You’ve heard it before: If you want an independent pet, get a cat. Not nearly as needy as dogs, cats are known for being the easier and more aloof animal. After all, there are no outdoor potty breaks or begging for walks. Just put a bit of food down and scoop a litter box, and your job is done! That said, cats do need more than basic care. When you leave, the inside of your home remains your cat’s whole world. They need playtime and interaction. Nothing will substitute playtime with you. But if you have to leave your cat, toys that they can enjoy by themselves are ideal for warding off loneliness and boredom. Look over these reviews of the best cat toys for when you’re gone all day.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy||
|Best Value||Kong Active Treat Ball||
|Premium Choice||Trixie Activity Fun Board||
|Dorakitten Catnip Teething Toys||
|Goopow Automatic Laser Toy||
The 9 Best Cat Toys for Cats Home Alone — Reviews & Top Picks 2021
1. Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy — Best Overall
|Color:||Blue, red, and purple|
|Features:||Three track levels for play, dangling butterfly|
|Suitable For:||Adults and kittens|
Our overall best pick for a toy that’s great for cats home alone is the Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy. Three levels of tracks give your cat multiple balls to spin and chase at once. The dangling butterfly on the top is fun to try to capture. A replacement butterfly is included, should your cat succeed and the first one meets an untimely demise.
Some cats may be able to get the balls out of the tracks. This is a lightweight toy that may be tipped over by boisterous play, but cats have been reported to keep playing with it even if that happens.
2. Kong Active Treat Ball — Best Value
The best value cat toy for the money is the Kong Active Treat Ball. Fill this with your cat’s favorite snacks, and let them bat this all over the house and get rewarded as the treats fall out. If your cats want these treats, they’ll be forced to exercise while working for them. Entertaining and providing an activity, this ball will occupy your cat until it’s empty. After that, cats can continue using it as a toy to chase.
Depending on the size of the treats that you use, they may come out of the slot quickly, and your cat can eat them all at once. Another option is to use your cat’s dry kibble as a filler. This cuts down on calories and can give them part of their breakfast after you leave for the day too.
3. Trixie Activity Fun Board — Premium Choice
|Features:||Puzzles of varying difficulty levels|
|Suitable For:||Adults and kittens|
The premium choice is the Trixie Activity Fun Board, which can be filled with either treats or dry kibble. If your cat eats their meals too quickly, force a slow-down with this activity board loaded with five different challenge puzzles for your cat to figure out to get the rewards. With food as the motivator, this keeps cats busy until they reach every last bite. This board is great for food-motivated cats.
Some of the compartments may be too small for large paws to fit in to scoop out the food. If your cat is declawed, they may have extra trouble trying to pull out their treats. Some cats also don’t want to work for their food, so they lose interest quickly.
4. Dorakitten Catnip Teething Toys — Best for Kittens
|Features:||Textured material cleans teeth|
|Suitable For:||Adults and kittens|
The adorable Dorakitten Catnip Teething Toys are perfect for teething kittens that bite everything. The toys are soft and covered in textured material that won’t hurt tender teeth or gums. Filled with catnip to entice play, they are the perfect size for kittens that like to grab, pounce, bite, kick, and roll with their toys. For older cats that still enjoy biting their toys, the textured material will clean tartar off teeth and promote gum health.
If your cat is playing with these toys when you’re not home, there’s a chance that they can be swatted and batted under furniture where your cat can’t reach them without your help.
5. Goopow Automatic Laser Toy
|Features:||USB power source, promotes exercise|
|Suitable For:||Adults and kittens|
The Goopow Automatic Laser Toy replaces you as the controller of the laser. If your cat loves chasing the laser pointer, this could give them a fun option to continue the play even when you’re not home. You can choose your laser settings to give your cat fast, slow, flashing, or random patterns to chase. To avoid overstimulation, this toy will automatically shut off after 15 minutes and turn back on again according to your preferences.
When not plugged into a USB power source, the laser has been reported to not hold a charge that long. Batteries are an option if you don’t want this toy attached to a cord. Some cats also learn the laser patterns and then grow bored due to the lack of surprise.
6. Frisco Cat Chute Tri-Tunnel
|Color:||Blue, white, and purple|
|Features:||Promotes multi-cat play and exercise|
|Suitable For:||Adults, kittens, multiple cats|
Cats and kittens can enjoy the Frisco Cat Chute Tri-Tunnel. Three entrances enable multi-cat chasing, hiding, pouncing, and even lounging. When cats are done playing, they can curl up and sleep in the tunnels. If you don’t want to leave this out when your cats aren’t using it, fold it down and store it away. While a group of cats might love exploring this toy together, it’s good for a single cat too. By filling this with toys and catnip, you can create a space for your cat to enjoy when you’re not home.
The tunnel openings may be too small for a cat over 20 pounds. The fabric can also be pierced by claws and teeth, leaving holes behind.
7. SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Cat Toy
|Features:||Electronic, lights up, promotes exercise|
Mimicking the movements of real prey, the hidden wand of the SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Cat Toy whips around under a fabric cover. Cats can stalk and pounce while you’re away and get exercise at the same time. The faux fur-covered animal attached to the wand will ignite your cat’s prey drive. This toy can be set to three different speeds.
