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Like dogs, cats have a natural urge to play, and you’ll want to keep a few (or a lot) of great toys on hand to keep them occupied, active, and mentally stimulated. Unsurprisingly, there are countless types of feline-friendly toys on the market—and we’ve come a long way since the days of a ball of string.
Not sure where to start? We’ve rounded up all our favorite cat toys, from classic to creative.
Every cat owner needs two things: a place for their pet to curl up and a scratching post. The YOUTHINK Cat Scratcher gives you the best of both worlds. This cardboard ring is fully scratchable, but it’s also the perfect place to catch a snooze. It can be formed into various shapes to keep things fresh—which can be a plus if your cat is on the picky side. It even has an attached ball toy, so it’s truly the perfect all-in-one toy for every feline, whether they’re in the mood to scratch, chase, or just sleep.
The YOUTHINK Cat Scratcher includes a packet of catmint to help your pet get acquainted with their new scratcher-lounger combo. Customers say it’s truly an ingenious product and has a surprising visual appeal (more so than most cat scratchers). It’s also fine for larger cats, with some owners saying it supported their 15-pound cat with no problem.
Another great option, the Trixie 5-in-1 Cat Activity Center features a host of games to keep your cat mentally and physically stimulated. Its five activities all work different senses, encouraging them to use their nose, paws, and tongue to puzzle their way to their favorite treats. It’s a great way to keep your cat focused and engaged, in the form of a convenient all-in-one playset measuring 12 x 16 inches. It’s even dishwasher-safe, making it easy to clean when playtime is over.
Owners love watching their cats work through the Trixie 5-in-1 Cat Activity Center’s many pegs and crevices. Some of the games are quite challenging, giving the set lasting appeal when your pet has gotten then hang of the easier ones. It’s also large enough that more than one cat can play at once.
The SmartCat Peek-a-Prize Toy Box is sure to keep your indoor cat entertained for hours, even when you’re away. This hole-filled board allows owners to partially hide the two included mini-balls, challenging your cat to use their paws to fish out the prize. However, you can use anything you like, from favorite treats to toys of your own. It satisfies your cat’s instinct to stalk and hunt, while also providing a bit of mental stimulation.
Customers say the SmartCat Peek-a-Prize Toy Box appeals to their cats’ sense of curiosity, and enjoy adding new toys to the box when they’ve gotten the hang of it. Usually, chasing their prize around the room turns into a whole second game in and of itself.
The Cat Dancer Charmer is a classic chase toy that’ll have your cat jumping and pouncing around the room. With four feet of fabric, this interactive toy is a great way to keep your pet active and stimulated. The handle is nearly unbreakable, and it’s safe to use with both cats and kittens during playtime. The fabric itself is bright and colorful and available in three different patterns.
The Cat Dancer Charmer Toy is a perennial hit with cats, and customers write that it’s remained fully intact even in homes full of multiple cats. If you’re looking for a surefire win that lets you participate in play, this is the one.
The Easyology Amazing Roller Cat Toy is a classic ball-and-track game that comes in at a wallet-friendly $15. The toy has a tiered construction, with a colorful ball that rolls around each level. Their rotation mimics the movement of prey, encouraging cats to chase them around each track, keeping them occupied and entertained. It’s super sturdy and can hold up to anything your cat can throw at it and includes no small parts or strings that could present a choking hazard.
Thankfully, the Easyology Amazing Roller Cat Toy is also quiet—the rolling balls won’t distract you as your cat swats and bops away. Customers say it’s a big hit with their pets, who stay interested even after the initial novelty has worn away.
What cat doesn’t go crazy for a bit of catnip? The SmartKat Catnip Toys put the frisky fun of catnip in the form of a stuffed mouse. It’s just the right size for cats to bat around during play, and each mouse is packed with catnip. Made from organic materials and free of any chemicals or pesticides, you won’t have to worry about your cat’s safety. The toys are sold in packs of three, and the brand also sells a plush fish and several other variations. If you love giving catnip but hate getting it all over your floor, these SmartyKat Catnip Toys are the way to go.
Customers write that their cats absolutely love these toys, and usually go “catnip crazy” within moments. They’re also durable, typically holding up to at least 10 hours of play. Some buyers also recommend attaching the toy’s tail to a cat wand for an extra level of chasing fun.
This faux-sushi toy from munchiecat almost looks good enough to eat. With four plush nigiri-style rolls and four maki rolls in a mini-bento box, this toy’s level of presentation is truly next level. While it’s on the pricier side, it’s a splurge that is sure to be worth it for the Instagram fodder as your cat plays with these colorful sushi toys. Each piece is free of any strings or parts that could break off and cause choking hazards, although bells and pieces of catnip inside of the toys add another layer of fun.
Customers praise the attention to detail that was put into the munchicat Sushi Toys, with a beautiful design that’s adorably true-to-life. More importantly, their pets love playing with these little bundles—who knew cats loved to cuddle with a piece of nigiri?
Like cat wands, laser pointers are one of the all-time classic cat toys. The Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser is a simple but effective LED light that gives your cat an ever-elusive “prey” to chase around the floor. It’s safe to use with both pets and humans and is a great way to keep your cat from getting bored while adding a bit of exercise to their routine (especially if they tend to snooze the day away). Batteries are included, and the toy can be used outdoors as well as indoors.
The Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser sends most cats into a chasing frenzy, customers say, having them running after the toy’s red dot in seconds. At under $10, you can’t go wrong with this laser pointer—it also has long-lasting battery life, and is a great bet for those cats that never seem to get tired out.
A battery-operated toy with an element of motion opens up another dimension of play, and the Petlinks Mystery Motion Concealed Cat Toy is one of our favorites. This toy features a bundle of feathers that rotate beneath a fabric-cover ring, giving your pet something to chase and satisfying their hunting instinct. The movement beneath the fabric encourages play, and the feathers can be set to move at four speeds to increase the challenge. It’s especially effective for solo cats who could use some exercise and mental stimulation while you’re away from home.
Customers write that the Petlinks Mystery Motion Concealed Cat Toy truly keeps their pets busy. The soft noise of the toy makes most of them drop everything and immediately go into a chase-and-pounce mode. Some suggest using it in several 10 to 15-minute sets twice a day as an exercise routine and note that the feather part holds up well even after it’s been caught and bitten again and again.
For a safe and fun cat toy that most felines will love, go with the YOUTHINK Cat Scratcher (view at Amazon). This cardboard ring is fully scratchable and it can be formed into various shapes to keep things fresh. The Trixie 5-in-1 Cat Activity Center (view at Target) is a close runner up, though, and will keep your cat entertained for hours.
Benefits Most toys are designed primarily for entertainment, but many that have additional benefits for your kitty. For instance, some toys have built-in scratchers to help cats maintain their claws; others have chewing components to encourage oral health. Consider these types of wellness benefits as you shop.
Solo play Are you looking for a toy that will keep your cats entertained when they’re home alone or something that you have to facilitate? Consider whether solo play is a priority, as this will dictate what type of toy you should buy.
Engagement You know your cat better than anyone, so be sure to think about whether a particular toy is something they’ll use repeatedly. Cats can be finicky, and they often play with a toy once—then never again. If you’re not sure whether they’ll like a toy, it’s best to opt for something you know they’ll play with.