Updated: March 18, 2021 by Kristen Chapple
Cats have enormous personalities that shine brightest during playtime. But in the heat of the chase, you see adorable, terrifying hunters that love ear scratches and hanging out together on a sunny front porch.
We owe it to these magnificent beasts to provide them with the best outlets for play and stimulation possible. Cats aren’t that hard to please when it comes to playtime.
They love a good string or bouncy ball as much as the next guy, but don’t you want to give them a little more? We do, and that’s why we assembled this list of the best interactive cat toys available.
Table of Contents
- Here are The Best Interactive Cat Toys…
- 1. SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy — Overall Best Interactive Cat Toy
- 2. Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser Original 2 in 1 Dog & Cat Toy
- 3. Catit Design Senses Circuit Cat Toy, Speed
- 4. SmartyKat Chickadee Chirp Electronic Bird-Sound Cat Toy
- 5. KONG Infused Cat Gyro Cat Toy
- 6. Petlinks Loopy Laser 2-in-1 Laser Pointer & Hanging Door Cat Toy
- 7. Fat Cat Big Mama’s Makin’ Biscuits Boogie Mat Cat Toy with Catnip
- 8. Pet Fit For Life Wand & LED Laser Combo Cat Toy
- 9. Fat Cat Big Mama’s Mouse Bouncer Doorknob Hanger Cat Toy with Catnip
- Best Interactive Cat Toys — A Buying Guide and More
- What’s The Big Deal? Why Do Cats Need Specialized Toys?
- Some Cat Behaviors, Decoded
- A Final Word
Here are The Best Interactive Cat Toys…
|1. SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy||Check Current Price|
|2. Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser Original 2 in 1 Dog & Cat Toy||Check Current Price|
|3. Catit Design Senses Circuit Cat Toy, Speed||Check Current Price|
|4. SmartyKat Chickadee Chirp Electronic Bird-Sound Cat Toy||Check Current Price|
|5. KONG Infused Cat Gyro Cat Toy||Check Current Price|
|6. Petlinks Loopy Laser 2-in-1 Laser Pointer & Hanging Door Cat Toy||Check Current Price|
|7. Fat Cat Big Mama's Makin' Biscuits Boogie Mat Cat Toy with Catnip||Check Current Price|
|8. Pet Fit For Life Wand & LED Laser Combo Cat To||Check Current Price|
|9. Fat Cat Big Mama's Mouse Bouncer Doorknob Hanger Cat Toy with Catnip||Check Current Price|
1. SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy — Overall Best Interactive Cat Toy
Like we said above, the reason this product is first on our list is that it mimics the predatory exercises your cat would engage in out in the wild (even if the wild is just your backyard).
Just when you think she’s over it, change out the attachment, and she’ll have something completely new to chase! Also, did we mention it’s twinkling lights to engage her senses even more?
The concealed wand whirls unpredictably around the base, leaving just enough tempting evidence of prey visible to make her want to catch it. With replaceable “lures” and multiple wand speeds, she won’t give up until that critter is HERS.
While she can certainly play with this toy on her own, you’ll find both of you will have fun interacting with it together, and she’ll appreciate the bonding time.
Also, this toy has been human child-safety tested so you know it will be safe for your kitty, too.
- Dimensions: 22.51 x 22.51 x 2.99 in
- 8 ounces
- Intended for adult cats
- Different speeds help keep cats guessing and on the chase
- Interchangeable attachments for a variety of things to hunt
- Blinky lights give her even more reasons to be curious and engaged
- Encourages healthy play and fulfills your cat’s complete need for exercise
- Suitable for individual playtime, but also a great for cat-and-mouse games with you
- Complaints of flimsiness
- Kinda loud
- May be too expensive for its quality.
Everyone loves a good pet laser, it’s hard to tell who’s having more fun- the humans using it or the cats chasing it. That’s why this is an excellent interactive toy (other than the fact that your cat has no thumbs and can’t hold it, so she kind of needs you to participate).
This laser will attract your cat and your dog, and if you’ve got multiple pet households, watch out, you may lose some vases if you play with it in the house.
Unleash your pet’s inner tiger with the Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser Original 2 in 1 Dog & Cat Toy. Point the laser at the floor or wall and let your pet chase and attempt to capture its elusive prey.
