Playing with your feline friend can be a delightful experience for both of you, from their early kitten days to their senior years. However, it’s not just fun and games – playtime is crucial for your cat’s overall health and well-being. Keeping your cat physically and mentally stimulated is particularly essential if they are an indoor-only or solitary cat who lacks natural stimulation.
Cat toys are designed to engage a cat’s innate instincts and senses, helping to sharpen their skills. Depending on your cat’s age and interests, a toy can provide hours of entertainment and even promote a healthy weight by motivating them to pounce, jump, kick, and claw at the perceived “prey.”
As any cat owner knows, felines can be very selective about their playthings. Finding the right toy or toys can also strengthen the bond between you and your cat, resulting in lots of post-playtime purrs and snuggles.
BENTOPAL Automatic Cat Toy
- Keeps your cat entertained while you’re away
- Can attach various accessories to keep it engaging
- Equipped with a built-in sensor to avoid getting stuck
- Long battery life when fully charged
- May intimidate more timid cats
- More aggressive cats might quickly destroy the replaceable accessories
The BENTOPAL Automatic Cat Toy is a robotic, motorized toy that offers various ways to captivate your feline friend. Its two large wheels can swivel, turn, and rotate, creating erratic movements to move the hanging feather toy around the room. This toy stimulates your cat’s hunting instincts, prompting them to stalk, chase, and pounce. You can switch between two modes (fast and slow) based on your cat’s mood and activity level. The toy’s large wheels are suitable for most types of flooring, including carpets.
Additionally, the toy has an automatic mode that runs for ten minutes straight, turns off for 90 minutes, and then resumes for another ten minutes, providing entertainment for up to eight hours. This feature is particularly useful if you need to leave the house for an extended period, ensuring your cat stays entertained.
Price at the time of publication is $30.
The Kong Refillables Beaver Catnip Toy can be refreshed to grab your cat’s interest and reignite their play drive.
Catnip can provide an extra layer of excitement to plush cat toys, which can be incredibly fun for your feline friend to chase and pounce on. However, your cat’s interest in catnip toys may decrease over time. In such cases, Ingrid Johnson, a certified cat behavior consultant at Fundamentally Feline, recommends rotating the toys out of play. “This makes old toys new again,” she advises. Simply clean off the fur and debris and then marinate them again in catnip, silvervine, or valerian.
Kong’s Refillables Beaver Catnip Toy, along with other refillable cat toys, can make these “old” toys even more appealing. The toy features a compartment in the belly that can be emptied and refilled with fresh catnip. The toy even comes with its vial of North American catnip. The soft and plush beaver measures 8 inches long and 3 inches wide and can be machine-washed after removing any catnip inside.
GoCat Da Bird Rod and Feather Cat Toy
The GoCat Da Bird Teaser Wand is the only toy that can keep my 14-pound cat entertained nonstop. I have never come across a longer feather wand toy, and the lightweight pole makes it look like a real bird is flying around.
The length of the wand makes it easy to play with (I can wave it around while sitting on the couch for hours), and it is super easy to store due to its lightweight and thin design. Additionally, there are many different attachments available for the end of the toy, so you only need to buy the wand once and then replace the toy as needed.
This toy may seem basic, but it is incredibly efficient and one of the best I have come across. I highly recommend it to both new and experienced cat owners.
SmartyKat Concealed Motion Cat Toy
PROS: According to reviewers, even older cats can get excited. Allows for independent play.
CONS: Battery-operated and makes some noise. Requires some space on the floor.
This concealed motion toy is designed to encourage cats to pounce and play with minimal effort on your part. Once turned on, colored lights and a fluffy-ended wand get your cat on the hunt. The toy creates the illusion that a furry creature is moving around under the mat, which puts your cat in critter-tracking mode, preparing to pounce. It also features adjustable speeds, allowing you to customize the toy to your pet’s agility level.
