Cat toys, in general, provide your cat with physical exercise and mental stimulation. Tunnels are popular because they appeal to your cat’s curiosity and demand that your cat squeezes through a relatively confined space, which most cats love. Many are also made of a crinkly material, which is also popular with our feline friends. As well as straight tunnels, you can buy those with multiple branches, as well as curved tunnels and tunnels with corners. Some cat tunnels include additional features like toys and even beds.
Below are reviews of 10 of the best cat tunnels that are sure to entertain your cat as well as a guide to cat tunnels and cat toys in general.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Feline Ruff 12” Premium 3-Way Collapsible Tunnel Cat Toy||
|Best Value||Pet Magasin Collapsible Cat Tunnel Toys, 2 Pack||
|Premium Choice||Coziwow by Jaxpety Collapsible Cat Tunnel Bed||
|Best for Kittens||Frisco Foldable Play Tri-Tunnel Cat Toy||
|Catit Vesper Cat Tunnel||
The 10 Best Cat Tunnels
1. Feline Ruff 12” Premium 3-Way Collapsible Tunnel Cat Toy – Best Overall
|Dimensions:||55 x 23 Inches|
The Feline Ruff 12” Premium 3-Way Collapsible Tunnel Cat Toy is a collapsible tunnel toy that has an extra wide 12 Inch opening that should accommodate most cats. It has three entry and exit holes, as well as a peephole in the middle, at the junction, which encourages games of hide and seek.
There’s also a jingle ball that hangs from one of the entrances, enhancing the play opportunities for your cat. You also get a teaser wand. The wand doesn’t attach to the tunnel, but it is a nice addition that you can use to encourage your cat to play in and around its new tunnel. The whole thing folds down to a disc size and is kept in place with an elastic band.
The Feline Ruff tunnel isn’t the cheapest on the list but there is a lot of length, it includes extra toys, is wide enough for larger cats, and folds up nice and neatly, making it the best available cat tunnel. The ball is a little easy to rip off and likely won’t last long, but otherwise, it is a good purchase.
2. Pet Magasin Collapsible Cat Tunnel Toys, 2 Pack – Best Value
|Dimensions:||35 x 10 Inches|
Cat tunnels are an ideal means of promoting adventurous play from your cats. They can charge into and out of the tunnel, and many cats enjoy hiding in the tunnel. A peephole helps encourage this hiding because it enables them to see out and watch you, your other cats, or whatever they like. The Pet Magasin Collapsible Cat Tunnel is a two-pack of tunnels, one shorter and one longer. The longer tunnel has a clear peephole halfway along and both tunnels have hanging toys at the entrance that encourage your cat to use the tunnel in the first place.
These tunnels fold up easily, for storage, are brightly colored, and the two-pack is a really good price, making them the best cat tunnels for the money. However, the 10-inch diameter means that some cats may struggle to get in, so they are better suited to those that really like to get down on their haunches and for smaller cats.
3. Coziwow by Jaxpety Collapsible Cat Tunnel Bed – Premium Choice
|Dimensions:||50 x 22 Inches|
The Coziwow by Jaxpety Collapsible Cat Tunnel Bed is a premium cat tunnel that also includes a bed and bed canopy. The tunnel itself is made from a steel spring frame that is covered in cotton material, rather than the polyester and synthetic materials of other tunnels. It also curves around and in the nook of the curve, there is a cushioned bed for your cat to lay on, with a canopy above it to provide privacy and cover. There are hanging balls at either entrance to the tunnel, and the whole thing has a crinkling sound when your cat darts in and out. The use of cotton and the addition of a bed does mean that this is an expensive tunnel, but it is surprisingly well-equipped for a collapsible tunnel toy.
The tunnel has a 10.6-inch diameter so should be suitable for all but the biggest cats and it is luxurious, but it is expensive and your cat won’t be able to use the canopy or top section of the bed to lay on. It may just end up getting in the way.
4. Frisco Foldable Play Tri-Tunnel Cat Toy – Best for Kittens
|Dimensions:||25 x 32 Inches|
The Frisco Foldable Play Tri-Tunnel Cat Toy is a three-pronged cat tunnel. It has an opening in the center that can be used as a window or as another exit when your cat is playing. It also comes with hanging balls for the middle of the tunnel.
