Junk Food Cat Toy DIY!

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial) It is with no hesitation that I declare this to be my favorite project so far all year!! I know, I know, we are only a few weeks into 2015, so that doesn’t seem to be that high a distinction yet, but ask me again in December, and I bet this will still be up near the top of my list. Since the only children at our house so far wear tiny fur coats and sleep 23 hours a day (in other words, they are cats), I have a hard time not spoiling them with fun toys or treats I think they would like. Every time I pick up a new furry mouse toy at the store, my husband rolls his eyes and tells me they already have too many toys and they don’t need any more. And then I think, “But these years go so quickly! Pretty soon they will be off to college, then law school, get married, have kids of their own, and I’ll miss this precious time together!!” Then I remember they are cats and not interested in Ivy League universities, and I reluctantly put the toys back. Sometimes.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to make the kitties’ toys myself for a change, but I was a little stuck on what to make. Mice are so last year (am I right or what?), but suddenly the image of a tiny cheeseburger popped into my head and I knew the answer—junk food toys! They are way easier to make than you would think, and since you can get sheets of felt for around $1 at a craft store, they are also pretty economical too.

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial) Supplies:
colored felt
colored embroidery thread
-fabric scissors
yarn needle
loose catnip

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial) First, start by cutting your shapes of colored felt to represent each layer of your food item. You can see the different pieces I cut above for the taco and the donut toys. Since these food shapes are so simplified, you really don’t even need a pattern to make them. Just think of the food you want to make, and break everything down into the colored shapes that make up that food.

The only thing that was a little trickier was making the top and bottom hamburger “buns” so they would be fluffy and not just flat circles. For each bun, I cut two circles, but made one a little smaller than the other. I lined up the circular edges by making small pleats on the larger circle. That way, they both end up with the same circumference, but the larger circle has a “puffy” middle where you can stuff it with catnip. You could also use this shape to make ice cream cone scoops too.

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial) After your main shapes are cut, add any sewn details you’d like to add with a yarn needle and embroidery thread. For me, this included the sprinkles on my donut, a green detail on the lettuce leaf, and the sesame seeds on my cheeseburger bun. Once your details are added, sew down any felt pieces that go on top of your food (for instance the icing layer on top of the donut and the white fat strip on the bacon).

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial) Put all your layers in order now and start to sew around the edges with a corresponding colored thread. When you get your toy about halfway closed, stuff in as much catnip as you can into the open cavity. Keep sewing and gently stuffing the catnip in until your toy is sewn shut. I recommend using catnip that isn’t ground up into fine pieces for this project so it won’t sneak out of the toy and onto your floors. 

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial) For the toys that aren’t flat (like the cheeseburger and hot dog), I put the catnip in the buns first and then sewed all the rest of their pieces to the catnip laden buns. Once your toys are securely sewn, it’s time to play!

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)
Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)
Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)
Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)
Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial) I can’t even tell you how much I love the sight of Mac eating that tiny cheeseburger. I brought the toys home from work in my purse, and it only took 60 seconds before Mac found the burger and started playing with it. He loves them. I like that the more 3D toys bounce around like a ball when he plays with them, and you could totally attach any of these to a string and a stick to create a hanging toy too. I have lots of other food ideas to make next: a pizza slice, ice cream cone, french fries, a soft pretzel…the list goes on and on.

As far as the durability of these toys go, I think they will certainly be around long enough to get quite a few good plays out of them, but you could also buy a more dense wool felt if you want them to last a little longer. All good toys come to an end eventually though, and I have a few furry mouse toys that have been taken down to the plastic skeletons to prove it! Do you think your kitties deserve a fast food treat? What foods would you make? xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • Ahh! I wish my boyfriend’s dog didn’t eat every toy in sight because I would love to make these for my cat! Maybe I can make a cat-only zone somehow…

  • I love tiny fake food and I love my cat, so this is the perfect combo! Can’t wait to make some for him!

  • Hey! Love these, but I’m wondering what the back of yours look like, like from where you knot the thread? Mine look so ugly and I’m afraid there is a secret I don’t know!!

  • What a great idea, though I’m not sure how long they’d last with my little monster…!


  • Super cute! This makes me really miss my kitties! And good call on using felt–when I had felt around for needle felting, my kitties ALWAYS tried to get at it to play!

  • These are adorable, what a fantastic idea. I will absolutely be making some. One thing I would add though: a little piece of cellophane inside each one along with the catnip so that they make crinkly sounds. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  • These are fabulous! So adorable!

    Anyone have any thoughts on how one might convert these to be good for a dog?

  • This is my favorite DIY you’ve ever posted. What I love about your DIY posts is that they’re always lovely and always so diverse. I loved this one especially because it was such a cute surprise!

  • That is so cute and it looks like it’s really fun and easy to do, even for me that never sewed in my life! I will definitely gonna try this DIY.

  • Love this idea! My cat never really liked catnip sadly..

    Pretty in Python

  • This is such a sweet post, what a great idea, I need to make one for my kitty now, she loves a good catnip toy! Thank you.

    alice xo | beautybyalicee

  • I love this project! Must make some for my kitty! 😀


  • Oh my goodness – these are amazing! I love how they look in little paws xo

    Warm Regards,

  • cute! i try to promote healthy foods so i’d probably make fruits and veggies. a watermelon slice, carrot or a banana 🙂

  • Hi Ashley! I’m so sorry that the app has been crashing for you! We would be happy to assist you with that if you email us at support AT redvelvetart DOT com -Jacki

  • This is adorable. Now I know what to make for the cat lady in my family! Thanks from all the cat lovers 😉

  • Ditto all the extreme cuteness that everyone has said! I loved it all, but especially the part where you said you brought this home from work. Work? What a great job you have when creating toys for your cat is work!

