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Cactus Catnip Toy

No prickly needles, all pouncing fun! Cats can't wait to play with a soft, colorful toy that's filled with enticing catnip.

two felt cactus cat toys

Photography: Kara Whitten

Source: Martha Stewart

Introduction

This idea comes from our friend Kara Whitten of A Kailo Chic Life. Catnip toys are a great way to entertain your cat and aid in healthy exercise. Don't worry about this toy falling apart: "The process of needle felting creates a solid toy. And because of the nature of the wool, the more the cat plays with it, the more the cat helps to felt the wool (with their nails, much like a needle felting tool) and the stronger the bond between the fibers becomes," she explains. "Plus, they are the perfect way to incorporate catnip into a toy." The strong aroma of catnip invigorates your cat's instinctive desire to catch prey, and the toy itself is perfectly sized for chasing, batting, and wrestling.

 

If you're looking for more ideas, scroll through our collection of cat crafts.

materials

  • Wool roving in green, white, and pink (Similar to pictured: Ashland Bay solid-colored merino wool roving, in Bottle Green and Kiwi, $2.70 per ounce, theyarntree.com.)

  • Felting mat (Pictured: Clover needle felting brush mat, in Large, 3 1/4" by 5", $18, clover-usa.com.)

  • Needle felting tool (Pictured: Clover needle felting tool, $17, clover-usa.com.)

  • Felting needle

  • Catnip

steps

  1. Place wool roving onto the felting mat, layering pieces of it into the shape of a cactus. (Note: No need to get it perfect at the beginning as you felt, you can add more roving to create a perfectly shaped cactus.)

    forming cactus shape on felting mat
  2. Punch the roving all over with a needle-felting tool, manipulating the roving with your fingers as you work until the fibers begin to bind together to create a solid piece of felt fabric. (Tip: Always be sure your needle is pointing straight down, not pointed on an angle as it can break that way.)

    green felt cactus on felting mat beside felting needle
  3. Once the roving has solidified into a cactus shape (about 10 to 15 minutes), flip the toy over, and add a sprinkling of dried catnip.

    dried catnip sprinkled on green felt cactus
  4. Add more roving and needle felt into shape to safely encase the catnip in the cactus toy.

    more felt applied to green cactus on felting mat
  5. Add more roving as needed to get the desired cactus shape and size. For details, use thin pieces of white roving to add cactus spines or pink roving to add cactus blossoms.

    applying white roving detail to green felt cactus
  6. Use a single felting needle to work the detail pieces into the main felted cactus toy. (Note: Once the toy is sufficiently felted, it should be firm and hold its shape well. The details should be well attached to the cactus shape and not able to be pulled off. If you can loosen them at all, continue to use the needle to felt the toy for another 10 minutes until it becomes very dense and solid.)

    needle applying pink roving detail to green felt cactus

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