The 12 Best Cat Toys: Keep Your Cat Fit And Happy With These Irresistible Toys

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It’s in their nature. Your cat needs to stalk, chase, and pounce.

When cats live indoors without the stimulation of the outdoor hunt, it’s important to enrich their environment with species-appropriate play. If you don’t provide healthy outlets for their predatory instincts, your cat might have to engage them in other ways – like climbing the curtains, attacking your houseplants, and swiping at your feet.

In addition to discouraging bad behavior, regular play helps keep your cat stimulated throughout life, helping to prevent cognitive and physical decay as they age.

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Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Overall Best
10.0
Picked by 31 people today!

Catit Super Roller Circuit Toy

  • Large enough for multi-cat play
  • Included ball is smooth and responsive
  • Perfect for independent play
Best Ball Toy
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

Petstages Tower of Tracks

  • Balls are highly responsive to your cat’s batting
  • Sturdy construction can withstand plenty of active play
  • Perfect for independent play
Best Fishing Pole Cat Toy
9.6
Picked by 25 people today!

Cat Dancer 101 Interactive Cat Toy

  • Classic design with millions of fans
  • Allows you to fully participate in playtime
  • Moves like a tantalizing insect
Best Electronic Cat Toy
9.5
Picked by 21 people today!

Hexbug Nano

  • Moves independently, real bug-like motion
  • Small enough for your cat to bat around the house
  • Well-balanced and capable of handling a long play session
Best Feeder Toy
9.3
Picked by 18 people today!

Petsafe Interactive Feeder Toy

  • Forces cats to exercise before eating
  • Helps to prevent cats from inhaling their food
  • Made from dishwasher safe BPA-free plastic
Best Ribbon Cat Toy
9.2
Picked by 31 people today!

Cat Dancer Cat Charmer Toy

  • Sturdy but flexible plastic wand
  • Long fabric teaser entices cat to engage in play
  • Inexpensive, priced under $5
Best Mouse Toy
9.1
Picked by 31 people today!

SmartyKat Skitter Critters Catnip Toy

  • Filled with catnip to drive your cat crazy
  • Sold in a three-pack for under $5
  • Made from lightweight, plush materials
Best Scratcher Toy
9.0
Picked by 25 people today!

Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy

  • Entices your cat to scratch and pounce
  • Durable plastic track complete with captive LED ball
  • Captive ball encourages your cat to exercise
Best Laser Pointer Cat Toy
8.9
Picked by 21 people today!

PetSafe Froli-Cat Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy

  • Choose from Manual or Automatic Mode
  • Adjustable laser for use on any surface
  • Automatically turns off after 15 minutes
Best Catnip Toy
8.8
Picked by 18 people today!

Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy

  • Hand-sewn and stuffed with 100% organic catnip
  • Contains no fillers or plastic pieces
  • Made from durable cotton twill
Best Exercise Toy
8.5
Picked by 31 people today!

Kitty Kaster Premium Cat Toy Exerciser

  • Extends over 6 feet when fully cast
  • Heavy-weight denim target tied to the line
  • Safe for your cat, can be ingested with no harm
Best Feather Toy
8.3
Picked by 31 people today!

Go Cat Da Bird Original Feather Teaser Wand Cat Toy

  • Encourages cats to pounce and jump
  • Realistic feather toy looks like a bird
  • Pull-apart rod for easy storage

Top Picks Explained

#1 Best Interactive Cat Toy: Catit Super Roller Circuit Toy

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This interactive cat toy is comprised of an 8-piece adjustable track with a motion-activated circuit ball. The ball moves quickly through the hills and valleys of the adjustable track, zipping along as if on a rollercoaster.

While the ball takes its crazy rollercoaster ride, your cat has the opportunity to get in on the action by poking their paw through one of the many holes in the track. It’s large enough for multiple cats to play with at the same time.

So the game never gets old, the track is adjustable. With about 100 different layouts possible, you can offer a constantly-changing movement pattern. The Catit roller circuit is compatible with other track sets, as well, allowing you to create a stimulating playground for your cat.

What We Liked:

  • Stimulates your cat on multiple levels – sound, touch, and light activity
  • Large enough for multi-cat play
  • Included ball is smooth and responsive
  • Perfect for independent play

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Assembly may be a little tricky
  • Illuminated ball has a short battery life

#2 Best Ball Toy: Petstages Tower of Tracks

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For cats who love to bat balls around, this three-level track toy is perfect. It encourages your cat to send the brightly colored balls spinning around and around the three-level track.

