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November 18, 2021

DIY Washable Snuffle Mat to Keep Your Cat Engaged

  • Engagement
  • Happy Cat
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No lazy kitties around here. A homemade interactive mat is perfect for happy cats. 

You love your cat, and your cat loves you. But when real life creeps in, you don’t always have time in your busy day to give your pet the attention they deserve.

Enter the DIY snuffle mat to keep cat engaged. What is a snuffle toy? It is a fun and interactive puzzle made from soft layers of fabric that encourage your cat to sniff, search and hunt. To use the snuffle mat, hide a few treats or kibble within the fabric and watch your cat sniff, pounce, paw and claw to find the hidden prize. After a few uses, you can throw it in the wash to freshen it up. Just make sure you shake out any leftover pieces! 

The best part about a snuffle toy is that it is easy to make one yourself. It also gives you a way to repurpose those old t-shirts we all have lying around into something interactive for your cat. 

What You’ll Need 

  • Non-skid sink mat (made from rubber or bendable plastic with lots of holes punched into it) 

  • Old t-shirts and/or fleece fabric (approx. 1.5 yards of fabric) 

  • Scissors 

DIY Snuffle Toy in 5 Simple Steps 

Step 1 

  • Cut fabric into strips (7” L X 1.5” W), about 100-to-200 strips, depending on size of mat. 

  • Precision isn’t necessary. In fact, irregular lengths of material make the toy more fun. 

Step 2 

  • Start tying fabric strips to mat. Push one end through a hole and pull it out through the hole next to it. 

  • Tie the strip just once. No need to double knot. 

Step 3 

  • Take the second fabric strip and push it through the second hole alongside the existing strip. Pull it up through the third hole and tie it just as you did the first strip. 

  • Repeat this step for two rows. 

Step 4  

  • When the first two rows are complete, grab another piece of fabric and push it through the first hole in the first row. Take the other end and push it through the first hole in the second row. Knot it on the same side you have made the previous knots.  

  • These strips will be perpendicular to the first two rows and will create the nooks and crannies that are perfect for hiding treats. 

  • Continue between the first and second rows until completed. 

Step 5 

  • Continue the process until all holes have been looped with fabric. 

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How to Use Your Snuffle Toy 

Using a snuffle is super easy. Run your fingers through the fabric until most strands separate and stand up. This will expose all those secret spots where treats or kibble can hide. Sprinkle a small amount of your cat’s kibble throughout and give the mat a good shake so everything falls to the bottom and creates an excellent challenge for your cat. 

Give your pet some space to smell and explore the mat however they wish. The toy should hold up to several uses before it starts looking a little dingy. Not to worry, just throw the snuffle into the washing machine when it needs a refresh and let it air dry. 

Sit Back and Enjoy the Show 

Every animal tends to interact differently with the snuffle, and it is fun to see your cat’s unique personality come to life depending on how they approach the toy. Are they cautious and methodical with how they extract each treat? Or do they attack the mat with gusto, giving it a good shake causing the kibble drop out before their eyes?  

The nice thing is that there is no wrong way to approach this fun and creative toy. Your cat will be entertained, challenged and full of treats when playtime is over. Win, win, win.


Author

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NOW FRESH Team

A Team of Dedicated Pet Parents + Nutrition Experts

We all want our cats and dogs to lead happy, healthy lives. We’re here to help you, with easy-to-understand information about your pet's daily care and feeding.