Last Updated on: December 28, 2020
Cats love to play, and whether your cat is an outdoor roamer or an indoor lover, they have an innate hunting instinct that needs to be stimulated. A great way to harness this instinct is from interactive toys, which will prevent them from hunting birds and mice and provide a fun way for you to interact with your feline friend.
While a ball of wool or hand-held laser may temporarily entertain your cat, interactive toys will provide the mental and physical stimulation that your cat needs to stay healthy and happy.
There is a huge array of interactive cat toys on the market, and it can be an overwhelming task to find the right one for your feline friend. We’ve done all the hard work for you and created this list of in-depth reviews to help you find the best interactive cat toy to suit your unique needs.
Comparison Table (updated in 2021)
|Best Overall||PetSafe Bolt||
|Best Value||Petstages Tower of Tracks||
|Premium Choice||PetFusion Ambush||
|Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly||
|SmartyKat Electronic Concealed Motion||
The 10 Best Interactive Cat Toys
1. PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy — Best Overall
There is arguably nothing more irresistible to a cat than a laser light darting across the floor, and this interactive laser toy from PetSafe provides a unique take on a classic concept. It is a battery-operated, freestanding unit that will give your feline friend hours of play. It has an automated rotating mirror that beams out a laser-light in random patterns. It is hands-free and completely automated, so it can be placed on the floor for your cat to play with while you’re away. It also features a manual mode, so you can create your own patterns for your cat to chase around for a completely interactive experience. It will provide optimal mental and physical stimulation for your furry friend and help prevent boredom and anxiety while you’re busy or at work. The unit has a built-in timer, so it will turn itself off after 15 minutes to conserve battery life.
Several users report the laser being fairly dim in a brightly-lit room, so your cat may not be able to see it. Also, this unit requires 4 AA batteries, which are not included.
2. Petstages Tower of Tracks Cat Toy — Best Value
This Tower of Tracks Cat Toy from Petstages is the best interactive cat toy for the money, according to our tests. Cats love to chase and swipe at balls, but these can be easily lost under furniture. This interactive toy solves that problem, as the colorful balls are fixed into three circular tracks that they spin around inside. It is a classic, time-tested design that is irresistible to cats. The separately-stacked tracks allow for multiple cats to play simultaneously and will provide hours of stimulation while you’re busy or away. The tower is made from durable materials and features non-skid pads underneath to prevent it from sliding or falling over while your cat plays. The tower has three different levels and measures 5 inches high, so it is ideal for kittens and adult cats alike. Its simple but effective design will keep their hunting and pouncing instincts stimulated.
Some users report that the balls do not move easily inside the tracks or even get completely stuck. This will likely make your cat knock it over in frustration or ignore it completely. Also, several users with older felines report that their cats were not at all interested in it, so it is ideal for kittens or young adults. These minor issues keep the Tower of Tracks from the top position on our list.
3. PetFusion Ambush Interactive Electronic Cat Toy — Premium Choice
The AmBush from PetFusion is an innovative and unique interactive electronic cat toy. It is designed to stimulate your feline friend’s natural hunting instinct by providing moving “prey” for it to chase and capture. A colorful feather randomly pops out from one of the unit’s six holes, and it has colorful LED lighting to further stimulate and draw your cat in. The random action will satisfy your cat’s innate hunting and pouncing desire, while providing it with mental stimulation and exercise. The unit also features anti-skid padded feet so it won’t slide around too much, and the feathers are easy to remove and replace when your cat eventually wins the battle. The toy comes with an extra replacement feather and has an 8-minute auto-shutoff mode to conserve the battery.
This toy is noisy, and combined with the bright lights, it may take a while for your cat to get used to it. Some cats may be afraid of it at first. While kittens will love it, it is not designed for bigger cats who play rough, as they will quickly break the small internal motor. Its noisy operation and high price keep it from the top two positions on our list.
4. Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy
The Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy from Frisco is a three-level, circular unit with balls that roll around inside and is available at a highly affordable price. It has a small butterfly attached to the top of the toy via a thin wire, which your feline friend will love to swat at for hours on end. The toy also comes with a replacement butterfly for when your cat eventually catches and breaks the first one, but the butterfly is made from durable plastic with a wire attachment, so it should last a while. The balls are different colors, are securely inserted into the toy, and roll smoothly and quickly. It has a fairly sturdy construction and anti-skid rubber feet.
