Best Interactive Cat Toys – Automatic Toys For Your Feline!
How many times have you found yourself with a huge smile on your face as you watch your cat play, explore, and pounce on anything she can get her paws on? We know, it's probably too hard to count. Maybe it got you thinking at one point: “What is the best interactive cat toys out there?”
It's super cute when she does this, of course—and it's also super natural for her.
Because cats are predators by nature. They love to stalk and hunt their “prey” almost as much as they love to cuddle up on laps and groom their coats.
Now, as an attentive and loving pet owner, you provide your feline her food—so she doesn't have to go out hunting for it. While this is great for her (and for the wild animals in your back yard), it also may leave her with a proverbial itch that she just can't scratch.
This is why interactive cat toys are such a great addition to any cat-loving household. Sure, cats have a reputation for being a bit “lazy” at times and sleeping a lot. But the truth is, cats love and need to have plenty of active playtime in their lives. It helps them stay strong and limber while also maintaining a lean body weight. Most kitties naturally gravitate toward toys that can challenge them mentally and physically.
And hey, think about it:
You don't like being bored, so it's not a stretch to imagine that your kitty wouldn't like being bored, either! This buying guide is intended to help you figure out which interactive cat toy will be the best and most engaging choice for your curious companion. We've reviewed plenty of the ones out there and have selected the best of the best based on price, quality, and human (and kitty) reviews.
- The 9 Best Interactive Cat Toys
- Interactive Cat Toys Reviews
- Why Does My Feline Need a Cat Toy? Is it Necessary?
- Is it OK to use a laser pointer with cats?
- Why does my cat carry a toy around?
- What are the best interactive cat toys?
- Are cat toys with feathers safe?
The 9 Best Interactive Cat Toys
Bergan Turbo Scratcher
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Petstages Cat Toy
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Hexbug Robotic Mouse
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PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy
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Catit Design Senses Play 2.0 Circuit
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Catit Flower Fountain
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SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser
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SnugglyCat Ripple Rug
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Interactive Cat Toys Reviews
- Bergan Turbo Scratcher
- Petstages Cat Toy
- Cat Dancer
- Hexbug Robotic Mouse
- PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy
- Catit Design Senses Play 2.0 Circuit
- Catit Flower Fountain
- SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser
- SnugglyCat Ripple Rug
All right, hopefully by this point, we've convinced you why getting your kitty a few things to play with is essential for her overall well-being. Now we'd like to help you put your money to good use by sharing with you the best cat toys we've found on the market.
Every cat has her own personality and temperament, so what one animal loves may not be the “cat's meow” for someone else. You may even notice this difference in interest and preference between your own two, three, or more feline family members!
Fortunately, even a high-quality cat toy isn't going to break the bank in most cases, so you can feel free to experiment with some trial and error or even invest in a couple of different toys to see which ones your pet(s) will respond to the most positively.
As mentioned, we've included kitty toys that excelled in customer review, price, quality, and overall effectiveness at their intended jobs—keeping kitties entertained, energized, and purr-fectly happy.
1. Bergan Turbo Scratcher
The Bergan Turbo Scratcher is an ideal cat toy for anyone with kitties who love to scratch and flex their claws, which is a totally natural cat behavior but not one that we humans particularly like if it involves the sofa or carpet.
This scratching tool gives your kitty a safe opportunity to claw her little paws off, since her nails won't get stuck in the material (unlike a lot of upholstered furniture, which can actually cause significant damage). And because the scratch pad inside is replaceable, even the “scratchiest” of kitties can go to town on this toy without ruining it.
