute toy your cat can bat around. 

Crinkle Sock Toy

This toy is super easy. All you need is a sock and some wrapping or packaging paper. Fill the sock with paper, tie a knot, and voilĂ ! Your cat has a new crinkle toy. 

I sprinkled some catnip on the sock so Lexy could have a new catnip kicker. A better idea would have been to put some catnip inside the sock. I'll remember that next time.

Catnip Marinade

If your cat's catnip toys have lost their potency, make a catnip marinade. I put some of the girls' favorite toys in a jar with some catnip and let it sit for a day or two. It was like giving Lexy brand new toys. 

Wand Toy

I made a simple wand toy with pipe cleaners and a piece of paper. I made a fan out of the paper and wrapped a pipe cleaner around it. Then I attached a few more pipe cleaners to make it longer and I was done. 

Shaker Toy

How cute is this shaker toy? 

To make it, bend in the ends of a toilet paper roll to look like cat ears. Place a couple of bells inside, bend the other end in, and tape both ends closed. Decorate it with a cute cat face, or another drawing, and that's it! 

Bird TV

There are tons of videos on Youtube for cats. Lola enjoys TV time with me at night, but she much prefers her bird TV. 

Do a search for bird videos for cats to watch, wildlife videos for cats to watch, and squirrel videos for cats to watch, and your cat will have hours of TV fun. I've started leaving the videos on in the living room during the day while I'm working in another room in the apartment. 

These are just a few ideas you can implement in your house. There are literally hundreds of things you can make or do that are cheap or free, especially if you're handy with a glue gun or can sew. The things I did with Lola and Lexy prove that you don't have to be a crafting queen to make your home fun for your cat. In the sources section below I will leave links to several sites that have many enrichment ideas. 

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I hope you enjoyed our "Enriching Your Cat's Life" series. If you've missed any of the previous installments, make sure to read How to Create a Cat Friendly Home and Six Tips to Excite Your Bored Cat

What do you do to make an enriching environment for your cat? Share your ideas in the comments. 




Would you like to comment?

  1. Those are all fun ones and we might have to try some of those soon.

  2. I LURV the idea of making a shaker toy out of an empty toilet paper roll!

  3. L & L....we cracked up at yur commentz bout de cat carrier....

    and ya noe; thiz post waz goin sew grate...we waz reedin it two de gurl N tellin her...ewe could due manee thanx for de tipz !! ♥♥


    we getted ta de end ~~~~~~~~~~

  4. Thanks for taking the time to share these excellent ideas with us. The teaching a new trick one is what we did with our kitty at house. They now play fetch with us with there ball toys. We loved all these ideas. Have a wonderful day.
    World of Animals Rittenhouse

  5. Those are all great ideas. Flynn would have had the time of his life with all the boxes regularly arriving since the pandemic started! Eric used to love to play fetch with rolled up paper.

  6. What great ideas! We love to play with paper. The mom says she's going to stop spending money on toys and just give us a paper bag. :)

  7. The cupcake tin food puzzle looks interesting though I may have to dig deep to find a tin as I don't bake myself Probably buried in the back of a cabinette!

  8. Nice high five Lexy. My Rosie loves the red string videos for cats. These are all great ideas. Thanks for the kind words you left for me on the loss of Jinx. XO

  9. Those are awesome ideas! We love the toilet paper roll shaker toy!

    1. I can't wait to do that one and the sock crinkle toy!

  10. I love these ideas! Lots! And THANK YOU so much for sharing the video!

  11. Great ideas! I think the toilet roll one might be fun. I always love a good box and paper bags so Mum saves those (wiping them down first because of Covid). The paper makes a nice crunching sound when I pat it with my paws :)

  12. I am ABSOLUTELY going to do some of these things! This was a great lot of ideas /thoughts how to enrich their every day life. Thanks, Girls. Smooches atcha! XX

  13. Those are some super ideas that we will be using this Christmas Season Thanks

  14. Lots of great ideas for DIY cat toys that are low cost and even things children can make.

  15. paper bags are the best! Thanks for the great ideas!

  16. OMC, Lexy does an excellent high five! Loved seeing it in slow mo too!

  17. These are all wonderful ideas, and great on a tight budget. Dad says he's gonna try the crinkly sock thing, and I'll urge him to add some 'nip! Thank you for all the cool tips!!


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