If you are a cat owner, then you already know how much time the average cat spends grooming and sleeping. Because cats spend most of their day on these activities, they often get a reputation for being lazy. If you want your cat to be healthy, however, you need to keep him active.
While taking your cat for a walk may not be a viable option, there are certain things you can do at home to encourage healthy activity. Providing your cat with some interactive cat toys is a great way to go.
Interactive cat toys stimulate your cat’s senses and activate his hunting instincts. Though he may feel like he’s hunting his prey or playing with a beloved toy, you know that he’s getting some great exercise. Interactive cat toys take all shapes and forms, so how do you choose? Keep reading to see our top 10 picks for the best interactive cat toys.
#1 Bergan Turbo Scratcher
Though it may be simple in design, the Bergan Turbo Scratcher is one of the most popular interactive cat toys for a good reason. This toy consists of a round cardboard scratch pad enclosed within a captive ball track. It allows your cat to perch and scratch on top of the toy or to bat the ball around the track. Either way, your cat is going to get his exercise while loving every minute of it.
The Bergan Turbo Scratcher is highly affordable and easy to use. Simply place it on the floor and let your cat explore! From the first time he bats the ball around the track, he’s going to be hooked – he’ll play for hours on end without getting bored. You’ll love the fact that the cardboard scratchpad is double-sided and replaceable, plus the toy has a wide base for stability.
Pros: Encourages healthy activity, double-sided replaceable scratch pad, captive ball track, wide base for stability, highly affordable, durable plastic materials
Cons: Some cats aren’t interested in the toy, may slide around on hard surfaces
#2 Friends Forever Interactive Cat Laser Toy
Most cats love to chase laser pointers but you probably don’t have all day to sit around, shining the laser pointer for your cat. If not, then you should consider an interactive laser pointer toy like the Friends Forever Interactive Cat Laser Toy. This toy is fully automatic and battery-powered to provide hours of entertainment while also encouraging both mental and physical stimulation.
The Friends Forever Interactive Cat Laser Toy features a unique diamond-shaped top with a laser that offers a full 360-degrees of motion. Choose from three operating modes for slow or fast speed as well as a random option. These three options enable you to customize your cat’s workout according to his level of agility. Plus, with an automatic shutoff switch, you don’t have to worry about wasting battery life after your cat gets tired and wanders away.
Pros: Full 360-degrees of rotation, three adjustable operating modes, quiet operation, unique diamond-shaped top, automatic shut-off after 15 minutes
Cons: May be knocked over by rambunctious cats, screws for battery compartment may be difficult to remove
#3 PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser
If your cat is lazy or if he is getting up in years, you may be looking for a way to encourage some healthy activity. For some cats, bright colors, feathers, and noisemakers aren’t enough – you need instant gratification and food rewards. Luckily, that’s exactly what the PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser has to offer. This plastic ball dispenses treats as it rolls, rewarding your cat for being active.
The PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser is a very simple design and it is highly affordable as well. Simply open the ball and fill it with your cat’s favorite treats or kibble, then adjust the openings to customize the level of difficulty and the number of treats dispensed at once. The ball is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and durable enough to withstand some rough play. What more could you ask for in an interactive cat toy?
Pros: Durable plastic materials, fill with treats or kibble, adjustable openings for custom difficulty, dishwasher safe for easy cleaning, rewards cat for exercise
Cons: May not work for all treats, smaller treats or kibble may dispense too quickly
#4 SmartyKat Electronic Bird Sound Toy
Cats have a natural instinct to hunt small prey, so the SmartyKat Electronic Bird Sound Toy is the perfect toy to stimulate your cat’s hunting instincts. This toy comes in several shapes but the most popular is the Chickadee Chirp which looks like a small bird. This bird toy features touch-activated realistic bird sounds that will drive your cat crazy and inspire him to keep playing for hours on end.
The SmartyKat Electronic Bird Sound Toy is made with soft, plush materials and is filled with 100% recycled material. Inside the toy is a refillable catnip pouch that will further entice your cat to play. If he doesn’t like the bird shape, try one of the other options like the Chit Chatter, the Hum Singer, or the Crick It. No matter what age your cat is, he is sure to love playing with this noise-making cat toy.
Pros: Touch-activated realistic bird noises, made from plush materials, 100% recycled material filling, refillable catnip pouch, perfect size for batting and carrying, multiple options for shape
Cons: May not withstand heavy chewing, battery will eventually wear out, some cats aren’t interested
#5 Catit Spinning Bee Interactive Cat Toy
If your cat is tired of boring cat toys that just sit there, try the Catit Spinning Bee Interactive Cat Toy. This toy features a rocking, wobbling ball with a flexible wand attachment topped with a spinning bee toy. Not only does the erratic movement and spinning bee attract your cat’s attention, but it activates his hunting instincts as well.
Plus, the toy incorporates a laser pointer and it even dispenses treats. Simply put, this Catit Spinning Bee Interactive Cat Toy does the work of several interactive cat toys all in a single product your cat is sure to love.
Pros: Erratic movement and spinning bee attracts cats, dispenses treats or kibble, incorporates a laser cat toy, automatic shut-off timer, replaceable batteries
Cons: Frightens some cats with the noise and movement, treat dispenser doesn’t work very well
#6 PetStages Tower of Tracks
With three levels of entertainment, the PetStages Tower of Tracks is one of the best interactive cat toys out there for multi-cat households. This toy consists of three levels of captive track, each with its own roller ball. The balls themselves come in bright colors with noisemakers inside, so all it takes is a single bat and your cat will be hooked. This toy is designed to stimulate your cat’s senses and to encourage healthy exercise and mental stimulation.
