Santy Claws Is Coming to Town!

Some of you may already know about my social allergies. I don't like talking to strangers and I despise talking on the phone. With anyone. How am I supposed to help the cats at the shelter if I can't function socially at a basic level? 'Tis the season to give!

Maybe a monetary donation?

*flips empty pockets inside out*


I know! I can make kitty toys at home like the good hermit that I am!

Catnip Toys for the shelter

This post has lots of pictures, so I'll try to keep the text to a minimum. Keep in mind that I didn't use dry catnip, I sprayed a catnip mist on the finished toys instead.

The materials I used are:

- twelve 11.5 by 9 felt rectangles in festive colors ($3.00)
- four bags of cotton balls ($3.20 at Target)
- thread ($2.60 at Hobby Lobby for one spool, plus more of my own thread)
- catnip spray ($2.90 at Target)
- socks, if you're making stuffed sock-pillows

It cost just under $12 to make a whole lot of toys! I made 12 body pillows and 18 small toys! That's a steal!

Let's start with toys for the adult cats! For the big too-cool-for-toys cats I made some body pillows/bunny-kicking sticks. They were extremely easy to make, even for a big non-sewing, needle-phobic like me. I used a sewing machine (after I figured out how to make it work!), but they can be hand sewn if you arm yourself with plenty of time and patience.

Catnip Body Pillows/Bunny-Kicking Sticks

Step 1- Start with a 11.5 by 9 felt rectangle. This will be enough to make two bunny-kicking sticks. I buy my felt at Hobby lobby, but you can use other fabrics and work with different sizes.

Step 2- Cut the felt rectangle in half.

Step 3- Take one piece and fold it in half.

Step 4- Sew along the bottom and the long edge, leaving the top open. I found that felt clings to itself and I didn't need to use pins to hold it in place. I used a contrasting green thread so you can see where the stitches are.

Step 5- Flip the tube inside out to hide the stitches. Doesn't it look like an abstract white seal?

Step 6- Stuff the tube with cotton balls or another non-toxic batting material. If you're using dry catnip, now would be the time to sprinkle it all over the cotton balls. I sewed all tubes first and then stuffed them with cotton all at the same time.

Step 7- Sew along the open end of the tube to seal up the bunny-kicking stick. Repeat all steps for the other half of the felt rectangle.

Here is Kitty demonstrating how to hoard a bunch of body pillows. Don't you find it pathetic that I use a stuffed animal as my pet?

Kitteh hoarding pillows

And here he is demonstrating how to use one as a bunny-kicking stick!

Kitteh bunny-kicks!

An even easier body pillow is a sock, stuffed with cotton balls (and dry catnip) and sealed up at the top. These socks were a Christmas gift from a couple of years ago. There is something very wrong about socks with individual toes, so I never wore them.

Catnip Santa sock for the shelter

Kitty thinks the Santa Sock is very comforting...

Kitteh and Santa sock

Now moving on to smaller toys, let's start with the easiest ones:

Catnip Empanadas!

Step 1- Start with a felt circle.

Step 2- Fold it in half and sew it up almost all the way shut, leaving a one inch opening. Stuff it with cotton balls (and dry catnip, if you're using).

Step 3- Sew up the opening to seal the deal!

Who ordered the Festive empanadas?

Kitteh with empanadas

Now let's make some festive toys!

Catnip gingerbread men:

Step 1- Trace two outlines of a gingerbread men on a piece of felt.

Step 2- Carefully cut out the gingerbread men. If you're using a sharpie like I did, cut along the inside of the markings to make sure the kitties don't eat any ink.

Step 3- Place one gingerbread men on top of the other (oh, grow up!), and sew all along the sides from shoulder to shoulder, leaving the head open. It's always good to have an open mind! :-P

Step 4- Stuff the little dude with cotton balls and stitch up his head.

I made one with a face and one faceless. The one with the face looks way too creepy!

Kitty likes the nip-man!

Kitteh and gingerbread man

There ya' have it. If I can do it, you can do it! I am in no way a professional crafter, I just like getting crafty. Hopefully this post will inspire other crafty kooks to make some toys for their local shelter kitties.

Happy Holidays, Merry Catmas, Happy Festivus, whatever you're celebrating I hope you have a catnip-good time! *Meow*


  1. Too cute! I think my menagerie needs some kitty epanadas :)

  2. Hahaha
    This is the funniest post I have read in a long time!! It made me giggle out loud!
    Maybe because I can relate to the social inadequacies! And kitty is SOOOO cute! My partner is allergic to cats, so I need a Kitty just like yours! He does a great job at demonstrating how to use the toys. He should become a cat model!


  3. I love this post!! Kitty is such a good helper, and I know of lots of cats that would love those toys! You are so sweet to make them!

  4. It's so nice of you to make homemade gifts for the shelter Kitties!

    I love the festive themed nip toys, the candy canes and gingerbread dudes are so cute!

    And the kick pillows are a great idea, my boys love bunny kicking long thin toys! (they have one called a 'Wiggly Waggler' which is their favourite! It's like a knitted banana sized/shaped catnip toy with wooly plaits at the end. They are knitted by a lovely lady who sells them on e-bay).

    Kitty did a great job of modeling the toys too! I hope the shelter kitties enjoy them :)

    Oh- and I totally concur ~ toe socks are so wrong!