The whole thing folds and unfolds so it can be stored and retrieved very easily, and while the material does naturally crumple it doesn’t have any additional crinkle material. The tunnels are a reasonable length, but the 9-inch diameter means that this is really only suitable for kittens and very small breed cats, but it does make a great introduction to play tunnels for your young feline friend. It is also very well-priced.
5. Catit Vesper Cat Tunnel
|Dimensions:||19 x 38 Inches|
The Catit Vesper Cat Tunnel has a premium feel to it, with a canvas-like polyester outer and a cushion that attaches in the crook of the tunnel, so your cat has something to laze and lounge around, as well as somewhere to play.
The tunnel curves in the middle and the 11-inch diameter of the opening means that most cats will comfortably fit inside the tunnel. There is a hanging toy in the viewing window, which is halfway down the tunnel, and the loops at the entranceways could be used to attach more toys, although it is a shame there aren’t more toys included. The cushion can be removed from the tunnel, and it has a removable cover that is easy to clean so you can get rid of hair and cat smell.
The tunnel is a little bit pricey, but it does have a quality feel to it and the inclusion of the cushion is a bonus.
6. Frisco Foldable Play Tunnel with Mesh Cat Toy
The Frisco Foldable Play Tunnel with Mesh Cat Toy is a basic folding cat tunnel. It crinkles, thanks to the polyester material it is made from. It also has a mesh window section part way down that you can see in and out of. Its basic design means that it is one of the more affordable cat tunnels on the list, and while it doesn’t come with any toys or hanging balls, it is a modular tunnel. You can buy two or more of the tunnels and connect them to give your cat a tunnel system that they can charge through. It has a 10.5-inch diameter opening, which should be big enough for all but the largest cats.
The tunnel is foldable and comes with Velcro straps to keep it folded, when not in use, although the Velcro doesn’t hold very well, and it may be easier to simply twist the ends of the tunnel sections.
7. Smartykat Crackle Chute Collapsible Tunney Cat Toy
The Smartykat Crackle Chute Collapsible Tunnel Cat Toy is a 35-inch-long cat tunnel that is made from a naturally crackling material to bring interest and intrigue to your feline friend. It has 9.5-inch diameter entrances at either end and a large open section in the middle of the tunnel that presents opportunities for hide and seek and acts as another entrance. The diameter of the tunnel means that it will be a tight squeeze for larger cats, and even some medium-sized cats may not enjoy being so heavily constricted.
There are no toys or added extras, so while the price is reasonable, there may be better options if you want to provide as much fun as possible for your cats. Once you fold the collapsible tunnel back up, it has ties that keep it in place and prevent it from springing back open, but these hang loose when the tunnel is being used and that will be a temptation for the majority of cats to scratch and chew it.
8. HDP Pop Open Collapsible Cat Tube and Tunnel Set
The HDP Pop Open Collapsible Cat Tube and Tunnel Set is a little different. It does have a cat tunnel, with an impressive 13-inch diameter opening that should be big enough for most cats to get in and out. But rather than having toys at either end, the tube connects to two 15-inch play cubes. Unfortunately, the play cube entrance has a slightly narrower opening, with an 11-inch diameter, but the whole thing has connectors so you can add more cubes and more tubes, making a massive play area for your cats.
It does take up a lot more room than a simple tunnel, especially if you start connecting multiple tubes and cubes, and it is quite expensive, but if you have a cat that loves tunnels and cozy, quiet places, then it is a good set that they will likely enjoy. And, the size of the opening means that it should also be suitable for bigger cats.
The Petlinks Twinkle Chute Lighted Cat Tunnel Toy is another cat tunnel that offers something a little different. The tunnel is fairly standard. It is made from a material that crumples and it has an open window section in the middle for your cat to pop out of. The entrance is a little small, with a diameter of just 9.5 inches meaning that larger cats will struggle. It is a collapsible tunnel, plus it can be easily opened and closed and there are ties to close it, although because these hang loose they can be a real temptation to your cats.
Where the Petlinks differs from other tunnels, though, is in the “twinkle” section of the name. The tunnel has touch-activated LED lights that blink when your cat runs through the tunnel, keeping their attention and encouraging them to keep playing. It is more expensive than standard cat tunnels, but the lights are a useful addition.
