Best Interactive Cat Toys

By
Irena N.
Best Interactive Cat Toys

Cats love to play and I’m sure that all of you out there with cats put some time aside to play and bond with your pets. It’s even more important if you have indoor cats as they don’t have the opportunity to hunt prey as their outdoor brothers do. Most importantly, playing provides mental and physical stimulation both of which are essential for the health of your cats.

If you play with your cats they will start to associate you with fun time and I’m sure that you, like me, love the experience. It’s also great when playtime ends and your cats leap onto your lap for a cuddle and start purring. Then you’ll know that you have certainly done something right.

Top Picks Comparison

Paperpop-Cat Punch Interactive Mole and Mice Toy
Power
No
Petfusion Ambush Interactive Cat Toy
Power
Yes
Pawsome Pets Rotating Cat Laser Toy
Power
Yes
Snuggly Cat the Ripple Rug
Power
No
Hexbug Mouse Robotic Cat Toy
Power
Yes
Catit Design Senses Super Roller Circuit Toy for Cats
Power
No
Petsafe Slimcat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser
Power
No
Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy
Power
No
Prosper Pet Cat Tunnel - Collapsible 3 Way Play Toy
Power
No
Petstages Grass Patch Hunting Cat Box
Power
No

Buyer’s Guide

In this guide we will be taking a look at interactive cat toys, that is toys that let your cat chase or hunt. Cats are natural killers and it’s not fair taking away this instinct from them. Allowing them to play will help alleviate any stress they might be feeling.

Some of the toys we are going to look at battery-powered which can be very exciting for your cats as they are interactive and unpredictable. These are great because neither you nor your cats will know what is going to happen next.

A lot of the toys we are going to look at are great for interactive fun with you as well. Isn’t it fun to flash a laser beam around the room and watch your cats trying to catch it, or to dangle a mouse on a piece of string and see them jump up? Not all of the toys are complicated, but they can provide your cats with hours of fun.

One thing to remember is to be safe. For example, don’t buy toys which are too small and could pose a choking hazard.

Benefits of Interactive Cat Toys

The biggest benefit of an interactive cat toy is the bond it forges between you and your cats. They will look forward to playtime with you on a regular basis. Don’t stop just because they are getting older. They will still enjoy a little playtime with you each day.

Another great benefit is that the toys give them a taste of the wild. Your cats can hunt which they love and some cat toys will even distribute treats. Most make your cats work for their treats and balls filled with kibble are a great idea. Some interactive toys slowly release these treats as your cats play so they don’t get fed too much at once. This suits most cats as generally they are picky eaters. They’re not like dogs who woof down their food at the blink of an eye. Of course, there is the odd exception. Some cats are little porkers and do continually eat. Treat balls are great for them too as they have to use up extra calories to get their kibble and then they don’t get too much at once.  

Finally, interactive toys can stimulate all the senses: touch, hearing, taste, sight, and smell. A treat ball is the perfect example of this. They can touch the ball, hear the kibble rattling, taste it when it finally comes out, see it rolling about in the ball, and smell it before they even get the opportunity to taste.

Interactive toys are both mentally and physically stimulating and an alert and bright cat is a happy cat.

Features to Consider When Buying an Interactive Cat Toy

The first thing to consider is do you get a toy with batteries or without. If you are at home a lot, batteries aren’t essential as you will have the time to play with your cats. However, if you do go out to work, a battery operated toy may be preferable. Some of these have automatic on-off timers which will come on when your cats start to play and then switch off after a certain amount of time. This will give them plenty of stimulation while you are out. A battery operated mouse is great fun as it will run about in all different directions and your cats won’t know what’s hit them.

Another feature to consider is catnip. Should you buy toys with this herb or not? Catnip affects cats in different ways. Some just don’t seem to react while others get completely hyperactive. They can become over-stimulated and even a little aggressive which isn’t good in the long run. On the other hand, if you have lazy cats and catnip gets them up and running around, feel free to use it.

The important thing to remember is that catnip is approved by vets so it isn’t dangerous. Just play it by ear and by the reaction of your cats. However, if they do get too excited you probably won’t want to leave them alone with it.The best thing to do then is to use under supervision.

Types of Interactive Cat Toys

Laser Beams

There are lots of different interactive cat toys out there and we’ll take  a quick look at some of the choices.

One of the most popular interactive toys are laser pointers. Cats just love them. Chasing a moving target is just like hunting real prey and this is very satisfying for cats. However, there are a couple of negatives. You shouldn’t look directly at laser beams as these can damage your eyes and those of your cats. Don’t ever point the laser directly on to the face of your cats.

