Cat toys are a fantastic way to keep your kitty entertained, physically active, and mentally engaged. They also allow you to bond with your cat by encouraging and teaching them to play, chase, scratch, and hunt. The trouble is, googling “cat toys” alone can send an average cat owner down an internet rabbit hole due to the sheer volume of choices at your disposal.
To help you find the best cat toys for your feline friend – or better yet, the right selection of toys – we went through dozens of different pet toys. The result is this buying guide with some of the best cat toys on the market. So whether you’re looking for a simple but quality cat toy for your multi-cat household or a premium pick for a pampered feline, you’re guaranteed to find it here.
- There are multiple types of cat toys, each catering to suit different needs and personalities.
- Catnip toys are a great way to encourage engagement in nervous or lazy cats.
- Never purchase toys made from toxic materials, as your cat WILL chew them.
- You can use treat dispensers and catnip toys to soothe separation anxiety.
- Laser toys are fantastic for keeping young hyperactive kittens entertained.
An Overview of Our Favorite Cat Toys
The Best Toys for Cats
1 Best Catnip Toy: Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy
- Stuffed with 100% catnip
- Brightly colored using natural soy-based colors
- Made from durable cotton twill
- Doesn’t contain any plastic pieces
This cat toy is designed to quickly become your kittie’s favorite playtime accessory. In some cases, this is the only toy certain cats will play with as they find the 100% catnip filling utterly irresistible.
Suppose you’ve got a kitty that’s finding it difficult to adjust to a new home or perhaps struggles with stress or anxiety. In that case, this can be a beneficial tool to help redirect their attention to something more enjoyable – soothing their anxiety. It may not be the most durable toy, but it is well-loved.
- The use of catnip draws the attention of most cats very quickly
- A fantastic gift for cats with dental problems as it is gentle and easy on the gums
- Though it is durable, it’s not indestructible and can still be damaged during playtime.
2 Best for Active Cats: PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy
- 15-minute automatic shut-off feature
- Laser automatically moves in random patterns
- Can be hand-held or placed on a surface
- Designed for both mental and physical stimulation
- Laser can be controlled manually if needed
This exciting robotic cat toy can be an excellent way to entertain both cats and dogs alike. The PetSafe Bolt is an excellent laser cat toy courtesy of a well-known high-quality brand. Indoor cats with an energetic disposition can become restless without being allowed out of the house – something like this can help burn off some excess energy.
It even has an automatic shut-off after 15 minutes to save power and prevent your cat from becoming accustomed to it. We recommend that you set up an allocated space for this toy so that your cat can have room to move around without knocking anything important over. The area should also be relatively shaded, so they can properly make the laser.
- The device itself is very quiet, making next-to-no noise when switched on.
- The fast-moving laser really encourages playtime.
- The laser is not overly bright so it has to be used to dimmer spaces to get the full effect.
3 Best Cat Puzzle Toy: Petstages Buggin’ Out Puzzle & Play Cat Toy
- No removable parts make it safer
- Made from only food-safe materials
- Contains 14 hidden treat compartments
- Encourages natural foraging instincts
- Can also be used as a slow-feed bowl
This might be just the thing for young kitties who love an extra challenge. A puzzle toy doesn’t just help with cognitive development, but something like this also helps young cats to develop their motor skills, dexterity, and problem-solving skills.
This puzzle contains 14 compartments you can fill with small treats to entice your cat to engage with their new toy, though you don’t always have to fill it with snacks. It’s also designed with no removable parts, so there’s no risk of choking. The only real downside noted by previous customers is that it can be tricky to clean out as the compartments are of an awkward shape and size.
- Designed to be used both with and without treats and can be enjoyable either way.
- The puzzle element is fun but not overly complicated, making it great for young cats.
- The design can be difficult to clean as the treat grooves are awkwardly shaped.
