DIY: How to Make a Catnip Toy From an Old T-Shirt (My Cats Love This!)

This project is so easy — you just need an old T-shirt, a pair of scissors and some catnip. Yeah, you can do this.

From encouraging exercise to rewarding good behavior, catnip is commonly used in playtime for cats.

My cats seem to love catnip, so I grow some in a planter pot on my porch for them to enjoy. Because I use catnip to encourage my middle-aged cats to get up and play, I decided to make catnip toys using items from around my house.

If your cat is a fan of catnip toys, follow these steps to make your own.


  • An old T-shirt or cloth
  • A pair of scissors
  • Catnip

I used fresh catnip from my garden, but dried catnip from a pet supply store also works.

Photos by: Kirsten Peek/Petful


1. Cut the shirt.

Cut squares of fabric at least 3 inches wide and long. You can make several toys with one shirt.

2. Make the filling.

If you are using fresh catnip, shred it into smaller pieces. I also cut up tiny strips of fabric to add to the filling of the toy so that it is more fun to toss around for the cats.

3. Stuff the toy.

Add a couple of pinches of catnip and some fabric shredding to the center of a fabric square.

4. Seal it up.

Fold up the edges of the fabric square so that all the filling settles into the center. Give the toy a little twist to separate the center from the edges. Using a small strip of fabric from the shirt, tie the twisted area tightly. Be sure to use a double knot and then trim excess fabric as desired.

5. Share with your feline friend.

The final step: Offer this DIY catnip toy to your cat and make sure they approve! Not all cats enjoy catnip or experience effects from it, so never force it in your cat’s face.

If catnip is something your cat enjoys, they will seek it out and start playing with the toy with minimal encouragement from you.

By the way: Petful publisher Dave Baker also made a catnip toy. He suggests using an old sock. Here’s how his turned out.

Kirsten Peek

View posts by Kirsten Peek
Kirsten Peek lives in Austin and works for a nonprofit organization and as a freelance writer. She previously worked as an adoption counselor at a no-kill animal shelter throughout college as she earned her journalism degree. In her spare time, she fosters for local shelters and spends time with her adopted dog, Flea, and 2 adopted cats, Sarabi and Mufasa.

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