Cat toys are one of the most important things you can buy for your cat. Most cats need some stimulation, and a variety of toys offers them the chance to use their instincts and get some exercise. (And if neither of those is important, remember that cats will also bring you their toys as a sign of affection – and it’s adorable.)
There are many different types of toys that you can buy for your cat, and you might have to try different types in order to figure out what your cat enjoys the most.
Before we get into the list of the best toys, though, let’s take a quick look at the categories toys fall into.
What is the Best Cat Toy?
Types of Cat Toys
Catnip toys are exactly what they sound like – toys filled with catnip, which can energize your cats and get them to play hard. Unfortunately, many of the catnip toys you can buy in the store aren’t that fresh – a toy may be on the shelf for weeks or months before being sold. In that time, most of the effect from fresh catnip disappears.
To counter this, look for toys that allow you to change or refill the catnip. Providing a fresher scent before tossing the toy to your cat can help you get the most from this category. Similarly, don’t worry too much if they open the toy and manage to lick up the catnip inside – it’s not addictive or harmful.
Chase toys help cats exercise their hunting instincts by giving them something to follow and pounce. Kittens are especially fond of these and may go wild for ten or twenty minutes at a time as they try to catch the toy.
To get the most from these, you’ll need to learn how to mimic prey behavior with the toy. In many cases, short and sudden movements or hiding out of sight are more interesting than just going back and forth.
Be sure to let your cat catch the toy on a regular basis – they need to feel like their hunt is successful.
Electronic toys are designed to light up, make noise, and generally stimulate your cat’s senses during playtime. Some electronic toys even use a small motor to dart around, providing a random element that’s a little more interesting for hunts.
The downside, of course, is that batteries on electronic toys eventually wear out. Most of them aren’t meant to be replaced by the owner, though that may be possible for more expensive toys.
Scratchers are toys that let your cat safely sharpen their claws (before you trim them down, of course), and every cat should have at least one of these somewhere in your hours. Scratchers tend to be either posts (with a material wrapped around them) or a board that’s set on the floor. Many scratchers use catnip to attract felines and encourage interaction.
The Top 10 Cat Toys
Quick Look : Top 5 Interactive Toys for Cats in 2020
Now that we’ve looked at the major categories, let’s take a look at the best cat toys.
PURRfect Leather Bouncer Wand Check Price
Wands are one of the most popular types of chase toys since it’s so easy to flick them around – and of all wands, this leather one is easily one of the best. One thing many cat owners don’t realize is that cats tend to love leather. The texture, smell, and taste are all quite attractive to felines, so making a toy out of leather helps ensure they’ll be interested.
Notably, this toy doesn’t contain any chemicals harmful to your cat – it’s fine for them to lick, bite, or even chew the leather. It also has a faux-fur pom-pom for added fun and entertainment.
- Liked by most cats
- Extremely safe for cats to chew
- No unwanted chemicals
- 18-inch wand and 6-inch cable are a little short for this type of toy
- Color is randomized when you order it
Scratch Lounge The Original Scratch Lounge Check Price
Scratchers are a great way to let your cats sharpen their claws and rub on something that feels good – and few scratchers are better than this one. Scratch Lounge’s original model deviates from the usual design by having a three-sided setup that allows your cat to twist around and scratch to their heart’s content.
Also, the dense honeycomb structure of this pad helps it resist damage, even from frequent use. The scratcher itself is made entirely from recycled materials, and it can be recycled again once your cat is done with it. Replacement floors are available for about half the price of a new one, and a small bag of catnip is included to help attract your cat.
(That said, like most catnip toys, you may need to eventually sprinkle some more to keep the smell fresh and interesting. Cats don’t get addicted to catnip, so this shouldn’t be a problem.)
- Durable materials mean it lasts longer than many other scratchers
- Replacement floors are available to further extend its lifespan
- No replacements are available for the sides
- Cats may decide to just sleep on it instead of scratching
KONG Refillable Feather Top Carrot Catnip Cat Toy Check Price
The obvious solution to fading smell from catnip is to refill it – but many toys aren’t meant to be refilled. The manufacturer would rather have you constantly purchase new toys. KONG’s carrot goes against this trend by offering a fully refillable toy that encourages your cat to play with it over and over again.
(Of course, you could also say this is just a way to get you to buy more catnip… but on the whole, buying catnip instead of cloth and stuffing is better for the environment anyway.)
This toy is machine washable when the catnip is removed, though you probably won’t need to clean it very often. However, you should consider following the manufacturer’s instructions and storing the unused catnip in the freezer. This helps to preserve its freshness and ensure your cat will enjoy this to the fullest once you start refilling it.
That said, the feathers are a little less durable than the main toy – don’t be surprised if your cat decides to tear them out at some point.
- Comes with a decent amount of catnip
- Small enough for cats to easily pick up and play with
- Parts for compartment mean you need to be more aware of its condition
- It can be hard to tell when you should refill it
Neko Flies Kittycada Cicada Cat Toy Check Price
Few people want bugs in their home – unless that bug is part of a cat toy! The Kittycada is designed to mimic the movements of real bugs, providing an interesting target to hunt when your cat is on the prowl. This particular product is part of a larger line of interchangeable toys, collectively featuring gliding, jiggling, and scurrying movements to keep your cat entertained.
While these are a solid product overall, it’s important to know that they’re not meant to be chewed the way the PURRfect leather wand above can be. Neko Flies’ line of products is durable enough for playtime, but not something to leave your cat alone with.
Also, this product does not come with the base wand – make sure you order that or have a suitable alternative ready.