Thanks to the anti-slip pads on the bottom, you won’t have to worry about the toy sliding across the floor during play. All of the balls are designed to remain in the tracks and are unlikely to pop out for an adventure under the refrigerator.

The tower is 9.75” in diameter and 6” tall, making it the perfect size for most cats. The three-level design makes it spacious enough for multi-cat playtime.

What We Liked:

  • Balls move smoothly in the tracks
  • Balls are highly responsive to your cat’s batting
  • Sturdy construction can withstand plenty of active play
  • Perfect for independent play

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Non-replaceable balls may escape the track

#3 Best Fishing Pole Cat Toy: Cat Dancer 101 Interactive Cat Toy

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This interactive cat toy has a deceptively simple design. It looks like – and is – a piece of springy wire attached to pieces of rolled cardboard. The toy’s design makes it look and behave much like a bug – and everyone knows cats love playing with bugs.

This straightforward design is one of the most mesmerizing and exciting in the world of cat toys. Over 8 million cats have tested out this extraordinarily popular toy, and most of them have loved it.

The Cat Dancer 101 toy is perfect for people who want to engage in interactive playtime, but don’t want to move much. Thanks to the springy, responsive natural movement of this toy, you can sit in a chair and give your cat a full, exciting play experience.

What We Liked:

  • Classic design with millions of fans
  • Allows you to fully participate in playtime
  • Moves like a tantalizing insect

What We Didn’t Like:

  • No handle, some find it uncomfortable

#4 Best Electronic Cat Toy: Hexbug Nano

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This battery-operated robotic toy is one of the most realistic prey toys on the market. Like a living creature, this robotic bug toy glides across the floor, dragging its enticing fluffy tail behind it.

The company says that the toy has an “uncanny sense of balance”. If your cat knocks the toy over, the vibrating movement of the robot will cause it to flip back onto its plastic feet and continue moving.

Remember that any loose parts could pose a risk to your cat, so periodically inspect the toy to ensure that everything is intact and safe for playtime.

What We Liked:

  • Moves independently, real bug-like motion
  • Small enough for your cat to bat around the house
  • Well-balanced and capable of handling a long play session

What We Didn’t Like:

  • May not work well on carpeted floors

#5 Best Feeder Toy: Petsafe Interactive Feeder Toy

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This instinct-approved interactive feeder forces your cat to play before they eat – just as they would in nature. The bouncy play ball is filled with treats or kibble, and your cat must agitate the ball to release the deliciousness hiding within.

Because it forces your cat to play before they eat, it’s perfect for overweight cats who need a little extra exercise. It’s also a good choice for cats who typically scarf down their food.

The Petsafe Interactive Feeder Toy is adjustable, so you can choose how much cat food the toy dispenses as is bounces, rolls, and shakes. It’s made from dishwasher-safe plastic, so it’s easy to clean it up after use. The plastic is BPA-free.

What We Liked:

  • Makes every meal more satisfying
  • Forces cats to exercise before eating
  • Helps to prevent cats from inhaling their food
  • Made from dishwasher safe BPA-free plastic

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Doesn’t work with every type of kibble

Other Cat Toys We Loved

In testing some of the top cat toys on the market, we found several more worth mentioning in addition to our top five picks reviewed above.

Here are five more cat toys we recommend:

#6 Best Ribbon Cat Toy: Cat Dancer Cat Charmer Toy

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Watch your cat jump, pounce, and chase with this inexpensive cat teaser wand. It consists of a sturdy plastic wand with a soft, colorful felt ribbon attached to the end.

This wand toy is safe for cats and kittens of all ages, especially considering it’s made from fabric rather than feathers. Feather toys can be dangerous if your cat swallows pieces of the feather but this fabric teaser is designed to withstand hours of active playtime.

While this toy is incredibly popular, some cat lovers found their cat’s claws got stuck in the soft fabric. You may want to trim your cat’s nails to ensure safe play.