4 Best for Senior Cats: Frisco Butterfly Cat Tracks Cat Toy
- Includes a 3-tier track with 3 balls
- Includes two colorful butterflies on wires
- Nonskid pads prevent the toy from moving
- Suitable for single cats and multiple cats
- Includes a replacement butterfly piece
Cats are highly intelligent creatures that thoroughly enjoy having things to work out, chase, and bat. This toy combines multiple playful factors for your kitty to enjoy. The three tracks contain three brightly colored balls to attract their attention. The tracks themselves are designed to prevent the balls from falling out so that your cat can bat to their heart’s content.
Additionally, a playful butterfly hangs from a wire atop the tracks to give the cat additional stimulation and something extra to chase if they lose interest in the balls. This toy is designed not only for the enjoyment of one cat but can also be played with by multiple cats simultaneously.
- The butterflies provide exciting movement and encourage pouncing instincts
- The balls can’t be removed from the track so it’s guaranteed to keep going
- The butterflies can be a bit flimsy against especially active cats
- A lucky dip of one of three character options
- Every stuffy contains a catnip filling
- Each toy is soft but durable
- Bright colors and crinkle sounds for added stimulation
- Designed to assist with pet/owner bonding
The first thing we should mention with this toy is that you will receive one of three character choices at random when you place your order. The listing can be confusing as they show all three options, but you will get just one. They are durable, joyful, colorful stuffies with catnip in the center for added enjoyment.
A teaser toy is one of the most simple but effective playtime toys for cat owners wanting to bond with their new felines. Simple drag the stuffy along the ground or bounce it in the air to entice your cat to bat and chase it. Just be mindful not to allow your kitty to chew the string as it’s not as durable as the material used for the stuffies and can break.
- This is an ideal cat toy for helping owners to bond with their pets.
- The colors and sounds are stimulating whilst the catnip is irresistible.
- The toys are durable, but the string can’t withstand sharp kitten teeth.
6 Best Value: Hartz Just For Cats Toy Variety Pack of 13 Piece
- A pack of 13 various toys
- Supports both interactive and independent play
- Catnip mice and fish encourage playtime
- Made using pet-safe materials
- Helps to keep cats active and healthy
The perfect little bundle for new cat owners looking to test the waters with various options, or even for someone on a budget wanting to spoil their cat with a selection of bridge and joyful toys to play with.
The Hartz 13-piece variety pack contains a teaser ribbon wand, catnip-stuffed nice and a catnip fish, fuzzy balls, textured balls, and jingle bells. Everything a cat needs for a fun-filled play session.
The various types of toys within this kit can help cat parents figure out the best ways to encourage and bond with their cats. For example, some cats enjoy chasing, while others enjoy batting or bouncing. These are all little details that build their personalities and help to build that bond. The only downside to this selection is that the soft toys are not as durable as you might like.
- A large and eclectic mix of toys of all styles, shapes, and sizes.
- The bright colors and sounds provide a wide range of stimulation options.
- They are not the most durable toys and can’t withstand a lot of aggressive play.
7 Best Mouse Cat Toys: SmartyKat Skitter Critters Value Pack Catnip Cat Toys
- Each mouse is filled with catnip
- Pack of ten nice
- Suitable for multi-cat households
- Ideal for providing daily exercise
- Lightweight toys suitable for all ages
Stuffed with catnip for an irresistible scent that most cats love, these little mice and simple but effective toys harken back to the classics of mice-shaped toys to train and cater to a cat’s natural hunting instincts. They are adorably simplistic in their design, with tiny beady eyes, colorful ears, and stringy tails.
This pack of ten mice is fantastic for houses with multiple cats that enjoy playtime as there is plenty to go around. The only downside is that they are relatively small and can be easily lost. In which case, they would perhaps be the best choice for one particularly forgetful or ditsy kitties with a tendency to misplace their playthings.
- Having a large number of mice means there is plenty to last for a while.
- An ideal pack of toys for households with multiple cats.
- The small size of these mice makes them easy to lose under furniture.
