Best Cat Toys of 2020 (so far)

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Here at tuft + paw, we are cat experts.

Megan Tieber, our in house veterinarian, says “The best toys mimic prey species. Cats can pounce on toy mice or jump up and swat a toy on a string, like they would a bird.”

Not sure what toys are out there? Let us help! There are wands, mice, lasers, and more. We’ve collected some of our favorite cat toys under one roof in this guide, so you can decide what’s best for your companion.

Let’s get started!

 

Why cat toys are important

Cat toys are vital to the health and happiness of your cat. After all, cats are natural born hunters, even if they are trapped in small furry bodies! In the wild, cats stalk, catch and play with prey as a form of nutrition and entertainment. Obviously this doesn’t happen as much for domestic cats. Other than the occasional bug, cats don’t get their hunting instinct satisfied as much indoors.

We divided our top picks into five key categories:

  1. Best overall cat toy
  2. Best budget cat toy
  3. Best modern cat toy
  4. Most unique cat toy

Be sure to continue reading after we list our winners. We interviewed cat veterinarians, cat behaviorists, and product designers on what features are most important to look for when purchasing a cat toy at the end of the article.

Without further ado, let’s get started on our top picks!

Best Overall Cat toy

Da Bird Cat Toy Gives Them Wings | Bengal Cats

DaBird - $9

Da Bird is a true classic when it comes to cat toys, and sometimes classic is the best! For years, felines have been chasing Da Bird around the house and absolutely delighting in feathers. The feathers look and feel similar to actual bird feathers and even make a “whooshing” noise when pulled through the air. This toy has been known to drive cats everywhere crazy for good reason.

Pros Cons

Classic: This cat toy is an original classic for cats. With years of satisfied customers, it’s worth the buy.

Breaking: Some reviewers said it can break easily, but refills are available to replace the feather head. 
Satisfies Hunting Instinct: This cat toy gets cats up and running for fun. Motion Required: Depending on the cat, they may not be interested in it when it’s not in motion.
Affordable: It’s a relatively inexpensive cat toy that has a decent life.

Runner Up

Topo Cat Toy / MiaCara

Topo - $29

The Topo toy is a more durable version of a classic cat wand. A faux-fur pom pom is attached to a leather strap and cats have fun both chasing the furry creature on the end, and also chewing on the leather strap! With regular wands, cats usually shouldn’t or don’t want to chew on the plastic rod- with this toy, cats can go crazy playing with the whole toy. 

Pros Cons

Durable: All the elements of this cat toy are well made and durable, so it’s built to last.

More Expensive: This toy costs more than Da Bird but is way better made. 
Simulates Prey: This cat toy has a furry element that your cat will sure to love.

 

 

Honorable mention: Bergan Turbo Scratcher

Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy - Chewy.com

A well-loved favorite, the turbo scratcher features both a scratching pad, and a ball to play with. Cats love to chase and bat the ball around the tube and use the scratching pad to trim their nails. It’s a great two-for-one deal! As a bonus, the scratching pad on this toy is also totally replaceable.

Best Budget Cat toy

 

Fish Bone - $29

The Fish Bone toy is a great soft catnip toy. The dynamic shape is soft for cats to lay on, but also fun to play with. Cats will enjoy relaxing and being riled up with the Fish Bone toy. The fabric holds onto the catnip scent since it’s made from linen and cotton.

Pros Cons

Catnip: If you’re looking to get your cat goofy, or even chill, catnip toys are the perfect fit.

Catnip: Keep in mind, cats react differently to catnip. Make sure your cat doesn’t get more aggressive when riled up, or it may adversely affect other cats in the household.

Dynamic Shape: The fish bone shape entices cats to play and have fun.

Soft Materials: The all-natural textiles in this toy are durable and soft for cats to chew on. 

Runner Up

Here's Why Cats Go Crazy Over Laser Pointers - Geek.com

Laser Pointer - $6

Laser pointers and cats have been paired together for years Quite honestly, cats go crazy for laser pointers! If your goal is to get your cat running around and even doing flips, the laser pointer is the way to go! It’s an easy way to play with your cat from your couch.

Pros Cons

Instant Entertainment: Cats really do love laser pointers. They are instantly chasing it as soon as it’s on!

Eye Danger: Remember, do not shine lasers in any cat or human eyes! 

Great for Exercise: This toy gets cats up and moving the most.

Anxiety: Laser pointers can make some cats anxious, as they can’t actually catch the laser. Be sure to offer physical rewards to bring a happy end to the game.
Inexpensive: Laser pointers are very cheap and offer long lasting fun.

Best Modern Cat toy

Petcube Bites + Petcube Play: Treat & Care for Pets Remotely by ... 

Petcube Play 2

This cat toy has a lot to offer your pet. Not only is it a laser toy, but it’s also a pet cam, an Alexa, and offers two-way sound so you can talk to your pet throughout the day. If you’re looking for more than a toy, this is the way to go.

Pros Cons

HD Video: Keep an eye on your cat while you’re away with a video stream!

Mostly a Camera: Though it does have the laser, it’s still mostly for watching your cat.