What We Liked:

  • Sturdy but flexible plastic wand
  • Long fabric teaser entices cat to engage in play
  • Inexpensive, priced under $5

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Cat claws may get hooked in the fabric

#7 Best Mouse Toy: SmartyKat Skitter Critters Catnip Toy

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Cats can’t resist a good mouse toy and these Skitter Critters are sure to engage your cat’s senses. Sold in a set of three, your feline friend will enjoy hours of pouncing, chasing, and batting with these fabric mice, each complete with a knitted string tail.

Indoor cats have limited options to engage their hunting instincts, but these catnip mice will drive your cat wild. They are lightweight for easy batting but soft and plush if your cat likes to cuddle. Plus, the knotted tails are surprisingly durable.

Sold in a three-pack for under $5, these catnip mice are incredibly affordable. Plus, all SmartyKat products are made from recycled, reclaimed, or renewable resources.

What We Liked:

  • Filled with catnip to drive your cat crazy
  • Sold in a three-pack for under $5
  • Made from lightweight, plush materials

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Fabric material may tear with chewing
  • Tail may become detached and pose a choking hazard

#8 Best Scratcher Toy: Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy

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For cats who love to play and scratch at the same time, this Bergan Turbo Cat Scratcher is the perfect pick. It consists of a durable plastic track complete with a captive ball and a cardboard scratcher in the middle.

In addition to giving your cat plenty of opportunity for exercise, this cat toy also satisfies his need to scratch which could save your furniture. To make it more appealing, simply sprinkle the included catnip on the scratcher and watch your cat go wild.

Newer versions of this toy even feature a ball that contains and LED light, making it even more enticing for your cat to chase and pounce on.

What We Liked:

  • Entices your cat to scratch and pounce
  • Durable plastic track complete with captive LED ball
  • Captive ball encourages your cat to exercise

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Ball may escape from the track
  • LED light may eventually burn out

#9 Best Laser Pointer Cat Toy: PetSafe Froli-Cat Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy

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When you don’t have time to play with your cat yourself, this interactive laser toy is the perfect alternative. Your cat will go crazy over the elusive red dot, chasing and pouncing until he wears himself out.

To keep your cat guessing, the Frolicat Bolt feature two different modes of play. Manual Mode allows you to take hold of the toy and point the laser where you want it while Automatic Mode moves the laser in random patterns for interactive solo play.

This laser toy is designed to sit on any flat surface or you can hold it in your hand. The adjustable mirror enables you to aim the laser across a variety of surfaces and it turns off automatically after 15 minutes to save battery life.

What We Liked:

  • Choose from Manual or Automatic Mode
  • Adjustable laser for use on any surface
  • Automatically turns off after 15 minutes

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Toy can be knocked over fairly easily
  • Batteries not included

#10 Best Catnip Toy: Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy

Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy

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If your cat goes crazy for catnip, they will love this banana-shaped catnip cat toy. Perfectly sized for pouncing and kicking, this toy is filled with 100% organic catnip and made in the USA.

This yellow banana catnip toy is made from durable cotton twill and dyed using natural vegetable-based color. The catnip is 100% organic, so you don’t have to worry about pesticides or other chemicals, and it doesn’t contain any filler or plastic pieces.

If your cat is a kicker, they will find this catnip toy absolutely irresistible. It is perfectly sized and shaped for your cat to grip with their front paws and kick with their back legs.

What We Liked:

  • Hand-sewn and stuffed with 100% organic catnip
  • Contains no fillers or plastic pieces
  • Made from durable cotton twill

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Fabric may tear under sharp claws and teeth

#11 Best Exercise Toy: Kitty Kaster Premium Cat Toy Exerciser

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Engage your cat in active playtime with this premium cat toy exerciser. Designed with a durable fiberglass rod and a 34-inch braided line, this toy extends over 6 feet when fully cast.

The Kitty Kaster features a hand-braided fishing line made from unique Dracon materials that won’t give your cat rope burn. On the end you’ll find a heavy-weight denim target you can make bounce and shimmy with the flick of a wrist.

Best of all, this toy is designed for your cat’s safety. Not only is the cat toy tied to the end (no pain when your cat bites away at it), but the non-toxic Dracon line won’t harm your cat if they accidentally ingest part of it. It passes safely through their system or can be thrown up like a hairball.