8 Best Cat Chew Toy: Petstages Fresh Breath Mint Stick Cat Chew Toy
- Lightweight toy easy to bat and carry
- Durable netting to enhance dental health
- Combination of sweet-smelling mint and crinkle material
- Can be refreshed by pressing and rolling the center stem
- Measures 4-3/4″ long, 1-1/4″ wide leaves, and 1/2″ wide stem
Are you looking for an enjoyable toy that can provide additional dental support? Many cat owners (and the same goes for dog owners) enjoy a toy that is fun for their cat and beneficial to their health. Though it may not look like much, this Petstages Fresh Breath chew toy does just that.
The stuffing is made up of dried mint, comparable to catnip in its appeal to felines, though perhaps not quite as addictive. The mint helps keep your cat’s breath fresh, while the coarse mesh encapsulating the center stem can help to shake loose tartar buildup on their teeth. You can refresh the mint inside by pressing and rolling the toy.
- The netting provides a coarse texture that can remove soft tartar.
- The mint helps to maintain fresh breath and can be regularly refreshed easily.
- The seams can be damaged by sharp kitten teeth and cause them to rip.
9 Best Cat Laser Toy: Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser Original 2-in-1 Cat Toy
- Animal and human-safe LED light
- Can be used outdoors and indoors
- Trains natural hunting instincts
- Helps cat owners to bond with their pets
- Helps to prevent boredom and irritability
An extremely simple and nifty design. This is not only a cat toy but a multi-use item as it is designed to fit on a set of keys, and you can use it anywhere it may be required. Many cat owners will find that their feline friend reacts to suddenly moving objects or lights (perhaps the reflection from a watch or piece of jewelry), and the choice of a laser pen caters to that reaction.
This laser pointer is a simple point-and-click design, producing a bright red pet-safe LED laser light that can be pointed in any direction. Just press the button and watch your cat leap into action. This is designed to encourage your cat’s instinct to chase, pounce, and capture its prey. And let’s face it, it’s fun for everyone involved!
- Helps cats to burn off excess energy, preventing antisocial behavior.
- The light is bright, effective, portable, and easy to use.
- The button requires quite a lot of pressure to maintain a steady light.
10 Best Electronic Cat Toy: PetFusion Ambush Interactive Electronic Cat Toy
- Comes with one free spare feather
- Pops in and out at random intervals
- Encourages focused, interactive play
- Features an 8-minute auto shutoff
- Anti-slip feet stop the toy from shifting
This toy is for cats wanting to hone those pouncing skills! The brightly colored feather attachment leaps out from the holes in the side of this unit at sporadic intervals to entice the kitty to focus, wait, and pounce when the moment is right!
This is an ingeniously designed robotic toy that is eye-catching yet sleek and able to fit into any home. It can be easily stored and comes with an additional feather attachment if your cat gets a little over-excited during playtime. It even has an automatic 8-minute shut-off to save the battery life between uses.
- Adjustable feather movement speed helps to encourage engagement.
- The bright colors and lights are eye-catching and enjoyable for all cats.
- The feather-holding mechanism can be damaged if a cat is too rough with it.
11 Best Treat Dispensing Toy: Catit Senses 2.0 Food Tree Cat Feeder
- Can be rotated to 3 different size settings
- Base also doubles as a no-spill dish
- Easy to take apart and clean
- Stimulated physical and mental responses
- Not suitable for cleaning in a dishwasher
This doesn’t only work as a treat dispenser to keep your cat entertained in your absence, but it can also be used as a slow-feeder for any cats that tend to eat too quickly and give themselves a stomach ache.
In addition, toys like this can help ease separation anxiety, as you can place the treats in the dispenser and leave while your cat attempts to snag a few snacks. This keeps them distracted and rewards their calm behavior in your absence.
This is a simple, effective, and sleek design that works in most homes. The bowl-shaped base also provides some resistance against mess as it doubles as a dish to collect spilled or dropped kibble or treats. Just be mindful that particularly eager cats may still be able to pull the tower over if it hasn’t been properly secured.
- A cute and simple design that can fit in most homes.
- The rubber mat helps to prevent the toy from slipping across the floor.
