The Best Cat Toys of 2021
- Top 15: Cat & Kitten Toy Reviews
- 1. YouThink Cat Scratcher Cardboard Lounge
- 2. Munchiecat Sushi Toys for Cats and Kittens
- 3. Moody Pet Fling-AMA-String Toy
- 4. SmartyKat Electronic Motion Cat Toys
- 5. Go Cat Teaser Cat Catcher Wand
- 6. SmartyKat Catnip Toys
- 7. Hartz Just For Cats
- 8. Cat Dancer – Cat Charmer Safe Wand Teaser
- 9. Fashion’s Talk Variety Pack for Kitty (20 Pieces)
- 10. Catit Design Senses Play Circuit (Original Model)
- 11. PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser
- 12. Cat Amazing Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Feeder
- 13. OurPets Cosmic Catnip Toy
- 14. Creaker 3 Way Cat Tunnel
- 15. Cat Dancer (3 Pack)
- Final Verdict & Review
- Cat Scratcher Lounge
- Things to Look for When Buying a Cat Toy
If you’re a cat owner, whether you’ve got just one kitty or a whole litter of little furballs, you know that they love their toys. If they’re not meandering around the house or cuddling up on your lap, they’re playing with their little mouse toy or their scratching post, or they’re entertaining themselves with a little maze just for them.
What kind of toys should you get? You should think about whether it’s something simple like a squeaky toy or something with a dual purpose like a combo bed or a treat dispenser of some sort.
Let’s take a look at some of the best cat toys available for your whiskered little friend. All of these are great and loved by the 21 cats we tried these on across 10 families of our team.
Note that #1 is not the best and #15 is not the worst. This is up to taste and up to you to choose from 🙂
Top 15: Cat & Kitten Toy Reviews
Price / Value
YouThink Cat Scratcher Cardboard Lounge
Munchiecat Sushi Toys for Cats and Kittens
Moody Pet Fling-AMA-String Toy
SmartyKat Electronic Motion Cat Toys
Go Cat Teaser Cat Catcher Wand
SmartyKat Catnip Cat Toys
Hartz Just For Cats Toys
Cat Dancer - Cat Charmer Safe Wand Teaser
Fashion's Talk Variety Pack for Kitty (20 Pieces)
Catit Design Senses Play Circuit (Original Model)
PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser
Cat Amazing Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Feeder
OurPets Cosmic Catnip Toy
Creaker 3 Way Cat Tunnel
Cat Dancer (3 Pack)
This thing is nuts. Or rather, all our cats go nuts for it.
Made out of 100% honeycomb paper, this cat scratcher/lounge combo also comes with some catnip to get your cat excited about its new toy. It’s fairly compact compared to those clunky traditional scratching posts, and it can be molded into five different shapes for some variety. It’s also easy to collapse and store, and it takes up very little space.
Scratching is very important for cat health, so having something for them to scratch that isn’t your furniture or clothing is advisable. But it also acts as playtime for them. They naturally want to scratch, and with their own personal piece of furniture designed precisely to be scratched, they’ll have fun doing so.
It also comes with a ball toy for when scratching just isn’t enough. The ball is not attached to the scratcher, however, so it’s recommended that you tie it to the scratcher so your cat doesn’t make off with it if you want to keep it together.
Your cats might wag their tails in disapproval when they find out this isn’t real sushi, but they’ll still have fun playing with these. These sushi-shaped plush toys are made with safety in mind, with all pet-safe materials and no small components that can break off, so there is no danger of a choking hazard.
They each have catnip inside and are made of minky fabric and polyester fiber. One of the pieces included has crinkle paper inside, and one has a bell, so if your cat likes playing with those, they’re probably going to have that one as their favorite sushi piece.
The bento-style gift box is a great presentation if you’re getting it for a friend with cats. Unfortunately, chopsticks are not included.
This battery-operated string toy is perhaps the easiest thing to install. Simply place it on any standard doorknob and it’s good to go. It hangs down from there and has a string that rotates on a conveyor belt which will pop the string out and then pull it back in. This is what cats love. When the string pops out, they’ll try to grab it, scratch it, bite it, and just try to get a hold of it any way they can.