The second thing is that your cats will never catch their prey. Some don’t mind and will chase the laser for hours on end, but others will get frustrated. If this is the case, why not throw out a toy mouse or a ball for your cats to catch at the end of the game. Then they will feel as if they have conducted their hunt well.

There are even laser hanging toys so you can just leave them for your cats to play with. These can be wall-mounted and will move randomly over the floor and the wall. They switch off after some minutes so you don’t have to worry that your cats are going to be over-stimulated.

Electronic Cat Toys

Electronic cat toys are ones with batteries. You can get all sorts of different toys out there like a mouse which has random movements enabling your cats to pounce and chase.

Feather based toys are guaranteed to catch the attention of your cats. Usually these have balls which erratically spin around. The unpredictable motion is designed to maintain interest.

Circular toys are also very popular. For example, cats can be kept active by chasing a moving mouse around a circular path.

Cat Feeders

We have already mentioned treat dispenser toys which are a great way to make your cats work for their food. However, there are lots of other cat feeders out there which will stimulate the mind of your kitty.

Why not get your cats a cat food tree? These usually come as a big ball with different levels. There are holes for your cats to get their paws into to try and get the treats and each level usually has a different level of difficulty. They keep your cats amused for hours as they can see the treats, but have to work really hard to get them.

Another fun interactive feeder for your cats is an activity fun board. They usually have things like fish bowl style globes, pegs, alleys, and tunnels where you can hide their treats and then watch them trying to get them out. The variety of the activities will keep your cats entertained and stimulated for a long time. You can even make it a little more difficult for them by changing the places you put the treats and the number you put out.

Manual Cat Toys

Manual cat toys can also be interactive so don’t think that you have to get something with a battery for it to fit the bill. You are just as interactive as anything like this and your cats will love you the more for spending time with them.

One of the most common types of cat toy is a mouse dangling at the end of a stick. I have spent many happy hours with my cats watching them jump and try and catch the mouse. They never seem to tire of the game although after an hour I have had enough.

Cat tunnels are also very popular. Your kitties can run and play up all the different tunnels and the more tunnels there are, the better.

A play mat is also a good idea. These usually have lots of different places for your cats to hide, play, and nap. They’re great for a multi-cat household as the cats will be able to interact with each other.

In addition there are toys which have inbuilt scratching pads. Who doesn’t hate to have their furniture shredded to pieces? One great toy is a circular scratch pad which is surrounded by a plastic track containing a ball. Your cats can scratch their claws to their heart's content while also playing with the ball and getting a bit of added exercise.

Checklist for Choosing the Best Interactive Cat Toys

  • Choose a toy which suits both your lifestyles, batteries if you are out, manual if you are at home
  • Consider getting a cat treat dispenser as this gives your cats food but makes them work for it and wear off those extra pounds.
  • Find toys that are fun for both of you like laser pointers

Top 10 Picks

Paperpop-Cat Punch Interactive Mole and Mice Toy

If you are looking for an interactive toy which you can enjoy as much as your cats you won’t go far wrong with this one. It’s very simple in that it’s just a cardboard box ( and what cat doesn’t love a cardboard box?) However, it has levers for you to use and when you press them, out pops cardboard mice for your cats to hunt. You have the choice as to how quickly you press the levers and how quickly your cats will have to work to get their prey. It’s a great toy for a multi-cat household as with the possibility of five mice popping up, more than one cat can be thrilled by the chase.They can also go after different mice which will increase mental stimulation. This toy is a great one to choose if you want to bond with your cats. It’s something you do together and have fun with. In addition, it hones the hunting skills of your cats which is not a bad thing. Cats are hunters and should be encouraged to work on these skills. It will keep them from becoming bored and listless. Finally, this toy takes up a lot of energy so it should maintain the perfect health and weight of your cats.

  • A toy which has to be played with by both owner and cats
  • Press the levers and out pop the mice for your cats to chase
  • Great exercise so helps to maintain a healthy weight

Petfusion Ambush Interactive Cat Toy

Here we have an interactive cat toy which your cats can use without supervision, but it’s still fun for you to take part. The toy is round and simulates prey popping up from a total of six entries. What could be better for keeping your cats alert and energetic? The prey pop up randomly and are fast so will get your cats excited in no time at all. It has LED lighting which is great for both day and night time. Yourr cats will get enthralled by the different lights and it will stimulate play. The best thing about this toy is that it has a turkey feather and cats love to play with feathers. They will watch anxiously for the feather to pop out, but they have to be quick as the feathers retract really fast. By the way, the feather can come out from any of the different entries so that is an added bonus. The toy has a shut off feature so the batteries won’t go dead if you’re out.