- Determined cats can pull the unit over if it hasn’t been fixed in place.
12 Best Tunnel Toy: Catit Vesper Cat Tunnel
- Made of snag-resistant (not impervious) material
- Open-ended design for freedom of movement
- Plush ball toy at the window
- Included cushion with removable cover
- Easy to fold away and store
Not all cats will take to having a tunnel to play in. Some love it and will spend hours hiding away from the world, while others might take one look at the strange tube in front of them and turn up their noses. However, any cat that enjoys a nice place to hide, relax, and maybe even play when the mood strikes them, would love this tunnel.
This is ideal for anxious cats that look for places to hide away from the world during the day. It allows you to peek in and check if they’re okay without them feeling trapped or endangered. The hanging toy at the top opening also allows them to pass the time without having to come all the way out. It even includes a removable cushion for them to rest on the outside of the tunnel if they feel adventurous. Just be mindful of sharp claws with this fabric!
- The hanging toy is great for adding some entertainment for shy cats.
- The tunnel provides cover and comfort for anxious cats that like to hide away.
- The fabric is not able to withstand sharp cat claws so keep clear of overexcited cats.
13 Best Scratcher Cat Toy: Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy
- The cardboard disk is cheap to replace
- Includes a plastic ball on a track
- Lightweight and easy to store
- Takes up very little room
- Carboard is easy on young claws
For those cat owners that perhaps don’t have the space for full-sized cat trees, this lightweight scratching pad could work as a more space-saving and convenient alternative. This scratching disk gives your kitty a place to sharpen its claws and groom, and it is also combined with a toy for entertainment.
Balls on tracks are a long-standing classic with cats as it allows them to practice their instinct without losing the thing they’re batting at. It’s made from lightweight, durable plastic, with an easy-to-replace cardboard central disk. The only downside with this particular design is that the ball is not enclosed, meaning it can be picked up and carried away by particularly determined kitties.
- The cardboard can be easily replaced with cheap inserts when it is used up.
- This is a great alternative to purchasing a large/imposing cat scratching post.
- The ball can get picked up or knocked out and lost if you don’t keep an eye on it.
14 Best Cat Kicker Toy: Hartz Cattraction Silver Vine & Catnip Magic Unicorn Kicker Plush Cat Toy
- Design promotes wrestling, kicking, and hugging
- Made with durable canvas material
- Multiple sensory elements included
- Filled with silver vine and catnip attractants
- Encourages play and hunting instincts
Some cats can spend hours playing with the same toy if you hit the nail on the head with your purchase. One thing it is hard to go wrong with is a soft toy filled with catnip. Most cats respond immediately to the presence of catnip and silver vine, instinctually becoming drawn to it and wanting to interact immediately.
These brightly colored toys are a sensory explosion that would be particularly enjoyable for younger cats or kittens still learning the world’s ways. These sensory toys will support visual and sensory development and provide mental stimulation for a developing mind.
- The silver vine and catnip filling help to encourage cats to play with this toy.
- The various sensory elements make this an excellent choice for kittens and young cats.
- If cats play too roughly with these toys they can break at the seams.
15 Best Cat Ball Toy: Ethical Pet Sponge Soccer Ball Cat Toy
- Pack of foam balls
- Colors include blue, green, yellow, and pink
Simple but effective! Many cats develop a strong habit of chasing, even without being taught. This is down to their strong natural hunting instincts – they view many things as target practice. So something as simple as a ball for your cat to play with can go a long way, especially as a toy like this keeps your cat entertained and gives you a chance to bond.
Dog owners will bond with their pups by playing a game of fetch – throwing a ball for your cat is the same principle. And as a bonus, this selection comes in four bright colors making it especially difficult for your cat to lose them long-term. Just be careful that they don’t start chewing on the foam. You don’t want them eating it if you can help it!
- The balls are quite bouncy which adds an extra element of fun at playtime.
- The bright colors of the different balls make them more difficult to lose under furniture.
- The rubbery smell given off by the balls can be a deterrent for some cats.
