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DIY: Dog and Cat Toys

DIY: Dog and Cat Toys

Step-by-step directions to make a T-shirt tug toy for your dog and cardboard play pals for your cat.


DIY T-Shirt Tug Toy for Dogs

One of the best and easiest ways to make your dog happy is to play with him. As Tracey Stewart says in Do Unto Animals, “chew toys provide an unlimited amount of entertainment and relaxation,” so show your unlimited amount of love for your best friend by using an old tennis ball and T-shirt to make a new chew toy for Fido.

t-shirt tug toy for dogs


  • T-shirt
  • Tennis ball
  • Scissors or a drill



  1. Cut the T-shirt vertically into three 5-inch-wide strips.
  2. Cut two holes in either side of the ball carefully, using scissors (or a drill).
  3. Tie the ends of the T-shirt strips together in a knot.
  4. Braid the strips into a rope, stopping halfway down.
  5. Thread one of the loose strips of T-shirt fabric into one hole in the tennis ball and out the other.
  6. Continue braiding the fabric strips until they are completely braided. The ball should be secured in the middle of the rope with a braid on either side.
  7. Tie a knot to secure each end of the rope. Your dog should be able to take the ball in his mouth while you pull on either end of the rope.


DIY Cardboard Play Pals for Cats

One way to make sure your cat is happy at home is to give her a variety of toys that will provide hours of fun and activity. "Playing with different toys helps them to practice their coordination, adjust to the speed of moving objects, and gauge distance by pouncing," says Stewart in her book. Grab that empty toilet paper tube and make a new toy for when the fake mouse loses its appeal.

cardboard cat toys


  • Empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls
  • Scissors
  • Colored duct tape 



  1. Collect empty paper rolls of different sizes.
  2. Cut patterns along the rolls, spiraling from top to bottom or adding frills on either edge.
  3. Stick colored duct tape along the rolls as decoration. 


Excerpted from Do Unto Animals by Tracey Stewart (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Illustrations by Lisel Ashlock.

do unto animals by tracey stewart


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Tracey Stewart is a passionate animal advocate and former veterinary technician. She is the founder of the, which provides parents and kids with fun, easy, and effective ways to contribute to varying kinds of nonprofits. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, and their 15 pets.

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