- The scratch pad will keep your cats from sharpening their claws on your furniture, which is safer for both you and your feline
- It keeps your pet entertained while you're not around with an activity (scratching and clawing) that's completely naturally for them and feels good
- The pack includes a playful ball and organic catnip for extra interest and enticement
- Very affordable
- Takes up a little space on the floor, and you have to consider that your kitty will be whirling around it (so not great for a high traffic area of the house)
- It can slide around on wooden floors (but some users find a fix by placing some sort of non-slip material underneath it or placing it on a rug or carpet)
- Can be a bit noisy
2. Petstages Cat Toy
Give your kitty towers (hours) of fun with this Tower toy! Three brightly colored balls spin, roll, and whirl around in an enticing fashion to grab your kitty's attention. She can bat at the durable balls on three different levels, which really lets her stretch out her paws and get some great exercise.
Your cat may be perfectly happy playing with this toy herself, but it's also great for multi-cat playtime or even healthy bonding with you since you can “bat” the balls back and forth with her. Most of the reviews are glowing, and cats really seem to like it.
- Great first toy for kitties since you can help them play with it
- The toy is sturdy and well-built, so the balls won't fall out (creating a challenging mental puzzle for your animal) and the toy won't fall over
- Very affordable
- It's big and interesting enough for cats to do solo or with their siblings
- Can be quite noisy due to the plastic material
- Not good for cats that aren't interested in ball toys (you know your kitty best, so this is largely a personal call or decision found by trial and error)
- May be too large for very small cats and kittens
3. Cat Dancer
The Cat Dancer 101 interactive toy comes with rave reviews from owners who say their kitties are more or less obsessed with it. Made in the USA, this incredibly simple product features a spring steel wire and rolled cardboard, a bit like a fishing pole. All you have to do is dart it around and laugh as your kitty chases after it!
This toy—among the most affordable on our list—strongly mimics the animal-like movements of birds, mice, and other prey that your cat would stalk and hunt if she were still living in the wild. This makes the cat charmer nearly irresistible to many animals (at least 8 million, according to the manufacturers).
No frills, just fun!
- Extremely affordable
- Provides plenty of aerobic exercise and encourages your kitty to jump, pounce, stretch, and dart around after it
- A great way to encourage safe and interesting exercise for cats of all ages and abilities
- Can only be used with human interaction (so your cat can't use this if you're not home)
4. Hexbug Robotic Mouse
Mice may be the one thing cats love to hunt the most! Fortunately, no little animals have to be hurt to play with this toy. The Hex Bug Mouse comes with batteries so the toy is fully powered to move in a realistic, mouse-like way. The “mouse” randomly starts, stops, pauses, and turns just like the real thing, and can even navigate around objects (though it can get stuck sometimes).
This toy has soft material that can get a bit dirty, but in general it's small enough that it won't start to smell and overall kitties really seem to love chasing after this rodent. Exactly what they were built to do!
Just a word of caution: you and your family should be mindful when your kitty is playing with her little rodent, since it could pose a tripping hazard as it races around the floor.
- Activated by a paw and offers two modes of operation
- Exhibits realistic mouse-like movements, stopping and starting
- Can navigate around objects and back out of corners
- The battery life isn't great and batteries can drain quickly, which a few users blame on poorly designed battery housing construction
- It can get stuck under objects and furniture, so be prepared to go “hunting” for it yourself if it goes missing
- Only works on hard floors, so if you have wall-to-wall carpet it won't work well
- While the manufacturers say it can right itself, a few users have found that it can't flip back onto its feet if the toy gets flipped over
5. PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy
It comes with a classs IIIa laser with a 5 mW maximal power output, making it safe for kitties to play with. The laser toy uses 4 AA batteries which you have to purchase separately, and the manufacturers recommend using only alkaline batteries for better performance.
A neat feature about this toy is that the laser is automatically turned off after 15 minutes. This keeps your pet from getting over-stimulated and can help maintain her interest. You can adjust where the laser points to help control where playtime happens.