What We Liked:

  • Extends over 6 feet when fully cast
  • Heavy-weight denim target tied to the line
  • Safe for your cat, can be ingested with no harm

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Fairly expensive, priced around $30

#12 Best Feather Toy: Go Cat Da Bird Original Feather Teaser Wand Cat Toy

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This is a high-flying fishing pole toy that mimics the look, feel, and sound of bird wings. The realistic bird swoops over your cat’s head and encourages them to jump for their colorful prey.

Remember that Da Bird is breakable and your cat could accidentally ingest parts of it. One reviewer said that their cat accidentally swallowed the plastic cap holding the feathers together, necessitating surgery.

Although it doesn’t score well in durability tests, Da Bird earns its place on this list as an extremely popular and well-loved product. Cats have been doing flips over this toy since the 1980’s.

What We Liked:

  • Encourages cats to pounce and jump
  • Realistic feather toy looks like a bird
  • Pull-apart rod for easy storage

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Feather pieces may break off

Choosing the Best Cat Toy

Whether homemade, store-bought, or provided by nature, good cat toys do the same thing – they tap into your cat’s natural instincts to stalk, chase, leap, and capture.

Types of Cat Toys

You merely have to walk down the cat aisle at your local pet store to see just how many types of cat toys are out there. While cat toys may be a dime a dozen, they tend to fall into certain categories.

Here are some of the top categories for cat toys:

  • Interactive Cat Toys: These are toys that require human involvement. Fishing pole toys and laser pointers fall into this category.
  • Cat Toys for Independent Play: Old-fashioned mice and electronic gadgets, along with most other products on the market fall into this category. While they can’t move with the kind of intelligence that interactive toys do, these can be highly entertaining and keep your cat busy.
  • Soft Toys: These toys are like small dolls for your cat. Often stuffed with catnip, these toys feel a bit like a small animal, making them fun to kick, bite, and bat around.
  • Battables: Springs, balls, and some mouse toys fall into this category. They’re a good choice for cats who like to bat around stray bottle caps and paper clips.
  • Feeder Toys: For cats who eat too quickly or too much at once, these toys make mealtime an adventurous challenge.

Every cat has their own unique preferences when it comes to toys.

Some cats love to bat around a small object while others prefer to chase a toy that moves on its own. When you first bring your cat home, you should have an assortment of toys on hand and dedicate some time to playing with your cat until you learn their preferences.

In addition to learning about your cat’s preferences for toys, it may help to keep a few toys on hand for certain situations.

When you want to wear your cat out or give him a little exercise, interactive toys are a great option. You may want a different type of toy, however, for times when your cat is left home alone.

Let’s explore the different types of cat toys for different situations.

Interactive Cat Toys

For cats, playing with toys is fundamentally a predatory game – it mimics the predator-prey chase in almost every way.

Choosing an interactive toy taps into this hunting instinct and, by putting yourself on the other end of the toy, you create a responsive experience. You can make the toy run from your cat, hide behind furniture, leap away, and eventually, you can allow the toy to tire out and succumb to capture.

Toys for Cats Home Alone

As much as you may wish you could spend all day everyday playing with your cat, you have your own life to live and sometimes that life takes you out of the house.

Rather than leaving your cat to his own devices when you’re not around, provide a few toys to give him a healthy outlet for his predatory energy.

Without human interaction, your cat’s toys are essential dead prey – they require the flick of a paw to start moving. If your cat has a lot of pent-up energy and loves batting and chasing toys around, standard toys like mice, balls, and springs may keep them entertained.

If your cat prefers more lifelike toys, an electronic toy or a laser pointer toy might be a better option.

Electronic Cat Toys

While interactive cat toys require human interaction, electronic cat toys can move on their own. This makes them the next-best thing to an interactive toy and a great option for cats home alone.

Electronic cat toys take many different forms from robotic mice to small objects that race around a track. They all have one thing in common, however – the inspire your cat’s instincts to hunt and pounce.

The right electronic toy can keep your cat busy and active all afternoon.
Speaking of keeping your cat active, some cat toys are specifically designed to encourage exercise.

Toys for Exercise

Playtime doesn’t just keep your cat busy so they’re less likely to tear up the carpet or shred your sofa – it helps your cat burn calories and strengthen their muscles as well.

The best cat toys for exercise are toys that get your cat excited. The more excited your cat gets about playtime with their favorite toy, the more they’ll start jumping, lunging, and pouncing. Toy mice and other basic cat toys can be fun, but your cat may lose interest if the toy isn’t interactive.

