Cat toys can be the main source of entertainment for your pet. If you get the right ones, a good set of cat toys can give your cat stimulation, exercise, entertainment, and fun. However, there is no shortage of products on the market. Cat toys come in all shapes and sizes with an infinitive range of styles. While many of them look different though, most are designed to be played within a few specific ways. Cats have some particular play habits, like chasing, pouncing, and reacting to movement or teasing. Most toys fall into these categories. If you go with just anything laying around, you could end up with a heaving toy box that your cat isn’t interested in, or rips apart at the first opportunity.
Cats are natural hunters that love to chase and play with their prey. Most cat toys play into their instinctive drive to hunt. As it is the type of play that most cats are familiar with, toys that stimulate this tend to be liked by them. However, they aren’t the last word on keeping a cat entertained. Toys that dispense food to keep your pet motivated to exercise throughout the day are also popular, as are more puzzle-like toys.
The best cat toys should keep your pet entertained, but they should also provide value. They need to be built to last. It is also important that they can withstand vigorous play from a cat. They should also be something that your cat doesn’t tire of quickly. While you have a lot of options, this does help you to narrow down what the best cat toys are for you.
The Types of Cat Toys
There are far too many different varieties to pick the objective best cat toy for each little subsection. You could likely fill a whole guide with the best ‘elephant-themed cat toys’! That is why it is important to consider the types of cat toys available, and which types you need.
If you have an indoor cat who is an adult, then you need to consider their needs. An indoor cat is going to need toys to provide their exercise and stimulation. This means toys that you can play alongside your cat with, toys they can play with alone, and those that keep them stimulated when they’re home alone. These are categories that will require different types of toys, some of which your cat might prefer to play with more than others.
If you have an adult cat who is primarily an outdoor cat, then their needs are going to be different. Many outdoor cats don’t play so much at home at all. They might enjoy having some cat furniture to play with and they’ll enjoy playing with you still. However, toys to keep them busy when you’re out of the house aren’t going to be as important. Most outdoor cats will find their own entertainment when you’re busy, usually patrolling outside.
Bringing home a new kitten is typically when most cat owners buy quite a lot of toys. Kittens are playful and they can’t go outside, meaning they do need quite a lot to keep them stimulated. This is a great time to try out different cat toys. You can test out different forms of toys and see what your cat likes.
The Best Cat Toys
The best cat toys can be divided into a few different forms. Each of these is going to suit one of the needs of a cat stated above. While not every cat will like all of the same toys, these can be a good benchmark for what to try out with your cat.
Toys for You and Your Cat
These toys aren’t going to be particularly useful when your cat is home alone. These toys are going to require active input from you to play with as well as your cat. These are great for any type of cat to play with when you’re home and have time. These are some options:
Fishing Rod / Cat Teaser
These toys usually consist of some string from which a mouse or feather or other objects can dangle. This stimulates your cat to chase whatever is dangling down, without your hands ending up in the firing line of their claws! What you’re looking for here is something sturdy as well as an enticing object for your cat to chase on the ground.
This specific cat teaser might be one of the best cat toys because of some added features. It is retractable, which gives you more control over the movement of the cat lure. This means you can pull it in gradually to help stimulate chasing down prey for your cat without having to get on your hands and knees and manually pull it away. It can also have different lures attached to it, making it easier to replace any that get too scratched up.
Other fishing rods like these also work pretty well. Since these are fairly simple toys it is hard to go wrong when buying one. Just try to avoid ones that are flimsy and likely to break easily. A cat with its claws stuck into the lure can pull pretty hard, so it has to stand up to punishment.
Mice or Catnip Stuffed toys
Small soft mice or other toys stuffed with Catnip can be a great toy for a cat that is home alone, or for playing with together. You can throw these mice and move them around to provoke your cat into chasing and wrestling. The smell of the catnip inside will provoke your cat into hunting them down as quickly as they can.
These toys are pretty good if you’re looking for some that use catnip. They give your cat something to chase and their smell should grab their attention.
These mice are better if you don’t want to give your cat something with catnip. These have rattles inside instead, which should give your cat plenty of motivation to chase them.
Toys for a Cat Home Alone
These toys are great for a cat to use without you around. They don’t have to be home alone to enjoy them, but they won’t require any input from you to use.
Treat-Dispensing Balls or Toys
These toys can dispense treats gradually throughout the day. These are really helpful for an indoor cat or even a cat who won’t sit still for more than five minutes! These toys can provide exercise and stimulation to a pet when they’re on their own. This lets you leave them without worrying that they’re bored.
This Kong ball is hardy enough to withstand near-constant use from a cat. It should also challenge them intellectually! While Kongs are more associated with dogs, cats love to play with them and can be just as motivated by the food inside as a dog.
These toys are set up to provoke your cat into chasing or interacting without you needing to be around at all. Most utilize a battery to keep moving parts going on their own.
This toy moves on its own and gives your cat a tail to chase. You can even pick which type of tail you want if you’ve got an idea of what your cat might like to hunt! It works well and gives your cat some exercise when you’re not home.
This is a mouse for your cat to chase, like the ones above. This one though works entirely on its own. This can be really useful for giving your cat something to chase when you’re not home. If they enjoy playing with mice with you, this might be a good choice.
If you’re looking to get your cat an activity center, you have a lot of choices. This guide will help you pick some cat furniture that is going to last and give your cat plenty of stimulation. However, if you’re looking for something simple to try out before committing to a big cat tree, there are smaller activity centers.
This one gives your cat a taste of what they can do with an activity center without committing to something huge yet. This can be a great choice if you’re not sure if your cat would use a large bit of furniture.
Toy for Kittens
A good choice of toy for a kitten is largely the same as an adult cat. Any of the examples given so far will also be appropriate for a kitten.
A smaller Kong that is made for a kitten will suit you much better though. While you may have to replace it when they’re fully grown, an adult-sized one will fit too many treats and be too large for your cat to play with effectively.
The same recommendations for cat teasers and mice apply really. These toys aren’t limited by age or size! Any kitten should enjoy them just as much as a fully grown cat.
An activity center is a bigger commitment for a cat. However, if you’re sure your kitten is going to grow up to be an indoor cat then getting them something larger to play with can be beneficial even at a young age. They’ll still enjoy climbing, scratching, and exploring an activity center as a kitten as they would as an adult.
What Are the Best Toys for My Cat?
The best toys for your cat are going to depend on the way that they play. Each cat is different and each is going to prefer a different way of playing and getting some exercise. These recommendations should help you find what is right for you. However, it all really comes down to what your cat enjoys.