- Dimensions: 6 x 0.59 x 4 in
- Weight: 2.08 oz
- Intended for adult animals
- Suitable for indoor/outdoor use
- Multiple animals can play with it at once, which will be HILARIOUS
- It comes with batteries included!
- Safe, LED light
- Gives her the exercise she needs to stay svelte and healthy
- Battery issues
- Laser not bright enough and dies quickly
This toy has everything BUT a live rodent in it to keep your cat on the chase. Three colorful balls light up as they spin around the enclosed track, giving your cat just enough well-sized gaps to get the little paw in there and swat them to keep them moving.
This toy also comes with attachments that are sold separately so you can construct your own mega-circuit complete with pieces that have multitiered levels. Think of it as a hot-wheels track for your furry companion with plenty of room to have friends over to play.
- Made by Hagen
- Intended for adult cats
- Made from polyester materials
- Lighting, brightly colored balls attract curiosity
- Spaces in the enclosed track tempt her to bat the ball around and around
- Track is expandable (expansions sold separately)
- Even more fun for homes with multiple cats
- Enclosed track design means no MIA balls under your sofa
- Some cats just weren’t interested
- Some cat parents said the design was cheaply made
- Some balls were defective and didn’t light up as promised
Sometimes it’s nice to get back to the basics. This is a great example of a simple, fluffy, chase -it-around-until-it’s-in-the-water-bowl toy, BUT it makes enticing birdie noises she won’t want to drown.
Touch activated singing and chirping mimics the sound of birds, so every time she takes a swipe out of it, it’ll chirp back.
This is a great toy for practicing those hunting instincts and will keep her interested as long as it doesn’t play dead. The best part? It’s got an opening to fill it full of catnip over and over for even more stimulation.
- Dimensions: 1.5 x 1 x 2 inches
- Weight: 0.48 ounces
- Made from polyester materials
- Touch activated
- Imitates bird noises and movements to entice her to capture and bring it proudly to you
- Gives a natural, predatory experience without dead things in your house
- Refillable design comes pre-filled with enticing catnip, and you can refill it whenever she needs
- Sturdy, safe materials that won’t shred easily
- Some owners said it broke quickly after use
- Some cats yawned and sauntered away
- Some owners said it either made no sound, or the sound was too loud
So this is a cool choice if your kitty is into brain games that result in treats. (Really, who isn’t?) It spins and rolls around so she’ll want to give it a few smacks, but pretty soon after (‘cause cats are smart), she’ll realize if she gets it right, treats emerge!
The KONG Infused Cat Gyro Toy holds up to one-third cup of treats or food for late-night snacks. Because nocturnal.
Just for extra fun, as if she needs more motivation than treats, it’s got a tinkling bell to pique her attention, and it’s got catnip oil infused right into the toy. This toy is a quadruple-threat sensory experience.
Lest you worry about those extra treats adding extra calories to her diet, this toy provides her with plenty of activity to get in some cardio and get her heart rate pumping.
- Dimensions: 2.5 x 4 x 4 in
- Weight: 3.04 oz
- Intended for adult kitties
- Made from polypropylene material
- Easy to disassemble for snack refill and cleaning
- Catnip oil is infused within the toy, enticing her to pounce
- The tinkly bell gets her attention with sound
- She’ll have to use her superior intellect to figure out how to get at the treats inside, creating mental stimulation and keeping her from dreaded boredom
- Durable, long-lasting construction and design
- Some kitties weren’t interested. Even with treats.
- Some owners said the interior food tray was a bit difficult to clean
This hanging door toy will have her leaping to catch the feathery ladybug on the other end for hours, not only because it’s spring will entice her, but because it’s a laser pointer as well!
It’ll give her all the motivation she needs to exercise, and it’s a great way for you to play together (read: tease her with the laser pointer she’s absolutely sure she’ll going to catch one of these days…).
This toy is tested to meet child safety standards, and it’s made with environmentally friendly organic materials, so you know it’ll be safe for your little hunter
Your kitty will love playing with her new Petlinks Loopy Laser 2-in-1 Hanging Door Cat Toy!
- Dimensions: 2.87 x 2.46 x 1.26 in
- Weight: 1.28 oz
- Best for adult cats
- Feathered dangler will keep her busy as she bats away, getting her heart rate up
- Cute ladybug acts as a laser pointer
- Designed with a large button, so it’s easy and comfortable for you to use.
- Meets child and environmental safety standards
- Gives you the option to play together, or hang it on the door and let her go solo
- Some owners said the feather came off too easily.