The conveyor belt will stop when the string is grabbed, but as soon as kitty lets go, it will go back to rotating again, keeping the fun going. There are also two speeds available, catering to both laid-back cats, and to the fun-loving adventurous cats.
This line of toys is all about getting your cat active with motion-based toys.
The Hot Pursuit mimics small prey scurrying under a cover and entices your cat to try to catch it. It’s attached to the center of the cover and can dart around in a circular motion, or it can dash to the other side.
The Twirly Top is essentially a small ball with ribbons coming out of the top, and it spins around, spinning the ribbons which entice the cat to play with it.
The Twirl & Peek is similar to the Twirly Top, but also comes with a box that acts as a sort of hide and seek game.
And the Feather Whirl is another spinning ball, but this time it has a feather attached to a long rod, which some cats might prefer to the spinning ball toys.
This is simple, but cats love it. It’s a 12-inch glittery wand with a thin wire attached, and at the end of the wire is a small fake mouse. Both the wand and the mouse are designed to attract the cat, and they can play with both.
This does require the owner to manually play together with the cat, so the cat shouldn’t be left alone with this toy, but playing with your cat is immensely fun, especially with a toy like this.
You can have your cat spinning in circles trying to catch this tiny little mouse, make him race around the house jumping all over the place. This is one of those super simple toys that can give both the cat and the owner endless hours of fun.
We all know that cats love catnip. Sometimes, they can be content with the simplest of toys if it’s got some catnip in it. These toys are just that.
CatnipStix are catnip-filled toys that somewhat resemble wrapped pieces of candy. The long and tubular design is perfect for batting around and biting.
FishFlops are your garden-variety fish-shaped toys. All cats love fish, and though it’s not real fish they’re playing with, they’re still sure to have a great time.
SkitterCritters are the standard mouse toys, but cats go crazy for these. Some cats can hardly contain themselves and will want to play with them before their owner can even remove the packaging.
Overall, these toys are simple, but the catnip alone makes them extremely fun to play with.
The Hartz Just for Cats line has a variety of different toys designed for a few different play styles. There are Hunt, Explore, Interact, and Swat play styles.
The Hunt line features the Chirping Bird, Kitty Frenzy (mouse toys), Running Rodent and Super Hunters (variety pack including feather toys, rollers and plush toys on wands). These are all about toys that mimic cats’ natural prey, so they’ll think they successfully hunted a creature all on their own.
Explore has the Gator Scratch and the Peek & Play. The Peek & Play is a small tent with windows that lets your cats play peek-a-boo, along with two dangling swat toys to play with.
For Interaction, there’s the Bend-a-Wand, Kitty Caster, and Twirl & Whirl. These have feathers, mice, and fish on wands that the owner uses to swing around and interact with the cat, so both you and your cats will have fun.
And finally, in the Swat lineup, there’s the Midnight Crazies and Roll About Mouse. The Midnight Crazies are simple little colored and textured hollow balls with bells that are almost guaranteed to keep your cat’s attention. And for cats who really love catnip, the Roll About Mouse is perfect and is also adorned with colored strings and feathers which makes for a bright and colorful experience.
This toy consists of a clear wand made of polycarbonate with a colorful fabric ribbon that can really charm your cats. It looks similar to the wands that dancers use. Although your kitty might not be able to pull off any crazy dance moves, at least it can still have fun with the wand.
Like other toys, it’s recommended to supervise your cat when playing with this toy, especially since it’s really designed for both the owner and the cat to play with together.
The wand may seem simple, but like many of the other toys on this list, simple is sometimes perfect. The colorful ribbon is enough to keep your kitty entertained for hours, and depending on how creative you are with the wand yourself, your cat can have even more fun.
This amazing pack has twenty different toys to placate even the most stubborn kitty cat. No matter what your cat likes, he or she is sure to like some of the offerings here. You have mouse toys, fish, catnip-filled toys, balls, feathers and more.
Variety really is the spice of life, and having so many different toys to choose from could even be slightly overwhelming. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see your little furry friend playing with a handful of these at a time.
This would be great if you have multiple cats, so each one could have a few to themselves, but don’t be surprised if some of the cats try to take any claimed toys for their own.
