$5 DIY Cat Toy (with Anti-Boredom Clip)

You can build this cat toy for ~$5 from parts available at your local hardware store. The toy dangles a target of your choosing from a length of wire, attached via an alligator clip; if your cat gets bored you can unclip the target and replace it with something new.

Here’s a short video, followed by instructions to build your own:

Note: in this video I’m using a plush mouse for a target, which increases the total cost of the toy, but the last few seconds shows the toy with a cheaper target attached: a grocery store receipt.

Disclaimer: This toy uses metal parts, build and use this toy entirely at your own risk and play safely.


(2) 36″ Lengths of ‘Music Wire’ (1.57 mm thick)
1.57mm Music Wire

(3) Aluminum Cable Ferrules (1/16″)
Cable Ferrules
Check to make sure the tip of your music wire fits through the cable ferrules.

(1) Alligator Clip (1.25”)
1.25 inch Non-Insulated Alligator Clips
Check to make sure your clips have holes on one side (as shown above). Also make sure the tip of your music wire fits through these holes.


(1) Hammer
(1) Needle nose plier
(1) Hard surface for gentle pounding (like a cement block or sidewalk)

Step 1: Attach the First Cable Ferrule

On your hard surface, lay down a length of music wire and cover one end with a cable ferrule.
Cable Ferrule Hammered Shut on Music Wire

To cover the wire’s sharp tip, keep the end of the wire inside the ferrule, just short of flush with the ferrule’s end:
Comparison Images of Correct and Incorrect Cable Ferrule Position

With the ferrule in position, use a hammer to gently pound the ferrule shut:
Hammer Over Open Ferrule On Music Wire

Cable Ferrule Pounded Shut On Music Wire

Step 2: Add the Alligator Clip

After pounding the ferrule shut, take the remaining bare end of the wire, and thread it through the hole on your alligator clip. Make sure the side of the clip with the hole is facing down towards the ferrule on the end of the wire:
Threading Music Wire Through Alligator Clip

Release the clip and let it slide to the end of the wire, stopping at the ferrule:
Alligator Clip at End of Music Wire

Step 3: Crimp the Alligator Clip to the Wire

Using a pair of needle nose pliers, crimp the longer end of the clip around the music wire. This will bend and form the clip closer to the music wire and reduce sharp edges.
Alligator Clip Positioned On Music Wire for Crimping

Needle Nose Pliers Squeezing Alligator Clip Around Music Wire

Alligator Clip Crimped to Music Wire

Step 4: Attach the 2nd Length of Music Wire

With the alligator clip threaded and crimped on the wire, again lay the wire down on your hard surface, and fetch a second length of wire along with a second cable ferrule.

Join the two lengths of wire with the second cable ferrule, again recessing the tips of the wires inside the ferrule, and gently hammer the ferrule shut.
Joining Two Lengths of Music Wire With a Cable Ferrule

Step 5: Attach the Final Cable Ferrule

Position and hammer a final cable ferrule to the remaining bare end of wire (this last ferrule just covers the sharp tip of the wire).
Cable Ferrule Pounded Shut On Music Wire


Have fun attaching various targets to the clip and playing with your cat!