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Author Topic: Make your own toy mouse  (Read 17913 times)
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catbird
Guest
« on: September 17, 2007, 01:22:53 PM »

With the current news about toxic pet toys, I thought some people might be interested in making toys yourself.  You can always stuff a small sock with catnip and tie it shut, but for those of you who would like something a little more elaborate, you can make your own safe, non-imported toy mice for your cats to play with!  You probably learned all the skills you need in kindergarten.  If you can sew on a button by hand, you can do this.  Remember, the cats don’t care if it looks perfect or not.

Materials:
--Scraps of medium-to-heavy fabric (pieces of old pants or lighter-weight blue jeans work well.  If you are using new fabric, wash it several times with your regular laundry first to remove fabric chemicals)

--Polyester stuffing (available in fabric stores), or old T-shirts cut into small pieces, to stuff the mice

--Scraps of yarn for tails (optional—some cats will pull off the tails and might swallow them.  You know yours best.)

--Piece of stiff paper, like construction paper, or re-use a thin piece of cardboard from a box you are discarding in your trash, to make the pattern

Tools:

Scissors
Needle and thread (sewing machine is optional)
Pencil or crayon to mark on fabric
Permanent marker (optional—to draw eyes and nose on mouse)

What to do:

Remember making hearts for valentines when you were a kid?  Start by doing that:  Fold the stiff paper in half.  Draw half a heart on the paper along the fold.    Cut through both layers and open out into a heart.  This is your pattern.  Any size is OK but it will be difficult for you to handle if it is too small.  I generally make them about 4 inches long.

Trace around the heart pattern on the fabric.  Cut out the fabric heart.

Fold the fabric heart in half the same way the pattern was folded, and begin sewing the edges together, starting at the point.  If you are hand-sewing, have the wrong sides of the fabric together.  (Machine-sewers, you need the right sides together and should leave a very narrow seam allowance.  I’m assuming I don’t need to explain to you how to do this.) Sew about ½  to ¾ of the way around the heart.  Use small stitches close together if you are hand-sewing, and go over the the cut edges of the fabric from front to back and come out the front again for each stitch (overcast).  (Machine sewers should now turn right side out.)

Stuff the mouse with stuffing material that you chose.  A pencil is handy for poking the stuffing into the point.  (You can add catnip to the stuffing if you wish.) Finish sewing it shut.  When you get to the end (the V of the original heart), make several small stitches in the same place and knot the thread.  Then put the needle into the mouse and come out about an inch away on the seam (the place you have been sewing, for you non-sewers.)  This will help anchor the thread.  Cut off the thread even with the side of the mouse.

The pointed end of your toy is the nose of the mouse.  You may now draw on eyes, nose, and whiskers with the permanent marker.

To make the tail, cut three pieces of yarn about 5 inches long.  Knot them together at one end.  Braid the pieces together and knot at the other end.  Sew the tail to the ”rump” (rounded) end of the mouse.

Admire your handiwork for a minute and then toss to the cats!

A great project for Scouts, after-school groups, etc.

For those of you with more sewing skill, a more complicated version is here:

http://sewing.about.com/od/freeprojects/ss/catmousetoy.htm
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purringfur
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In my heart forever...


« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2007, 01:53:59 PM »

Catbird, thank you for the instructions!  I've never done anything as elaborate as mice!  I just sewed squares of fabric that I stuffed with sterile cotton balls and a little catnip.  I dry our catnip each year and save it for the winter and spring months.  When the catnip toy gets "stale," I just pop it in a Zip-loc bag with ground catnip for an hour, and it's refreshed (read, "stinky") for many more play times.  Kitty loves to snag the toy with a claw and toss it in the air!

I have some soft vinyl and cloth toys that I have to throw out.  I'm thinking of buying a few lead test kits just to see what I find out...
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JustMe
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My RB Angels Elvis, 1991-2010, and Twit, 2001-2010


« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2007, 03:23:11 PM »

Cool.  Thanks catbird and purringfur.   Grin
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Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.
Poem for Cats, author unknown

"A kitten in the animal kingdom is like a rosebud in a garden", author unknown
MrsP
Guest
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2007, 03:31:18 PM »

If anyone's a knitter, I've made the Bumble Cat Toy, the Catnip Mice, and the Whale Cat Toy from this site. http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/directory/pets.php
The only thing I do differently is an I-cord for the tail on the mice.  It's harder for them to chew off.  (I wonder if I can do lead testing on yarn.)

