Every product and service on My Pet Needs That is independently selected by our editors, contributors, and experts.
If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a referral fee. Learn more
Other than a fleeting thought, many of us don’t really think too much into what our cats get up to during the day. There’s always that connotation that comes with cats, that they are solitary animals, choosing to sleep most of the day away. However, cats seek a lot more excitement than you may think.
Just like dogs, many cats thrive off challenges and additional stimulation that most just don’t get in their everyday lives. If your cat isn’t properly stimulated, then the likelihood is, they’re going to get pretty bored. This is where interactive cat toys come into the equation.
During the day, cat toys provide a challenge that cats can choose whether or not to take. This could be in the form of interactive feeders, fun puzzles, or exercise toys that keep them active, mentally, and physically. Many of the toys can also help to build bonds between you and your cat, giving you a great way to spend time together having fun.
You’d surprised at just how willingly most cats take on the challenge of a new toy, especially when food is involved. There are plenty of toys out there to choose from, but we have put together a list of the top 10 toys to get you started. Take a look at the best interactive cat toys for your furry feline friend!
If your cat loves nothing more than chasing balls around the house, then this is the interactive toy for them. The triple layered channel system each has its own ball, fully enclosed so you don’t find yourself falling over them in the dark. Each ball has a unique design, offering something a little different depending on which level of the toy your cat is playing with.
The vibrant design is fun but also practical. The top and bottom are enclosed, and the bottom has a non-slip base, so there will be no worries about the toy sliding all over the place. Offering a mix of engagement, creativeness, and exercise, this toy is a wonderful addition to any home with a cat who just loves to play.
At one point or another, most of us have been tempted to buy a laser toy for our cats. The fun, interactive, and highly creative toy can lead to hours’ worth of fun, but normally only when you’re playing with your cat. The Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy by PetSafe takes the fun experience a step further with their fully interactive model, with manual and automatic controls.
The sleek and highly attractive design is perfectly sized and designed for your cat to play by itself or with you. The randomly moving laser pointer keeps cats on their toes, offering entertainment that changes every time the cat wants to play. With the automatic settings, you won’t even have to worry about the laser staying on and draining the batteries, it’ll switch off after 15 minutes, giving your cat the perfect dose of fun, whilst keeping the game fun, new, and exciting. This interactive cat toy is ideal for younger cats, but there is no reason why cats of every age couldn’t enjoy it!
The Cat Dancer 101 is a simple yet highly engaging interactive cat toy for your feline friend. An incredibly popular toy, the Cat Dancer 101 consists of cardboard rolls fastened to high-quality piano wire. Whilst simple, the design has proved to be a winner with cats old and younger, offering a fascinating and exciting way for your cat to get active and put its natural hunting instincts to the ultimate test.
Even if your cat is not highly-active, the toy is incredibly tempting and thankfully, very safe for your cat to use. You can use the toy yourself to play with you cat or fasten it somewhere in your home and allow your cat to pick when and how they want to interact with the toy.
For all those cats out there who can’t get enough of treats, the Treat Maze & Puzzle Feeder by CAT AMAZING is a top choice of interactive cat toy. The unique, award-winning, toy, allows cats to get back to their roots and hunt for their ‘prey’, by trying to retrieve treats from the maze.
The strong and sturdy design can withstand the most determined of cats, giving them a challenging and engaging way to earn their own treats. The puzzle comes with multiple different challenge levels, providing hours of enjoyment and plenty of simulation.
With different sized holes, varying challenges, and the reward of a treat at the end, there should be no reason why your cat doesn’t dive straight in and have a great time with this charming little interactive toy. A great choice for one or multiple cats to play with at once.
Three settings for difficulty – plus a bonus level
What cat doesn’t like catnip? At one point or another, most of us have introduced our cats to catnip and watched the very amusing results. The Cosmic Catnip Cat Toy offers a safe and easy way to keep your cats entertained, with their fun and uniquely designed catnip toys.
There is a great range of toys available, each filled with catnip grown in North America. The fun and highly interactive designs all offer a different way for your cat to have fun; from the feather-topped carrot, to the exciting and colorful snake. For a safe way to keep your cats entertained while you’re out, this is a great simple choice for hours of fun.
The sturdy design of the UPSKY Cat Toy Roller 3-Level Turntable is built to stand up to all the attention that your cat will give it. By keeping your cat entertained, you will strengthen your bond and cut down on unwanted behaviors.
This toy features a tower design that consists of three levels – your cat keeps the balls in constant motion by moving them with a paw. It appeals to cats of all breeds and ages and is perfectly safe. This interactive toy will challenge your kitty’s mind and keep them occupied for ages. It comes in three attractive colors and has a cute cat head design at the top.
If you cat loves exploring, then this is the toy for them. The Cat Tunnel by Prosper is a highly interactive toy for cats of all ages, sizes, and activity levels. The unique design features three interconnected tunnels, with the addition of an attached cat ball, to give your cat the ultimate target for hunt for.
The tunnel is a fantastic size for exploration, is collapsible for easy storage and incredibly strong for those cats who like to play a little too roughly! With built-in crackle paper, the jangling ball, and peephole, your cat will love exploring the exciting new toy. A perfect choice for entertainment whilst you’re out.