This toy is fairly noisy with the balls rolling around inside, and although it has rubber feet for grip, a big cat will knock it over fairly easily.
5. SmartyKat Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy
This electronic cat toy from SmartyKat will keep your cat chasing the “prey” for hours on end. It has a concealed wand that spins around in a random circular motion, which will stimulate your cat’s hunting and pouncing instincts. The wand moves in unpredictable ways and is concealed by a plastic cover. Its movements can be adjusted to two different speeds. It also comes with a spare interchangeable wand, and its programmed movement allows your cat to play for hours, even while you’re away.
This toy is noisy and has a loud clicking sound when its motion is stopped by your cat. Several users report that the wand unscrews frequently, as often as every 5 minutes, which can become frustrating to constantly replace. The cover also gets easily bundled up when in motion, even if your cat is not playing with it.
6. Catit Design Senses Circuit Cat Toy
This unique circuit-design cat toy from Catit will stimulate your cat’s innate hunting instincts and provide hours of mental and physical exercise. It is an expandable track, with holes for pawing placed along its length. A small swirled-patterned ball rolls around inside to trigger your cat’s pouncing ability. The track is easily set up and can be expanded or reduced in size, depending on your needs. It is great for multiple cats to play with or for a single cat to be entertained while you’re away. The openings along the track are large enough for your feline friend to reach inside and swat the ball safely, without getting stuck or injured. The best part about this toy is that it requires no batteries or outside power to operate.
One issue with this cat toy is the lightweight tracks. While most cats will easily fit their paw inside to roll the ball, they can also easily flip the entire track over and grab the ball, defeating the entire object of the game. If you are not watching, the ball can easily get lost. Some users report that older cats are not at all interested in this toy.
7. Trixie Brain Mover Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy
This strategy-game cat toy from Trixie will engage and stimulate your cat both mentally and physically with four different combinations of games. The included games are: a ball-push game that will earn your cat a reward when completed, multiple sliders that will reveal hidden treats, a small lever that can open a treat drawer, and a drawer that opens using a loop to reveal another hidden treat. The toy has non-slip rubber feet to keep it from sliding around, and it is fairly heavy, which will help keep it firmly in place.
Some users report treats getting easily stuck inside several of the compartments, and this can cause health hazards if not closely monitored. Large cats will also have problems getting their paws into the tiny compartments, so it is more suited to kittens or young adults. The toy is cheaply constructed, and a rough cat will likely break parts off it fairly quickly.
- Related Read: 20 Creative DIY Cat Toys (with Pictures)
8. KONG Eight Track Cat Toy
This Eight Track cat toy from KONG is the “Hot Wheels” of cat toys, featuring a figure-eight-shaped track that your cat can push rattling balls around in. The track has spaced openings for your cats to bat the balls through, stimulating their hunting instincts. It also has a feathered pole attached to it that your cats can swipe and bat, as well as a catnip-filled tail that is irresistible to most felines.
Several users report that the balls don’t roll inside the track smoothly, which can cause more frustration than joy for your cat. Also, while kittens will love this toy, many users report that their adult cats were not interested at all. This toy is also noisy, with loudly rattling balls, which can get overwhelming for your cat and for you!
9. Cat Amazing Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Toy
This puzzle maze from Cat Amazing is a unique interactive toy for your feline friend. It features different compartments to hide treats inside, and this will stimulate your cat’s inquisitive nature as they try to find and retrieve them. The unit has three difficulty levels — beginner, intermediate, and “top-cat” — so your cat can move through the different levels of stimulation as their skills improve. The toy is made from 30% recycled cardboard and is printed with metal-free inks, making it a safe option for your feline friend.
The toy comes unassembled, so you’ll need to follow the instructions to put it together, which is a complicated process. Many users reported difficulties putting it together. Also, it is made from cardboard, so many cats will simply rip it apart to get to the treats you hide inside, and any contact with water will ruin it.
