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We have yet to learn the golden secret to keeping—and holding—a cat’s attention, but a quality cat toy is a good place to start. The options, however, can be overwhelming. How do you find the best cat toys out there? In our experience, the answer is usually trial and error. So to give you a leg up, we’ve rounded up some favorites that come pre-approved by Rover kitties.
What Makes a Good Cat Toy?
The best toy for your cat is the one they actually play with. And that really boils down to what makes your cat tick. Some kitties are fetchers and love rolling chase toys. Others are stalkers and go wild over wand toys and teasers.
Don’t have time to dangle feathers in front of your cat’s face? No problem. That’s where electric and cat track toys come into play—keeping your kitty busy while you do other things (like work your 9-5 to keep funding their entertainment).
Then there are laser or LED-light pointers, which have the benefit of amusing you both and offering your kitty some much-needed exercise.
With so many options on the market, the real trick is finding the play style that floats your cat’s boat, then homing in on the toys that have them coming back for more.
The Best Cat Toys According to a Few Hyperactive, Playful Cats
Through our hands-on, in-house testing at the Rover studio and at home with our own cats, we’ve rounded up some of the most popular cat toys available to help make your decision process a little easier.
Check out our video review below featuring Pickles and JoJo, our oh-so-obliging test kitties. Then read on for details about each toy category, along with toy recommendations and related articles we think you’ll find helpful.
Wand & Teaser Toys
Few cats can resist the allure of faux prey in motion. Tapping into their natural hunting instincts, wand toys offer hours of fun by creating an enriching outlet. Attachments come in all shapes and sizes, from feathers and plushies to bugs. Find all three in the Leaps & Bounds Caterpillar Cat Teaser or get the whole kit and caboodle with the 11-Pack ZeyZoo Retractable Wand & Toys.
In the video above, you’ll see Amber mesmerizing JoJo and Pickles with the Da Bird Feather Teaser. The bird-like motion of the cluster of feathers soaring and zipping gracefully through the air proved too hard for our test subjects to ignore.Find on Amazon Buy on Petco
Laser Cat Toys
Cat laser or LED-light pointers toys are another great outlet for natural prey drive. Cats love chasing the laser dot throughout the house, and a play session with one can offer not just mental stimulation but also some much-needed physical exercise.
It’s hard to beat the classic design of options like the Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser (pictured in the video above). But if you want all the bells and whistles (balls and lasers?), check out the Yofun LED Ball Toy, a swiveling ball with colorful lights that make us want to chase it.
If you’re considering a machine-operated laser toy, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re present for play sessions. 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.
For another automated option, check out the SereneLife Automatic Laser Cat Toy. This cat laser offers preset modes that create exciting and unpredictable paths, as well as an optional manual mode. The toy also shuts off automatically after 30 minutes of play—preserving your cat’s safety and sanity.Find on Amazon Shop on Chewy Explore on Walmart
Rolling Chase Toys
Sometimes the best cat toys are the simplest in nature. (Classic wool ball and string, anyone?) Rolling cat toys are usually pretty no-frill and affordable, while still providing opportunities for your cat to chase and pounce—like the Hartz Midnight Crazies Cat Toy Balls.
While the Jackson Galaxy Cat Dice are no longer available, you can still find their Satellites Cat Toys on Amazon.
Keep your lively cat entertained and feel good about it. These fuzzy felt balls are natural and sustainable, made from 100% wool. The jute and feathers offer a fun texture that your cat will love to chase and bat. While these come in a variety of bright colors and earth tones, you won’t know what you’ll get until they arrive at your doorstep—adding an extra element of mystery!Find on Amazon Buy on Petco
Electronic Cat Toys
While playing with your cat is one of the best ways to build a bond, sometimes you need a breather. Electronic toys are a great way to keep your cat occupied when you’ve got a lot on your plate.
Many electronic toys—like the SmartyKat Loco Motion Toy—come with different settings, too, so you can match the difficulty and speed to your cat’s ability and life stage. And toys like the YOFUN Smart Interactive Cat Toy automatically turn off after a certain period of time to help prevent overstimulation.
While this toy is one of the louder toys we tested during the video shoot, the realistic fluttering sound of the whizzing butterfly is a big part of what will make it so attractive to your cat.
For cat electronics, it’s easy to assemble—just pop in a AAA battery, unfold the pedestal flippers, and turn it on—plus it’s very reasonably priced and doesn’t have much of a footprint, if space and storage is an issue in your home. A lot of toy in a small package.Find on Amazon Shop on Chewy Explore on Walmart
Cat Track Toys
Classic ball-in-track games like the Kong game mentioned above are great for cats who are good at playing by themselves and enjoy a good puzzle.
If your cat likes to extract balls from these kinds of games (such as Ramona, seen in action here), these kinds of toys are good with direct supervision. That way you can retrieve the ball and keep the fun going. The UPSKY Cat Toy Roller 3-Level Turntable actually comes with three additional balls for this exact purpose.
Meowtains of fun await as this track toy offers not one, not two, not three, but four levels of ball-rolling goodness. Each level has a colored ball that spins when your cat swipes it, and a non-slip base keeps it firmly in one place. There’s also a top safety bar that keeps your cat’s delicate and curious paws from getting stuck.Find on Amazon Buy on Petco Shop on Chewy
Video Staging Toys
And now for the toys that kept the kittens busy in between takes.
This large and unwieldy cat tunnel is an example of a common yet uncomfortable irony when it comes to cat toys: often the best, most loved, most used toys are the bulkiest, ugliest, or strangest.
On one hand, this tunnel is easy to assemble (just pop a few bungee cords and Velcro straps and it expands itself), it’s collapsible and portable, and it offers a variety of uses, from infinity chase tube to cozy cat bed.
On the other hand, well, just look at this thing. It takes up a lot of space and is rather bulky. But if you have a giant cat playroom or a large, all-weather catio, it’s a toy that could seriously jazz up playtime.Find on Amazon
If a standard cat tube is more your speed and you don’t mind loud colors, it’s hard to go wrong with this tunnel two-pack, coming in at a very reasonable price. Both tunnels provide a stimulating crinkle noise and a tantalizing suspended ball, but the longer one has a “peep” hole that cats like to pop in and out of.Find on Amazon Shop on Chewy
You May Also Like: Kong PlaySpaces Burrow Toy. While Ramona (the subject of this post) can barely fit into it and generally prefers interactive games, she does like to hide behind this one-way tunnel toy and use it for ambush staging. It’s soft, has a more realistic “log” look, and comes with a small plush critter attached to a short elastic band that’s fun to drop inside the hole and watch her go after it.
Yes, this toy resembles an activity mat for actual human babies. But if your cat is your baby, then this lightweight, fabric-covered play mat might be just what you need.
This product likely won’t stand up to rough play from the likes of mega chonks, but for smaller cats and kittens, its suspended balls and fuzzy objects will keep them batting for hours.Buy on Petco
Is your hyperactive cat still climbing up the walls? Continue your toy research with one of the articles below.