The Best Cat Toys to Entertain Your Bored Kitty: Reviews & Ratings in 2021
Cats are natural-born hunters. They love the sneaking, the pouncing, the play, and they love the satisfied feeling all that gives them after a good hunt. But since most of us don’t want our kitties catching mice, birds, and squirrels to bring home for dinner, we have to engage them with the best cat toys we can find.
But finding the right toys to do the trick of keeping kitty exercising, playing, and happy can be time-consuming. I’ve got some tips for you on that, along with a list of the 25 top cat toys available this year.
- 1 What to Consider When Buying Cat Toys
- 2 How I Picked the Cat Entertainment Toys for My List
- 3 Reviews of the Best Cat Toys
What to Consider When Buying Cat Toys
Before you choose some great cat toys from the list below, think about these things concerning your own cat.
1. Your Cat’s Personality
Does your kitty enjoy pouncing? Hiding? Sneaking around and popping out from corners? Does she lie around and bat at things lightly, or does she chase things actively? Does she love boxes, tight spaces, and anything tunnel like?
The answers to these questions will be the most revealing about what kinds of toys to get for kitty.
2. Your Cat’s Age or Health Concerns
Don’t forget to consider any health concerns Garfield has before ordering some toys. If he’s arthritic, then getting something that’s going to be difficult to play with is a bad idea, but you do want something that will keep him active to help with the pain levels.
3. The Materials the Toys are Made From
Next, consider what the products are made of. Some cats have a very persnickety taste when it comes to materials. Think through what Kitty has played with in the past. Lightweight plastic? Rigid plastic? Soft things? Snuggly things? Does she respond to the corrugated cardboard scratching pads, rope, or other materials on her scratching posts?
4. Will This Toy Engage My Cat in Active Play?
Finally, consider whether or not this toy will engage Kit-Kat in active play or just some mild, occasional pouncing. A big part of why we have playtime with pets is to encourage exercise for the frequently napping felines we so adore (and envy).
What things has your feline done for movement in the past? Does he jump? Does he run laps around the coffee table? Does he lazily bat at the fishbowl between winks?
Try thinking through your cat’s normal behavior for clues on the types of toys he will enjoy playing with and benefit from.
How I Picked the Cat Entertainment Toys for My List
There are literally thousands of cat toy options out there. Many are the same, just brought to you by other brands.
To find the absolute best ones, I looked into the reviews on Chewy, Amazon, and the long list of review sites to see what made it to the tops of their lists. I had 100+ options right there.
Which, of course, was way too many.
So, I tossed out the reviews that were obviously paid for, or that just weren’t that great. That hacked the list down to about 70.
From that list of seventy, I thought through this: Would my cats, or any cats I know, play with these kitty toys?
After asking that, I shrank the list further by examining the products in specific categories to the best of the best in each type of toy.
And that knocked down the list to what I present you with: The 25 top cat toys of 2020.
In my list, you’ll find great options for cat exercise toys, self-play cat toys, and even some high-tech cat toys. Glance through each category to see which ones you think will help engage your kitty most in play.
Reviews of the Best Cat Toys
Below you’ll find what I believe to be the best of the best in fun feline toys. Interactive, those for small cats, stimulating ones, and more from the best cat toy brands I could find.
These cool cat toys are so much fun. Seriously, I’m a little jealous of my pets.
The Best Interactive Cat Toys
Most of the best interactive cat toys involve kitty treats or kibble being placed in them, with kitty trying to get the food out through clever problem-solving.
And since we want to work kitty’s mind and instincts, not just his body, I thought these top two options would be great to recommend to you.
For the kitty who’s motivated by food, this little egg-shaped kibble dispensing interactive toy is a winner.
The toy has a couple of holes in the sides where kitty can shake her food out – by whatever her favorite means. The openings are adjustable so that you can make it easier or more difficult to get the food out.
Since it’s egg-shaped, the “ball” rolls around in odd patterns and keeps things lively while your eager-eater kitty works on getting her meal.
You can, of course, also just use this for dispensing treats for your cat. Personally, this is the route I’d use this for on any regular basis unless I had a kitty who doesn’t know when to stop eating.
Finally, the toy is dishwasher safe, so it’s easy to keep clean, and only costs $6.
This cat toy/feeder combo is amazing. It requires a little more work than just dumping some cat food into a bowl, but man is it worth it for some cats.
The deal is, you take these little mice and fill them up with cat food. No big deal. Easy.
But then, you go hide them around the house for kitty to hunt down.
You heard me: You’re giving your cat food to hunt that doesn’t involve dead mouse carcasses laid on your pillow.
