This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which cat toy is best?

Cats are playful animals and need a range of toys to live their best nine lives. If you’re a new cat parent or your feline friend’s current toys have fallen out of favor, you might be wondering which cat toys are best. 

With many toys available, it’s tough to decide which to buy. Learning more about the types on offer and their features can help you decide. The Pawzone Automatic Electric Cat Teaser is an excellent choice for cats who love to chase and pounce.

What to know before you buy a cat toy

Solo play vs. interactive play

You can group cat toys into two broad categories: toys for solo play and those designed for interactive play with humans. 

Toys cats can play with alone include small toys for batting around, larger toys they can wrestle with and automatic toys that have parts that move either electronically or due to natural forces. 

Toys you can use to play with your cat include a cat wand and chasers and basically anything you can move around the floor.

It’s good to have an assortment of both, so your cat has the option to play alone, but you can also play with your cat to promote bonding. 

Types of cat toys

It’s nice for your cat to have a range of toys for different types of play. As any cat lover knows, all felines have their own personalities, likes and dislikes, so some will have strong preferences for certain types of toys and completely ignore others. Try a variety of these common toy types until you know what your cat likes. 

  • Kickers are large plush toys that cats can pounce on and wrestle. They’re so called because you’ll often see cats rolled around with their front paws clasped around one end and their back legs kicking at the other end. 
  • Cat wands and cat chasers are sticks with a ribbon or string dangling off them. The idea is for you to move the ribbon around on the floor or just above your cat’s head for them to pounce on and jump at. You can also buy automatic chasers that move string around electronically or feature rotating balls on a track for your cat to chase.
  • Mice, balls and other small toys are designed for cats to bat around, while puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys keep their brains engaged while hunting for treats. 

What to look for in a quality cat toy


If your cat is among the majority affected by catnip, they’ll get a kick out of catnip-infused toys. It may encourage them to play with toys they might otherwise ignore. 

Variety packs

Some toys for cats are sold in variety packs with a selection of different toys. This is a great place to start if you aren’t sure what your cat likes. 


Cats can be drawn to particular textures, such as rough, fluffy or crinkly. Look for toys that offer different textures for your feline friend to explore. 

How much you can expect to spend on a cat toy

Inexpensive cat toys, such as small mice and balls, can cost less than $1 apiece, while elaborate electronic toys cost as much as $20-$30. 

Cat toy FAQ

Do cats need toys? 

A. Playing acts as an outlet for cats’ natural predatory instincts, provides mental stimulation, exercise and helps relieve boredom, so your cat must have a selection of toys. Ideally, they should have some toys they can play with alone and others you can use to play games with them. 

Can you play with your cat too much?

A. Just like humans, cats aren’t always in the mood for fun and games and they can get bored with games after a while. Take cues from your cats and let them be when they’ve had enough. While some cats will happily play for hours if they’re in the right mood, others are happy with a quick 5 minutes of play and then they want to do their own thing. If you’re playing with your cat or trying to start a play session and they walk away or appear stressed or agitated, stop what you’re doing and let them relax. For most cats, three or four 10-minute play sessions spaced throughout the day is enough. 

What are the best cat toys to buy?

Top cat toy

Pawzone Automatic Electric Cat Teaser

Pawzone Automatic Electric Cat Teaser

What you need to know: With a rotating butterfly to chase and pounce on, this is perfect for cats with a high prey drive. 

What you’ll love: It keeps your cat entertained with little input from you, so it’s a good option for when you’re too busy to play. It has a ball element in the base in addition to the rotating butterfly. The ribbon tail is appealing to cats. 

What you should consider: You shouldn’t leave it on for more than 10-15 minutes or your cat may overexert itself. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cat toy for the money

Best SmartyKat Skitter Critters

SmartyKat Skitter Critters

What you need to know: This pack of six mini catnip mice offers excellent value for money. 

What you’ll love: These mice are well-made and safety tested. With six in a pack, there are plenty of spare options if some go missing. They’re filled with catnip, so they’re great for cats who react to it. 

What you should consider: Some batches seem to contain less potent catnip. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Petstages Catnip Chase Track

Petstages Catnip Chase Track

What you need to know: The one level with a spinning ball keeps cats entertained, especially those that love pouncing and chasing.

What you’ll love: It’s sturdy and stable, so cats can bat at and pounce on the ball without damaging it. In the center is a space for catnip to keep them interested. 

What you should consider: Some cats get bored with it quickly, so consider whether it seems like something yours would enjoy. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.