It's just a fact: cats are easily bored. So much so that if you're not careful, you could spend yourself into the poorhouse trying to keep up with their toy addiction! But there are plenty of ways that you can keep your finicky friend entertained while safeguarding your budget. If you want to save money on cat toys without depriving your poor, needy kitty of his favorite amusements, then you've come to the right place. In this article, we discuss a number of ways to keep the fun going without you having to mortgage your home in the process.
Make Your Own Cat Toys
This is going to require you to get very crafty and very much involved – or you could delegate toy-making responsibility to some unwitting participant. Either way!
Homemade cat toys can range from the very simple to the ornate and complex. Simple playthings usually include items that are readily available in the household, and consist of things like toilet paper or paper towel rolls, boxes or pieces of cardboard, string or straws. Mid-level homemade toys may include scrap material, thread, and a few pieces of hardware like sewing needles. Advanced items will often require larger swaths of material or old clothing, as well some technical skills like crocheting, knitting or sewing.
Regardless of your crafting level, you may not need to buy a single thing. If you do, though, you can cut down the price by purchasing items from thrift shops. For example, you can make kicker toys with second hand t-shirts, blue jeans, or dress shirts, and use old pillows or stuffed animals for filling. In fact, there are a lot of items you can salvage from the children's section to create your DIY cat toys. For instance, you can use the handles – and even the rope itself – from an old jump rope to create a brand new teaser toy.
Buy Toys in Bulk
If your feline has a toy that he is particularly fond of – or better yet, a type of toy – then you can absolutely take advantage of bulk buying. It may be tough to find bulk budget cat toys in brick and mortar stores; however, there are plenty of places that sell these large, inexpensive setups online. These toys are generally meant for pet stores – both online and off – but most will sell them to anyone without requiring a vendor's license. What that means for you is having to buy infinitely less often, and a deep discount when you do.
Although online stores are the best places to find bulk cat toys, there are still a few in-person shops that sell both bulk and heavily discounted toys. Do a quick search for pet supply distributors in your area, and you will likely find a handful nearby. Just be sure, before you stop in, to check if there are any buying requirements – like special retail licensing or buyer minimums.
Buy Handcrafted Toys
If you want inexpensive cat toys that are also a little uncommon, then you might want to look into some handcrafted options. Although a lot of handmade items can be a tad on the pricey side, many crafters are willing to part with their unique items for considerably cheaper than the big brands. Websites like Etsy and Ebay are good places to start, as a lot of creatives divide their time on these two platforms. If you do try either website, though, just be sure to include the word “Handmade” in your search, otherwise you might end up with a whole horde of overpriced brand-name toys taking over your results.
As with anything else, do your research before purchasing a handmade item. Although most crafters take a tremendous amount of care with their work – not to mention that most of the folks creating pet items are animal-lovers themselves – it is important to ensure that the materials used are safe, and that the quality is sound. Inspect material and ingredients lists, look over the crafter's bio, and read reviews!
Shop for Seasonal or Clearance Items
If you want to save money on cat toys, then you simply must do your holiday shopping... after the holidays. Once a holiday has passed, most stores heavily discount their seasonally-themed items, and this is definitely the case with pet shops – especially the big chain stores. And the further out from the holiday, the cheaper they get. The only downside to waiting is that bargain-hunting folks will snatch up items pretty quickly.
If you get your foot in the door soon enough, though, there's a tremendous benefit to buying out of season cat toys. Not only are they cheaper, they also frequently come in bundles. You may find one off-type playthings, like, say, a single heart-shaped teaser toy after Valentine's day, but certain holidays – like Christmas – often have full package presents. For example, you might find a stocking filled with a variety of toys, like crinkle and jingly balls, stuffed mouse toys, and catnip sachets. The neat thing about buying this way is that you have a supply of fresh goodies that can be spread out throughout the entire year – you may not even have to buy another thing until the next holiday.
One downside, though, is that the items in these setups are fairly basic – if you want some more unique or high-tech stuff, you will have to step away from the seasonal section and look into the clearance bins. Pretty much every pet store has one, and if you can't find it in your store, don't be shy about asking employees. These bins may also contain some of the simpler toys; however, they generally have more unusual items that either didn't move quickly enough for the retailer's liking, or are being cleared out for newer, shinier models. Either way, you'll likely find plenty interesting items at a discounted price, and just like the seasonal items, the longer they sit in the bin, the cheaper they'll become.
Buy Cat-Safe Non-Cat Toys
We've all done it at some point or another – crinkled up a piece of paper and tossed it with the hope of delighting our feline friends. With that in mind, we bring you one of the easiest ways to save money on cat toys: look into cat toy alternatives. Kitties can make a game with just about anything, so you can get creative here. Scour your local dollar or second-hand stores for cat-safe items like large ping-pong balls, children's toys, or plushies.
When you go this route you may need to do a tiny bit of alteration, though you won't necessarily have to go full-blown DIYer. For instance, if your plushy has small plastic eyes, you will want to cut them off. For those same plushies, or any other toy, you might want to make some kitty-enticing enhancements, like stuffing them full of catnip or other plants, or popping on a fuzzy “tail.”
Felines need playthings, they just can't help themselves. In order to save money on cat toys you need to get a little creative. There are plenty of cash-saving methods out there, and I hope that you now have a few ideas that will help you keep up with your kitty's crazed habit all year long!
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