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How to Make a Dog Toy Out of a Cat Toy

Frankie is a picky dog.

He is picky about food, both what he eats and where he eats it; he won’t touch anything outside the house. Since he is diabetic and he needs a full stomach in order to get his insulin, this can require some special planning.

He is also picky about his companions. He will tolerate dogs on the trail who do not attempt to interact with him, but doesn’t permit them in “his” backyard or house without a great deal of vocalizing. It’s the same with humans. He has chosen the one he wants — me — and the rest are pretty much filler.

And he is very, very picky about his toys.

Frankie’s first favorite squeaky toy

Early on in my relationship with Frankie, I discovered Dr. Noyes plush squeaky toys, wondrous playthings with Velcro openings and replaceable squeakers.  Frankie selected one toy in particular on which to lavish his affections: A squeaky chile.

As I discovered after several months of intensive use, the squeakers could be replaced but the plush material could not. To my dismay, when I went to buy a new chile, I discovered that the toy had been taken off the market!

I tried to tempt Frankie with a variety of small Dr. Noyes dog toys:

No go. He scoffed at them all.

I am not known for my skill with needle and thread, but my friend Rebecca — a.k.a. Frankie’s rescuer — is not similarly sewing challenged. Knowing my desperate plight, she repaired Frankie’s chile for Christmas:

She did a wonderful job but, as with the original chile, time took its toll. A small plush toy can only be mended so many times.

A wonderful discovery

You know what they say about necessity being the mother of invention. Frankie needed a squeaky toy. He needed it bad.

One day, while I was browsing the aisles of my favorite feed/pet supply store, I realized that Dr. Noyes — by then a division of Kong — made a toy of a similar size and shape to the squeaky chile: The catnip carrot, pictured at the top of the post. It just happened to be designed for a different species.

I thought that, since it featured the same Velcro seal and interchangeable innards, I could adapt the toy for his Frankieness.

The experiment was such a huge success, I thought I would share the process with you. You never know when you’ll have a squeaky toy emergency.

How to Make a Dog Toy Out of a Cat Toy

Step 1

Set aside the container of catnip, pictured to the right of the carrot; reserve for a deserving cat.

Step 2

Pluck the feathers from the carrot:

This process is so easy it makes me wonder how many feathers decorate the couches of cat owners who purchase this toy. It also occurred to me that this situation was  begging for a practical joke involving a canary, but I decided to grow up and just discard the feathers.

Step 3

Insert squeaker.

Step 3a

Curse when you realize you don’t have a squeaker.

Crap. I thought I had several small squeakers available. Each Kong dog toy comes with an extra.

Apparently I used up my supply of the carrot sized variety.

But wait! There are a host of non-Kong toys that Frankie has rejected that have squeakers in them. The lack of Velcro access presents a problem, but not an insurmountable one.

Step 3b

Eviscerate old squeaky toy.

Post-op eviscerated gopher

Step 3c

Insert gopher squeaker into carrot.

Carrot awaiting transplant of gopher squeaker

Step 4

Admire your handiwork.

Before and after squeaky carrots

Step 5

Interest dog in toy.

Mission accomplished!

Frankie loves his new squeaky carrot, making it all worthwhile.

***

This is one of the final posts for Will My Dog Hate Me. I hasten to assure you that I will continue to cater to Frankie in the manner to which he is accustomed, even if I don’t write about it.

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34 Comments

  1. Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    LOL! I love the comment about the canary. Eviscerating the unused stuf toy happens here all of the time – only it’s not me doing it if you know what I’m sayin’.

    Great idea though. I really love that Frankie prefers alter cat toys. That last photo with his carrot is so cute!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Luckily, Frankie is not destructive as well as picky! Otherwise I’d really have trouble keeping up with his squeaky toy needs.

  2. Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    There is a talent you kept hidden ! I had to laugh on step 3A, it’s where all my DIY attempts end eventually.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Well, I didn’t want to intimidate anyone…

  3. Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it weird how our dogs will love one toy and reject another that seems practically the same to us? Glad you came up with a creative solution to the discontinued toy problem. Frankie looks like he loves his new carrot!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Yes, dog works in mysterious ways 😉 And Frankie does love his new carrot.

