Frugal and Homemade Winter House for Stray Cats

Frugal and Homemade Winter House for Stray Cats

The link above describes the process that we followed in creating an insulated house for our local stray cats. As winter gets closer, we want to do what we can to help those kitties who live outdoors or who may be stray cats. The house that we made for these cats only cost us $5.00. If this protects any of these cats, then it’s money well spent.

Preparing for Holiday Crafting

preparingforholidaycraftingAs money is a bit tight this year, I will have to make all of our holiday gifts for family and friends. Although purchasing a lot of crafting materials is tempting, I just can’t do it at this time. To make the crafts truly frugal, we’ll have to make do with what we have on hand. And doing that often requires a bit of patience as well as preparation. Today I’ve begun preparing the materials for two holiday crafts.

dryinglavenderleavesThis past spring we purchased a lavender plant. It has grown to be quite healthy and big, but there were not enough blossoms to harvest for any project. I therefore did a bit of looking around on the internet, and I discovered that I could also use the leaves from the plant. I picked the leaves from throughout the plant, providing me with a modest amount for drying. These I scattered over a piece of newspaper placed in an old pie tin; that was also covered with another piece of newspaper. I am hoping that this configuration will allow the leaves to dry properly as long as the tin is shaken each day so that the leaves dry completely.

makingplasticyarnAdditionally, I also began creating some plastic “yarn” from bags that we had lying around the kitchen. I have been crocheting with plastic bags since 2005 and have used several different methods for creating yarn. I have found the method below to be the easiest, and it also results in the strongest yarn possible.

First, simply lay the bag flat on the ground and cut off the top and bottom of the bag. Next, cut the remaining bag into loops, giving you several loops from one bag. These loops will be connected by threading them together. After you have connected the loops, you can wind the “yarn” into a ball, just like regular yarn. This method should give you a double-strong yarn that will withstand some tugging when you crochet. Just continue adding loops on to the free end to make the “yarn” longer or add new colors.

Finally, one caveat if you have cats. They love to “help,” especially with the yarn. My little helper particularly enjoyed stealing the ball of plastic yarn and running away with it. As these crafts aren’t compatible with kitty kittieslovetohelpassistance, then I would highly recommend doing them when they are sleeping or otherwise occupied. Also, be sure and store them somewhere the cats will not be able to access.

Although these tasks may not produce very flashy results as of yet, they will pay off in the long run. Making use of what’s available is certainly a frugal way to create crafts for holiday giving. Being creative and resourceful allows us to participate in gift exchanges, even on a small budget. Too, these crafts are environmentally friendly as they utilize materials in a new way.

Frugal Cat Toys Made with Paracord

frugal cat toys made with paracordI knew very little about cats when I adopted my oldest one; I naively assumed that she would be similar to dogs as far as her needs and desires. Consequently, during my run to Wal-Mart for cat supplies, I purchased a big bag of the catnip-filled mice so that I could make her feel welcome. Seeing the new toys, she walked away in disdain. Obviously, I had a lot of learning to do.

Since then, I have realized that cats often prefer frugal, homemade toys over the expensive ones found at pet stores and mass merchandisers. Too, with their claws and sharp teeth, they can easily destroy the poorer quality toys, making these toys a needless expense for you and a possible health hazard for them. By making your own toys from materials at home, you can avoid these problems and provide your cats with hours of safe and cheap fun.

When I looked for ideas for frugal cat toys online, I found many websites that referred to toilet paper rolls, foil, milk rings, and such, but very little in the way of something new that could be achievable by anyone. Below you will find some tips for making paracord toys for your cats.

Paracord Toys

You may be familiar with paracord in relation to the survival bracelets that are so popular right now. Paracord is essentially a “tube” of material with smaller strings inside to provide strength. Although paracord can be found at your local hobby store, you will most likely find a better bargain by purchasing it online at one of the larger websites that specialize in it. Many of them regularly run sales for the larger quantities, thus making the purchase a bit more frugal. To get updates on their sales, I recommend following the company’s Facebook page as they will often post their latest bargains and coupon codes on Facebook.

GrantwithtoyWhen you are shopping for paracord, you will find several different weights, including nano, micro, and 550. I prefer 550 paracord for making toys for our cats as it is strong and thicker than the others. You can also find many different knots to use in making your toys, and your cats will most likely enjoy all of them. As far as videos and instructions on tying knots, I can recommend You will find many exciting and inspirational guides on this site.

As you make your toys, one thing to keep in mind is varying the length of each toy as well as the knots used will provide your cat with an assortment of choices, thus eliminating boredom. Too, be very careful in securing the ends of any cut paracord. The ends should be melted completely so that the inner strings cannot come loose and endanger your cat. Always monitor the current condition of these toys for any fraying or the loosening of these inner strings. Personally, I prefer to keep these toys out of the cats’ reach unless we are playing with them.

Adding Found Objects

We have made several cat toys made of paracord alone, but we have also tied on objects for added interest. For example, my husband added wires to one toy so that our cats could have “ribbon” that could not be shredded. Other items to look for might be milk rings and plastic caps. The only limit is your imagination. wirecattoy

One important caveat: make sure that any attached item is securely knotted onto the paracord. Also, as with the above toys, always observe the condition of the toys and keep them out of your cats’ reach when not in use.

Long Lasting Toys

Personally, we have found cat toys made from paracord to be very durable and long-lasting. This makes them much more frugal than the commercial alternative. Too, you are making these toys yourself, and so it is a nice way to show your cat just how much you care. Additionally, the homemade aspect allows you to make toys that will fit your cat’s personality and special needs, thus making them very personalized.

Above All, Be Safe!

Above all, consider your cat’s safety when making these toys or playing with them. The toys’ condition should be regularly inspected, and I highly recommend that these toys be kept out of your cats’ reach when not in use.

Although you may be purchasing paracord to make cat toys, you might possibly find that tying paracord is an enjoyable hobby. My husband certainly enjoys making us many different useful and fun items. Not only your cats, but you yourself may benefit from the venture. Creating cat toys—and stuff for humans—from paracord can be a cheap means of entertainment. Just use your judgment when playing with your cats and their new toys, and you both can have frugal fun.