20 cat toys with thousands of positive reviews
Buying cat toys doesn't have to be a shot in the dark
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Cats should be our self-worth icons. They know exactly what they deserve, and they’re not afraid of walking away from situations—or toys—that aren’t giving them what they need. Figuring out what they need in order to stay engaged and entertained is a whole other matter. I wish I could sit my cats down and ask if a new toy looks fun or boring, but sadly, our communication hasn’t quite reached that level.
The good news is that I’m not the only person scouring the internet for toys to keep my cats happy. No single toy will be a surefire hit for every kitty—but you can increase the odds that they'll love their new toy if you first take the time to understand their play patterns, and read up on how the toy was received by other cats. We pulled together 18 of the most popular cat toys from Amazon and Chewy. We think that one of these will get your furbaby moving.
1. A rainbow cat charmer, because you can’t beat a classic
There are plenty of unique and fancy cat toys on the market, but there are few as reliable as a good old-fashioned wand charmer. Wand toys are highly interactive and easy to control, so they’re great if you want to get moving along with your cat. The long length of this charmer gives your cat plenty of fabric to hold onto and attack once they’ve finally caught their prey.
While about 94% of the reviews for this toy are positive, many of the negative ones highlight the same concern—if your cat rips into their toy without supervision, they could ingest and choke on a part of the fabric. For that reason, we advise putting this charmer away when playtime’s over! Used mindfully, this toy can bring a huge amount of fun to your home. Take it from reviewer John, whose cats “literally jump for joy when you dangle it overhead."
2. A cat toy to get their zoomies out and give them a place to scratch
This combined scratcher and ball toy is a staple in my house. Like pretty much every item on this list, it’s a hit with some cats and a miss with others—one of my cats is a huge fan, while the other one couldn't be bothered. If your cat is sensitive to catnip, you can spread some across the cardboard scratcher, and entice them to give this toy a try. I love the fact that my cat can use this toy totally independently. When she gets the zoomies in the middle of the night, she has options other than waking me up!
Thousands of reviewers report success with this toy. As a multi-purpose toy, there’s a good chance your kitty will get some use from it. Reviewer Kittyinthesouth says their cats enjoy both the scratcher and the ball track, writing, “My adult cats are hard to please when it comes to toys. But this thing is a hit. He loves to bat the ball and watch it go round and round. It stays securely in the turbo. My big girl likes to lay across it (I sprinkled the catnip on it). For this price point, it is a great value.”
3. A robotic toy with 360-degree movement to keep your cats on the prowl
We all have moments when we’d prefer our cats to entertain themselves. Some cats love independent play, but just as many tend to get bored with toys they have to manipulate themselves. This robotic cat toy is the perfect compromise. Since it can zoom around your home on its own, it will keep your kitty occupied without interrupting you during an important video call.
Reviewer Kiki is in the exact situation, writing that their kitten is very rambunctious, “but I can’t always drop everything to play and feel bad when I’m busy or have to work. This lil’ gem keeps her entertained! Cats need the ‘hunt, catch, kill, eat, groom, sleep’ cycle and I want to do what I can to make sure that I’m supporting this. She was a little hesitant at first but now she chases that thing like her life depends on it!"
4. An automated laser pointer, which might be the only toy you need
If my house was burning down and I only had time to grab one cat toy (that’s how burning buildings work, right?) it would be my laser pointer. I’ve said that cats are picky and that every cat has their own taste, and that’s true—but I’ve never met a cat who isn’t at least a little bit interested in a laser pointer. It’s one of the simplest and most time-tested cat toys you can possibly buy, and it is definitely a favorite in my house.
Automatic laser pointers are fantastic for hands-off play, but not every model suits every cat. Reviewer Kenneth explains that this is their second automatic laser pointer, after they replaced one that moved around too rapidly. With this toy, Kenneth writes,"The spot motion is ideal for our cat. It stays in one location for several seconds, then, running the slower of the 2 speeds, moves away but the cat can see where it has gone and she chases it. She loves this one and so do I."
5. A soothing pillow for cuddly kitties
This soft pillow is designed to soothe cats who could use a little extra snuggling. It’s microwavable, so it can provide warmth, and the “purr pillow” option plays touch-activated purring sounds. Depending on your cat’s needs, they might bat this pillow around, or just snuggle up with it for some lovey time.
Buyers have thousands of success stories using this pillow to help calm a new kitten, or to soothe a cat who has lost a friend. Reviewer Jessica writes that "if your cat chews and kneads on the blankets, this purr pillow will definitely add comfort. Our Salem is four months now, and when she hears the purr, she jumps into her kitty bed with the purr pillow and starts to knead and purr and usually falls asleep.” If you get the pillow with the purring motor, the velcro design makes it easy to remove the electronics while you wash the soft fabric.
6. A feather wand to satisfy just about any playful cat
Let’s take it back to another classic. This feather wand toy is weighted enough to flick around, and the goofy little charms are likely to awaken your cat’s predator instinct. The charm is soft fabric and feather with hidden crinkle material in the body, making an enticing noise when your cat pounces on its prey. This toy comes in three styles, and you don’t get the chance to select which one you want, so be sure you’re all right with the surprise!