That’s why fishing pole toys and others that mimic the slight of a bird or the scurrying of a mouse are a great choice. These toys engage your cat’s muscles and force them to move in a way they otherwise wouldn’t on their own.

Scratcher Toys

Cats love the stimulation and exercise of play and they also appreciate the ability to stretch out and remove the sheaths from their claws. That’s why toys that incorporate a claw scratcher are so fun and satisfying.

Scratcher toys are particularly useful for cats with behavioral issues. They allow you to solve two problems at once by providing a toy that targets your cat’s need to scratch and their desire to play at the same time.

Remember that even if you give your cat a scratcher toy, however, it’s still a good idea to provide an additional scratching post.

Laser Pointer Cat Toys

If you’ve never tested your cat’s reaction to a laser pointer, you’re missing out. The elusive red dot sends cats scrambling up walls and skidding across the floor.

But laser pointer cat toys aren’t perfect. What makes laser pointers so exciting for cats also makes them frustrating – they’re impossible to catch.

Cats crave the satisfaction of catching their prey. When your cat finally slams their paws down on that little red bug, they want to feel something they can potentially sink their teeth into. They don’t want it to slip straight through their paws and take off again across the room.

After several unsatisfying play sessions, the laser pointer loses its value. Discouraged by the fact that they’ll never capture the elusive dot, your cat will move on to something with satisfaction potential.

Cat Feeder Toys

For cats who crave a reward for catching their prey, feeder toys are a great option. Feeder toys also help to modulate the amount of food your cat eats by making them work for their meals.
It also may be psychologically beneficial for cats to play before their meals.

In an article about the hunting behavior of cats, International Cat Care explains that playing with their prey is a natural behavior for cats. Experts consider “toying” with prey a displacement behavior brought on by the conflict of cats needing to kill their prey and the fear of being potentially injured by it.

Studies have shown that cats tend to show more intense and prolonged play behavior with toys that closely resemble actual prey. The hungrier your cat is at the time of play may also influence the intensity and length of the play session.

Catnip Toys

No list of cat toys would be complete without mentioning catnip toys.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a member of the mint family native to southern and eastern Europe as well as the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of China. It has also become naturalized throughout North America, New Zealand, and northern Europe.

While only 67% to 80% of the adult feline population is sensitive to catnip, those who are fly into a frenzy at the mere smell of this common herb.

Sensitive cats will react to catnip by rolling around, rubbing their heads and bodies in the catnip, and running around the room. Some start to drool and others become agitated or even violent, but the effects typically wear off fairly quickly.

The best catnip toys are made with fresh, potent catnip that will drive your cat wild.

Homemade Cat Toys

Store-bought cat toys are fantastic, but they’re not your only option. In fact, many cats have an annoying tendency to turn up their noses at the things their parents buy for them in favor of everyday objects like bottle caps and rubber bands.

Alternatives to formal toys include:

  • Balls of crushed aluminum foil
  • Shower rings
  • Empty cardboard rolls
  • Paper bags
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Training golf balls with airflow holes

If you’re creatively inclined, you might even try sewing your own fabric toys and stuffing them with fresh catnip. If sewing isn’t in your wheelhouse, stuffing a small sock with padding and catnip might work.

Playtime Tips

Playing with your cat provides a great opportunity for bonding and it gives your cat some much-needed mental stimulation and physical exercise.

Make the most out of your cat toys by following these playtime tips:

  • Mornings and evenings are the best time of day for play. This is when cats are naturally most active. Playing with your cat before you leave the house in the morning will increase your bond and help them to feel calm during the day. A play session before bed is a good replacement for those sleep-breaking midnight crazies.
  • Give your cat the satisfaction of a successful hunt. Provide a meaty treat after each play session so your cat feels like they’ve successfully killed their prey.
  • Never allow your cat to play with your hands. Kittens often don’t know to avoid scratching and biting your hands during play. If you don’t train them to avoid this behavior, it could become more destructive as they age. If your cat does hurt you during playtime, immediately stop playing to show your cat that the fun ends when they let their claws and jaws get out of control.

At the end of the day, there’s no wrong or right way to play.

As long as you and your cat are both safe and having fun, you’re free to play however you like. Stock up on cat toys like the ones reviewed above to make your play sessions more fun!