Cats are very choosy about their toys. Some like feathers, toys that move, springs, or even like trucks. Unfortunately, they also can’t read product reviews. But we can, and we did! We’ve scoured the bestseller lists for you, so you can find something to satisfy your picky feline, such as Jteey’s Retractable Wand that is sure to keep your cat engaged.
We considered different ages, common cat likes and dislikes, and special needs cats too. This list has something for everyone! After the toy list, you’ll also find a buying guide to help you choose which toys will trigger your cat’s predatory instincts.
Top 10 Best Cat Toys
While no toy will be loved by all cats, these popular products are worth trying. Just remember to introduce them to your cat by letting the cat take the initiative and not forcing them. If they show zero interest, you can play with it yourself until your cat gets curious!
1/ JTEEY – Retractable Wand Includes 2 wands, 7 toys, and storage bag $11.97
|Size||Handle: 35-38 in. extended, 14 in. retracted|
|Materials||Feathers, fabric, plastic|
|Type of play||Interactive, ground and air prey|
|Great for||All cats and kittens|
2/ Yangbaga – Dye-Free Mylar Crinkle Balls 20 balls $10.99
|Size||About 2 in.|
|Type of play||Independent|
|Great for||All cats and kittens|
3/ Potarama – Moving Cat Kicker Fish Toy $12.99
|Size||12 x 5 in.|
|Materials||Plush cotton outer|
|Type of play||Wrestling, kicking|
|Great for||Kittens, cats with no other pet playmates|
4/ Yeowww! – Tin of Stinkies Catnip Sardines $9.49
|Size||3 x 1 in. per fish|
|Materials||Heavy fabric stuffed with organic catnip, metal tin|
|Type of play||Independent|
|Great for||Catnip junkies|
5/ Cat Amazing – Sliders Treat-Hunt Puzzle Toy $22.94
|Size||11 x 11 x 9 in.|
|Materials||Plant-based cardboard and inks|
|Type of play||Independent, reward-based|
|Great for||Smart or bored cats; reward-motivated cats|
6/ Petstages – Cat Pillow $14.67
|Size||8 x 2 x 13.5 in.|
|Type of play||Relaxing, cuddling, de-stressing|
|Great for:||Kittens, cats with stress or separation anxiety|
7/ Petstages – Tons of Tails $4.99
|Materials||Fabric and catnip|
|Type of play||Chewing|
|Great for||Cats with pica, teething kittens|
8/ Prosper Pet – Collapsible 3-Way Cat Tunnel 15 colors available $24.99
|Size||Each arm: 10 in. in diameter, 17 in. long|
|Type of play||Chasing, interactive, independent|
|Great for||Multiple-cat households|
9/ Our Pets – Play-N-Squeak Mouse Hunter Cat Toy $5.20
|Size||3.25 in. (not including tail)|
|Type of play||Independent|
|Great for||Visually-impaired cats|
10/ PetSafe – Dancing Dot – Interactive Cat Laser Toy $24.99
|Size||5 x 5 x 6 in.|
|Materials||Plastic; certified class 1 laser|
|Type of play||Independent|
|Great for||Owners who are away all day|
How to Choose a Toy For Your Cat – Buying Guide
Cats are notoriously picky about – well, everything. So many owners think they’ve bought the perfect toy, only to have their cat completely ignore it! While there is no one-toy-fits-all approach, there are some things you should consider before buying that can increase your chances of success and decrease your wasted money.
Think About the Type of Toy You Want
There are two main types of cat toys: toys which your cat will use by itself and toys that require you to play with the cat. We can refer to the first type as independent and the second type as interactive. It’s important that regardless of your cat’s age or temperament, you have both types of toys in your house and use them.
Interactive Play Should Be Fun for Both of You!
Examples of interactive toys include wand teasers, fishing rod-type toys, robotic toys, and laser pointers. Some of these can be automated, but you should still keep an eye on your cat while it’s using them for safety reasons.
As far as pet owners are concerned, the things you should consider in a good interactive toy are the handle, weight, and materials.
- Handles should be a comfortable length and easy to grip. Short handles are not only less ergonomic, but it’s harder to make the toy move naturally with them.
- Heavy toys will tire you out before your cat is tired of playing.
- Toys should be well-constructed of durable, safe materials.
- Also, with fishing rods toys especially, keep them out of the cat’s reach when you’re not watching, since the cat can easily become tangled in the line.
Independent Toys Help a Cat Practice its Hunting Techniques
Examples of independent toys include balls, mice, and kick toys. There are also track-and-ball type toys, puzzle and maze toys, and hide-and-seek toys such as a cardboard box with holes cut in it. All predators in the wild have to play to practice hunting techniques, and cats are excellent hunters and usually very avid players.
The most important thing about these toys is that they are safe for the cat to use even if you’re not watching them. Make sure there are no parts that can be eaten and there is nothing that can get tangled around their legs or stuck in their claws.
You don’t have to buy a ton of different toys all the time to keep your cat interested in playing with them. You can rotate them! Take out a few toys, leave them around the house, and occasionally swap them out for different toys. If you have a cat that likes to play alone at night, try hiding toys in different places so the cat can find them.
Classic Catnip for a Change in Mood
Catnip is a plant in the mint family that many cats find attractive. Some of them absolutely go insane for it. However, not all cats like it, and not all cats have the same reaction to it.