10. Cat’s Meow Motorized Chaser Cat Toy
This motorized chaser toy from Cat’s Meow will keep your cat stimulated for hours. It is designed to stimulate your cat’s desire to hunt, pounce, and stalk with its easy one-button operation. It features a small “mouse-wand” that rotates underneath a plastic cover. The rotation is completely random, which will keep your cats guessing where to attack next, just as they would when hunting for prey. It works on smooth floors and on carpets and has an auto shut-off at 30 minutes to save on battery power.
The spin mechanism on this toy is fairly fast, and the speed setting is not adjustable. This can make it quite difficult to play with for kittens or older felines. The battery compartment is almost impossible to open, and when you finally manage to change the batteries, they have a short lifespan. Also, when your cat does manage to catch the spinning mouse wand, it breaks easily, and a big cat prone to rough playing will break it in no time.
Cats have powerful, innate hunting instincts that need to be stimulated regularly. If these needs are not met, not only will your feline friend be less healthy and happy, they will also go out hunting birds and small rodents and bring them inside for you as “gifts”! While cats have a well-deserved reputation for being lazy, they do need to stay active and agile, as it is important for their long-term health and well-being. Frequent exercise will help your cats avoid getting obese and contracting illnesses like cardiovascular issues or even diabetes. As your cat gets older, their muscles and joints will have decreased mobility, and regular exercise will keep them agile for longer.
This is where well-designed interactive toys come in. These will stimulate your cat’s predatory nature, as the bright colors and noises will keep your cat alert, curious, and playful. There are a few important factors to consider, however, when buying a new toy for your furry friend.
Cats love to scratch, bite, claw, and pounce on toys, so the toy needs to be as durable as possible. It should have non-slip feet so it won’t slide across the floor, and the design should be sturdy and stable. If it is made from plastic, it should be strong enough to handle your cat’s full weight and withstand scratching and biting. Any toys with electronics should have strong motors that can handle any pulling and stalling, and an auto-off function is also ideal to conserve battery life.
Safety is another important consideration for your felines. The toy should not be made from any potentially harmful materials or chemicals, as your cat will likely be biting and chewing on it. There should ideally be no small parts that can break off and be swallowed or choked on.
Your Cat’s Age
Cats can be picky, and some may not take to toys that others seem to love. However, your cat’s age also has a role to play in this fussiness and can help you decide which toy your cat will use. Kittens need more physical stimulation, as they are still learning and growing, and the more complex the toy, the better for a younger cat or kitten. Older cats, on the other hand, are a bit more docile and may prefer a simpler toy that they can keep up with at their own pace, as opposed to a loud, motorized toy.
Taking the above factors into consideration first will help you choose the right toy for your pet. Cats are picky animals, so it may be a good idea to try a few different types at first. There are a variety of commonly used toys that cat owners know and trust:
The best interactive cat toy, according to our tests, is the interactive laser toy from PetSafe. Its battery-powered, hands-free, and automated operation provides your feline friend with an irresistible laser that shines out in infinite combinations for hours of play and stimulation.
The best cat toy for the money is the Tower of Tracks Cat Toy from Pet Stages. Its colorful balls on separate tracks allow for multiple cats to play simultaneously and will provide hours of stimulation for your furry friends. It is a classic design at a highly affordable price.
Regular exercise and mental stimulation are enormously important for cats, and choosing the right toy to cater to these needs can be stressful. Hopefully, our in-depth reviews have helped you narrow down the options, so you can find the right interactive cat toy for your furry friend.
Roland has been an animal lover all his life, with cats holding a special place in his heart. He is owned by three felines: Wheely, KitzKitz, and Nugget (all rescues) who bring all the laughter and mischievousness one can expect from the feline master race. As the creator of ExcitedCats, his mission is to assist in the search for the best gear to help improve the health and wellbeing of cats everywhere.
- Comparison Table (updated in 2021)
- The 10 Best Interactive Cat Toys
- 1. PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy — Best Overall
- 2. Petstages Tower of Tracks Cat Toy — Best Value
- 3. PetFusion Ambush Interactive Electronic Cat Toy — Premium Choice
- 4. Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy
- 5. SmartyKat Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy
- 6. Catit Design Senses Circuit Cat Toy
- 7. Trixie Brain Mover Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy
- 8. KONG Eight Track Cat Toy
- 9. Cat Amazing Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Toy
- 10. Cat’s Meow Motorized Chaser Cat Toy
- Buyers Guide