- Lifelike motions are very tempting for cats
- Toys are easily changed so playtime doesn’t get too predictable
- Durable materials
- Fairly expensive for cat toys
- Doesn’t let cats chew their prize
Cat Dancer Cat Charmer Check Price
Here’s another toy-on-a-stick – but unlike the previous entries on this list, this toy focuses on durability and bright, attractive colors. The Cat Charmer has an unusual design for wand toys – instead of a small toy held up by a string, this toy includes four full feet of bright fabric. Most cats will have a lot of fun chasing it around the house.
Helpfully, the wand part is made of a sturdy polycarbonate material. Cat Dancer advertises it as unbreakable – that’s not true, but the wand is strong enough to stand up to any force your cat can exert on it, and that’s all that really matters. More specifically, it’s rated for up to 30 pounds, and few cat breeds can exceed this weight or force. The fabric used is designed to avoid fraying, reducing the risk your cat will swallow some string.
This product is available in three colors, and unlike the PURRfect wand above, you can pick which design you want to receive. Much like the Kittycada, though, cats shouldn’t be left alone with this – too much chewing will ruin the fabric. Other toys are available if your cat really wants something to chomp on.
- Highly energizing for most cats
- Multiple colors available
- Sturdy enough to withstand long-term, normal use
- Not good for chewing once cats catch it
- Some buyers feel the wand is a little short
Frisco 33.5-Inch Scratching Post/Tower Check Price
This tall scratching post is perfect for cats that want to jump up and latch onto something with their claws instead of scraping at a board. Regardless of age or other preferences, most cats like to spend at least a little time scratching at things – and scratching posts are a great way to allow that.
This particular post features a thick layer of woven sisal (a durable, low-cost plant fiber), while the baseboard and the perch are covered with a plush material. The perch is quite important here – many cats are climbers, and the perch gives them somewhere to go when they want a vantage point.
Assembly is required for this product, but you don’t need to be an expert to put it together. All necessary tools and instructions are included so you can have it set up in just a few minutes.
- Tall, durable post will last a long time
- Has a perch for cats who like to climb
- Allows full-body stretching
- May fall or get knocked over if you don’t secure the base somehow
- Assembly is required
- You may have to teach your cat how to use it
Yeowww! Catnip Pollock Fish Cat Toy Check Price
Cats and fish go well together – so it’s no surprise there’s a well-made, fish-shaped toy on the market. The outside of this product uses durable cotton twill to help it resist scratching, biting, and being tossed around like the toy it is. The inside is filled with catnip leaves and flower tops, giving it a long-lasting fragrance that keeps cats coming back for more.
Also, this product carefully avoids the use of ‘toy grade’ materials, including cotton filler and plastic pieces. Instead, each toy is hand-sewn and individually stuffed to ensure a high grade of quality with each and every product.
This is a particularly good toy for cats who enjoy chewing and kicking larger toys. Most toys (like mice and many toys attached to the ends of rods) are only big enough for a cat to bite once they have it. Giving them something large to kick provides added variety and stimulation during playtime, and every household should have at least one larger toy.
- Catnip scent lasts for a long time
- Hand-sewn, high-quality workmanship
- Not easily refillable unless you’re good at sewing
Fat Cat Big Mama’s Cat Scratcher Check Price
This floor scratcher is simple and straightforward – but sometimes, that’s all you really want from a toy. Unlike the Scratch Lounge mentioned above, this is a one-sided mat that gives your cat someplace to sit down, relax, and sharpen their claws. Like most of the better scratchers, this product is reversible so you can easily extend the lifespan.
As a bonus, the Big Mama scratcher comes with both catnip and an extra toy, giving your cat a little added fun when you first get this item. That said, the real value of this product is its size. As a large box, this product is suitable for breeds that might feel a little too cramped on other scratchers. Similarly, the size is a boon for cats who enjoy rolling around to scratch themselves instead of sitting in place all the time.
- Good for large breeds
- Comes with catnip
- No walls
- String tassels may need to be removed to ensure your cat won’t eat them
SmartyKat Skitter Critters Catnip Cat Toy Check Price
This affordable three-pack includes a set of stimulating toys featuring three of a cat’s favorite things – catnip, string, and mice. The main body of each toy features a soft, chewable fabric, while the stringy tails are ideal for chasing and batting around.
Like most catnip toys that can’t be refilled, it’s best to get these as new as possible – just waiting around can dilute their potency a bit. Even so, this particular pack remains one of the most popular sets of toys on the market, and they’re so affordable that you can get several packs for less than the price of some other toys.
It’s worth noting that most cats eventually lose interest in a specific mouse – they want new toys to play with, so chances are you’ll eventually have a box of old mice sitting around. Consider donating these to pet stores or animal shelters, where they can be given to pets who are waiting for adoption.
- Affordable 3-pack of toys
- Good for chewing
- Contain a fair amount of catnip
- Cats will randomly decide to start ignoring them
- Hard to control how fresh they are
Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy Check Price
Most cat scratchers double as beds – because as any cat owner can tell you, cats love sitting on something besides the floor. This scratcher deviates from the mold with a circular pad intended mainly for scratching, not sitting. However, the real twist is the sturdy plastic shell and the ball your cat can knock around whenever they like.
This is more helpful than many people realize – it’s good for cats to have something to knock around when they’re playing, but if it goes too far, they might lose interest in it. Keeping the ball inside a track means cats can play with it as much as they want, whenever they want, without fear of losing it. That alone makes this a solid toy choice for any household.
The 10-inch scratching mat is fully replaceable, and this product comes with a starter pack of catnip to attract your feline friend.
- Scratching mat that comes with its own toy
- Sturdy enough to withstand extended use by cats
- No traction, making it a poor choice for hardwood floors
- Color is random