If your cat’s not into it, there a couple of other herbs that you can try. Silvervine, valerian, or catmint may be more up your cat’s alley. None of them are harmful, and none of them are addictive. They may make your cat playful or more mellow and help them relax.
Robotic Toys for Busy Owners
There are also various robotic toys available nowadays. Some activate with a motion sensor to play with the cat while you’re away. Others can be controlled remotely using a smartphone app.
Other robotic toys have a laser, pet camera, or can even dispense treats. These won’t take the place of human interaction, but they can be useful for people who have to work long hours or pets with separation anxiety.
Other Types of Toys Add to the Fun
Here are some other kinds of toys that many cats love.
- Tunnels are good for cats to chase each other, stalk “prey” toys, and for interactive play.
- Treat-dispensing toys can keep cats busy by engaging their problem-solving skills. They’re also great for overeaters, so they have to work for their food.
- Dental health toys are designed to clean a cat’s teeth while it bites into them. They’re also good for teething kittens.
Choose a Toy Based on Your Cat’s Needs
When you’re shopping for a toy, think like your cat! Your cat doesn’t care how cute the toy is, how many people recommended it, or what you paid for it. Only you will know what they might prefer based on their personality.
Toys That Mimic a Cat’s Natural Prey
Play may be cute to us, but for a cat, it’s serious business. It’s practice for when they really have to hunt to kill their food. They’ll be most likely to have an interest in a toy that looks like prey that they would hunt in the wild.
Materials like fur, feathers, and leather will be more attractive to most cats than things like hard plastics. The size can range from insect-sized to bird-sized, but be careful about toys that are small enough to actually ingest, especially if you have a young cat or one with pica.
Sound is important too. Cats are attracted to small, high-pitched squeaky noises and rustling noises, which are what they would listen for to find rodents. Avoid toys that make very loud noises as cats have much more sensitive hearing than humans do.
Take Special Needs or Conditions Into Account
There are flashing light-up toys and toys that make noises, which can be good for cats with sensory challenges like blindness or deafness. One of the most difficult problems to deal with is pica. This is when an animal (or human) desires to eat things that are not food.
If you suspect your cat has pica, you should start by talking with your vet. Try to avoid toys with strings or other parts that can come off and be ingested easily. Provide your pet with cat grass and toys that are safe to chew on to help them satisfy their craving.
Consider Your Cat’s Age
It’s important to choose age-appropriate toys for kittens, older cats, and seniors since they may benefit from different toys.
Kittens Will Play With Anything, but Supervise Them
Kittens can be teething up until they are seven months old, and even after that, they can still be a little bitey. Chew toys are good but make sure they don’t have any parts that can be swallowed. It’s best to supervise your kitten when it’s playing especially if it tries to eat things.
Kick toys are also a good choice for kittens. They practice play fighting with their littermates, and they still enjoy this behavior even if they don’t have any siblings living with them. Choose a kick toy that is about the size of a kitten itself and made of durable material.
Senior Cats May Benefit from Softer Toys
Older cats can have more sensitive teeth and oral health problems, so they can benefit from softer toys that will be more comfortable for them. If your cat doesn’t like to move around so much, consider buying some cat-TV-type toys like fake fish tanks or videos of birds and mice.
How to Play With Your Cat
It works well to have a routine for playtimes, and your cat will learn to look forward to these sessions. A good goal is about 30 minutes per day of playtime between you and your kitty. Young cats and certain breeds will require more. This interactive play is very important, not only to drain energy but also for bonding.
Remember that your movements should try to mimic their natural prey to keep your cat engaged in the game. Make the toy go away from them or across their line of vision. You can also hide it behind furniture, in a bag, or under a blanket. This is like a prey animal trying to seek shelter from its predator.
Cats are naturally curious and very smart, so if they seem like they’re getting bored with the same game every day, try to change it up! Something as simple as playing in a different room or using chairs, sofas, and cat trees as part of an obstacle course can really pique their interest.
And remember that watching before pouncing is also fun for them, so as long as they’re focused on the toy, their head is in the game.
How to Introduce New Toys to Your Cat
Introducing a cat to its new toy can be as simple as opening the box, and after the cat gets done sitting in the box, it will play with the toy happily for hours. Or, it could ignore the toy completely or even be afraid of it.
It’s kind of a toss-up! But there are things you can do to give yourself a better chance of success. Don’t try to force a cat to like a toy immediately. Trying to force a cat to do anything is rarely a winning strategy. Let it check it out at its own pace.
If the toy lights up or makes noises, let the cat investigate with all of those functions turned off at first. Don’t be disappointed if the cat shows no interest in the beginning!
Sometimes a cat can completely ignore a toy for months, and as soon as you throw it in a wastebasket, the cat digs it out and starts playing with it. Try moving the toy around the house and putting it in the cat’s favorite spots, and maybe it will take a shine to it.
Raise Your Paw if You Need Some More Pet Supplies!
Toys aren’t the only cat goods you can easily buy online with our recommendation. We’ve also got your dog’s desires covered, too! Check out these related articles.
Whether you have a spastic Bengal or a lazy Persian, all cat breeds need and want to play. Choosing toys carefully can provide your furry predator an outlet for its hunting instincts. Remember to think like your cat, get a variety of interactive and independent toys, and have fun playing!
Author: Susan Lucier-Ogawa