The market is filled with an overwhelming number of cat toys. It’s hard to tell which toys your cat is going to like—and which ones are safe.
Pet parents should steer clear of cat toys with feathers, bells and strings as well as anything small enough to swallow. Just because a product is labeled “for cats” doesn’t mean they should play with it! That leaves cat owners wondering what exactly is okay to give their feline friends. A lot of products are questionable, but you still have plenty of options.
Here’s a list of the best (and safest) cat toys your kitty will love.
- Stuffed animals: Stuffed mice and birds are great go-tos for most cats. They replicate the small prey cats are used to hunting out in the wild. Stuffed animal toys let your feline companion reconnect with their ancestral instincts while getting in some exercise. The toys mentally stimulate your cat, and chasing a stuffed animal across the room is great cardio. Plus, cats can occupy themselves with stuffed animals while you’re away.
- Teaser wands: Some felines don’t find stuffed animals very enticing. These toys lie on the floor, when your fur baby would much rather chase something in motion. No kitty can resist a toy that dangles! There are countless types of teaser wands on the market with one goal in mind—stimulate the cat’s hunting instincts. Cats love teaser wands because it’s similar to snatching winged prey out of the air. One play session will quickly wear out your kitty from all the jumping.
- Catnip dispensers: Catnip is an effective motivator for cats that are reluctant to exercise. The smell of this irresistible plant is enough to pique their curiosity! Some toys have a hollow pouch in place of stuffing that owners can refill with catnip. These dispensers are also great for cats who quickly grow tired of their toys. A pouch filled with fresh catnip is enough to get cats off the couch and get moving.
- Cat trees: These are a staple in every cat lover’s home. Your kitty can leap, crawl, hide and snooze all in one place. Cat trees are some of the best toys you can buy because cats love to climb and feel safe on high perches. Jumping onto the platforms develops leg muscles and increases joint mobility. Plus, they’re covered in pet-safe materials like rope and carpet that satisfy their natural urge to scratch. Some cat trees even have built-in dangly toys your kitty can paw at.
- Cardboard steps: Cat trees might be too challenging for senior kitties with aching joints. A set of cardboard steps can aid cats with limited mobility while encouraging them to stay active in their later years. Steps are easy to install and give your senior cat access to high furniture like the bed or couch. Some designs incorporate hollow space beneath the steps so your cat has a place to stalk their prey. The steps meet all their needs for exercise, mental stimulation and accessibility.
- Plastic balls: Cats love to chase balls of yarn, but stringy toys present a choking hazard and may cause intestinal blockages. Satisfy your cat’s desire to chase and run by swapping the yarn with a plastic ball. They roll more easily, and your cat is less likely to turn it into a snack. While shopping for ball toys, look for ones that are too big for your cat to swallow. Designs with bells inside are okay as long as the outer shell is durable enough to not break open.
- Motion-sensor toys: Much to a cat’s disappointment, their owner can’t stay home all day to provide entertainment. Cats must learn to keep themselves occupied while owners are at work or school. Motion-sensor toys are the perfect solution, especially for cats that struggle with separation anxiety. These toys move and create sound effects when your kitty lurks nearby. Toys with a motion sensor dispel boredom and help distract kitties from the fact that you’re not home.
- Kicker toys: Kicker toys are stuffed animals, except they’re much longer. These stuffed toys are like body pillows for cats, satiating their impulse to wrestle with prey. Unlike stuffed mice or birds, kicker toys let your cat grab their “kill” with their front legs while kicking it with their hind ones. As a result, kicker toys allow the cat to engage more muscle groups at once during play time.
These are the best cat toy options, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your feline friend will love them all. Experiment with a few different kinds to see which ones your cat likes the most. After all, the best cat toy is the one your cat will actually want to play with!