  • Simulates prey popping out from six different entries
  • The fast action of the toy helps to keep your cats physically fit and mentally stimulated
  • Retracting turkey feather encourages extra playtime

Pawsome Pets Rotating Cat Laser Toy

All cats love laser beams and I bet you enjoy them too. However, there is a limit to how much time you can spend flashing a laser beam around without getting completely bored. This is where the Pawsome Pets Rotating Cat Laser Toy comes into its own. You can just switch it on and it rotates around a random 360 degree pattern on the floor. This thoroughly appeals to the hunting instincts of your cats. They will be jumping and pouncing on all the beams and it won’t matter that they won’t be able to catch them. The toy has three adjustable speeds, fast, slow, and random so your pets won’t get bored. When the toy is on random mode, it switches itself off after 15 minutes to stop your cats from becoming overstimulated. What is even better is that the laser beams flash on the floor. What you don’t want are beams flashing into the eyes of your cats as this can cause them eye problems. This diamond shaped spinning top will however give your cats plenty of exercise and it is so attractive that it will be a well-appreciated decorative accessory to your home.

  • Laser rotates 360 degrees making it appeal to the hunting instincts of your cats
  • Three adjustable speeds, including random which switches itself off after 15 minutes
  • Provides your cats with much needed exercise and mental stimulation

Snuggly Cat the Ripple Rug

Now here is a great toy for a multiple cat household. It’s so simple and yet so much fun. It will encourage your cats to scratch, stalk, pounce, hide and nest, all of which come naturally to cats. The toy is basically a rug with a top layer which has slits cut into it so that your cats can tunnel through chasing each other. Don’t worry if you have fat cats as the safety slits can be extended with a pair of scissors You can get involved by moving about the top layer so that the tunnels change. You can even do this while they are fighting their way through the tunnels which will certainly decrease any boredom levels they might have. The rug is made of durable carpet which is perfect for scratching. Your cats will love scratching this and it will keep them away from your furniture. Who wants their couch to be ripped to pieces after all? Then once your cats have had a good play, they can nestle down for a rest. The rug has a thermal base which makes for a very comfy bed for those quieter moments. It also has a fur-trapping action which keeps hairs on the mat and not on your carpet.

  • A great toy for a multiple cat household
  • Encourages stalking, scratching, pouncing, and hiding
  • Great for teaching kittens how to become adult cats

Hexbug Mouse Robotic Cat Toy

Perhaps you want to spend time playing with your cats, but don’t want to spend hours dangling a mouse on the end of a piece of string. If so, the Hexbug Mouse Robotic cat toy is your answer. It is a moving cat toy which you switch on and then you just let your cats play. They will be mesmerized by the lifelike movements and actions and even older cats will want to play. It is a very realistic cat toy as when it is switched on, its soft rubber tail wiggles back and forth just like a real mouse. It also has little pink ears and whiskers. How much more like a mouse can you get?! The toy stops, starts, and pauses so your cats will never know what is coming next. It can navigate around objects and can even flip itself back over from its back to its feet. There are multiple modes including the paw mode. This is a great one for lazy cats as once they swat the still mouse, it will suddenly jump into life. For more active cats, the chase mode will get them excited.and they will just want to play. You will be able to spend ages just watching your cats having a truly fun time with this moving mouse toy.

  • Battery operated realistic mouse toy
  • Different modes for the different activity levels of your cats
  • Looks just like a mouse, with a wiggly tail, whiskers and pink ears

Catit Design Senses Super Roller Circuit Toy for Cats

Remember when you were a kid and had a racing track toy? Wasn’t it fun watching the little cars tear around the track? Well, your cats can replicate this with their own track. This one is spectacular as it’s 44” long and is made up of eight pieces. You can even buy more pieces of track to make it longer and more fun. The track ha a motion-activated light-up ball for your cats to chase. There are high and low sections which help to get the ball moving and there are open parts on the sides and on the top so that your cats can have a go at swatting when the ball rolls by. Cats love to pounce and hunt and seeing this ball whizzing by will give them that incentive. This track might seem simple, but it does have over 100 different layouts. Chop and change to stop your cats from getting bored..They will notice that things are different. It’s a great toy if you have more than one cat as there’s plenty of opportunity for all of them to have a go at catching the ball.