I like your sewing patterns.  I know what I'll be doing next. 
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JustMe
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Posts: 10517


My RB Angels Elvis, 1991-2010, and Twit, 2001-2010


« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2007, 03:39:05 PM »

Nice, MrsP.  I crochet and knit.  Haven't in awhile.  Time to start again.  I saw the knitted eye patch.  May make that for my little one-eyed kitty. 
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Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.
Poem for Cats, author unknown

"A kitten in the animal kingdom is like a rosebud in a garden", author unknown
MrsP
Guest
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2007, 04:03:13 PM »

If you crochet, there's this site.
http://www.crochetpatterncentral.com/directory/pet_items.php
My cats love the spider.
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JustMe
Administrator
Hero Member
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Posts: 10517


My RB Angels Elvis, 1991-2010, and Twit, 2001-2010


« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2007, 04:21:51 PM »

I love to crochet. 
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Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.
Poem for Cats, author unknown

"A kitten in the animal kingdom is like a rosebud in a garden", author unknown
catbird
Guest
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2007, 05:42:04 AM »

Thanks, Mrs. P!  I have done a lot of crocheting, but I had never seen the spider one!  I'll bet mine would just love it.  Can't wait to get started on some!

The reason I stuff my cat toys with polyester fiberfill or old T-shirt scraps is so that I can then throw them in the wash when needed.  They sometimes need to be plumped up a bit afterwards, but the cats take care of that.
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my4meezers
Full Member
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Posts: 90


« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2007, 07:43:08 AM »

Thank you for the catnip mouse idea, catbird.  I've made the square catnip toys before, but the mouse sounds like a great idea for gifts.  We make sure all our family's and friends' cats get gifts for christmas.  I'll have to make some extra to go with my next donation of kitty pads to our local no-kill shelter too.
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catbird
Guest
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2007, 07:52:39 AM »

If you cut multiple pieces of fabric at once and sew by machine, you can really crank out a lot of the toy mice in a short time, especially the simple heart ones.

Lots of happy kitties this Christmas!   Cheesy
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MrsP
Guest
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2007, 08:19:49 AM »

I sew and save larger scraps from my projects. Thank you so much for the heart-mouse pattern, catbird, and thanks to my4meezers for the shelter suggestion.
 Smiley
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palbuddy
Jr. Member
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Posts: 33


« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2007, 05:49:51 AM »

i have a question . i love the idea of making your own toys, ive been doing that myself lately since i have been to every pet store and cant find one american made toy of any kind. my cats love those fur mice, (all made in china)so i had this idea, i cut up my grandmothers old fur coat and started making all kinds of toys, all the cats love them. i have been giving them away to friends and all their cats love them too. must be because its real animal fur. since i used an old rabbit coat and did not harm any new rabbits in the process is that unethical since it is real fur. i dont want to ruffle any feathers or make any animal lovers mad. i thought it was a good way to recycle old coats. what do you think? i really do value all of your opinions so much, my friends think i should try to sell these toys at some local pet shops and i would like to give them to some local rescue centers but i dont want to do the wrong thing. thanks in advance for your feedback.
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Cats are not our whole life... they just make our lives whole!
my4meezers
Full Member
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Posts: 90


« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2007, 07:23:02 AM »

I sew and save larger scraps from my projects. Thank you so much for the heart-mouse pattern, catbird, and thanks to my4meezers for the shelter suggestion.
 Smiley

I can't always afford to give the shelter money, so I figured making kitty pads was a great way to help out the shelter kitties.  I usually make one side from fleece - we all know how much kitties like fleece.  A local discount store usually has fleece throws that are very inexpensive (I' ve gotten them from $3 - $6 each), so I buy those to make the kitty pads.  It ends up being much less expensive than buying fleece at a fabric store.  Now I can make catnip mice from the scraps Grin 
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catbird
Guest
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2007, 08:00:04 AM »

Another cat toy that you can make from the fleece scraps:  Take the long thin fleece strips that may result from trimming the seams of the cat pads. The strips need to be about 1/2 inch wide. Sew or knot together the ends of a couple of strips to make a piece 30-36 inches long.  Then sew 2 or 3 pieces about 1 1/2 inches long by 1/2 inch wide to one end of the long strip, in an X or * shape.  Great for those string-loving cats! (All mine are.  They invented this themselves once when I was sewing fleece cat pads.)

I have seen something like this sold as a commercial cat toy in stores for $5-$10.  You can make them for nothing.  Fleece is soft and not abrasive when playing tug-of-war with the cat, and these are too wide to be swallowed (always a risk with string-like things.)
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MrsP
Guest
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2007, 01:37:50 PM »

Everyone has such good ideas.  I bought leftover upholstery from the thrift store today.  I picked the good heavy stuff without plastic backing.  Maybe I can make dog toys, pet beds, etc. from it.

Palbuddy, You didn't buy it, you're recycling it.  The only thing I would worry about is mothballs, or dry cleaning fluid.  I think I'd air the material well. 
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