You’ll have to manually turn this on and off, so it’ll stay on the entire time that you’re gone unless the batteries wear out. Some cats lose interest after a while, and others drag this toy all over the house.
8. Frisco Paw & Play Crinkle Balls
|Color:||Purple, red, silver, and blue|
Cats seem to love simple things, like crinkly paper. Anything that makes noise is usually something that they enjoy. The Frisco Paw & Play Crinkle Balls provide the crinkle sound that cats love in little balls that can be batted and chased all over.
Unfortunately, sometimes that can mean under the sofa or armchair, so these balls can be lost almost as soon as you give them to your cat. When they’re not going missing, they can provide hours of entertainment because most cats can’t resist the sound that they make. These toys should be replaced if signs of wear occur, but they’re so reasonably priced, you can keep a few packs on hand.
9. Catit Design Senses Circuit Cat Toy
|Color:||Blue and white, multicolored ball|
|Suitable For:||Adults and kittens, multiple cats|
Cats will enjoy chasing the multicolored ball through the Catit Design Senses Circuit Cat Toy. As the ball goes around the track, cats can safely reach in to try to stop, grab, or attack it. Designed to bring out the hunting instinct even in cats less interested in exercising, it combines colors and sounds to entice your cat to pounce.
The track may not be sturdy to accommodate extra rough play, and there are reports of this toy being difficult to assemble. This is a toy that can let multiple cats play at once, though. Cats of all ages will be able to enjoy this because they can play at their own activity levels.
Choosing the right cat toys can be a little overwhelming because each cat has their preferences and there are so many toys to choose from. We’ve given you our top picks, but when picking a toy for your feline friend to play with alone, there are a few things to keep in mind.
What Toys Are Best for Cats at Home Alone?
You want your cat to be entertained, but not while risking safety. Toys should give your cat a routine to stick to, providing safety and security. If you leave your home and your cat has absolutely nothing to do, boredom can take over, quickly leading to stress. Remember that you have the world outside your home. Your cat only has you and the house. By filling your home with cat-friendly things, you’re giving your cat options to keep busy both mentally and physically.
If you’re leaving and won’t be able to monitor your cat, make sure the toys you leave out aren’t dangerous. Look for parts that can be chewed off and swallowed. If the toy is electronic, look for any places that your cat could get a paw or tail stuck. Will any pieces get caught around your cat’s neck, inhibiting movement? Can the toy be shredded, with the pieces able to be ingested? Will your cat become trapped inside the toy? Will the toy’s movements hurt your cat? Your cat should be able to choose when playtime happens, when they’d like to stop playing, and when they come back to play. If the toy is electronic, is there an electric cord attached to it? If it runs on batteries, do they need to be changed often?
If your cat is an adult, then tiny toys made for small kittens probably wouldn’t provide much entertainment. Look for the suggested life stages on the toys that you buy so you aren’t stuck with a bored cat at home. Always make sure the toy cannot be swallowed whole by your cat. Any feathers or small critters on the toy to entice playing should be securely fastened. A large cat toy likely wouldn’t be enjoyed by small kittens either. Size-appropriate toys are best to ensure that your cat is getting the most out of playtime.
If your cat is just flat-out refusing to play with toys while you’re gone, you’ll have to provide the entertainment when you’re home. By having small play sessions before you leave and right after you come home, you can help your cat burn energy so your time away becomes cat naptime. Establish a routine so your cat knows that you leaving the house just means another play session is waiting when you come back home. You can meet their needs to exercise and play, and this will reduce their stress while you’re gone.
It sometimes takes cats a while to warm up to new things. If they ignore a new toy, it doesn’t mean they will forever. Some cats prefer dancer toys on strings, while others prefer toys that they can bat around themselves. Laser pointer toys are usually always a hit with every cat, but there are those that like to lie around and just watch the laser move. Your cat’s energy level, age, weight, and medical conditions will determine which toys they enjoy and which they have no interest in. Trial and error is usually the best way to find out what your cat loves.
The Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy is our best overall pick for cats home alone. The ball tracks and butterfly dangler provide plenty of entertainment. Our best value choice is the Kong Active Treat Ball, which can be filled with treats or your cat’s dry kibble. By rolling this toy around, your cat will get tasty rewards. The Trixie Activity Fun Board is our premium pick, giving your cat challenging puzzles to solve before they get the food reward. Whatever toy you choose for your feline, we hope that our list assists in your search.
Featured Image Credit:
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 9 Best Cat Toys for Cats Home Alone — Reviews & Top Picks 2021
- 1. Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy — Best Overall
- 2. Kong Active Treat Ball — Best Value
- 3. Trixie Activity Fun Board — Premium Choice
- 4. Dorakitten Catnip Teething Toys — Best for Kittens
- 5. Goopow Automatic Laser Toy
- 6. Frisco Cat Chute Tri-Tunnel
- 7. SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Cat Toy
- 8. Frisco Paw & Play Crinkle Balls
- 9. Catit Design Senses Circuit Cat Toy
- Buyer’s Guide