Cats need toys to play with and pounce on and chase around the house. But old toys get boring fast, and new toys get expensive fast. Who would have thought a little bit of fluffy fabric shaped like a mouse could cost $5 or more? However, there are plenty of cat toys you can make yourself, and your cat will find them just as amusing as the expensive alternatives.

Tie a feather on a string to make a floating flyer for your cat. Just be sure that if you found the feather outside, you wash it thoroughly first. Then swish it around the room for some pouncing action. Even a piece of toilet paper attached to a string and swished through the air makes a nice flying bird, and cat toys don’t come much cheaper than that!

You can make a sweet catnip toy for your cat from an old sock. Simply stuff the catnip in the toe, tie a knot on the sock and snip off what’s left. An old pair of nylons will do just as well. You can also poke the little catnip bag into a plastic wiffle ball. Does your cat care that none of these toys looks like a mouse? Absolutely not!

Some cats like to chase a beam of light, but those laser toys aren’t cheap. You can cut a round piece of cardboard with a small hole in the middle to fit over the face of a regular flashlight. The very narrow beam of light that comes out is great to play with, especially at night in a darkened room.

The plastic ring you peel off to open a milk jug is a favorite cat toy, because it is small and light enough for your cat to easily hold in her mouth. A harder plastic ring tied to a shoelace can be dragged across the floor to entice some pouncing on prey.

Just remember to put away the small toys that your cat could chew up or swallow, and all toys with strings or feathers, when you’re finished playing. These are great for supervised play, but unsupervised cats may swallow something they ought not to.