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15 Classic and Interactive Cat Toys to Keep Your Kitty Occupied for Hours

From fuzzy mice to bird-like wands, these are the best cat toys according to experts and cat owners

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15 Best Cat Toys That Will Keep Your Kitty Occupied For Hours RD.COM, VIA MERCHANT (3)

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Whether it’s with an old cardboard box or tiny toys that look like mice, cats love to play. And while playtime is fun, it’s also necessary for a cat’s mental and physical health. Incorporating some fun products into your kitty’s regular playtime can also improve common cat behavior problems, reduce anxiety in cats and create a connection between pet and owner.

We’ve rounded up the best cat toys to keep your feline’s mind and body sharp. According to experts and online reviewers, they’ll quickly become some of the pet products you can’t live without.

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Smartykat Hot Pursuit Cat Toy
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SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Cat Toy

Playing is fun, but the right cat toy will also encourage kitty to move. That’s why we love this automatic cat toy, which encourages cats to get their cardio in. “In addition to playing, we also want to make sure they’re exercising, so they don’t become overweight and sedentary,” says Mikel Delgado, certified applied animal behaviorist and cat behavior expert with Rover.

The fabric mat hides an erratically moving wand, so your cat will never know where to pounce next. One five-star reviewer raves: “We have been trying to get our five-year-old cat to lose weight but he [doesn’t] like to play. As soon as I set it up he played for about 45 minutes. If you want to get your cat active I highly recommend this product.”

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Yeowww! Yellow Banana Catnip Toy
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Yellow Banana Catnip Toy

There’s nothing more exciting for your cat than a catnip plushie. And with over 24,000 reviews and a 4.7 star rating, this banana catnip plush toy may very well be the winner. Not only is this seven-inch banana adorable and durable, but cats love to cuddle up against the curved shape and bat the toy around as they play. It’s perfect for kitties who love catnip—and even if your cat doesn’t, they’ll still enjoy pouncing on it if you toss it across the room.

“It’s important to give cats a variety of toys to play with to keep them active”, says Whitney Miller, chief veterinarian at Petco. “Playtime with cats and their human family members also creates important quality bonding time. During play, a cat’s natural instincts often present themselves through pouncing and playful attacking.” And when kitty wants to relax, here are the best cat window perches for birdwatching and napping.

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Smartykat Skitter Critters Catnip Mouse Toys
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Skitter Critters Catnip Mouse Toys

“Cats are naturally very predatory hunters, so we want to give them outlets for natural behaviors like hunting,” says Delgado. A classic catnip mouse will get the job done. Available in a pack of 10, these toys will activate your cat’s hunting instinct while comforting them with the smell of catnip. Cats can play with these toys alone or with their owners.

A whopping 58,000 Amazon reviewers give this set an average 4.7-star rating, raving that these “well-made,” inexpensive toys “hold up to a lot of abuse,” and that their cats simply love them. Don’t be surprised if you see your kitty carrying his “prey” to an undisclosed corner of the house (but, hey, anything that prevents kitty from actually bringing a dead animal home is a win in our book).

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Catit Senses 2.0 Circuit
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Catit Senses 2.0 Circuit

Touted as “best overall” in our round-up of puzzle toys for entertaining bored cats, this modular, build-it-yourself circuit is the equivalent of a marble track for young children, complete with LED balls that will capture kitty’s attention for hours. The Amazon product has wracked up more than 5,000 five-star ratings from satisfied cat parents.

“I bought this with the hope that it would occupy her long enough for me to get some work done, and it does!” shares one verified Amazon customer. The reviewer adds that the track stays together even when moving it around the house: “I’m really impressed with how sturdy this is!”

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Leaps & Bounds Electric Flutter Butterfly Cat Toy
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Electric Flutter Butterfly Cat Toy

Chasing butterflies has never been so fun! This battery-operated toy encourages exercise and promotes healthy play for cats of all ages. Reviewers maintain that even high-maintenance, codependent cats will play on their own for hours. Although it comes equipped with two butterfly attachments, one reviewer advises ordering additional replacements on auto-ship because some kitties have a tendency to, well, chew on their prey.

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Everyyay Assorted Scratchin’ The Surface Cardboard Couch Cat Scratcher
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Cardboard Couch Cat Scratcher

If kitty’s idea of a good time is sinking their claws into your sofa, then this adorable couch-shaped scratcher is for them. “Scratching is a normal cat behavior that serves as a cat manicure while also helping your cat mark their territory,” explains Dr. Miller. “This scratcher will give your kitty their own couch to scratch, and ideally save your own furniture from wear and tear.”

Thanks to the shape, it also provides a spot to rest for an afternoon nap. Over 600 pet parents give this product a perfect 5-star rating on Petco, with one cat owner calling it the “best thing” he ever bought for his sofa-scratching friend. It comes in a variety of prints, along with catnip and a dangling toy to keep boredom at bay.

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Petstages Purr Cat Pillow
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Purring Cat Pillow

The viral Petstages Purr Cat Pillow is sure to become your cat’s new BFF. Featuring a mechanism that purrs softly for two minutes after being squeezed, this cat-shaped cuddle buddy helps comfort your cat or kitten, even helping them sleep. Amazon shoppers are going wild over it—it’s got over 17,800 reviews—and one expert explains why.