This is an interesting toy for cats. It’s kind of like a tube with some open spots and a ball that can be pushed through and around the tube through the open spots. There are several ways in which you can arrange the tubes. They can be arranged in a pattern or in a circle.
This is one of those toys that can really captivate a cat’s attention if they like swatting and batting things. Some cats have even been known to use this as a bed, while not being designed as one. Perhaps they just like sleeping with their favorite toy.
The other toys in the Catit line are all modular, so they can be connected with other versions for even more fun.
This a combination of a toy and a food/treat dispenser. It’s great to have the cats work for their food, so perhaps they can burn off some of those calories before they get to nibble on the food and be proud of their accomplishment.
It comes in blue, green, orange and pink, so if your cat has color preferences, make sure to get the one they like.
This can be used for either treats or daily feeding, and the opening can be adjusted so you can tailor just how much food can come out at any given time. It can hold up to 2/3 cup. It’s also dishwasher safe and has BPA-free plastic.
Who knew that cat food dispensers could be so innovative? This one is essentially a puzzle box for cats with various holes designed specifically for the treats inside to be tricky to get, so they will have to work for it.
It features three different difficulty levels, so if they are able to nab the food too easily, use the harder levels to give them more of a workout. You could also put small toys in there so they have something more mellow to play with if they manage to beat the puzzle.
The box is made with reinforced biodegradable cardboard, so it should stand up to even the roughest play from most cats. It might even inspire some teamwork if you’ve got more than one kitty, and they can help each other out and share the spoils.
These toys proudly feature 100% premium North-American grown catnip, so if you’ve got cats that just love catnip, then these are the toys for you.
There are several different versions available. There’s the 24 Karat, which sadly is not made of gold, but is a beautiful-looking orange carrot complete with leafy greens. If your cat prefers fruits over roots, they might like the A-Peeling banana toy or the Hot Stuff chili pepper.
If they’re more into toys that resemble live prey, they could have fun with Miles the snake or Annette the fish. There’s also a cactus called Prickles (but no spines to deal with) and even a cigar-shaped toy called Ol’ Stogie.
This variety of catnip-fueled toys is sure to spark interest in many cats, and the banana is extremely popular with many felines.
This cat tunnel toy features three connected tunnels with built-in crinkle paper. There’s also a peephole and a dangling ball toy that is likely to grab the attention of any cat that happens to come near it. It’s made of tear-resistant polyester so it will stand up to any scratching shenanigans from frisky felines.
Cats love the crinkly crackle that this tunnel makes, so every time they walk through it, their steps will elicit those crunchy sounds. It’s big enough that many cats can play with it at the same time, and maybe they can even chase each other through it.
It folds down easily so it is very portable. If you have cats that like to travel, it makes for a great traveling toy for them. It is a little lightweight, though, so be prepared for the more rambunctious kitties to inevitably move it around the floor while they play.
This is probably the simplest toy on this list. But that does not mean that it’s bad in any way. It takes what cats really like and simplifies it. It’s a long spring steel wire with five small cardboard tubes on one end, and on the other end is a single small cardboard tube, which is what the owner holds onto.
You can give the wire just a small tug and the weighted end will bounce around, giving your cats a springy and wild moving object to try to catch and bat around. Cats go bonkers for this toy, which is surprising given its simplicity.
There is also an option that comes with a wall mount in which you can set the toy, so that the cats can play with it without the owner having to hold it. You should still supervise the cats while they are playing, as safety is always important.
We and our 21 test-cats love all of these toys. Neither is the best or worst but the Scratcher Lounge is a thing out of any cat’s dreams. Each of the cats loved the heck out of that simple cardboard contraption and would roll around in it, scratching their backs and just feel good. That puts it at the top of this list with ease!
Things to Look for When Buying a Cat Toy
There is a huge variety of cat toys available on the market. As a cat owner, you should have something fun for your cats. Proper playtime is essential to a healthy cat lifestyle, along with nutrition and keeping up those vet appointments. Here are some things to consider when deciding what kind of cat toys you should get for your furry friends.
Condos and beautiful outdoor cat houses, just like indoor trees can be thought of as toys as well, in a way. They provide variety and scratching posts for your cats, places to hide and jump around on. Add small toys to the mix and you have a kitty wonderland!