- Great for highly energetic cat breeds
- Suitable for young kitties as well as adult cats
- Random laser movement keeps your cat engaged and interested
- User reviews confirms this can pique the interest of even “lazy” kitties who don't like to exercise
- Comes with a one-year warranty
- This top-heavy, tall toy can be knocked over pretty easily by particularly boisterous cats
- Some users have found that their cats lose interest quickly
- A little more expensive than other interactive cat toy options
- Batteries sold separately
6. Catit Design Senses Play 2.0 Circuit
The Catit Design Senses Play Circuit is what kitty dreams are made of, at least according to some reviewers. This long peekaboo track design allows cats to chase a ball and stay interested in the hunt! It includes backward capability and can be reassembled into over 100 different layouts.
Stimulating all your kitty's different senses, this circuit can easily be snapped together and made with durable material. Give your kitty a challenge by making her bat the ball over the hills to keep things rolling.
- Promotes engaging hunting habits
- Comes with a highly versatile design for various different track patterns (like many toys in one)
- Durable material that's easy to put together
- Noise-making balls that have a bright swirl pattern for extra interest and attention
- Safe and enjoyable for cats of all ages
- Certain cats lose interest quickly or become bored
- You need to be careful when taking apart and putting back together the track to assure the plastic doesn't break
- May lose pieces if they come loose
7. Catit Flower Fountain
The truth is, a lot of kitties really do like to be around water—at the very least water they can drink! This fountain features a triple-action filter to provide fresh delicious water that will encourage your animal to stay hydrated. The sound of the fountain is appealing and can attract your animal to it.
Leave the cute flower insert in if your cat would like to play with the water rather than drink it, because this softens the bubbling a bit and creates longer, faucet-like streams. It also has two other flow settings to appeal to a variety of kitty drinkers.
- Doesn't take up a lot of floor space
- Improves the taste and oxygenation of your animal's water
- Super easy to set up and clean
- Cute and appealing design
- Great way to provide fresh water to your cats
- Great for encouraging your cat to drink and stay well-hydrated
- Low spillage design
- Big enough to contain 3 liters of recirculating water without taking up a ton of floor space
- Safe for kitties and cats of all ages
- If the water level gets low the motor can become quite loud
- Requires a bit of upkeep
- It has to be plugged in
- The pump can start to get less powerful if hair and debris clogs it up
- Needs to be cleaned frequently
8. SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser
This Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser is one of the simplest concepts we have on our list. This round ball contains food and dispenses yummy morsels for your kitty as she rolls it around and plays with it.
Since you can adjust the size of the openings, it's easy to control how much food comes during playtime. This combo of food reward and movement keeps your animal engaged in the activity while also getting her to romp around more—she won't even notice she's “exercising.”
This device is particularly effective for kitties that tend to gobble up their dinner too quickly, since the occasionally dispensed food forces them to eat more slowly, so it's better for their digestion.
It's even dishwasher safe for super simple clean-up.
- Good size and weight that can challenge your feline's strength
- It keeps your cat active and can help with her weight management
- Comes in a variety of bright colors
- May not be sufficient with all types of kibble or treats, especially smaller-sized food
- Can be noisy when the cat bats it around
- Requires periodic cleaning (but remember, you can put it in the dishwasher for easier clean-up)
9. SnugglyCat Ripple Rug
Last but not least on our list is this special Rug from SnugglyCat. Made in the USA, this rug provides endless and ever-changing fun to your kitty (or kitties, since it's big enough to be used with more than one kitty.
The rug is made with a special material that can be moved into an infinite number of shapes and configurations that prevents kitty boredom and keeps them entertained. Think of it as an actively changing kitty structure (unlike regular rugs that just collapse).
For what it's worth, it also has a great reputation and has been recognized as one of the best cat toys on sources like BuzzFeed, Vogue, and Heavy. It's also been featured on NPR Planet Money, the TODAY show, and the Hallmark channel.
- Infinite configurations and shapes for limitless play
- Great for one or more cats
- Ideal for scratching, stretching, and even sleeping and napping
- Made in the USA with non-toxic recycled plastic bottles
- Non-slip bottom to keep things sturdy and steady when your cat pounces and jumps on it!
- The material may not withstand heavy chewing or scratching
- Can collapse fairly easily, especially with prolonged use
Why Does My Feline Need a Cat Toy? Is it Necessary?
