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Cattail Catnip Toy

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Just ONE seam is all the sewing required to make a Cattail Catnip Toy. Fill with catnip and tie into segments. Your kitty will lick it and pummel it with rapid-fire kicks in appreciation. Not every cat is into catnip, and kittens ignore it; but in a lifetime of living with cats, I've never had one who didn't enjoy catnip playtime. The trick is to limit use to about once a week to avoid desensitization. Our Cattails also make a great fundraiser for animal shelters. A volunteer can make a dozen in a couple hours, and it takes very little sewing skill.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Instructions and supplies are for ONE Cattail. Bet you can't make just one.

  • One or more cats (we enlisted Alicia's cats: Chloe Madeline and Trixie Marigold)
  • ¹⁄₈ yard of 44-45"or wider home décor weight fabric, twill or canvas per Cattail. For our Cattails, we used Olive Rose Home Dec by Valori Wells for Free Spirit Fabrics in HDVW13Blue, and For Your Home by Vicki Payne for Free Spirit in HDVP02Bark.
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors
  • Pinking shears (optional)
  • Straight pins
  • 1¼ cup organic catnip per cattail
  • Chopstick
  • 1 yard of cotton or wool yarn or twine per cattail

Getting Started

  1. Download and print our 8½" x 11" template: 1000-pattern-Cattail_Catnip_Toy_Template.pdf
    IMPORTANTYou must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out each piece along the solid line and tape together at the points indicated by the arrows.
  3. Press your fabric to remove any wrinkles.
  4. Using your pattern piece, cut TWO pieces.
  5. Pin right sides together as shown below:
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At Your Sewing Machine

  1. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all around leaving the end open as shown on the pattern piece. Trim seam using pinking shears (or scissors) as shown:
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Finish Your Cattail

There are marks on your pattern piece that indicate the position of the fold and placement of the ties. The diagram below shows the exact measurements and positioning:
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  1. Turn the Cattail right side out using the rounded end of your chopstick. Use your chopstick to round out the curve at the end.
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  2. Place on pattern piece to find fold line. Pinch either side and fold inside. You can smooth the fabric inside using your chopstick.
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  3. Fill with 1¼ cup of catnip. A large funnel makes this step easier. Use your chopstick to poke the catnip through the funnel.
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  4. Your pattern piece has dots along one side that show where to tie the yarn. You can refer to it, or just eyeball it. Just be sure that the folded end falls below the first tie. Start with this first tie, which will close the Cattail. Double wrap the tie, and then double knot it. Trim the tie to about ½". Place the three remaining ties.
    NOTE: It helps to shift the catnip inside so you have kind of an empty spot where you tie the yarn.
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Hints and Tips

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When your kitty tires of the Cattail after a play session, place it in a Ziploc bag out of reach of your cat. It helps retain freshness. After the toy starts to loose its catnippy zest, roll it between your hands to crush more of the leaves inside. This action reactivates it and makes it last longer.


Project Design and Sample Creation: Alicia Thommas


Comments (12)

Lori Bell said:
Lori Bell's picture

Love this easy idea - I'm gonna make these for a fundraiser - I have a few more cat toy ideas too - our Gizmo needs some expensive medical treatments so I plan on using these ideas to help fundraiser for his medical bills

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Loti - That sounds like a fabulous idea. Our best thoughts for your Gizmo.

Jeannie - jpthequilter said:
Jeannie - jpthequilter's picture
I used to make my cats little gray catnip mice with heavy string tails.
The cats used to leave them everywhere, so that I would step on them.
This was lumpy and uncomfortable so I changed the colors to bright orange,
so that I could see them, but this had the unfortunate happenstance that visitors thought my cats were mildly demented to be captivated with carrots!!!
Mary Lou said:
Mary Lou's picture
What a great idea, the cats in my life and a couple at no kill shelter are gonna go drooly for this toy! Thanks for the posting
Donna Y said:
Donna Y's picture
I love this idea. I grow my own catnip. So, now I have a project to make which will keep my girls very happy.
Debbie St.Germain said:
Debbie  St.Germain's picture
With my cats, catnip is asking for trouble, lol.
They find enough ways to drive me nutssmilies/wink.gif

michelle.granato said:
michelle.granato's picture
smilies/smiley.gif I am going to make these for my kitties today. They will love them. The ties that make it "bendy" are great idea. And so is using organic catnip.
K said:
K's picture
Hmm...I guess I'd better take the catnip toy away from my cat then before she becomes desensitized! I made her one from cloth scraps a few weeks ago and it just hangs out on our living room rug. She grabs it every few days and gives it a good beating! smilies/smiley.gif
LCO said:
LCO's picture
I love it! My cat adores catnip, so I might just have to make this for her one day! smilies/grin.gif
SusanDrOh said:
SusanDrOh's picture
My cats are going to love these the next time we go out of town! I usually just sprinkle some on the floor for a treat, but this will be much less messy! Thanks!