- Some owners said the feather was too short for their kitties to reach.
Most cats knead, when they do, experts postulate it’s because they’re content and looking for a place to get comfy.
This usually means your fur baby purring and kneading away on your lap- and let’s face it, those of us who love cats will endure the claws in the lap to accommodate her need to use you as a nest. Whatever makes the princess (or prince) of the house happy.
Well, this unique mat is a special treat for your favorite dough-kneader. It’s made from sturdy canvas, so she can claw and knead all she wants, and comes with Fat Cat’s high-quality ‘Zoom
Around the Room® organic catnip. When she tired of lazing around, the attached ball and string is right there for her pouncing whims!
- Dimensions: 13 x 5.5 x 1 in
- Weight: 3.2 oz
- Intended for adult kitties
- Made from Polyester and Cotton
- Made with sturdy canvas, it gives her a comfy place to scratch and knead
- Organic catnip will keep her chill. Until she’s not.
- Comes with attached ball-and-string for kitty to pounce and bat around
- A colorful, whimsical design
- Some owners said the mat was too small for their kitties to enjoy.
- Some cats said they weren’t interested
This two-in-one baton/laser toy combo is a great way to keep your tomboy moving and shaking. The sturdy wand dangles the feather and work attachment in front of him while he’s tempted with sounds mimicking a birds’ chirps. Thow in a laser light, and you’ve got a full-sensory experience for him to enjoy.
The wand comes with two replacement attachments so you can switch it up if he gets bored (unlikely), and the LED pointer is rechargeable so it’s always ready to go. The wand is made with sturdy ABS plastic and fiberglass, so it’ll hold up to swatting, batting, and battle.
- Dimensions: 30 x 0.25 x 0.25 inches
- Weight: 3.04 oz
- Made with adult cats in mind.
- Sturdy wand comes with interchangeable danglers
- Rechargeable LED laser pointer
- Birdlike sounds entice cats from anywhere in the house
- Made from sturdy, flexible ABS plastic and fiberglass
- Some owners said the laser stopped working soon after they got it.
- Some cats weren’t interested in playing with it.
This is another nifty door-hanging toy to keep your kitty batting and jumping to her heart’s content. The toy has two bouncy danglers, each with catnip stuffed “mouse” to keep her jumping and happy.
The fun, whimsical patterns and colors make a cute addition to your doorknob, it’ll proudly announce to guests that a cat lover dwells here!
You can let her play on her own, or you can get in on the action- either way, this toy will stand up to a lot of play. Made from sturdy materials, the Big Mama’s Mouse Bouncer Doorknob Hanger will keep her entertained for a long time!
- Dimensions: 17 x 5.5 x 1.75 in
- Weight: 3.68 oz
- For adult life stage use
- Made from polyester, cotton
- Bright, fun patterns catch her attention
- Bouncy “arms” dangle a catnip mouse for her to swat and jump for
- Great for playtime together or solo if she wants it all to herself
- Made from durable poly-cotton materials to help the toy stand up to plenty of play.
- Plenty of cardio to be had trying to catch those pesky mice.
- Some owners said the toy didn’t dangle low enough for their kitties to reach
- Some cats wanted the catnip but weren’t so interested in playing once it wore off
Best Interactive Cat Toys — A Buying Guide and More
Choosing a good quality interactive cat toy isn’t difficult if you know what to look for. They’re not all alike, so take a look at the packaging for some of these hints to get a sense of what you’re buying and look for the following:
What materials is the toy made with? Does it look and feel sturdy? (If you can feel it through the packaging or open the box.)
If it seems cheaply made or easily breakable don’t bother. If your cat is serious about his hunting, it probably won’t hold up.
With laser pointer toys, check out what kind of batteries it takes. Most should come with batteries included, but you’ll need to know what to get when it runs out.
Read labels for safety information. It’s always a bonus if you can find a toy that’s been safety inspected and approved for small children, that way you know it’ll be safe for your fuzzy house dictator.
If a toddler can’t get that attachment off, he probably won’t be able to either. If it contains very small parts that look easily removable, keep in mind that could be a choking hazard.
Similarly, if the toy contains a corded dangler, make sure the cord isn’t so long that it’s likely to get wrapped around her neck.
That’s why guides like this exist- to bring you thorough information on what you need to know before choosing a cat toy. Go online and read the reviews on websites like Chewy.com while doing your shopping.
