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15 Best Cat Toys That Will Keep Your Kitty Occupied for Hours

From fuzzy mice to bird-like wands, these expert-recommended products will ensure that your cat gets plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and bonding time with you.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

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15 Best Cat Toys That Will Keep Your Kitty Occupied For Hoursrd.com, via amazon.com (2), Via chewy.com

Why cats need to play

Whether it’s with an old cardboard box or tiny toys that look like mice, most cats love to play. And while playtime is always fun, it’s also necessary for their mental and physical health. “Cats are naturally very predatory hunters, so we want to give them outlets for natural behaviors like hunting,” says Mikel Delgado, PhD, a certified applied animal behaviorist and cat behavior expert with Rover. “We also want to make sure they’re exercising so they don’t become overweight and sedentary.” That’s where the best cat toys come in.

Incorporating some fun products into your kitty’s regular playtime can also improve common cat behavior problems and even reduce anxiety in cats. “A bored cat is more likely to get in trouble,” says Delgado. “Plus, exercise for cats has stress-reducing properties, just like it does for us.”

We’ve rounded up the best cat toys to keep your feline’s mind and body sharp. According to experts and online reviewers, they’ll quickly become some of the pet products you can’t live without. One important tip: To get the most use out of each toy, Delgado recommends swapping them out each week so there’s always a sense of newness for your kitty. Do you have a dog, too? Pick up these indestructible dog toys that will stand up to even the most serious chewers.

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Hexbug Nano Robotic Cat Toyvia chewy.com

Hexbug Nano Robotic Cat Toy

If you’ve ever bought an automatic toy for your cat, then you know they can be hit or miss. In many cases, they can be loud or jerky and scare your cat away. The Hexbug is neither, says Delgado. “It’s quiet and non-threatening, so a lot of cats like it,” she explains. The toy moves around the floor like a bug, dragging a small feather behind it. Turn it on for five minutes a few times a day and watch your cat go wild. You definitely won’t have to wonder if your cat is happy when that happens! Note: This toy only works on hard floors, not carpet.

Highlights:

  • Can be used independently

  • Engages curiosity

  • Batteries included

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Gocat Da Bird Pullvia amazon.com

GoCat Da Bird

Some of Delgado’s favorite cat toys are ones that owners can use to play with their furry friends, such as wands and fishing poles. “I usually tell people to choose these toys with a variety of prey types,” she says. An array of toy bugs, lizards, mice, and birds can keep things interesting for your kitty. The Da Bird mimics—you guessed it—a bird. Wave it around to create a flight-like motion that your cat will jump in the air to catch. One important safety note: Make sure to put this toy away after playtime, as the string can be hazardous when left unsupervised. While we’re on the subject, these common household items can also be dangerous for pets.

Highlights:

  • Promotes cat-owner bonding

  • Stimulates exercise

  • Realistic bird-like movements

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Nina Ottosson Hide N' Slide Puzzle Gamevia chewy.com

Nina Ottosson Hide N’ Slide Puzzle Game

Delgado is a huge fan of food-based puzzle toys. “Again, we’re trying to tap into some of those natural behaviors,” she says. That means having cats work for their food. Although this toy is marketed for dogs, Delgado says cats can also use it. To play, simply hide treats under different swivel leaves or caps. Your cat has to sniff them out and move the pieces to find them.

Highlights:

  • Encourages thoughtful play

  • Can be used independently

  • Multiple ways to use

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Smartcat Toy Box Ballsvia chewy.com

Smartcat Toy Box Balls

Sometimes, simple toys are best. “We know from research that kittens tend to like very small lightweight objects that they can bat around with their paws, like wine corks, ping-pong balls, and even toilet paper rolls,” says Delgado. These foam balls fit the bill. They’re quiet—perfect for nighttime players—and easy to throw around for an impromptu play session. In case you’ve ever wondered, this is why cats love boxes, too.

Highlights:

  • Durable

  • Budget-friendly

  • Good for kittens

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Catit Treat Ball Cat Toyvia chewy.com

Catit Treat Ball Cat Toy

Food puzzles come in many forms, including treat balls. To use this one, fill the compartment with treats or dry food. Your cat will need to maneuver the ball to the correct angle to get the treats to fall out. You can even adjust the size of the opening to increase the level of difficulty. While your cat will love the rolling effect—and the food, of course—the sound of the treats rattling around inside will also keep her engaged.

Highlights:

  • Encourages thoughtful play

  • Can be used independently

  • Uses food motivation

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Rainbow Cat Charmervia amazon.com

Cat Dancer Rainbow Cat Charmer

With nearly 13,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, this cat toy, which mimics the effect of a small lizard or snake scurrying across the floor, is a fan favorite. To use it, dangle the string in front of your cat or wave it around on the floor. Your kitty won’t be able to resist pouncing on it. If you have a long hallway, you could even drag the toy behind you as your cat runs to chase it. Again, you’ll want to supervise your cat when she uses this toy and put it away when you’re done. If you’re a true cat lover, you won’t want to miss these cat facts that are purr-fectly fascinating.

Highlights:

  • Promotes cat-owner bonding

  • Encourages exercise

  • Durable

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Trixie Activity Setvia amazon.com

Trixie Activity Set

There are five different ways to use this food puzzle board, which makes it perfect for cats who get bored easily. Options include scooping treats out of fish-bowl-like cups, pulling treats out of a maze, and swatting treats out of a tunnel. The board is dishwasher-safe and includes an instructional booklet with all of the different ways to play. There’s even a rubber base to keep it steady so treats don’t get all over the place.

