Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Cats love to play, so why not indulge your bundle of fluff and daggers with the best cat toys money can buy? The good news is that the best toys don’t necessarily cost the most money.

There is no perfect cat toy, and what works for one cat isn’t necessarily going to work for another. Some love to play with boxes and twist ties while others rarely notice when you bring home a new toy. Many will indulge you if you find the right toy, but it can take some experimentation to figure out what they like. It’s hard to recommend spending lots of money on pricey toys that your cat might never use, so sometimes the simplest toys are the best.

Anecdotally speaking, cats tire of automated toys fairly quickly. Laser pointers that move erratically and spinning mice are no substitute for playtime with their favorite toy—you. All the toys listed below are better when you’re involved, and some are wholly powered by human technology.

This also allows you to have set play sessions, which can help form an even stronger bond with your cat. On top of this, you can finish the play session organically when your cat gets tired by allowing them to “catch” the prey or with a treat. While it’s good to have some toys lying around that your cat can pick up and play with, others will need to go away (a strategy that can help keep your cat interested in them).

While some of these toys might not seem that high-tech, to your cat they can be utterly mesmerizing. For example, a wand toy that behaves like prey with unpredictable movements will likely catch and hold your cat’s attention. Other toys provide audible and visual stimulation that can keep cats engaged. Some can even be used with treats to encourage pay and deliver a pay-off that your cat will love.

How Did We Research

Models Evaluated

Hours Researched

Reviews Analyzed




How-To Geek’s product recommendations come from the same team of experts that have helped people fix their gadgets over one billion times. We only recommend the best products based on our research and expertise. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product. Read More »

HEXBUG Nano Flash
Spin Master



Behaves like a real insect

Your cat can’t actually eat them like a real bug

Unpredictable movement should capture your cat’s attention

Batteries included

Of all the “automated” toys you can buy, the HEXBUG Nano Flash might just be one of the best. These little critters aren’t completely self-reliant since you’ll need to turn them on. But once they’re on, they’ll scuttle across the floor somewhat erratically in a manner that mimics the insects that your dear feline already chases around the house.

They’re light enough for your cat to bat them around the floor, and they’re not so loud that skittish cats might get scared. The new “Flash” version of the HEXBUG Nano lights up and is even quicker than the original product, which proved to be such a hit with parents and cat parents alike.

The bugs work using a vibrating motor, which causes them to move forward. As they bump into objects or your cat interacts with them, they will change direction and scurry off. Each HEXBUG uses two LR44 button batteries (which are included).

HEXBUG Nano Flash

HEXBUG Nano Flash

These lightweight, battery-powered “bugs” that scuttle across the floor, making them a perfect toy for kids and cats alike.

Best Remote-Controlled Cat Toy: Sphero Mini

Sphero Mini remote-controlled robot ball



Remote controllable ping pong ball-sized robot

Motor may still be too loud for some cats

Control it with your phone directly

Requires charging

Can be programmed too

Sphero has made a name for itself by making remote-controlled and programmable robots, and the Sphero Mini is perhaps the most cat-friendly model yet. While older Sphero models were large, heavy, and expensive, the Sphero Mini addresses many of those problems with this ping-pong ball-sized robot.

The Sphero Mini is a ball that you can control with a smartphone app. Since it’s small and light, it’s more suited to cats than the older models (though I’ll never get tired of watching my cat chase BB-8 around the house). The ball opens up for charging, so there’s no reliance on induction charging or bulky base stations.

Download the Sphero Play app for iPhone and Android to take direct control, or download the Sphero Edu app to start programming the ball. The robot has a top speed of 2.2 mph, a range of around 30ft, and gets a solid hour of play before you’ll need to charge it with the included USB charging cord.

Sphero robot

Sphero Mini

$20 $25 Save $5

The Sphero Mini is a remote-control ping-ping ball-sized robot that you can control with your iPhone or Android smartphone, perfect for cats to chase.

Go Cat Da Bird wand toy
Go Cat



Probably the best wand toy you can buy

Cord can be prone to tangling

Sturdy construction

Expect to spend more money on replacement attachments because your cat is going to lose it

Lots of attachments available; some are even repairable

Cat wands depend on the most advanced piece of tech in your cat’s life—you. Based on my sample size of two whole cats, there’s no better wand toy than the Go Cat Da Bird. Still, to this day, I’m amazed by how obsessed my cats are with these wands. This makes them an easy recommendation if you’re looking for a toy that will get your cat moving.

The wand itself is strong and withstands a lot of abuse, and I’ve not had a cord snap on me yet (though they can be prone to tangling). The included feather attachment spins as you flick the wand around, which sends cats into a frenzy as it looks like a bird or a butterfly in motion.

Once your cat has shredded the included attachment (which is an inevitability), you can buy more, in different styles. One of my cats loves the feather attachment while the other is far more interested in the sparkler attachment. Fortunately, you can quickly swap them out, and we’ve even had success repairing the old attachments ourselves.

Attachment for Go Cat Da Bird wand

Go Cat Da Bird

$19 $20 Save $1

A wand toy with replaceable attachments that is bound to get your cat up and about.