Best Cat Toy: Buying Guide & FAQs
In this buying guide, we offer you not only a hand-picked selection of some fantastic cat toys that meet a variety of your cat’s needs but also plenty of advice on how to pick the right one(s) for your pet.
Things to Consider When Buying Toys for Your Cat
Any cat owner should consider purchasing a couple of cat toys to help keep our feline companions physically active, mentally sharp, and entertained. But how do you choose the suitable toy(s) for your cat? Since all cats are individuals, there is no right or wrong answer to this riddle. But, first, you must ensure your cat is safe at playtime.
That said, if you need a little help in selecting the best cat toy for your four-legged friend, you’re in the right place. You should consider the following points before making a decision:
Your Cat’s Personal Preferences
Some cats like simple toys such as plush, soft mice the best, while others might prefer something a little more complex such as interactive robotic cat toys. Before purchasing any toy, consider your cat’s usual behavior, likes, and dislikes.
If your cat loves to relax, they may not be responsive to the more active toys. Hyperactive kitties typically love these toys but don’t often have the focus for puzzles.
Your Cat’s Age and Size
Finally, take into consideration the age and size of your pet. Generally speaking, kittens need a lot of mental and physical stimulation, so they do best with interactive and challenging toys. On the other hand, seniors may not be able to jump and chase as much as their younger counterparts, so simpler toys that allow them to play with them at their own pace are a better choice.
The size of your cat may matter, too – typically, larger cats will need bigger toys, while smaller kitties may prefer smaller toys. This, of course, also depends on your feline companion’s preferences.
First and foremost, make sure the toy you intend to purchase is safe for your cat. Toys should be made from pet-friendly materials and not contain small parts that could quickly become choking hazards. They should also be secure, so there is no chance of the toy tipping or collapsing and injuring your feline friend.
A quality cat toy should be made from safe and durable materials and have a sturdy design. After all, a toy needs to be able to withstand constant kicking, wrestling, scratching, and batting, so make sure it’s up to the task.
Suppose you are aware that there is a potential choking risk or the possibility of hazardous materials being injected. In that case, the offending toy should be removed or used only under your supervision.
Read here our article on the Best Kitten Toys.
You may also like our guide on the Best Cat Christmas Costumes this Holiday Season.
Different Types of Cat Toys
One of the most important considerations when picking the right toy for your feline friend is the type of toy they will most likely play with. It is critical to realize that different cats have different preferences. For example, some may like prey-like toys while others would prefer something related to food. To give you an idea of what you need to take for your kitty, take a look at the following types of cat toys.
Cats can benefit greatly from the right kind of chew toys, much like dogs. Some chew toys are filled with breath-freshening fillers (such as the mint chew toy we have listed), while others focus on providing the right kind of texture to keep your cat’s teeth clean throughout the day. Either way, we would always recommend a good chew toy to cat owners.
Wand, Tease, and Chase Toys
These playthings are like your fishing rod with line and lure. The only difference is that the appeal is made up of almost anything that can entice your cat to pounce on it. Many come with mouse-like lures, while others come with colorful cloth bands.
Alternatives to the wand toys are other chase toys such as balls, lasers, or even automated and electronic cat toys such as wind-up mice or automated chasing toys that usually have brightly colored lures on the end of automated arms to get your cat interested in chasing it.
Puzzle and Treat Dispensing Toys
Perfect for Garfield-wannabes, puzzle toys are also treat- or snack- dispensing toys. These have mechanisms that hold the treat inside the toy. Again, a system of openings must be ‘solved’ by the cat to obtain the treats.
Like any puzzle, once solved, the cat gets the prize, the tasty feline treat. What’s more, it’s a great way to control the food your cat takes. Many owners also use treat dispensers to help make separation easier for cats that struggle with separation anxiety by giving them something to look forward to and rewarding calm behavior.
Catnip contains a volatile oil that is very aromatic to 7 to 8 of 10 cats. It is believed that this volatile oil acts more like a central nervous system stimulant producing extreme levels of happiness in cats that most folks who see them will think that they are crazy.