  5. I totally get it (we share the same love for strangers and public places)!!

    The toys are amazing!! You are quite the Crafty Kook... :o)

    We bought 'nip at the grocery store last night for our cats for catmas and one of them immediately attacked the canvas grocery bag that it was packed in. Silly boy.

    I will have to post the photos of them DESTROYING the cardboard packaging that it came in.

  6. Jes - Your menagerie would probably be most happy with catnip empanadas! I hear they are the new "it" toy among Hollywood kittehs! :-P

    Tahn - I'm glad this post made you giggle out loud! It's always good not to take one's social inadequacies too seriously, isn't it? I will probably write a whole post about being socially challenged soon, but not a bummer post, a giggle inducing post! ;-)

    Tara - Thank you! I hope the cats love their toys! I would like to make toys for every holiday, so they would pretty much have new toys all year round!

    Becks - Thank you! I just googled the Wiggly Wagglers and the kitties that are playing with them look so happy! Aww, happy wiggly-waggling kittehs! Toe sock haters of the world unite! :-D

    Lisa - Gotta love the strangers! :D
    Your cats are funny! That nip sure gets them all hyper and psycho! Do post picture of them destroying the packaging! :-)

    Sal - Thank you! I hope the cats think the same thing when we deliver the toys later today. We're taking them over to the shelter in about an hour! YAY!

  7. So cute! I like the cat hoarding the toys. You are so crafty!

  8. Those are all such great gifts--must make a doggie variation for The Girls! And I must admit that when I saw the first cat photo, I thought it was a REAL cat! (yikes).

    Hope you and Mr. Kook have a most wonderful Christmas and enjoy your time together over the holidays! Big hugs to you! xo Ricki

  9. I love this. It's an awesome reminder that everyone has their own talents to give. I especially love the festive little xmas toys. You're so creative as always.

    Hugs for a great holiday,


  10. I love this. It's an awesome reminder that everyone has their own talents to give. I especially love the festive little xmas toys. You're so creative as always.

    Hugs for a great holiday,


  11. They are so adorable! I almost think I could make these, except for my totally rational fear of sewing machines and sewing needles... I tend to have to pay... in blood! Hence I don't really sew. (Says the vet... it's OK though, suturing is another matter... hee). But maybe, just maybe... for the good of kitties everywhere....?

  12. Those are all so cute! Your so talented :)

  13. Jenn - Kitty says thank you! He also said that he's a professional hoarder and that you should not try this at home! :-D

    Ricki - Kitty does look very lifelike, doesn't he? Thank you for the warm wishes, I hope that you, Mr-Gift-Shopping-Procrastinator, and the girls had a wonderful Christmas too! :-)

    Kelly - Thank you! I also believe that everyone has their own talents to give. Most of us associate donations with money, so sometimes it can be hard to figure that out!

    Susan - I had a fear of sewing machines and sewing needles too, but after much fighting and frustration I seem to have won the sewing battle against the machine. The needles on the other hand still scare me!

    Michal - Thank you! Honestly, it didn't take a lot of talent to make these... which is why I was able to make them! :-P

  14. you never cease to amaze me, River! your idea to make these adorable catnipped kitty toys is the best ever! i'm gonna have to follow your lead and create some for homeless kitties here as well! i love the face on the catnipped man, and i think your stuffed kitty = the best! :) totally made me smile! yay! i hope your holiday is super stellar, and thanks again for another fantastical krafty idea!

  15. You are awesome, River! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

  16. I love these! I share your phone!!

  17. Jessy - Thank you! I hope you have fun making kitty toys too! We're going back to the shelter tomorrow to see how the cats liked them. Isn't Kitty cute? :-)

    Mihl - No, you are awesome! Thank you, we did have a nice Christmas. I hope yours was great too!

    Amanda - Hello, fellow phone hater! One of these days I am going to write a post all about my phobias, it will probably be a funny post! :-D

    Melisser - Thank you! I hope the kitties liked them too! We will find out tomorrow when we go visit them again.

  18. Those are adorable! You are so creative River. Those are much better than a money donation. Happy Holidays!

  19. Haha! I love your new blog. And I love those posed photos with the stuffed kitty!

  20. Oh my lord...why are you so awesome?!?!

    I love the gingerbread one...too cute!!!

  21. I have social allergies too, hehe. I also want to help the kitties at the shelter so I'm donating some of my Christmas money to help them!

    The gingerbread cat toys are beyond cute!

  22. Kiersten - Thank you! Hopefully at some point when we're not broke we will be able to do both! :-)

    Bianca - Welcome to mah crib! Hee hee! Isn't Kitty handsome? Don't say that in front of him though, his head is already too big!

    Denny - Answer me this: why are you so awesome? :-D

    Stacey - Aww, you are so sweet! Those are some lucky kitties! :-)

  23. This post is so adorable! Thanks for making me smile!

  24. What a great resource!

  25. Diann - Aww, I'm glad I made you smile! :-)

    Thanks Anon!

  26. So glad I spotted this at the bottom of your latest post - to have not seen this would be criminal! I LOVE LOVE LOVE all these little crafts - they are super awesome River and so are you. I'm thinking of all the little kitties in the animal shelter that woke up on Christmas morning with one of these in their stockings.
    Re: socail allergies and hermitism. I hear ya there gal.


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