The idea behind these is to help your cat re-engage in her natural hunting instincts which can help a lot of things in her health. For example, she’ll be less likely to overeat, since she’ll have “caught” her prey, played with it, and eaten it. She’ll also be less likely to have issues with eating too quickly because she’s having to work for it, instead of just nabbing the food from a bowl.
The fabric is perfect for kitty’s grabby claws and helps keep her interested in her food, as well as the interactive toy itself.
The set for $20 comes with three mice, one trainer pod, and the scoop designed to fit perfectly with the holes.
Bonus: The pods are dishwasher safe, and the “skins” for the mice are machine-washable. Easy clean-up. Can’t beat that.
The Best Automatic Cat Toys
While all of us would rather be there playing with our furry family members, sometimes we just don’t have the time or energy, but kitty still needs to get exercise and burn off some energy.
And that’s where these cat toys that move on their own come in.
How I’m classifying automatic are the ones that use electric – either via battery power or from being plugged in – and don’t require your attention other than the on/off switch.
Also, note that automatic cat toys are some of the best for cats home alone. So if you travel much, or work a lot of hours, you’ll definitely want to consider getting a few of these.
If your cat is anything like my mother’s cats, they’ll love this toy. It kind of looks like a round, plastic sheet with a big button in the middle.
Underneath the sheet is a little motor that pushes a “tail” around unpredictably so that your furry feline friend can’t figure out the pattern and become bored with the ever clock-wise circle. The tail sticks out from the edge of the sheet, where kitty can see it “running,” making it the perfect pouncing victim.
This particular toy is great for mousers and cats who get bored easily. Plus, it’s only $17 on Chewy, making it way cheaper than a lot of more complicated automatic toys.
This toy is a double-automatic toy that high-energy cats love. It’s a ball, but it rotates on its own. But for added impact, it lights up with a single pinpoint red light.
So, this 360-degree self-rotating cat ball toy will move around the house, and just keep going until you turn it off or the batteries run out. If it hits a wall or furniture, it changes directions on its own and keeps moving.
This is a particularly great option for anyone going on vacation and leaving kitty to the care of a cat sitter who drops in every couple of days. The toy comes with three to five sets of batteries, but if I was leaving, I’d load up on more sets – enough for several hours each day the sitter visits – to help keep kitty entertained and exercising while I’m gone.
If your kitty loves laser pointers, but sometimes you need to do other things while he’s playing, the PetDroid Boltz is a great option that’s easy to use. And there’s no “installation” necessary like some of the expensive models.
The low-down is that you put three AAA batteries in, close it up, and stick the PetDroid up on a smooth surface like a window or mirror, using the suction cup. If it’s having a hard time sticking, wet the mirror and suction cup a little bit. I use a sponge for that purpose.
Or, if you don’t like the suction cup option, you can hang it from a hook on the wall.
You’ll next turn it on and let kitty play for 10 minutes before the PetDroid automatically shuts off to save your batteries and prevent kitty from getting over-stimulated.
The convenience is great, but what I love about the PetDroid is that I can push the button twice, and it clicks into a second mode: twinkle and move. This means there’s more for kitty to consider as he runs around.
Also, the PetDroid keeps an erratic pattern, so kitty can’t guess where the red dot will go next.
Finally, the PetDroid actually goes up walls and across the floor which means it works great for birders and mousers, which is rare in a toy. And since I have one kitty who happens to be both, this automatic cat laser pointer is perfect for us.
Another well-loved automatic cat toy around here is the Moody Pet Fling-Ama-String. This crazy thing is perfect for the crazy kitties I know.
Seriously, this toy is ridiculous and so fun. You strap it to the wall or a door, depending on your exact housing setup, and then you turn it on. It flicks out a piece of string to grab kitty’s attention.
And once that attention is grabbed, your feline will go bonkers – seriously insane over this thing. The flicking, the pulling back, the releasing… It’s wonderful.
Your cat can pull on the string, scratch at the pad, or just about anything else, and the toy survives and keeps flicking out that string and keeping your cat going.
You’ll need three AA batteries and someplace to attach it, and you’re good to go. Pick from either speed, depending on kitty’s interest levels.
For the kitty who’s fascinated by butterflies and other things that flit by, the Pet Zone Fly By Spinner is a great option for an automatic toy.
It’s got an attractive base – where you put the one AAA battery for power – and a spring wire on which a colorful butterfly flits around the base in a semi-natural pattern for a butterfly.
It’s a gentle, easy-going toy for kitties who need some stimulation but don’t need to go crazy like with some of the other toys out there.
