Updated December 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for best cat toys

You only need to watch a cat batting around a bottle top or pouncing on a blade of grass moving in the breeze to realize they're extremely playful animals. All cat parents should buy a selection of quality cat toys for their feline friends to keep them happy and engage that playful spirit.

Not only do kitties get a kick out of playing with cat toys but toys also provide mental and physical stimulation, which helps your cat stay active and staves off boredom. Knowing your cat is happy will make you happy, too, so everyone's a winner.

With such a huge variety of cat toys on the market, however, selecting the right ones for your furry family member can seem overwhelming. Don't worry. We at BestReviews have put together this detailed guide to cat toys to make your purchasing decisions easier.

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Not all cats like all toys. Think about how your cat enjoys playing before picking a toy.

Key considerations

Types of cat toys

Sure, you want to buy a cat toy, but what kind? With so many toys available, the first step is to decide what type or types you want to buy for your feline friend. While this list isn't exhaustive, these are some of the most common varieties of cat toys —

  • Cat dancers or wands: These are pieces of string or other material on a stick, sometimes with feathers or similar on the end. You hold the stick and wave the string around, your cat chases it. Simple.

  • Plush toys: Cats love to pounce on and wrestle with plush toys that may or may not be filled with catnip.

  • Balls and mice: Balls, mice, and other small cat toys are perfect for felines who like to bat objects around and chase them.

  • Laser toys: You can find both simple laser pointers that you operate manually to amuse your cat or large toys that automatically whizz a laser beam around the room, so all you have to do is switch it on and watch the mayhem unfold.

  • Chasers: Electronic chaser toys generally feature a ball or other small object racing around a track for your feline friend to chase.

  • Tunnels: Some cats love making a game of running in and out of tunnel toys, while others simply use them as a place to hang out.

Cat toy features

Playing alone vs. playing with a human

While most cat toys are designed so your cat can play with them alone, you can also find a good number of toys that require a human to join in, such as wands and laser pointers. Playing with your cat is fun and a good bonding experience. However, you probably don't want to wave a cat toy around 24/7, so pick some toys your cat can play with solo, too.


Cat toys should be made from safe and sturdy materials that are durable enough to withstand rough play. Aside from that, look for cat toys that incorporate materials with a range of textures, such as rough sisal or something similar for your cat to claw, crinkly material that makes an interesting sound, and soft fleece, which many cats like to knead.


Smaller toys are best for batting around, while larger toys are ideal for wrestling and kicking. Some cats have a preference for large or small toys, and other cats enjoy both. If you're unsure, try selecting a range of toys in different sizes to see what your feline friend enjoys best.


Nepeta cataria – aka "catnip" – is a plant in the mint family that has a strange effect on cats. Not all kitties are affected by catnip, but those who are tend to roll around, salivate, meow, engage in head rubbing, and more when they come into contact with the herb. It seems to make cats happy and is thought to relieve stress. Many cat toys are filled with catnip, adding an extra dimension of enjoyment for your feline friend.

Cat toy prices

How much should you expect to spend on cat toys? You don't need to spend a lot to keep your kitty happy.

Basic cat toys, such as balls, small mice, and wands often cost just $1 to $3.

Larger plush toys, including catnip-filled toys, are generally within the $4 to $10 range.

If you're looking for electronic cat toys, such as chasers, expect to pay $15 to $30, depending on the quality and complexity of the toy.


  • Check that any toys you choose are safe for your cat. Buy toys from a trusted manufacturer. They should be made from nontoxic materials and be durable enough that your cat won't easily pull off small parts that could be choking hazards.

  • Choose toys wisely for senior cats. As cats get older, they might not be able to leap around like they used to. It's best to pick toys your elder kitty can play with at her own pace rather than electronic toys that might encourage her to move in a way that's not good for her.

  • Consider puzzle games to occupy your cat's brain. Just like us, cats can get bored if they have little to do. Interactive puzzle games for cats help engage the gray matter and mentally stimulate your feline friend.

  • Spread out snacks with a treat-dispensing toy. If your cat is always looking for tasty morsels, he might enjoy a toy that doles out treats. Not only are these toys great boredom busters but they also make the treats last longer, which is good if you need to watch your cat's weight.

  • Select a toy that suits your cat's interests. Does your cat go mad for catnip? Does he like to hide in tight spots? Or is he interested in stalking and pouncing? The way your cat behaves day today will give you an idea of the type of toys he might enjoy.
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Cats are attracted to toys with a variety of textures, sounds, and colors.


Q. Is it safe to let my cat play with his toys unsupervised?

A. Most cat toys aren't recommended for unsupervised play, but many cat parents make judgment calls. Any toys that your cat could get his head caught in, get tangled up in, or choke on are hard nos. Decently sized balls and plush toys without loose parts are relatively safe for unsupervised play. However, it's down to you to decide what you think is best.

Q. Can I leave electronic cats toys on all day?

A. Electronic cat toys tend to have moving parts that encourage cats to chase, pounce, leap, and tackle. While these activities are good for your cat in moderation, leaving a toy with moving parts running all day could cause your cat to overexert herself.

Q. Are there specific toys designed for kittens?

A. While you can find a handful of toys designed for kittens, most cat toys are suitable for use by young cats as well as adults. Just make sure to choose smaller toys for young kittens and remove any small pieces or strings that could be choking hazards.

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