Potaroma Catnip Wall Toy
- Catnip is a popular herb among many cats and can induce playful behavior in them by releasing a pheromone called nepetalactone. Toys filled with dried catnip can be a great way to entertain your feline friend. However, if your cat is not interested in plush toys, the Potaroma Catnip Wall Toy can be a great alternative. This toy provides four different treats, including catnip, silvervine, fruit of silvervine, and cat sugar, that can be licked and potentially even freshen breath. While not all cats may enjoy this toy, those who do can become extremely excited, as shown by TikTok videos. The toy comes with dust caps to cover the treats when not in use and is natural and non-toxic. The company also offers a full refund if your cat is not interested in the toy.
When it comes to choosing the perfect cat toy, there are many factors to consider. From puzzle toys to feather wands, laser pointers, cat dancers, teasers, and mouse toys, there are dozens of options available in the market. Before purchasing a cat toy, it’s important to consider how each toy’s features can impact your cat’s interest and interaction with the toy. Here are some crucial factors to keep in mind:
Benefits: Each cat toy has its own unique set of benefits. For example, plush kickers are great for cats that like to wrestle and bat things around, while play tunnels are better suited for curious cats that enjoy exploring. It’s important to consider your cat’s temperament and select a toy that fulfills their unique needs, keeping them active and engaged while also preventing boredom.
Durability: No cat toy is indestructible, but it’s important to consider how long a toy will last before making a purchase. The durability of a toy is often determined by the material it’s made of. For instance, plush toys and kickers made of soft polyester tend to deteriorate faster than cat track toys made of hard plastic. If your cat is a heavy chewer, consider purchasing an additional toy as a backup for when it eventually wears out.
Engagement: Not all cat toys can hold a cat’s attention for hours. Some toys are designed to instantly capture their interest, while others may require a bit of exploration before becoming a favorite. If your cat enjoys playing with a specific type of toy, try purchasing a similar one to keep them engaged. Alternatively, if your cat likes trying new things, introducing a fresh type of toy can help keep playtime exciting and fun. Variety is key to keeping your cat entertained and stimulated during playtime.
What toy do cats like the most?
Toys that look like prey, something a cat would hunt in the wild, typically interest pets the most. “Look for small bugs, small mice, and feather attachments that have a nice natural fluid movement,” said Johnson. She cautions that many toys are designed to appeal to humans rather than a cat’s prey instincts. “Avoid giant objects, loud toys, and honestly, bells scare a lot of cats,” she added.
What is a good toy for a bored cat?
You are! “Although we think of cats as relatively solitary creatures, they are actually very social,” said Moffatt. “Toys are great, but they don’t fulfill that social need. Owners need to play with their cats.” When you can’t take the time to engage with them, Geller recommends using puzzle feeders and interactive cat toys to provide extra stimulation.
How many cat toys should I have?
Cats can make just about any small, lightweight object into a toy so it’s not necessary to go out and spend a lot of money on them. However, trying a variety of options can help you find the best matches for a cat’s play style and energy level. Regularly rotating toys in and out of sight and refreshing them with catnip can help keep them enticing to your cat, according to both Johnson and Geller.
Should my cats have access to toys at all times?
Yes and no. Johnson likes to litter her floor with a variety of regularly rotating “solo play” objects like mice, balls, springs, and kickers for her cats to play with when they are feeling frisky. But she recommends putting away toys that only come to life when you are part of the game between sessions. “You do not want your cat to desensitize to their toys,” she said. “What is the motivation to chase something that has been laying there dead and boring for days or weeks?”
How do you play with a cat?
Be the bug! That’s what Johnson recommends. “Evoke prey drive, move the toy away from them, hide it behind something, wiggle and squirm as if the toy has lost a limb,” she explained. “Birds do not fly at cats’ faces. Prey runs!”
What cat toys should you avoid?
Moffatt’s biggest concern with cat toys are small parts or decorations like tinsel that a cat may ingest, causing bowel obstruction. Geller is also concerned with laser toys. She recommends avoiding them unless you integrate other toys into the game that your cat can attack when the light lands on top. Otherwise, laser pointers and automatic laser toys can create frustration, anxiety, and confusion. “Cats expect to ‘catch and kill,’ so a cat who is teased with a laser pointer may try to attack, bite, or scratch a companion cat or humans,” Geller explains.