It runs for $8 at Chewy.
The Best Tunneling Toys
Tunnels are awesome, no matter your age, no matter your species. Those snow tunnels we built as kids appeal to cats, too.
And since most of us don’t have snow tunnels available 12 months of the year, these kitty tunnels are a more realistic option. Too bad we can’t fit.
This amazing tunnel is perfect for kitties. It has three tunnel tubes that join together at a central point where kitty can take a nap or attack some toy mice in peace.
Not only does the tunnel have three entryways, but it’s collapsible, so you don’t have to keep it out all the time. Collapse it when kitty needs a break and toss it in the closet.
You can also take it with you if you’re taking Fluffy along for a trip somewhere – most pet-friendly hotels have some extra space in their rooms – and since it’s a piece of home, it might help kitty adapt to the new environment.
The Prosper Pet is made of that crinkly fabric that cats seem to love, comes with a dangle toy at one of the entrances, and is available in a wide variety of colors.
All right, this one my cat adores. It’s a single tunnel, made of that same crinkle material that kitties love, and it collapses. But what makes this a unique cat toy tunnel is that the side has a large entryway for kitty to dive in and out of – and trust me, my cat does! – for fun hunting simulations.
The tunnel collapses down pretty easily and ties up for better storage. Bonus: The ties work as additional enticements for kitty to play in the tunnel. I mean, most cats love strings, after all.
Since this doesn’t have any dangly toys but does have that amazing side entry, I tend to toss pom-poms, crinkle balls, and my cat’s favorite yellow plastic ball in for some added fun in there.
This tunnel runs about $9 on Chewy.
This is not your average tunnel. In fact, it’s not really a tunnel at all. But it is an amazing, interactive, burrowing toy for your kitty.
This is seriously a fantastic option for any feline. It lets your cat burrow, scratch, snuggle, pounce through holes, hide, hunt, or pretty much anything else she wants.
The Ripple Rug is made of super durable carpet fibers and has been designed with multiple holes cut into it for play. Some of the holes are small, for paws to reach out through as victims pass by, while others are large enough for kitty to launch a full-body pounce through.
You can fold and ripple the rug in just about any way you want, allowing your Furball to dive, play, hide, and hunt.
When you first set it up, I’d recommend folding it up in unique shapes and then tossing your cat’s favorite toys through a hole to encourage kitty to go inside and play. You can also sprinkle some catnip underneath to encourage burrowing, until your cat figures out how things work in there.
The Ripple Rug runs around $40.
Chew Toys for Kittens
Chew toys aren’t as common for cats as they are for dogs. However, for many kitties, whether kitten or adult, chewies can be a great option for pets who tend to chew on everything around them.
These are the two best that I found in my search for cat chew toys.
When my friend’s kitten Stardust was about sixteen weeks old, she started chewing on her owners’ arms. And fingers. And shoulders. And ankles. And knees…
So I suggested grabbing one of these to help since she was clearly teething. She also had hideous breath and was very cranky.
This toy was a lifesaver for Stardust’s parents. They certainly felt the $4 price tag was way more than worth it.
The toy has a netting-textured stem between two leaves, which is perfect for kitties trying to teeth their way into less pain as their gums develop and new teeth grow in. This means it gives some pain relief for kitty, much like a teething ring does for a human baby.
Not only is this a great teething toy for kittens and older adult cats who just like to chew on stuff, but the toy is infused with mint – a cousin of the catnip plant – and that means it helps to freshen the breath of kitties.
This particular chew toy works with a couple of different textures than the Mint Stick. This one has a gel-like/rubbery chew wheel that’s great for painful gums, and some heavy-duty fabric streamers coming off either end.
The chew wheel itself has spokes on it, that help massage gums, while also helping to clean the teeth.
The streamers are tough and can handle loads of chomping, and because of their semi-course texture, they can also help clean up the teeth.
This one is particularly great for pets with stinky breath or who have the habit of chewing on everything in sight.
Bonus: It’s only $2 on Chewy!
The Best Multi-Pack of Toys
I found several decent multi-packs of toys. But there was only one that I felt really deserved to make it to my list because most of them had redundant toys that simply came in other colors.
This multi-pack is perfect for any cat owner, but it’s especially great for anyone welcoming a new kitty into their home. I chose this option for the list because of the wide variety of toys in the pack.
First off, the pack comes with 20 items, for only about $13. That’s pretty awesome, and that technically makes this a “best of the cheap cat toys” item as well.