“The Purr Pillow creates a low purring sound mimicking the presence of the kitten’s mother,” says Veterinarian Athena Gaffud, DVM, from Veterinarians.org. “The soothing and calming effect is ideal for separation anxiety or any time your cat needs extra comfort.” Check out our full article of the Petstages Purr Cat Pillow to see why we think this would make a great gift for a cat lover in your life!

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Meohui Retractable Feather Wand
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Retractable Feather Wand

Cats flock to birds like moths to a flame, which probably explains why this retractable and interactive feather wand is the top-selling cat toy on Amazon. Lure your cat in with colorful feathers and if they chew it up, no worries—the wand comes with nine extra attachments. Reviewers, who give it an average 4.6-star rating with over 28,000 reviews, maintain that cats of all shapes, sizes and ages are enthralled with the wand.

Five-star reviewer Dave writes, “My cat absolutely loves these toys. I put a different style toy on each pole and he goes NUTS over either. The poles are pretty strong. I’m glad it comes with extra fittings. It should keep him happy for a long time.”

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Potaroma Flopping Fish Toy
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Flopping Fish Toy

Another one of our best interactive cat toy picks, this Flopping Fish Toy will lure in hunters for hours of play. The fabric cover entices cats to grab and bite, which triggers the fish to flop around. A top seller on Amazon, it has over 44,000 reviews. “This is such a hit with my kitty! It’s VERY well-made, operates well, only needs to be charged about every third day when I plug it in overnight. You won’t be sorry if you purchase this one,” writes Linda, a verified Amazon reviewer.

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Leaps & Bounds Grey Rat Cat Toy
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Grey Rat Plush Toy

Another great ‘prey’ for cat predators, this ultra-lightweight plush rat serves as a playmate and cuddle companion. One cat owner says, “We got a new kitten and it’s his favorite thing ever. Carries it around the house, tosses it all over the place, sleeps with it. If you jingle the bell inside he will come and follow you around until you surrender it.”

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Gocat Da Bird Rod And Feather Cat Toy
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Rod and Feather Cat Toy

Feline training and behavior specialist, Stephen Quandt, CFTBS, recommends this low-tech interactive toy that captures the hearts and minds of cats. “The reason why it drives cats crazy is not only because the feathers spin as you twirl it—simulating real flight—but the spinning makes a whirring noise like the sound of flapping feathers, not unlike the sound a hummingbird makes,” he explains.

Quandt adds, “I know my cat, Cricket, wants to play because she actually leads me to where it’s located.” His cat isn’t the only one obsessed with this toy: It has an average 4.8-star rating on Amazon with over 2,000 reviews.

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Cat Amazing Sliders
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Cat Amazing Sliders

According to Quandt, a great cat toy doesn’t just benefit your feline, it also helps humans who don’t have spare time to constantly engage with their housebound hunter. Enter Cat Amazing Sliders—a toy that satisfies your cat’s need to solve problems.

“Grazers like cows and sheep don’t think about how to get their next meal, they just move on to the next patch of grass,” Quandt explains. “Cats have an instinctive need to problem-solve and we typically don’t make them earn that paycheck!” Your cat will be put to work with three color-coded levels of difficulty, each of which pays off with a treat when the cat solves the puzzle. “My clients rave about Amazing Sliders,” Quandt says. See the toy in action here.

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Cat Dancer Original
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Cat Dancer

Sometimes simpler is better when it comes to cat toys. “Cat Dancer has perfected the art of simplicity in a way that few toys have been able to do, and with great value for your money,” explains Quandt. “I have yet to find a cat that can resist its quivering magic.”

It’s also close to indestructible, safe and inexpensive. More than 26,000 Amazon reviewers give it five stars. “It may seem like a piece of wire with some cardboard on the tip. But to my sweet curious cat, it’s her favorite toy,” writes one verified Amazon reviewer. “And this is coming from someone who has spent [quite] a bit of money on fancy cat toys. Trust me, your cat will love this toy. It’s easy to use, you can either hold it, or put it somewhere your cat can access it. And this will entertain your feline for hours.”

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Potaroma Flapping Sandpiper
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Flapping Sandpiper

No imagination is needed for the motion-sensitive Flapping Sandpiper, a bird that flutters and chirps like real prey, especially when attached to a lanyard. “It has different ‘flap modes’, it’s touch-activated, contains a catnip pouch, has a washable shell and USB rechargeable batteries,” says Quandt. “Even my laziest cat can’t resist the allure of this lifelike flapping bird!”

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Leaps & Bounds Connectable S Tunnel Cat Toy
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Connectable Cat Tunnel

Cats love playing in tunnels, especially this 5-star version from Leaps & Bounds. The packable nylon tunnel has a curved shape that encourages natural hunting instincts and stalking behavior. It also includes a plush toy filled with organic catnip for swatting purposes. Add to it with compatible tunnels, giving kitty more space to hide and seek. Reviewers maintain that cats love playing, sleeping, hiding and even jumping on top of it.

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  • Mikel Delgado, PhD, certified applied animal behaviorist and cat behavior expert at Rover
  • Whitney Miller, DVM, MBA, DACVPM, chief veterinarian at Petco
  • Athena Gaffud, DVM, veterinarian at Veterinarians.org
  • Stephen Quandt, CFTBS, feline training and behavior specialist at Cat Behavior Help

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Leah Groth
Leah Groth covers everything from cleaning hacks and consumer products to travel and pets for Reader’s Digest. When she isn’t working on a piece, you’ll find her chasing after her four children (two humans, a Vizsla and a German Shorthaired Pointer) or working on her 100-plus-year-old home outside Philadelphia.