    Keep up the good work!

  • SO so so so adorable! But I don’t have a cat. I do have a 28 years old adult who would love to have those stuff just for fun, though… me! 🙂 Except I might replace the catnip with something else.

  • OMG…! The cutestnes! Such a cool post! Love this post!
    Love from www.trangscorner.com – a lifestyle, cooking, fashion blog

  • I’m sure little kids would have just as much fun playing with these 🙂 Or make these on a bigger scale so that they can be cushions! These are so cute, and perfect for any foodie :3 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • Brilliant! Great photo of big Mac chewing on his new “little Mac”. My favourite make of the year too. My boys are definitely getting some cheeseburgers of their own soon. Thanks for the lovely ideas.

  • I’m definitely going to make some of those wee hamburgers! Our cat loves honeysuckle too – have you ever given Mac honeysuckle toys? I totally took a 2 minute video of our cat enjoying a pierogi shaped toy yesterday.
    xx Allison

  • Hahaha, I loved your first paragraph on the cats going off to college…anyway, as a soon to be mama of a human baby, I think these are so cute (minus the catnip) to make for play food! adorable and easy!

  • stahhhppp this is probably my favorite ABM project ever! My little Luna has his Adoption Day coming up and I will definitely be making him some of these!! The hotdog is too cute. I love making things for my pets! Laura, you would probably love my kitty bow ties: http://www.whattodowithlemons.com/bow-ties-for-kitties/

  • This is such an adorable idea<3 To bad I can’t have a cat because of allergies but I feel like my dog would love these:)


  • Laura, this is fantastic. You are fantastic. Never change! Can’t wait to try and make these.

  • These are so cute! I love how they’re food themed. I’m drawn towards the donut one!

  • Instead of making food shaped cat toys you should fix your paid for app that crashes every time you try and upload something. Very annoying that this is a paid app and it doesn’t even work

  • These are really cute, but couldn’t the kitties pull the thread out and swallow it? If that’s not a concern then I might have to try these, but my cat is the first pet I’ve ever owned so I don’t want to put him at any risk haha.

  • Haha! They’re so cute!! Could do a slice of pizza as well!


  • OMG this is amazing!! My cat is a bit of a fatty so maybe playing with food-shaped objects will intrigue her. Hahaha.


  • These are so cute!! And those pictures of Mac at the end are priceless. Some of my cats have birthdays coming up (is it weird that I know that?) so I might try to make some dessert versions of these instead of birthday cake!

    xx Kathryn

  • That’s not weird at all that you know their birthdays! Dessert toys would be super cute too 🙂


  • These are amazing!! My kitty is definitely getting a few of these! And with valentines day coming soon, I can definitely see some heart shaped toys in the future! 🙂

  • That is so cute! My grandam does some like these ones, and they are like the so little and cute and adorable. It is so great that there is some people in the world who still do this kind of things! With love,


  • OMG, the cutestness, I can’t even handle. I wish my cat liked catnip. The day I found out that she was completely unaffected by it was definitely a disappointing one. Still, I’m sure I can think of a few friends’ cats who would go bonkers for these. Maybe I’ll make sushi? Or an ice cream cone?


    • I also had a cat that ignored catnip. I used regular spearmint from my garden as a trial and she couldn’t get enough of it.

  • Your rant about the cats eventually going off to college seriously made me laugh. I don’t have cats, but I have friends that do, and this would be a sweet DIY gift to make. Plus, I love hand-sewn felt projects!

    Sarah Alves

  • These are solo adorable! My cat has some sushi catnip toys like theses and she loves them. Now I want to make some more for her after seeing these!
    So lovely!
    Tiffany C x

  • Thanks for the tip! They usually chase and bat toys more than keep them in their mouth, but I suppose that is a possibility 🙂


  • You could make TONS of toys with that one pouch, it’s about the size of a cat treat bag and you don’t really use that much per toy 🙂


  • Cats are awesome and hilarious! This would be a good way to use some of that catnip that grows wild on our property. I cut it and dry it, but we don’t have a house cat anymore, and the barn cats must be getting it on their own! Although I do think the Pug would like this. He was raised by a cat.

  • Aw, how cute is this little burger!
    Me and my sisters used to make similar food, for us to play with, when we were little. But mostly from thick cardboard.

  • Wow! I agree this maybe the best post of the year and will be hard to beat! So simple but so outrageously cute! Totally making these for my kitties.

  • This is an incredible awesome idea, kuddos to Laura, I’m very happy that you have a crazy cat lady on your team 🙂 I need to make all of them for our little Juno right away! I will maybe add another filling since Juno doesn’t care about catnip that much.

  • Oh my gosh my boys would LOVE these! I too am obsessed with buying my fur babies toys. And yes mice are so last year! We will definitely be making these!

  • I love this idea!
    I have 2 furry kitties and they would go crazy playing with these!…
    Plus how cute would they look tossing around a donut or hotdog!

    Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  • Careful with that red bacon, your cat will likely get it wet (by putting it in their mouth) and make the colour run. The last thing you want to see is red around your pet’s mouth!

  • I love this idea Laura! How many of those 0.5oz pouches did you need for this? Just the one? Thanks 🙂

  • this is such a cute yet super genius idea…love it! love the simplicity… great idea, and true, the cat playing with it is adorable…


  • I love how you sprinkled kibbles around the treats in the first photo; an excellent and awesome touch!

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