Here's something helpful to keep in mind:
Even if your little lady is an indoors-only kinda gal, she still has strong hunting instincts like her outdoor friends and feline ancestors. Engaging in the “hunt” is good for your furry friend's brain, helps her grow and develop appropriately, and keeps her having fun (and hopefully a little less interested in shredding your furniture).
Interactive toys are also important for your little one's health because they keep her active and provide her with a natural way to exercise, which can help her maintain healthy body weight and stay energized. And because they are interactive, many of these products can be used by your kitty even when you're not around to play with her—keeping her entertained for hours while you're out of the house.
The bottom line is that cat toys do so much more than simply give you something to do with your sweet furball. Cats benefit from having engaging toys that stimulate them physically and mentally. Plus, certain toys can also be used by more than just one feline at once which promotes healthy interaction.
You even stand to benefit, too, because a great toy that captivates your kitty can help minimize unpleasant behaviors associated with boredom and also give you a chance to bond with her. It's truly a win-win!
Let's be real:
Humans of all ages like toys. Little toddlers love their blocks and toy trucks, and grown-ups love their books and REAL trucks. Play is truly an essential component to a healthy, active, and physically and mentally stimulating life for all your two-legged family members…
…and the same thing goes for your four-legged family members!
Cats are born to hunt. Yes, even your sweet indoor feline has that instinct in her. Naturally, modern day domestication has eliminated a lot of the opportunities for your kitty to hunt and catch its prey—which is probably good news for the mice and birds in your neighborhood! Plus, hunting outdoors imposes several dangers for your pet, and her health and safety is almost without a doubt one of your number one priorities as a pet parent.
Interactive toys for kitties allow your cat to indulge in and exercise her important instincts without putting her safety or well-being at risk. But with so much to choose from out there, it can be tough to know which ones are worth the money…and which ones will just sit unused on the floor.
Hopefully, this guide has helped open your eyes to some of the best interactive toys for kitties out there on the market. These types of toys are overall affordable, interesting, and great for feline health and development. The purr-fect toy keeps your kitty engaged and less likely to ruin your furniture out of sheer boredom. Plus, you'll get a kick out of watching your sweet little girl scamper around!
My cat loves playing with her other four-legged friends when I am not around or when she is just bored of me and all they need is a good interactive toy to gather around and have some good feline time.
To see our other buying guides or to learn more about our valuable cat resources, be sure to check out the rest of our website. And remember to share this guide with any other pet parents you know—you'll be doing their cats a big favor.
- Playing With Your Cat: Toys and Games at WebMD.com
- Cat Physical and Mental Stimulation at pmcofedmond.com
- How to Exercise and Play with a Cat at PetMD.com
- Interactive Play Therapy for Cats by Pam Johnson-Bennett at catbehaviorassociates.com
- Why Exercise Is Important for Cats at www.vetstreet.com
Is it OK to use a laser pointer with cats?
For many cats, laser pointers are wonderful for getting in a good workout. For indoor cats, especially, pretty much anything that gets a cat moving is a good thing. Though most cats will wind down from their hunting high with no harm done, some will redirect their frustration in ways that can hurt themselves or others.
Why does my cat carry a toy around?
The two situations in which cats carry things around are when they are hunting and when they are moving kittens from one place to another. Some female cats will also keep collections of toys that they regularly move around as if shifting a litter of kittens.
What are the best interactive cat toys?
Mousr, Cat Dancer – Cat Charmer, Catit Design Senses Play Circuit, The Ripple Rug Play Mat, SmartyKat Feather Whirl, Petcube Play, Catit Senses 2.0 Food Tree, Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy.
Are cat toys with feathers safe?
It's not uncommon to see feathers incorporated into cat toys, but these avian amusements aren't safe for kittens. Kittens learn with their mouths, and are likely to chew on anything you give them, so a delicate object like a feather may wind up being chomped in half, swallowed, and lodged in the throat or stomach.