Play Laser: Use the laser to play with your cat from afar.

New Tech: Technology tends to break down over time, so is it worth it?

Extra Features: You can also speak to your cat and take photos!

 

Runner Up

 

Hoiru Cat Wheel | Tuft + Paw

 

Hoiru Cat Wheel


The Hoiru Cat Wheel is a totally unique and modern cat toy. A large part of play is exercising and this wheel is all about the exercise! For cat breeds that tend to have more energy and need more activity in their life, this cat wheel is a great toy for them.

Pros Cons

Great for Exercise: Have a cat that loves to sprint? This cat wheel is perfect for them!

Large: It’s a big piece of cat furniture, so it’s best if you have some spare room.

Beautiful: The cat wheel is beautifully crafted and made of natural materials.

Pricey: Since it’s such a pricey piece, you’ll want to make sure you have a cat that would like to use this.

 

Most Unique Cat toy 

SmartCat 3833 Peek-a-Prize Pet Toy Box: Amazon.ca: Pet Supplies 

SmartCat Peek a Prize Toy Box

For great mental stimulation for your smarty pants cat, the SmartCat Peek Box is the way to go. You can hide toys inside the toy box and cats can spend time playing, pawing and trying to drag them out! This toy box can offer hours of fun for the cat that loves puzzles.

 

Pros Cons

Hunting Instincts: This toy is great for satisfying those hunting instincts in cats.

Boredom: There are some cats that might lose interest in this toy fast.

Compact & Sturdy: This toy doesn’t take up a ton of space and isn’t prone to falling apart.

 

Runner Up

Moody Pet Fling-Ama-String Cat Toy - Chewy.com 

Moody Pet Fling - String Cat Toy

The Moody Pet Fling is quite the innovative cat toy! This automatic cat toy features a rotating string that flings itself out at cats and reels itself back in. Cats everywhere go mad for this string toy, which is easily hung on a doorknob for play.

 

Pros Cons
Automatic: Since it’s battery operated, your cat can play with this solo. 

Batteries Needed: This toy requires batteries to operate, so be sure to have them on hand!

Great Exercise: This toy will have cats running and jumping!

  

Why Cats Need Cat Toys

Without toys, cats can become restless, anxious, and more prone to destructive behavior out of boredom. Cats crave mental and physical stimulation, so it’s a great idea to play with your cat or to have objects around your house that your cat can engage with. 

Here are three good reasons to provide cat toys for your friend. 

Bonding

Cats often bond with their owners and other cats through play. If you adopt a new cat, it’s a great idea to spend time playing with your new friend to get them excited about your presence. Play helps them learn to trust their owner and the other cats around them. Cat toys are a great way to help create positive feelings around a new cat and an existing cat. 

Stimulation 

When cats are bored, they can get moody and destructive. If your cat is often running around at night, yowling and scratching on items, they may be bored! Cat toys are a great way to alleviate that boredom and get them a little more tuckered out before bed. Try a variety of toys to see what works best. 

Hunting Instinct

Cats are predators, which means they have a strong hunting instinct. Toys that engage this hunting instinct, such as wands or mice, can be especially fun for cats. Engaging their hunting instinct often can keep cats alert and ready for interaction. 

Cat Toy Features

To be honest, there are more types of cat toys that can be listed in one place, but most cat toys have a few common features. Here, we’ve listed out different features to look for so you have a better idea on how to shop. 

Some features will suit some cats better than others, so it may take some experimentation to find the perfect toy for your cat. 

Feathers

Feather wands or other feather toys are good for engaging cats’ hunting instincts. The feathers often remind cats of birds or other prey. A cat that spends a lot of time in the windows looking out at birds might greatly enjoy feather toys. 

On the downside, feathers tend to fall out or get torn out more easily than other components, so keep that in mind as well. 

Puzzles

Cats that are a fan of more intellectual games will love a puzzle feature for their new cat toy. Puzzles can be feeder puzzles, toys that require them to spend extra time catching an item or pulling an item from a space, or even balls in rings they can spin. 

Our resident veterinarian, Megan Tieber, has this to say about puzzle toys, “I also really love food puzzle toys. Many cats eat too quickly and then beg for more food. Food puzzles allow them to interact and "hunt" for their food.” 

Catnip

Many cat toys feature the herb catnip inside them. Catnip either mellows a cat out, or sometimes it can rile them up making them excited or even goofy. Cats love catnip and are often drawn to toys that contain it. If you want to get a cat excited to play, sprinkle some catnip around the toy or even on the toy. 

FAQ Section

What is the best cat toy for bored cats? 

Though we can’t give a definitive answer for your specific cat, we find that cat wands tend to be very versatile and popular among most cats. 

What is the best cat toy to slow down eating? 

Puzzle feeders are a popular way to slow down eating for cats. There are several types of puzzle feeders available and it might take some trial and error to find the right one for your cat. 

What if my cat doesn’t want to play?

If your cat doesn’t seem interested in their new toy, it just might take some practice! Try sprinkling some catnip on the new toy to get them interested. If they still don’t want to play, maybe try a new type of toy.

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