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No matter how much you love your cat, there come those moments when they’re pawing your arm, scratching the furniture, or just sitting in the middle of the room, yowling. You find yourself thinking, “Can’t they go do something else?” That’s where cat toys come in—and why we’ve put together this list of the best cat toys for indoor cats.
Why All Cats Need Toys
Whether it’s your senior cat lounging on the sofa while chewing on a catnip-filled mousie or your new kitten racing at breakneck speed through the house chasing a plastic ball—cats absolutely need toys and playgrounds.
“Without the proper mental and physical enrichment, play, stimulation, socialization, exercise and training, a cat—and any animal—will develop and display maladaptive behaviors and coping mechanisms that will be a problem for a parent and a cat,” animal behaviorist Russell Hartstein explains.
Four 10-minute play sessions a day is a reasonable guidepost, according to Hartstein. Keep in mind, however, that every cat is different and has their own unique exercise requirements.
What Makes a Good Cat Toy?
The best cat toy is the one the cat plays with! Don’t be disappointed if your kitty turns up their nose at the item you offer them. Many cat toys are inexpensive, so try a few different ones. Your cat may leave most of them in a heap, but one or two will get tons of attention.
Some cats are fetchers, carrying their favorite toy from place to place around the house. Some will bring a toy to you to show off their catch. Others pile toys in their beds or hide them in closets. We had one cat that hid 20 of its toys inside the lining of our couch. Go figure!
While some cat toys look like mice and other outdoor prey, some popular cat toys come in unexpected shapes. Cats don’t seem to mind—our friend Becky’s Bombay is fascinated by potholders. Again, go figure.
Most of my cats are into scratching posts to relieve boredom, except for Toby. He’s just wild over this particular wand toy. While wand toys often require you or another person to wave them around, two of my cats are perfectly happy to bat the mouse or feathers around on their own, often dragging the whole wand toy noisily through the house.
If your cat is fond of laser or LED-light pointers, keep in mind that you’ll need to be present to operate the pointer safely. Also, experts caution that as much as cats love chasing the little red light, they can get frustrated by their inability to catch it. They recommend that you finish a laser toy session with a toy the cat can successfully catch.
Finally, consider including a challenging cat tree on your list of toys—one with hiding places or lots of toys attached.
The Best Cat Toys for Indoor Cats
My cats can lay waste to most scratcher pads in a few weeks, but this basic model from PetFusion stands up to months of enthusiastic play sessions. When it eventually gets worn, just flip it over and get them started on side two. (And check out the fancier PetFusion models like this one—you’ll be tempted.)Shop on Chewy Shop on Amazon
This cat toy for indoor cats was a gift from our groomer, who knows a thing or two! Our kitties are just wild for it, and we think this life-sized mouse might be the best thing for your cat, too. It’s a toy they can really sink their teeth and claws into—and it still holds up.Shop on Walmart Shop on Amazon
Rover kittens JoJo and Pickles found the bird-like motion of the cluster of feathers at the end of this made-in-the-USA cat toy mesmerizing. We tested this simple rod-and-feather toy and predict it will be a hit with your cats, too.Find on Amazon
Your cat will go wild over this Jackson-Pollock-inspired pollock from Yeowww! A massive 11 inches long, it’s the perfect indoor toy for your cat to chew and kick at the same time. It’s made of durable cotton twill and the only filler is pure catnip.Shop on Amazon
We know that most cats are delighted by catnip, but did you know that many get just as excited by the sound of crinkly materials? This catnip-infused indoor plush toy is filled with buckwheat, which makes the best crispy, crinkly sound when your cat pounces or chews on it—the best of both stimulating worlds!Shop on Chewy
This laser pointer comes with three replaceable LR44 batteries, so you’re ready to go right out of the package. Shine it on the wall or the floor to get your feline couch potato up and moving in pursuit of the little red dot.Shop on Chewy
More attractive and far more durable than a paper bag, this 47-inch play tunnel with dangling toy will provide your cat with hours of indoor fun. Some cats like to race through it. Others use it as a hiding place. It’s outstanding for multi-cat households and cats that like to play hide-and-seek. Don’t worry about the long tunnel taking up too much room—the lightweight, spring-loaded frame is easy to fold flat and stow away when playtime’s over.Shop on Chewy
Is your cat fascinated by things appearing and disappearing? If so, this toy with tiered tracks and battable balls and butterflies is made for them! Nonskid pads on the bottom keep the device in place while your cat plays.Shop on Chewy
If your kitty likes to gnaw, this tough leather catnip-filled mouse from Etsy shop Ocheltree should appeal. Made from re-purposed suede, it’s available in your choice of convincingly mouse-like colors.Shop on Etsy
This 57-inch-tall cat tree and condo comes equipped with three tempting dangly toys to capture your cat’s attention—plus sturdy sisal-wrapped scratching posts to let them blow off some steam. This is a one-stop solution to your cat’s housing and playtime needs. Just add catnip!Shop on Chewy
Sprinkle this preservative- and pesticide-free organic catnip on a toy and watch your kitty perk right up! Grown in the U.S., purchase a single long-lasting cup or up to 10 cups in bulk.Shop on Amazon
Last, but oh-so-not-least, the One Fast Cat wheel may be just the thing to help your restless kitty blow off some steam. We took One Fast Cat for a spin recently and concluded that it’s well worth the investment if you have a smart, highly energetic cat. And if your cat is easily motivated by treats or toys, they can be using the wheel after just one or two training sessions. The wheel assembles easily, and the One Fast Cat support team is on hand if you run into any technical problems.Shop One Fast Cat
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