10. SunGrow Hide & Seek Collapsible Entertainment Cat & Ferret Play Tube & Pop-Up Tunnel
The SunGrow Hide & Seek Collapsible Entertainment Cat & Ferret Play Tube & Pop-Up Tunnel is a polyester cat tunnel that, at 48 inches long, is a decent length. It has an entrance diameter of 9.8 inches, which is reasonable but could be bigger, and the collapsible tunnel has ties that hang loose when not in use. There are no toys, and as this is a fairly basic tunnel, it is quite an expensive option.
However, it is long, and the extra length allows for two large open windows for your cats to peek and leap out of.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Tunnels
Cats need toys because they provide enrichment and fulfillment. They also enjoy squeezing in and out of confined spaces and are renowned for their desire to explore and check out new places and new situations. While you will undoubtedly need a good selection of cat toys to keep your cat entertained, a tunnel is a good choice to add to that list.
The Benefits of a Cat Tunnel
The cat tunnel is just one of a wide range of different types of toys from toy mice to laser pointers. Some of the benefits of offering a cat toy include:
Somewhere to Sleep
Some cats love to sleep in confined spaces. It gives them a sense of security and safety that they can’t get when sleeping on a bed or a sofa. Some cat tunnels are not only confined but they are also dark inside and this boosts a cat’s sense of safety. Some tunnels are curved and include a cushion or bed in the curve of the tunnel. While these beds aren’t covered, they do give your cat a choice of whether they want to nap inside the tunnel or outside on a cushion.
Somewhere to Hide
Whether they are preparing to jump out at you, or they just want a little privacy, some cats like to explore and find quiet little spots hidden away from the hubbub of the house to sit and relax. The tunnel’s covered and confined space is ideal for this kind of hiding spot, and you may find that it becomes one of your cat’s favorite places.
Somewhere to Play
Whether they play with you, another cat in the house, or even the family dog, cats like to have items to hide behind and places to run into while they play. They may also take some of their favorite toys into the tunnel with them and use it as a sort of toy storage tunnel.
Somewhere to Chase
If your cat is the kind that likes to steam around the house at full pace, it is sure to enjoy running through the tunnel. If you have two cats, you will hear the crinkle of the tunnel followed by another crinkle as they give chase to one another. When cats play fight, they take turns to be the play aggressor so the tunnel presents them both with an opportunity for fun.
When buying a tunnel, one of the most important considerations is the diameter of the tunnel. This is especially true if you have a portly cat or a large breed. A Maine Coon is going to struggle to fit into a tunnel with a 9-inch diameter. Whereas kittens might find a 13-inch diameter entrance less appealing if they want a confined tunnel space.
The dimensions of the tunnel refer to the length of the tunnel. Longer tunnels provide more space, but they also take up more room. Shorter tunnels may not provide the kind of play space that your cat wants, though.
Most of the tunnels on the list above are collapsible. This means that you can fold the tunnel back up and fix it closed so it can be stored easily and conveniently in a small package. Some tunnels use ties to secure them closed, but these can be tempting as a toy so you may find that they get destroyed. Velcro is less likely to be chewed and chased and can help keep the tunnel closed when not in use.
Most, but certainly not all, tunnels have windows in the side, usually around halfway down the tunnel. Some have a mesh or clear window, while others are just open and act more like an additional entrance. Tunnels are great for hide-and-seek and peek-a-boo style games, and windows add an extra bit of interest to the tunnel.
Some tunnels have a hanging toy at one of the entrances. Some have toys at both entrances, and some have them in the middle. A lot of cats can’t resist chasing a hanging toy or ball so these can encourage your cat to get in the tunnel in the first place and to keep returning to play with it. However, if the tunnel is quite flimsy and your cat pulls at the hanging toy, it may cause the tunnel to collapse. And it is difficult for manufacturers to securely fix a hanging toy string to a nylon tunnel.
Cushions and Beds
A few of the cat tunnel models available have additional features like cushions or beds. These are usually found on the outside of the tunnel so your cats can still play inside unimpeded. Look for cushions or beds that have removable covers, because these will be easier to clean and keep them smelling fresh.
