Actually, I do have to say that now we have Ava, a second high energy cat trumps a wand toy, and playing human-cat chasey will sometimes trump a wand toy - but it's not so physically easy on the human! So wand toys are very, very high on the list of ways to expend cat energy. As you can see from Ava's picture, the 'flop' is what we aim for when we play. This is a cat who is thoroughly satisfied with playtime. And depending on our cat, we may need more than one flop!
High energy cats are also often high-intelligence cats. This means they need heaps and heaps of variety in terms of toys, play style, and changing up the environment. Variety captures their intense interest and keeps them going bananas during playtime. So here are a few more home-made toy ideas we have used with success. You can roll the toys, throw the toys, and of course, do the ultimate - tie or fix them to a wand like the 'DaBird' wand:
-Scrunched up Alfoil (good for sound)
-A piece of baking paper (good for sound and satisfying to shred, but lasts longer than tissues or paper)
-Twist ties. Get six and add them together one by one, by twisting each one around the middle of another. You end up with a 12 legged 'spider' that has great tactile interest as it is a bit 'springy'. You can see how crazy Kato went for this toy when he was a kitten: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8nb2JPJ0Kk
-Remove the rope handles from gift bags. They're thick enough not to be eaten and a nice soft toy. Our cats carry these around the house and sometimes will play fetch with one particular orange rope.
-If you sew, fabric offcuts, ribbon, and most dressmaking things are endlessly fascinating. Lycra fabric is nice as it is stretchy and doesn't fray. I have had to rehome my pin cushion though - into a screw top tub.
-Packaging. Bubble wrap, product tags, firm moulded plastic like a nanobug package (even has a hole so it can easily be attached to the 'DaBird' wand!)
-Paper-towel roll. Well, you CAN give it to them complete with the paper towels and they will definitely love it (you may not), but I speak more about the inner cardboard tube. Cut it into various sizes - you could even cut the tube open for something a bit sneaky that 'grabs' back at a paw.
-Plastic Milk Bottle Rings, or similar. Yesterday we had fascinated cats using a small clear plastic ring from a pop-top choc milk bottle. They make an interesting scritchy sound.
And then...you COMBINE toys. The toy in the photo above is a paper-towel roll (cut small), plus one side of the nanobug plastic package. The two together make a good scritchy sound, and somehow, when you add two things together - even when each individually is 'exhausted' - you have a brand new interest grabbing toy!