  • A racing track with a ball for your cats to chase
  • High and low sections get the ball moving
  • Stimulates with sound, touch, and sight

Petsafe Slimcat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser

Have you got an overweight cat? If so, a food dispenser toy could well be the answer. Even if your cat is fighting fit, this is still a great idea as it gets them excited over food and lets them play first before the reward. Fill this dispenser with a portion of dry food; itt takes 2/3rds of a cup, and then twist the opening to decide how easy or how difficult you want it to be for them. It should be a little more difficult for those fat cats out there so that they use up the extra calories in trying to get their meal. It’s a great interactive toy as you can watch your cats sliding about the floor chasing the Slimcat. Your cats will swipe and play with the ball trying to get the food out, but it only comes out a few pieces a time so they have to continue working at it. It’s a great toy if you are trying to fight obesity in your cats. You can use it for meal times, but it’s also a great treat dispenser for when you’re not at home. Just fill it up and leave them to play. Chances are you will come home to very happy contented cats who have had their fill of kibble.

  • Food dispenser toy which makes cats work for their meal
  • The opening is adjustable so you can decide on the amount of kibble your cat gets
  • Gives out smaller portions of food so mealtimes are easier on your cats stomachs

Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy

If you are looking for two fun toys in one you won’t go far wrong with the Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy. It’s a circular pad which has a tough corrugated cardboard center. This is great for exercising the claws of your cats. After all you don’t want them to scratch your couch. Then to top all this there is an outer ring which has a fun ball that your cats can bat for hours on end.The ball spins on the track as your cats beat it around. They’ll have hours of fun with this and you will enjoy watching them become hunters. It’s great exercise for them too. The toy comes with a pack of catnip. Pour this into the central scratch pad and watch your cats go wild. The toy has non-skid feet on the bottom which helps to keep it still and therefore more fun for your kitties.

  • A two in one toy with a scratch pad and a ball to chase
  • Catnip part of the deal to give your cats added stimulation
  • Helps reduce boredom, anxiety, and destructive behavior

Prosper Pet Cat Tunnel - Collapsible 3 Way Play Toy

Cats might be independent, but they still love to play together and what is better for them than tunnels. They can dash up one tunnel while another cat runs up another and then they can meet in the middle. This structure has three spacious tunnels and there is a peephole so they can pop their heads out. The structure is really strong as it is made of tear-resistant polyester wrapped around a sprung-steel frame. It won’t be easy for your kitties to destroy this at all. Another great thing about this toy is that it folds down in minutes. Because of this you can just pack it up and take it with you wherever you and your kitties go. It’s not small either; each tube is 10 inches long and 17 inches deep so your cats will have plenty of opportunity to have lots of fun playing.

  • A three tunnel structure for your cats to play in
  • A peephole for your cats to see what is going on
  • Easily collapsible so that you can take it with you wherever you go

Petstages Grass Patch Hunting Cat Box

Perhaps you just have one cat, perhaps you live in a multi-cat household. Whichever is the case this grass patch hunting cat box will go down a treat. First of all, it’s a box and what cat doesn't love a box. It has faux-grass on the top and is perfect for your cats to scratch, hunt and lounge. The texture of the grass will encourage your cats to scratch and will stop them from scratching your furniture. What could be better than that? In the inside of the box, there are jingle bells which will encourage your kitties to chase and hunt. There are even some more holes on the side of the box which will make your cats hunt even more. It’s a great interactive toy as you can get thoroughly involved with your cats chasing and pouncing. There is no doubt that you will be impressed by their instincts and by their abilities.

  • A perfect toy for your cat to scratch, hunt, and lounge on
  • Bells for your cats to hunt and chase
  • Stops your cats from scratching your furniture

FAQ

What Is an Interactive Cat Toy?

An interactive cat toy allows you to interact with your cats to your heart's content and they help to develop your cats natural instincts. This includes encouraging your cats need to hunt, but it will be done in a safe atmosphere, that is, within the home rather than outside.  

The need for hunting is encouraged by slow release cat treat balls. This is a natural way for your cats to eat as they are quite picky eaters and having just a little food at a time suits them down to the ground.

There are so many different interactive cat toys that there’s no way your cats can get bored. Flash a laser beam at them and watch them chase it. Let them chase a ball around a track and see if they have any chance of catching it. They probably won’t but they’ll still enjoy the fun of the chase. Set out a robotic mouse toy and watch them dash around the room trying to catch it. The opportunities are endless.

Why Should I Use an Interactive Cat Toy?

Interactive cat toys are just what they say they are. They are an opportunity for you to bond with your cats by having playtime together. You don’t need to get toys with batteries as your cats can play with these quite happily on their own, but toys you can get involved in are a winner. Dangle a mouse on a string for your cats. Let them chase after a ball on a race track. Pull levers and let them jump up to get their prey, It will all end up that you will have very happy and contented cats who are very keen to have lap time with you after playtime.

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