Being an avid crocheter and a new cat owner, I wanted to combine my interests and make my furry friends some cat toys. I’ve already got the amigurumi down, but adding cat nip to a small crochet project broke new ground for me. So how do you do it? It’s not hard, folks.
Cat nip will affect about 50% of cats; when sniffed it acts as a stimulant, but when eaten it acts as a sedative. For this post, the focus is on sniffable cat nip that will remain in a toy, but you can buy a cat nip plant at your local nursery for your cat to eat if you wish. Cat nip is readily available in pet stores, in the pet section of many big box stores, and online. Organic cat nip seems to be readily available in major stores. It comes in various forms, such as dried or in sprays (for spraying your cat’s toys, scratching posts, etc.) For the project in this post, dried cat nip is best. However, if you’ve already made, stuffed, and closed a toy, you can spray it with cat nip sprays for a similar effect.
So what’s the best way to put dried cat nip inside a cat toy? Some toy descriptions I’ve found state that the entire toy is filled with cat nip, such as the Tickle Pickle. If you have enough cat nip to fill your project, go for it. I would not recommend this for a crocheted toy though, unless your crochet is very tight, because the cat nip could fall out. This may be better suited to a felt or fabric toy, something with a weave tight enough to hold the itty bitty pieces in.
For the projects I’ve made so far, I cut a tiny rectangle (or two squares, but that means that you have to sew an extra side) out of scrap material, folded it in half, sewed it up on two sides (3 if you’re using 2 squares instead of a folded-over rectangle), filled it with cat nip on the open side, then stitched up the last remaining open side to make a little cat nip-filled pouch. My rectangles have been pretty tiny (the biggest being about 3″ by 1.5″) because I make pretty tiny toys for the cats. I have no set amount of cat nip nor set size of square, you can adapt it to fit the size of toy you’re making. Mine are big enough just to sit on the top of whatever I’m making (like on the head of a jellyfish or in the belly of a mouse,) and then I fill the rest of the animal with polyester stuffing. It’s up to you whether you want your pouch to be big enough to fill the animal or just sit along the side. Once you have your finished pouch, start crocheting your toy. When you’re ready to stuff, insert the pouch in first so it’s right up against the crochet where the cat will be able to smell it best, then fill the rest with your choice of filler (I use polyester stuffing.)
This is still my first method for adding catnip to a toy. I’m sure that there are more methods I’ll find eventually, but this is working for now. My two cats, Daisy and Tiggs, have been spotted snuggling with the crocheted mice and jellyfish. The relaxed snuggling is short-lived, because soon after they’re bouncing around with the effects of the cat nip. It does make them love playing with their crocheted jellyfish-on-a-string toy though, which may be a future mini-tutorial.
Has anyone else tried adding cat nip to homemade toys? Experimented with what works and what doesn’t? My two feline toy-testers are working hard on these, but I’d love to hear if anyone has further insight.