Tunnels are made from materials including nylon and polyester. Most are made so that they crinkle when they are used. It is believed that the crinkling noise mimics the sound of chattering birds and rodents, which are natural prey to cats. So, when your cat jumps on the tunnel and then reacts to the crinkling noise they are likely imagining themselves chasing prey.
Cats have incredible eyesight. While they can’t make out colors as well as people, they can see in much darker conditions, although they can’t see in total darkness. Their eyes can use any small amount of light in the surrounding area and use this to get a clear, illuminated picture. But, as anybody that has seen a cat chasing a laser pointer will attest, many cats love to chase and watch lights. Although rare, you can find some tunnels, including one on our list, that have small LED lights. These are generally used more as an attractive toy, rather than to illuminate the tunnel, but they do add another feature for your cat to enjoy.
As well as straight tunnels, you can get some with curves and even those with three branches that provide additional internal space and don’t really take up much more room than a standard tunnel. If you have the space and you want to provide a tunnel complex that is more like a rabbit warren than a single tunnel, look for those with a modular design. You can buy two or more of these and connect them, often at perpendicular angles and not just in straight lines, so your cat can have plenty of tunnel space.
Do Cats Like Tunnels?
Every cat is different, and even if your cat usually enjoys confined spaces, it is almost impossible to say for certain whether it will enjoy playing in a tunnel. With that said most cats do enjoy playing in and around crinkle tunnels. If yours is reluctant, you can try putting some catnip inside the tunnel or putting their favorite toy inside.
What Toys Do Cats Like Most?
Every cat really is unique and has its own unique preferences.
- Some will love their tunnel more than any other toys but there will be others that prefer wand-style toys, which are great for interactive play between you and your pet cat.
- Others might prefer small toy mice or other small soft toys that they can pick up, throw around, and chase. These simulate hunting skills, burn off energy, and you can get involved by throwing them around.
- Laser pointers are popular, too, but they are somewhat controversial. Proponents point to how much enjoyment cats get from chasing the small red dot, but opponents say that users are setting their cats up to fail and that they can become obsessed with the dot.
- You can also get puzzle toys. These usually contain treats, and they require your cat to figure out the puzzle and gain access to the treats within.
- Scratchers are not just toys but an essential part of your cat’s indoor life. Cats not only enjoy scratching, but they need to because it helps maintain their claws, burns off energy, and helps them stretch.
- Catnip toys are similar to small stuffed toys but they contain catnip so they will instantly draw your cat’s attention and you may see them rolling around and rubbing their head, face, and body on the catnip toy.
Cat tunnels are just one type of cat toy, but they are popular. They provide somewhere to hide, something to chase through, and they can even offer a private space where your cat can go and hide out. They tend to be inexpensive, too, although some tunnels have additional features like comfortable beds or flashing LED lights, which can push the price up.
Above are reviews of 10 of the best cat tunnels including the Feline Ruff 12” Premium 3-Way Collapsible Tunnel Cat Toy which is reasonably priced, and its three-way design offers plenty of private space for your cats to enjoy. The Pet Magasin Collapsible Cat Tunnel Toy is really good value for money and contains two tunnels of different sizes, both of which have hanging toys and one of which has a clear viewing window.
Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Cat Tunnels
- 1. Feline Ruff 12” Premium 3-Way Collapsible Tunnel Cat Toy – Best Overall
- 2. Pet Magasin Collapsible Cat Tunnel Toys, 2 Pack – Best Value
- 3. Coziwow by Jaxpety Collapsible Cat Tunnel Bed – Premium Choice
- 4. Frisco Foldable Play Tri-Tunnel Cat Toy – Best for Kittens
- 5. Catit Vesper Cat Tunnel
- 6. Frisco Foldable Play Tunnel with Mesh Cat Toy
- 7. Smartykat Crackle Chute Collapsible Tunney Cat Toy
- 8. HDP Pop Open Collapsible Cat Tube and Tunnel Set
- 9. Petlinks Twinkle Chute Lighted Cat Tunnel Toy
- 10. SunGrow Hide & Seek Collapsible Entertainment Cat & Ferret Play Tube & Pop-Up Tunnel
- Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Tunnels