It’s also great for cats who eat too quickly. “I can’t thank this product enough!” writes verified Amazon reviewer Lisa M. “My kitten was gulping down her food and throwing up after every meal, even after just small tablespoons at a time. Nothing was helping till this feeder! No more vomiting since!” When it comes to the munchies, though, make sure to steer clear of these common foods that are toxic to cats.

Highlights:

  • Multiple ways to play

  • Mentally stimulating

  • Uses food motivation

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Frisco Wire Teaser Cat Toyvia chewy.com

Frisco Wire Teaser Cat Toy

“If your cat goes wild when there’s a fly in the house, then you might want to look into a cat dancer,” says Delgado. “It’s very simple in design but it moves in a subtle, jiggly way. It’s great for shy cats because it’s not overwhelming.” This cat toy features a springy metal wire with small cardboard pieces strung throughout. To use it, hold one end while your cat swats and pounces on the other end. The cardboard pieces will scatter as she pounces, causing playtime to last for hours. If your furry BFF wants to spend oodles of time with you, that’s a sure sign your cat trusts you.

Highlights:

  • Simple

  • Good for shy cats

  • Engages curiosity

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Frisco Paw & Play Crinkle Ballvia chewy.com

Frisco Paw & Play Crinkle Ball

These budget-friendly crinkle balls are perfect for kittens and adult cats alike. “Crinkling sounds are very attractive to cats,” says Delgado. “It kind of sounds like a bird hopping through leaves.” That said, these colorful balls are super easy to use. Toss one to get your cat’s attention and watch as she bats it around for an hour after that. On the other hand, here are the pet products vets never buy—and neither should you.

Highlights:

  • Engages curiosity

  • Budget-friendly

  • Good for kittens

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Jackson Galaxy Air Wandvia amazon.com

Jackson Galaxy AIR Wand

This wand toy is perfect for energetic cats who aren’t afraid to catch bigger prey. According to Delgado, propeller-like toys can swivel in a realistic way that makes a sound similar to a bird flutter. “That can be very attractive,” she says. To play with it, simply flick it around like you would any other wand toy. The four-pronged feather “propeller” will spin around as the toy flies through the air.

Highlights:

  • Realistic bird-like movements and sounds

  • Promotes cat-owner bonding

  • Encourages exercise

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Smartykat Hot Pursuit Cat Toyvia amazon.com

SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Cat Toy

This is another automatic cat toy that tends to draw cats in instead of scaring them away. The fabric mat hides the erratically moving wand so your cat will never know where to pounce next. It has adjustable speed settings so you can set it up according to your cat’s preferences. More than 10,000 Amazon reviewers give it five stars and glowing reviews, including N.P., who raves: “I was skeptical, but this toy was worth the money! My two cats are definitely those ‘attack your toes under the covers while you sleep at night’ felines, so this fired up their instincts immediately. What I like best about it is when either cat does get bored, it always pulls their attention back.” Wondering if you should let your cat sleep in bed with you? We investigated.

Highlights:

  • Automatic

  • Engages curiosity

  • Adjustable speed settings

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Yeowww! Yellow Banana Catnip Toyvia amazon.com

Yeowww! Yellow Banana Catnip Toy

There’s nothing more basic—or more exciting for your cat—than a catnip plushie. This seven-inch banana is adorable and durable. Cats love to cuddle up against the curved shape and bat the toy around as they play. It’s perfect for kitties who love catnip; even if your cat doesn’t, she’ll still enjoy pouncing on it if you toss it across the room.

Highlights:

  • Includes catnip

  • Good for kittens

  • Durable

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Boinks Bamboozler Kitty Wand Toyvia amazon.com

Boinks Bamboozler Kitty Wand Toy

This is another simple wand toy for cats who prefer smaller prey. The 18-inch stick features a braided string that’s tied in a knot at the end to create the “prey.” Don’t think your cat is into it? Delgado says playtime doesn’t have to include jumping and pouncing. “Even if your cat is just watching this toy at first or batting at it, that’s still playing,” she says. “Don’t avoid it just because they’re not running around. If they’re engaged, it’s still beneficial.”

Highlights:

  • Good for shy cats

  • Engages curiosity

  • Promotes cat-owner bonding

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Pipolino Mvia amazon.com

Pipolino-M

This puzzle toy feeder was designed by a veterinarian to mimic the way cats get their food in the wild (ahem, by working for it). To use it, simply fill the container with dry food. Your cat will need to push it around to release the food and eat. Because it takes time to release all of the kibble, the Pipolino is perfect for slowing down fast eaters and cats who need to lose weight. If your cat is reticent to use it at first, start with a partial serving of food and work your way up to a full serving.

Highlights:

  • Can be used independently

  • Uses food motivation

  • Slows down fast eaters

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Smartykat Skitter Critters Catnip Mouse Toysvia amazon.com

SmartyKat Skitter Critters Catnip Mouse Toys

We couldn’t write a list of the best cat toys without including a classic catnip mouse. Available in a pack of 10, these toys will activate your cat’s hunting instinct and comfort her with the smell of catnip. Cats can play with these toys alone or with their owners. A whopping 28,000 Amazon reviewers rave that these “well-made,” inexpensive toys “hold up to a lot of abuse,” and that their cats simply love them. Just don’t be surprised if you see your kitty carrying his “prey” to an undisclosed corner of the house. That said, it’s a lot better than having your cat bring a dead animal to your doorstep!

Highlights:

  • Durable

  • Good for kittens

  • Includes catnip

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Source: 

  • Mikel Delgado, PhD, a certified applied animal behaviorist and cat behavior expert with Rover

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana LaBianca is a writer and editor Based in New York City. She specializes in lifestyle topics from health and home to travel and trivia.

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