This tower features a wide base for stability, so you don’t have to worry about it tipping over, and it has a safety bar across the top opening, so your cat won’t accidentally get his head stuck. Though this toy does make a fair bit of noise, that is part of what makes it so attractive to cats, so you’ll have to get use to it! Whether you need a toy for multiple cats or just something to keep an active kitten busy for a while, the PetStages Tower of Tracks is a great option.
Pros: Three levels of entertainment, captive ball tracks, balls are colorful and contain noisemakers, wide base for stability, safety bar across top opening, easy to clean plastic materials
Cons: Can be fairly noisy, may be too large for very small kittens
#7 SnugglyCat Ripple Rug Cat Activity Play Mat
If you’ve ever played with your cat under the covers, the SnugglyCat Ripple Rug Cat Activity Play Mat might be the best interactive toy to try. Though it doesn’t look like a toy, per se, this activity mat encourages your cat to scratch, stretch, and play in a number of different ways.
Ideal for solo play or for multiple cats, this play mat will keep your cat active and entertained for hours on end. This play mat features flat surfaces as well as tunnels and holes so he can poke, prod, and play to his heart’s content.
Pros: Infinite configurations for limitless play, works for solo or multiple cats, can hide treats or toys inside, great for scratching and stretching as well as sleeping
Cons: May not withstand heavy chewing or scratching, collapses fairly easily
#8 SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Cat Toy
If you really want to get your cat going, an interactive cat toy like the SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Cat Toy might be a good option. This toy consists of a mat that conceals an electronic motion toy. The toy peeks its way out from the edges of the mat in a random pattern to keep your cat guessing and to encourage him to chase it.
There are four different speeds so you can customize the toy to your cat’s agility and there are two different wand attachments you can try.
Pros: Mat conceals an electronic motion toy, replaceable wands, keeps the cat active, four different speeds and operation modes
Cons: Some cats grew bored quickly, mat can become bunched or folded
#9 Cat Charmer Wand Teaser Toy
For an interactive cat toy that includes you in the action, try the Cat Charmer Wand Teaser Toy. This toy features a simple design with a flexible wand and a long, rainbow-colored cat charmer on the end. Twist and flick the toy to keep your cat jumping and diving, always trying to catch the ribbon that is just out of reach.
This toy is affordably priced under $5 and it is very easy to use. Plus, the wand is made from ultra-durable materials guaranteed not to break in play.
Pros: Stimulates aerobic exercise, ultra-durable materials, unbreakable wand, good for cats of all ages, brightly colored ribbon, made in the USA, nontoxic materials
Cons: Ribbon may detach after extended use, may be a choking hazard if the ribbon detaches
#10 Catit Design Senses Play Circuit
Whether you have a young kitten or an older cat, the Catit Design Senses Play Circuit has something for everyone. This interactive cat toy features an enclosed track with brightly colored, noise-making balls. The track has several openings where your cat can insert his paws to bat at the ball, keeping it going and keeping his senses constantly engaged.
The peekaboo design enables your cat to keep the balls in sight at all times and there are multiple layout possibilities so you can change things up once in a while.
Pros: Encourages healthy activity, peekaboo design, brightly colored noise-making balls, great for cats of all ages, multiple layout options
Cons: Some cats are uninterested, some cats grow bored easily
What Are the Different Types of Interactive Cat Toys
Cat toys come in all shapes and sizes, but there are certain kinds which are considered interactive – these are the toys that inspire your cat to play.
Here are the different types of interactive cat toy you might come across:
Treat Dispensers – If your cat needs a little encouragement to play, a treat-dispensing toy might be a good option. These toys usually accommodate treats and kibble of different sizes and they usually take the form of a ball that your cat rolls around to dispense the treats.
Noise Makers – Many cats are attracted to sounds like squeaking or chirping, so noise-making toys are a popular choice in interactive cat toys. These toys are usually battery-operated and they generally make noises that mimic things from nature like birds or squirrels.
Teaser Toys – These toys usually require some degree of human interaction which makes them great for building a bond with your cat. Most teaser toys take the form of a toy attached to a wand that you can swish and flick around.
Robotic/Electronic Toys – Most robotic and electronic toys are the kind of toy your cat can use on his own – some of them are even motion-activated so you don’t even have to turn them on.
Every cat is different when it comes to the type of toys he does and doesn’t like, so try out at least one from each of these types to see what your cat prefers.
Tips for Keeping Your Cat Healthy and Active
In addition to providing your cat with interactive cat toys to play with, there are some other things you can do to encourage healthy activity.
Here are some tips for keeping your cat healthy and active:
Make sure your cat has a wide variety of toys to choose from – cats can get bored easily, so having a variety will help encourage him to play.
Engage your cat in some playtime before each meal – many cats like to play before they eat and keeping him active will help him work up an appetite.
If you spend a lot of time away from home, try giving your cat some electronic toys that don’t need to be turned on – you can also try interactive toys that you control through a smartphone app so you can interact with your cat from afar.
Consider adopting a second cat if you only have one so they will be able to play together when you’re gone – just be sure to introduce the cats to each other to see if they get along before you finalize the adoption.
Try walking your cat on a leash outdoors – you’ll need to buy a cat harness and it might take some time to train him for walking on the leash, but most cats like exploring the outdoors when given the chance to do so.
Have your cat hunt for his food – try hiding treats and food around the house and help your cat search for it as an alternative to just filling his food bowl.
Give cat agility training a try for some mental as well as physical activity – you may be surprised how trainable cats really are.
Every cat has his own unique preferences when it comes to toys, so you may need to try out a few to find one your cat likes. For the best chances of success in finding a toy your cat will play with, try some of our top picks for the best interactive cat toys reviewed above.