Catnip has been likened to being almost like a drug to cats. They are drawn to it like moths to a flame. Not all cats have the same response to catnip, so it might be wise to get a small helping and give it to your cat to see how he reacts to it. He might love it to bits, or he might just see it as a funny-smelling plant and keep on moving.
Many toys will feature catnip to entice cats to play with it. If a toy were otherwise unassuming, having catnip might just make it your cat’s favorite toy for that reason alone.
Safety should always be your number one priority when it comes to your cats. You want them to be able to play and have fun without the possibility of them getting injured. Taking this into consideration, you should always check toys for any possible safety issues. For most toys, you should always supervise your cats while they are playing to make sure it’s safe, and to make sure they don’t find an unorthodox method of playing that might be dangerous.
Another thing to consider in regards to safety is when to throw a toy away. Depending on how your cat plays and how much it plays with its toys, you might find that a toy becomes worn or damaged over time. This can lead to the toy becoming less safe if pieces start falling off, and you should think about replacing it. A broken toy is no good, especially if it becomes unsafe.
Your Cat’s Age and Size
A lot of toys are fairly universal and will be great for most cats. But if you have an older cat who isn’t as spry as they were in their younger days, you should consider getting a more mellow toy for them so they don’t strain themselves in an attempt to play. Likewise, young kittens can be full of energy, so you’ll want to get something that can keep their attention lest they get bored too quickly.
You’ll also want to make sure you get something appropriate for your cat’s size. You don’t want to get a humongous toy for a little kitten, and you also don’t want a teeny, tiny toy for a bigger cat. Match the size of the toy to the size of the cat to ensure they’ll have fun.
While you should always supervise your cats while they are playing with toys, there are some toys that they can use by themselves, and others that require the owner to operate them. The owner-operated toys are usually simple enough, like a wand with a mouse or ribbon on the end. These are especially great because they also create a bond between the owner and the cat.
There may be times when you want the cat to be occupied while you take care of something. That’s fine, as long as you periodically check on your kitty to make she’s having fun safely.
Everyone likes having a lot of options, and cats are no different. You’ll want to have at least a few different types of toys so they can experiment, and so you can see which kinds of toys they like the most. Some cats will like balls, others will like mice and other prey as chew toys, and then you’ll have a cat that will play with just about anything.
If you’ve got more than one cat, you’ll also want to consider that they might like different things, so while one of them might like one kind of toy, a different cat may prefer another kind. Supervise your cats to see which toys they individually like so you can get something catered specifically to each one.
One way to increase variety is to only expose your cats to a few toys at a time. Rotate them out once a week or so, and it’ll feel like they got a whole new toy to play with.
Inside Toys vs. Outside Toys
Most cat toys are generally designed for use indoors. Naturally, if your cat likes to go outside, they’ll probably want some toys out there to play with. If you’re planning on having toys outside, make sure they’re appropriate for the environment. For the outside, we recommend setting up an outdoor cat enclosure as a playpen.
Balls are usually good for anywhere, but things like plushies or toys with fur or feathers might not fare so well outside, especially if they get muddy or wet. Consider keeping those kinds of toys inside to increase their longevity.
There are some toys that are simple, and there are some that are complex. Try to figure out which kind your cat prefers, so you can get the right toy for them. They might love a puzzle box toy that they have to stick their paws into to get treats, or they might prefer a simpler automatic rolling ball twirler.
There are various levels of interactivity with different toys, so take the time to find out which is best for your cat. And don’t forget that, with pretty much any toy, you can play along with your cat. So even if it doesn’t necessarily need your input, go ahead and give it anyway.
Toys make an important part of a cat’s lifestyle. Getting the right kinds of toys, making sure they’re safe and making sure they’re fun is something you should strive to do as a cat owner. Play with your cat, have fun with them. Bond with them, and help them bond with other cats if you have more than one.
Most importantly, always make sure your cats are safe when playing with toys.
We are the Pet Cat Friends, a dedicated group of pet loving bloggers and product testers for all your meowy needs. We research, test, and review cat related products with the help of our collective 21 cats. Feel free to leave us feedback and treats!