Before you buy such a toy, it is imperative to check first whether your pet is susceptible to the effects of catnip or not. If not, you’d simply buy a toy your pet will not like. If yes, then rejoice as your feline friend will love you for it.
These are electronic versions of the different types of cat playthings we have already shared above. Laser lights can also be classified as electronic. As long as there is an interaction between the toy or the movements or actions produced by the toy and your cat, it can be rightfully classified as a toy.
- Joy H. Montgomery, 5 Games Kids Can Play with Cats, HowStuffWorks
Frequently Asked Questions
The best toy you could buy for a bored cat is one that will engage their mind. We would recommend puzzle toys such as treat puzzles and ball rollers. One of the toys listed above contains three tracks, each with a ball that your kitty can swat at and chase but can’t release from the track. This is a design that can keep cats entertained for long periods.
That entirely depends on the cat in question. If you have an indoor cat, they will likely enjoy toys that keep them active such as a chasing wand or laser toys. They would also appreciate something that gives them a sense of adventure, such as a cat tree or kitty tunnel. Other toys, such as catnip toys, can be great for anxiety, whereas scratch posts can help with frustration and stress.
They can do. Not all cats develop a fondness for stuffed animals. However, young cats, in particular, can become quite attached to a stuffy fluffy friend, especially if they’re the only cat in the house or were adopted at a particularly young age. It’s also true that some more anxious cats can find a lot of comfort in grooming and sleep with stuffed animals – especially since grooming is a known soothing technique.
Sure. Catnip isn’t dangerous for cats, but it’s also not particularly healthy. If a cat eats fresh or dried catnip in excess, it can lead to an upset stomach (gas, diarrhea, vomiting). This isn’t a guaranteed reaction but can happen with more sensitive kitties. Toys containing cat nip are perfectly safe so long as they remain intact. If they do burst, it would be a good idea to take the toy away before your feline friend consumes too much of the contents.
Some do, some don’t. Sleeping alongside a toy can be akin to sleeping with a security blanket. Some cats develop strong attachments to their toys, meaning they become a comfort to them in times of stress or anxiety. Therefore, some cats sleep with their toys to soothe themselves during their downtime – many dogs do the same.
There’s no absolute limit! To start, we’d suggest picking a few toys that cater to the different needs of your cat; perhaps a puzzle toy, scratch post, chasing wand toy, and a sensory toy (something that makes a sound or gives off light). We’d suggest avoiding buying too many as there is such a thing as overstimulation.
Alternatively, if you find yourself with excessive cat toys, it would be a good idea to keep them in storage and bring out a few at a time. This way, your cat is cycling through their choices and won’t have the chance to become bored or overwhelmed by all of them at once.
There is no conclusive explanation for why cats love putting their toys in water bowls. However, there are two theories that feline behaviorists use to explain such odd behavior.
The first theory is that cats put their toys in water bowls because it is safer. For example, consider a wild cat that has to hunt for food. Wild cats will hide their prey in their respective dens to protect it against other predators. In like manner, cats are believed to ‘safeguard’ their toys by keeping them in a place where no other predators will go – the water. This is so they can play with it later on.
The second theory reflects more on the gathering or collecting behavior of cats. Behaviorists say it is similar to a mother cat bringing home any wandering kitten or moving its kittens from one location to another, usually by grabbing onto the nape of the kittens.
Hiding toys is a sign of the cat’s distrust of its environment. It doesn’t actually believe that it is perfectly safe to leave its toys in the place where it played with them. Cats with this behavior are typically protective of their ‘possessions’ that they don’t want others to be getting them from them. One can think of it as being selfish, but it is only in keeping with a cat’s natural tendency to hide and ‘protect’ its prey so it can enjoy it later.
Like many cats like to put their toys in their water bowl, some bring theirs to the bed, whether theirs or their master’s. Again there is no scientific explanation for such behavior except for the assumption that they’re bringing their toys to a place deemed ‘safer’ or which cats perceive as their own.