Secondly, the type of variety is awesome. Each assortment you get will be a little different, but the packs will come with a wide range of options that could include:
- Rope mice
- Catnip sachets
- Crinkle pom poms
- Soft balls
- Plastic balls
- Rope balls
- Feather mice
- Furry mice
- Sparkly pom poms
- Foam balls
The variety of textures is what excites me, and is the reason why I recommend it to new kitty owners. Cats are exceptionally picky about everything. So, using a multi-pack like this could help you quickly discover the toys your kitty most loves.
My own cats prefer the rope mice, catnip sachets, and sparkle pom poms from packs like this, but my friend’s cats love the traditional pom-poms and the jinglers. Having a multi-pack like this helped us both learn more about our cats’ tastes. They’re also great for multiple cats!
My cats love teasers. They pounce, they bounce, they skitter, and they fly as they engage in play with these things. I know not all kitties adore these things, but since mine do, I can tell you, these are the best options for cat wand toys.
The simple design of this colorful cat teaser is perfect. It’s set on a solid plastic post, with a single soft material “tail” for your kitty to chase. And unlike most teasers, the “tail” is fairly long at 18-inches, with a 12-inch wand. That means that even if you’ve had a long tiring day, you can still play with kitty.
Personally, I love this one for leaning back against the couch and flailing about on the other end where kitty pounces and plays at my level. I’m not always exhausted at the end of the day, but when I am, the length on this teaser really helps.
The teaser runs about $2.50 on Chewy.
From a well-trusted brand, this fun critter-shaped teaser is so awesome. There’s a pink flamingo, flying pink insect, or a blue bird animal attached at the end of the durable plastic wand. They each have feathers, and the string is bouncy elastic that lets you have loads of fun teasing kitty.
For my cats, anything with feathers wins, but combine that with elastic and sudden snap-away actions, and oh goodness. This kind of play wins them over every time. That really makes this one a great bargain at about $4 a piece.
This kind of teaser also helps them get their hunting needs out while wearing them out a bit. I’d highly recommend this particular teaser for owners of high-energy kittens and cats.
Play with them using the teaser each night, about a half-hour before bed, and see if that helps the household sleep any better.
Not all cat teasers are created equal, that’s for sure. As I looked for the best options to try out and suggest, I came across a lot of feathery options. As I mentioned above, anything with a feather gets my kitties going.
However, this particular option drives one gray kitten I know absolutely wild. She is bonkers for teasers like this, which is why I had to put it on the list.
The teaser pack comes with a super-long wand – almost 3-feet in length! And the string is long and springy – though it’s not elastic – and has bells attached for a nice, tempting little tinkle.
The pack comes with 2 different feather heads, one red and one purple. The kitties I know shred these bad boys to bits, so having two interchangeable heads is an awesome option. Especially since you can grab some replacement heads from Chewy.
This one costs about $8 to buy for the two-pack.
The Best Laser Pointers for Cats
Most cat laser pointers are the same. You stick in the expensive little batteries and play and play until they die. Then kitty gets upset, and you can’t play anymore, after only maybe a day.
So, in studying up on my kitty toys, I was thrilled to discover these two amazing laser pointers.
First off, you get 2 of these adorable laser pointers. So, if you have a kitty who enjoys the double stimulation, you and a friend or loved one cat play with kitty at once, bringing out lots of opportunity for pouncing, running, and jumping.
Secondly, these laser pointers use standard AAA batteries. So no trying to figure out how to find those expensive little batteries at the store, or wasting money by replacing the laser pointer with a new one every other week.
Finally, this laser pointer has two different settings: blinking or steady. That means you can tease kitty through his hunting grounds all the more.
Seriously, I love this teaser. And so do tons of other pet owners and their kitties.
The other laser pointer I wanted to present is USB chargeable. Since I am constantly replacing batteries – I have a kitty here who goes gaga over laser pointers more than any other toy – I was super excited to discover this option.
The pointer is a little pricier upfront than a standard pointer but in the long run? Worth it for the savings over battery replacements.
Plus, my kitty doesn’t have to wait for new batteries to be purchased.
The charge only takes about 1.5 hours, and then it lasts for most of the week! Well, unless you’ve got a Fluffball like mine who wants to play with it night and day.
Secondly, this pointer has the red laser pointer setting, plus an LED light setting – yay for mini-flashlights! – and a UV light that you can use to detect pet stains, dog urine, and bed bugs of all things.
These other functions may not always be necessary, but when you travel or train a new pet, they might come in really handy.
The Best Cheap Cat Toys
Finally, what cat toy round-up would be complete without offerings of the best cheap cat toys around? After all, cats – like toddlers – may ignore the most expensive gifts we give them for the simple, the inane, or the box the expensive toy came in.