Ducky World Yeowww Catnip Krinkle Bug
Ducky World



Probably the most potent catnip toys on the market

Not all cats are affected by catnip, so they might not work on your cat

Now with crinkling noises

Eventually loses its potency

Cheap enough to replace often

There’s something different about the Yeowww Catnip Lady Krinkle Bug from Ducky World. For some reason, this catnip is so much more potent than other types on the market and, in my cats’ experience, comes very close to freshly grown catnip for its intoxicating effects.

What cat toy could be more high-tech than one that physically alters your cat’s brain activity? Well, this one even crinkles when your cat plays with it. As a household that has a range of Ducky World toys strewn about the living room at any one time, any of the range will probably make your cat happy if they happen to be part of the two-thirds of cats that are stimulated by catnip.

The Yeowww Pollock Catnip Fish kicker is another good example that your cat will (hopefully) love to chew and kick. These toys are made from cotton, which means you can easily sew them back together when they start bleeding catnip all over your house. For best results, keep your catnip toys inside a bag until playtime to keep them fresh, and replace them when they don’t smell so potent anymore.

Ducky World Yeowww Catnip Krinkle Bug

Ducky World Yeowww! Catnip Lady Krinkle Bug

Probably the most potent catnip toys on the market, now with crinkling action!

KONG Active Eight Track cat toy



Balls contained within a figure-eight track which your cat can bat around

Cats can tire of the game over time, particularly as they get older

Includes kicker and feather toy

It’s a bit noisy, so not ideal for bedtime or working from home

Put treats in it to keep things exciting

KONG makes many cat and dog toys, but one that has given our cats the most fun is the KONG Cat Active Eight Track. It’s a small, self-contained activity center comprising a figure-eight, two balls with bells inside them, a kicker tail, and a springy feather that your cats can bat.

The lightweight balls are slightly larger than the opening that runs around the outside of the figure-eight. This means there’s room for your cat to reach inside to bat them around, but not enough room for the balls to escape. This makes it a perfect self-contained toy that you can easily pick up and put away when it’s time for some peace and quiet.

We’ve had fun experimenting by putting treats and catnip toys inside the track, which keeps the activity fresh and interesting. The inclusion of a kicker (which causes the bells to make a noise) and the feather is a nice touch, though I admit ours disappeared a long time ago due to how much our cats like to play with it.

Like similar toys, the appeal can wear off with this one over time, but there’s enough going on to make it an easy recommendation for curious kitties.

KONG Active Cat Eight Track toy

KONG Cat Active Eight Track

The KONG Active Eight Track is a self-contained figure eight cat toy with two balls, a kicker, and a feather toy.

Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball for Cats
Pet Zone



Turn mealtime into a game and keep cats engaged for longer

These feeders work best on strongly foot-motivated cats

Slow down fast eaters

While a puzzle feeder might not qualify as a toy, it certainly turns meal and treat time into a game. The Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball is an inexpensive puzzle feeder that will engage your cat’s brain and stomach. Put treats or food inside the ball, adjust the difficulty, and let your cat spend some time figuring out how to earn the reward.

Puzzle feeders aren’t just fun exercises that will keep your cat engaged. If your cat eats too quickly, you can use a puzzle feeder like this to slow them down. If they’re stealing your other cat’s food, feeding them in a ball gives them something to focus on while your other cat eats.

These balls work best for cats who are strongly food-motivated since they are the ones who are going to stick the course and get every last treat out of the ball. If these feeders engage your cat, it’s a good idea to invest in a few to keep things interesting and cycling them out.

Pet Zone IQ puzzle feeder ball

Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball

$13 $15 Save $2

Turn meals and treats into a fun game with a puzzle feeder, complete with adjustable difficulty settings.


Are laser toys good for cats?

Some cats love to chase laser pointers, but there is mixed evidence about whether they’re good cat toys. Generally speaking, the safe use of a laser pen that includes some sort of reward at the end of the chase is okay. This could be a treat, a meal, or the opportunity to “catch” prey like a soft toy.

The reason we haven’t included any automated laser toys in this review is that there is concern among professionals that they can leave your cat frustrated. It’s no fun for anyone to play a game where winning is impossible, and your cat sees winning as catching its prey.

Should I put cat toys away at night?

Some cat experts recommend that all cat toys should be put away when playtime is finished, but some cats will decide to play with non-cat toys (like your furniture) instead. You’ll need to strike a balance with your cat’s personality and your desire for a tidy living room.

It’s a good idea to cycle cat toys so that they don’t get tired of the same old things. Taking a toy away can help keep it exciting. Some cat toys, like those that your cat might obsess over, are certainly worth putting away for your cat’s safety.

Should I limit how long my cats play with their toys?

Cat experts recommend letting your cat decide when playtime is over. Some can play seemingly endlessly, but others will walk away and you can use these signals to determine when playtime is over. What’s most important is that you make time to play with your cat each day, ideally in multiple play sessions.

Source link

By John P.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *