How to Build a DIY Electronic Cat Toy That Keeps Kitty Occupied for Hours

Building an electronic cat toy can provide hours of stimulation and entertainment for your furry friend. With just a few common materials, you can create a fun DIY toy that will keep your cat engaged and active. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to build your own electronic cat toy at home.

Materials Needed

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Set up the Arduino and Servo

First, I connected the servo motor to the Arduino board using jumper wires. The servo requires three connections - 5V power, ground, and a control pin. For this project, I used pin 9 to control the servo.

I uploaded a simple Arduino sketch to sweep the servo back and forth repeatedly. This allowed me to test that the servo was connected and functioning properly before continuing.

2. Add the Ultrasonic Sensor

Next, I connected the ultrasonic sensor to the Arduino using jumper wires. This sensor requires four pin connections - 5V power, ground, trig (trigger), and echo. For this project, I used pins 12 and 13 for the trig and echo connections.

In the Arduino code, I added logic to read the ultrasonic sensor continuously and check if any object (like my cat) is within 12 inches of the toy. If so, it sweeps the servo, simulating prey for my cat to "catch".

3. Build the Toy Housing

I used cardboard, hot glue, and tape to build a simple housing for the electronic components. I made sure to leave the front open so my cat could see and interact with the moving toy attachment.

I also added some decorations with colored tape and markers to make it visually interesting for my cat. The housing helps protect the electronics from cat claws and teeth.

4. Attach the Cat Toy Piece

For this toy, I used a colorful felt mouse attached to the servo horn with a rubber band. As the servo rotates back and forth, it makes the mouse "scamper" around.

Other good options are feathers, pom poms, ping pong balls, or crinkle paper - anything that will get your cat's natural prey drive going. Make sure it is securely attached to withstand your cat's hunting instincts!

5. Turn on and Test!

With the housing complete, I turned on the Arduino and made sure the ultrasonic sensor successfully triggered the servo and moving toy when I waved my hand in front of it.

Once it was working reliably, it was time to see how my cat reacted! I put the toy on the floor and let my cat discover it. Just as I hoped, the moving toy immediately caught my cat's interest. Every time she approached it, the servo swept it around, prompting my cat to pounce.

Tips for the Best Cat Toy

With a simple Arduino circuit, servo, and sensor, you can build an interactive DIY cat toy that provides hours of entertainment for your pet! Adjusting the materials and code allows you to customize it for your own cat's personality.