  4. Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Great job! Frankie looks so cute and happy in the photo. Clearly he has been fooled. 😉

    And yes, those feathers get every where. Every. Where.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Thanks for confirming my suspicions about those feathers, Kristine. Fooling Frankie into doing various things is my mission in life 😉

  5. Rebecca
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t help hoping there might be a market for reconstruction of beloved but irreplaceable toys. You know, for the dog who had everything!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      It would work as long as the dogs no longer play with them!

  6. Posted June 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    CindyLu actually has this process down to a science – and a simple one at that.
    1. Steal toy from household cats.

    Ask any feline here, and you’ll get a face-full of hissing about how CindyLu has swiped all their toys, chewed on them to get them appropriately canine-fragrant, and then leave them lying around as the ultimate na-na-na-na-na. She also eats catnip. Sigh…

    That said, this is an awesome idea of how to craft a toy that you wish, but can’t find in the store! Go, Frankie, have fun!!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Ha — that’s just what Frankie needs: A couple of cats! I think I’ll threaten him with that if he doesn’t shape up and play with the easily acquired dog toys.

      Does CindyLu get high on catnip? Or is it just another na-na-na?

  7. Clare
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Martha Stewart, step aside: Dr. Jarolim has eclipsed your creativity with surgical precision!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      If only I had had that spare squeaker on hand I could have given Martha a run for her money…

  8. Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Does Frankie know just how fantastically wonderful you are? Seriously. That Frankie is a lucky boy. Kolchak had a toy as a puppy that was his absolute favourite. It was this tiny black vinyl duck and holy woof, did he love that thing! After about 2 years, the vinyl started to breakdown and dry out…The toy was long discontinued, so replacing it was out of the question. In a moment of pure insanity/desperation, visited on of *those shops* in *that neighborhood* for a mystery product call “vinyl conditioner”. I don’t even want to talk about what it’s usually used for, OK? DON’T GOOGLE IT. That brazen little move bought ducky an extra 6 months before Kol when to squeak him one day and he literally crumbled in his mouth. **cue incessant puggle crying here** After a few days, I (finally) thought to call the manufacturer to see if they had ANY left, offering to buy them by the bunch if they did. The kind, kind Customer Service Gal there was so kind and sent us an entire case that they happened to have in the office! **JACKPOT** I can’t help but think that perhaps both my dogs and yours are spoiled.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Ha, that story about the vinyl made me laugh out loud. I’d say you have it all over me when it comes to securing Toys for Life for your dog. But of course they’re both soooo worth it.

  9. Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    What a great idea! You did a good job.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Thank you! If only Frankie knew…

  10. Posted June 29, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Ha, ha. Pretty ingenious of you!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 30, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Thank you!

  11. Posted June 30, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    That’s great! One of my dogs is similarly picky with toys. Now I have a new option to try.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 30, 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Happy to help!

  12. Posted June 30, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Your squeaker transplant-fu is excellent! I *knew* that you had a little DIY know-how in you! Awesome job 😀

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 30, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      “Squeaker transplant-fu” — love it! And, coming from the DIY queen, that means a lot!

  13. Posted June 30, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Hi Y’all,

    Hey, can I trade my Human in for you or Jodi? I could be Kol brother and protector.

    Just wanted to stop to see how your week was. Hope your weekend is a great one!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 30, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      I’m sure your human is an excellent toy provider, not to mention caretaker. Since you are a big guy, I bet you’re harder on your playthings than Kol or Frankie.

      Thanks for coming by. Have a great weekend yourself!

  14. Posted June 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Oh Dog! That’s a great idea!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Frankie agrees!

  15. Posted June 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Hey Frankie, Jet here.

    Boy is your human crafty! Little Miss Chewminator would destroy that in a millisecond!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted June 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Frankie says it’s his due. And (shhh) he doesn’t have as many teeth as he used to have so his toy destroying days are past. Thanks for coming by!

  16. Posted June 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    bol Frankie! just dropping by from the blog hop … as they say… a battered toy is always the favorite toy. Anyway, glad to know that dad-Eddie has built-in innovation talent…heheh…happy chewing the carrot x0x0x Vanilla Bean

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted July 1, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Thanks for hopping by!

  17. Posted July 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Well, you’re certainly going out with a bang, Edie. I think you put Martha Stewart to shame with your creativity so practically applied.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      I’m trying, but I don’t think Martha has anything to worry about…

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