You’ll be able to see what other cat owners had to say about the products as well as some of the details about the toy so you can decide if it’s the right toy for your fur baby.
What’s The Big Deal? Why Do Cats Need Specialized Toys?
It Helps Hone Their Instinctive Behavior and Makes Them Feel Like the Wild Things They Are.
When cats were predators roaming the wild, they didn’t have a choice but to exhibit behavior we would call playful from birth. Their mamas teach them to stalk, pounce, wrestle, and “bunny kick”, the action of wrapping her arms around an object then “bunny kicking” it with her hind claws.
Bunny kicking can be done playfully, but can also be an especially important behavior for a cat when in the wild because it can be used to fight and enemy. And disembowel prey. You’re welcome for the imagery.
They do need to exhibit this behavior, not only for physical exercise and conditioning but for self-confidence! Don’t we all want to feel like we’re good at what we’re meant to do? Besides, no one wants to get kicked out of the pack.
Cats get bored when unstimulated just like everyone else. And just like most of us, when we’re bored, we get in trouble. All kinds of unpleasant behavioral problems can surface when your cat gets bored (spoiler: a lot of them have to do with using the bathroom in obnoxious ways all over your house).
Like with most other behaviors they exhibit, cats can be a little passive-aggressive when it comes to their feelings, so it’s likely you may not even realize your diva (divo) is bored enough to want to act out, so you’ve really got to pay attention to their behaviors.
Playing Stimulates Their Mind.
Everyone knows cats are pretty smart, and they need things to keep their minds stimulated in order to stay that way. Lucky for us, many of our feline companions are living longer than ever, some even up in their 20’s! As they age, cats are prone to a condition called feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD).
Similar to Alzheimer’s in humans, FCD results from a buildup of waxy proteins in the brain, and it can lead to some pretty sad behaviors such as disorientation, desperate yowling in the middle of the night when they’d usually be sleeping curled up on the bed with you, and forgetting to use the litter box.
Researchers say the best thing to help your cat stay sharper through FCD is interaction. Hang out with him at mealtimes, give him lots of attention, and definitely play with him with interactive toys.
Some Cat Behaviors, Decoded
I Love You… Now Come Here and Let Me Headbutt You.
Ever wonder why you’re sitting there minding your own business and she comes out of nowhere and dives into you headfirst? She’s showing you she loves you- and that she owns you.
Which everyone probably knows without the possessive display, but it’s still endearing to know she’ll keep you around for a while.
Chattering Like A Velociraptor
If you’ve ever seen your cat staring forlornly out the window at the passing birds and making weird chattering noises, it’s because she’s pining to get out there and bring one home to you.
They’ll do the same with flies stuck in the windows, even sometimes with particularly lifelike toys.
Have you bought a super cozy cat bed for your resident hunter only for them to ignore it and opt for the empty Amazon box instead? Don’t take it personally, cats love to squeeze into the tightest spaces they can, the more hidden the better sometimes.
Makes sense from a common-sense standpoint- their ancestors in the wild needed tight, preferably dark spaces to get cozy for safety when it was time to take it easy.
What’s the Deal With Catnip?
Most cats like catnip, from our domestic predators to their cousins in the wild (it’s true, even lions and tigers aren’t immune from it’s intoxicating effects), but why do they love it?
So if you’ve ever wondered why your fur baby rolls around, salivates, mews, and basically just acts like a weirdo? She’s looking for a partner… makes sense, right?
Partying All Night
It’s no secret that cats are nocturnal for the most part, but if your kitty is up all night and sleeping all day, it could be because they’re bored with you. Really, if you’re not giving them enough stimulation during the day what else do they have to do but sleep?
Like children, if you want them to sleep when you do instead of knocking things off the shelves at three in the morning, you should get them on a schedule of active play in the day with interspersed naps, give them a nice dinner, then send them to bed. Making sure they’re tuckered out goes a long way to a good night’s sleep for everyone.
A Final Word
Cats are wonderful, mysterious, fascinating and loveable companions. Cat lovers everywhere know how important it is to make sure they’ve got the best interactive entertainment we can provide, which is why we recommend the SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy.
It really does have it all: sneaky things skittering under blankets, fluffy rodent-like attachments spinning around just begging to be caught, blinky lights to keep her interested. It’s everything she needs to stay active and interested.