And for those of us who love showering our kitties with fantastic items, but can’t afford to go all out every week, here are those best options on the budget-friendly toys for Fluffball.
Admittedly, I’m used to most electronic toys being way too pricey to consider for a casual gift for the felines in our house. But this one is only about $5 and is loads of fun for your cat (and for you to watch!).
The SmartyKat Feather Whirl toy is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a small ball with a wand attached to it. At the other end of the wand is, as you guessed, a feather toy.
This is a great option for someone who has a kitty who’s persistent in play and needs a little break from kitty’s constant mewings for attention. No. I don’t speak from experience. At all.
The weighted ball rolls erratically around the floor, flicking the feather toy about. I don’t know about yours, but my cats go mad for this. They pounce, they stalk, they hunt, and are satisfied – especially when playtime is followed up by some healthy treats.
The Feather Whirl runs on AA batteries and clicks on easily. It’s great for kitties who need a distraction or get a little anxious when you leave the house without them.
Of course, sometimes you just need a little catnip infused cat mouse toy to satisfy Felix for a while. The SmartyKat choice is a great one, at the low price of only $2 for a 3-count of fuzzy, catnip-filled mice.
They’re the perfect size for cats to easily carry around, bat, or toss, and they have little rope tails that add to their enticing nature.
They’re packed with high-quality, potent catnip, and recycled fiberfill for a safe, happy kitty toy for pretty much any occasion.
My cats can’t get enough of the mice. Rope mice, fuzzy mice, crinkly mice… They love them all. And I love these little guys for my little guys.
The Penn-Plax Purrs are adorable with their little red eyes, pink ears, and fuzzy bodies. They’re great for mousers especially. So, if you know your kitty dreams of hunting down real-life mice, you’ll want to consider these specific mice playthings.
They come in a 12-pack with three different fur colors: white, black, and gray, and only cost $6 to buy.
Another winning pack of mice is the Hartz Just for Cats 12-pack of fuzzy, colorful mice. They kind of look like fluffy pom poms, just with little ears and tails attached.
These mice are small but brightly colored, so they’re going to be reasonably easy for you to find.
I like them for tossing into tunnels, boxes, and other places I want to entice kitty to go play.
They’re also catnip infused so your cats will enjoy pouncing and batting at them, and, if they’re anything like mine, play fetch-and-then-hide with them.
They run about $3 for the 12-pack.
Oh, my goodness, these are so cute. They’re little plush hedgehogs that your cat will enjoy batting and snuffling to get at the catnip, and then cuddle with when he falls asleep.
They come with a tube of high-quality catnip that you fill the hedgehog with right away. The compartment holds in the catnip securely, keeping kitty clinging and playing for longer.
When the catnip fades – usually signaled by kitty being less involved with the toy – you can just fill it up again with more.
One thing I especially love about this toy is that you can empty the catnip and then toss it in the washing machine.
It’s recommended that you store any unused catnip, or even catnip toys, in the freezer to keep it fresh for longer.
You can buy this toy from Kong for around $4 on Chewy.
While my cats aren’t that excited about pom poms, my friend has a kitty who goes bonkers for these pom poms, especially since they’re all catnippy.
They’re wooly, fluffy, colorful, and super-soft, and just the right size for playful kitties to toss around, run with, or play a game of fetch with. And since they’re filled with pure catnip, your cat will be thrilled to play with them for hours.
They’re a little bigger than the average cat’s paw, which means they’re easier for you to find and toss for games. And they come in a four-pack for just $5.
My final choice for the best inexpensive cool cat toys is the colorful Midnight Crazies ball toys from Hartz’s Just for Cats line.
The balls have a subtle, plastic bell inside them for a low-level jingle that will attract your cat’s attention as you toss them into the room for playtime.
What my cats love about these balls, though, is that they’re the perfect design for carrying around in their mouths. The balls are made of durable plastic, with large slits cut into the sides. The cats can pick them up easily and carry them around for whatever games they might want to play.
They come in a 7-pack of balls and you can buy them for less than $2.
Awesome Cat Toys Will Keep Your Kitty Healthy and Happy
The right cat playthings can help improve your cat’s health through active play, mental health through engaging his instincts, and energy levels through doing something other than lying around bored while you’re at work.
Because of all those amazing benefits, I looked long and hard for cool cat toys that would keep my cats – and yours – engaged, active, energized, and happy. I hope my list has helped you narrow down the list from just the 100 most popular best cat toys to the most awesome cat toy selections for your furry family member.
If you’re looking for a tower or scratcher type of toy, check out our reviews here.