If your kit is a bit of a food monster, the SlimCat adds a fun play element to their mealtime. Designed to help control your cat’s weight and improve their digestion, the SlimCat enables you to feed your cat small meals several times a day as well as giving them a fun way to keep active. You simply add their meal to the ball and control the amount they can access by adjusting the openings for the kibble to fall through. To earn their mealtime, treat, your kit needs to push and play with the ball to get access to their dinner or daytime snack.
Made from durable, pet-safe plastic, the SlimCat can hold up to three cups of food and works with most brands of dry cat food. And the beauty of the SlimCat is that it is dishwasher safe, so makes your life easier too.
Interactive toys are designed so that when a cat interacts with the toy, the toy interacts back in some way. This could be by rewarding the cat with a treat, moving or making sounds, or by eliciting certain smells, like the case of catnip toys. This joint interaction is important for entertainment that lasts, giving cats new experiences, scents, and sounds, to explore.
An interactive toy can be much more challenging and engaging than other types of toys. They can be relatively simple in design, or electronic, with moving parts and random motions. Any kind of toy that offers cats an adaptable experience and that causes them to react to the toy and play could be classed as an interactive toy.
Why Are Toys for Your Cat Necessary?
Not all cats enjoy toys, but they provide additional experiences that your cat may not otherwise be exposed to. Every cat has a unique personality, and toys help them to express this in a way that is personal to them. They are able to explore new things, take on new mental challenges, and really harness the natural instincts that all cats have.
Introducing a new toy to a cat can supplement their behavior, help them to find out what interests them the most, and let you learn more about their personality. Toys also provide stimulation and a break from normal routines. This gives mental and physical stimulation to cats, stops them from getting bored and restless, and potentially being destructive.
How to Choose the Best Interactive Cat Toys
As every cat has its own personality, you need to choose a toy that will suit your cat. Some cats are energetic, others like to hide and pounce, and some like to work for treats. Finding out what kind of reward your cat likes; such as treats or catching something, can really help to identify what style of toy would be the best suiting.
Those cats who prefer treats may be more engaged in reward-based toys, that offer treats for solving challenges. Cats that like to run, chase, or hide, maybe prefer larger toys with targets or hiding spots – introducing them to new textures, sounds, and challenges.
You may be surprised by how your cat reacts when you introduce them to a new toy, showing a whole new side of their personality. Due to this, branching out and trying different toys, from simple to complex, may encourage your cat to try new things.
Benefits of Interactive Toys for Cats
Interactive toys offer a wonderful assortment of benefits for your pet, making them a fantastic way to give your cat something new to do. Most cat toys are suitable for cats of all sizes and ages, often bringing some of that kitten-like playfulness back to older cats. Here are some of the main benefits of interactive toys:
Mental Stimulation – Many interactive toys offer a type of mental stimulation, often through puzzles and challenges. These encourage your cat to think and react, harnessing the instincts that are natural to them.
Physical Stimulation – Exercise is very important for cats, but sometimes they need a bit of extra encouragement. Interactive toys provide a fun way to exercise, engaging your cat so that they run, pounce, and jump.
Builds Bonds – Bonding with your cat can be difficult, but toys are a great place to start. Playing is a wonderful way to spend time with your cat, earn their trust, and enjoy a fun experience together.
Natural Instincts – Most cat toys work by tuning into the natural instincts of a cat, this can help to enhance their skills and satisfy their predatory instincts.
Relieves Boredom – All pets can get bored if they are not given adequate stimulation, and cats are no different. The same old routine can make a cat restless and destructive.
Best Interactive Cat Toy FAQ:
Q: What type of toys do cats like to play with?
A: With their natural prey instinct, cats love toys that have movement or interactive toys they can chase. Toys which catch their eye, keep them active and release all those inner hunting instincts are the perfect addition to their daily routine, so look for toys that move in rapid or unpredictable ways. Toys with different textures, reflect light or make a noise or squeak will also catch their playful attention. You will also find that your kit will have his own personal preference when it comes to their toys. However, as cats can get bored with too much of the same, it is a good idea to mix their toy box up, so they have plenty of choice, depending on their mood.
Q: Are toys with catnip safe for cats?
A: A plant related to mint, catnip contains the essential oil nepetalactone which has a calming, natural mood enhancing effect on felines. Catnip is also natural and non-addictive for kits; however, it doesn’t necessarily have the same effect on all cats. Some toys are infused with catnip to attract your cat and enhance the playtime feelgood factor and are perfectly safe, although the affect typically only lasts around 15 minutes. Should your cat eat a large amount of catnip, they may get a stomach upset but it is non-toxic. If you think your kit has had too much of a good thing when it comes to her catnip toy, simply take it away from her, so she can play with it another day.
Q: How do I keep my cat entertained while I’m at work?
A: Cats are bright, inquisitive creatures and can get bored and lonely if left home without adequate stimulation while you are at work. And bored cats can start to demonstrate negative behaviors that you really want to nip in the bud. Leaving your pet with a good choice of interactive toys to keep his interest and keep him entertained is the best way to keep him occupied and happy. An indoor cat tree placed near to a window will also add some extra stimulation as they can perch high and watch what’s going on outside.
Q: Do cats get bored of their toys?
A: Yes, your kit can get bored of their toys, especially if they are left at home alone during the day. To keep your cat stimulated and happy, especially if they are an indoor pet, is to rotate the toys you give them each, so they always have something different or new to play with.
Sharon is a Ph.D. scientist and experienced pet content writer. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a Cockapoo puppy. She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and turning it into easy-to-understand articles that offer practical tips. When it comes to our furry friends, she knows that there is always something new to learn!