Reviewer Ehlee07 writes, "Got this for my kitten and she’s absolutely OBSESSED with it. While she’s dead asleep, if I grab this, she goes bolting to it. She plays pretty rough so make sure you don’t pull too hard with a rough kitty or the feathers will fall out (like mine did). She loves it just the same without the feathers.” As with the other wand toy on this list, reviewers also remind potential buyers to keep the toys away from kitties when they’re unattended to prevent them from chowing down on the string or fabric.
7. A whole assortment pack for the distractible kitty who can’t make up their mind
Just can’t decide on one toy? If your kitty is the indecisive type, you can hedge your bets by getting a whole collection of highly-rated toys for under $15. This pack includes favorites like crinkle balls, a wand toy, stuffed mice, and a pop-up cat tunnel. Reviewers advise either closely watching your cats with small toys or removing some of the small parts (in particular, the foam balls and the ears and eyes attached to the mice).
All in all, this set is a win for buyers whose cats go through toys fast, and who are looking for quantity rather than a product that will last for years. Reviewers like Ashlar are happy with the set, saying, "This is a smorgasbord of fun for your kitty. There were one or two throw-away toys, but the pop-up tunnel is great and the teaser wand is as well. I was happily surprised at the amount of quality cat toys included for such a great price."
8. A favorite catnip toy that playful kitties find irresistible
There are so many catnip-stuffed toys out there, it’s hard to give one the spotlight. There’s no denying, though, that the reviews of this banana-shaped toy are something special. Almost universally, buyers say their cats pounced on this toy the first chance they got and never let it out of their sight.
Plenty of reviews mention that this toy might be quickly destroyed by an excited kitty. But because of the affordable price, and because so many cats seem equally happy to play with this toy whether it’s brand new or ripped apart, 84% of reviewers still gave it five stars. Alicia is one such reviewer, writing that their cat “carries it around the house, sleeps on it, and has nearly destroyed it already. She never acts this way with toys. Very happy, please never discontinue this."
9. A cheap and simple toy that’s stood the test of time
This deceptively simple toy could be the one to awaken your kitty’s inner lion. First created in 1995, the Cat Dancer is basically just a piece of wire with a series of paper cylinders attached to the end—but don’t let the simplicity fool you. Reviewers say this toy makes their cats go wild. Since the charm is on a piece of wire instead of string, you probably won’t be able to move it with the same level of control, but something about this design makes domestic kitties go into full jungle cat mode.
Reviewers like Kwoo note that, sometimes, the cheapest toy is also the best one. “I have a whole room filled with cat toys that my cat is not interested in,” Kwoo says. “It's funny how the least expensive cat toy I have makes him go crazy. He plays with this until he's panting like a dog and I have never seen him jump so high." Other reviewers add that the toy holds up well with gentle cats, but might see some wear during energetic play.
10. A gold-standard scratch lounge
When it comes to scratch lounges, nothing beats the original. This catnip-infused scratch lounge was the first of its kind, and going by the reviews on Chewy, it’s still the best. The catnip encourages hesitant kitties to try sharpening their claws on the cardboard scratching pad instead of the couch. Once your kitty is worn out from all that scratching, the lounge even doubles as a bed.
There are cheaper scratch lounges on the market, but given this one’s durability, replacement pads, and absolutely glowing reviews, it’s safe to say the investment is worth it. Reviewers echo this sentiment—Kate writes, "It’s worth every penny and will actually save you money in the long run because it lasts soooo long. I have THREE cats and I bought ONE of these scratchers to see what all the hype is about. Well, after three weeks of continuous scratching, lounging, and snoozing by all three of my kitties, I just turned the scratch pads over to the second side. A scratch pad that lasts six weeks for three cats AND doubles as their favorite sleep spot? YES PLEASE!” If you want even more scratcher options, check out our review of one with 10,000 reviews on Amazon.
11. A couple of old-school mice to test their catnip affinity
Not every cat goes wild for catnip. Scientists have suggested that a cat’s response to catnip is actually genetic, and up to half the cats in the world might not have the “catnip gene.” Of my two cats, only one of them is sensitive to catnip—the other one does not understand why I keep offering boring dried leaves. If you’re not sure whether your cat has an affinity to catnip, you probably don’t want to shell out for a collection of catnip-infused toys. Better to start small, with these time-tested mice for under $2, and see how your kitty responds.
In one review, Jemma writes that their cat loves that he can carry these small toys around in his mouth. “I like them because they're well made,” Jemma adds. “They hold up to a lot of abuse. Every once in a while, I see a little pink felt ear on the floor, but otherwise, none have torn, nor have the tails and eyes come off nor has my cat been able to bite them off." The one trouble with these mice is the same as with many other small, soft cat toys: if your cat is a rambunctious player, they may manage to rip the toy apart, which could be a choking hazard. As always, it’s a good idea to watch out for your cat, and to put small toys away after playtime.
12. A pop-up bed that doubles as a play tunnel
I’m all about multi-purpose cat toys. Cats are picky creatures—if you can find a toy with more than one use, there’s a much better chance that they’ll actually enjoy it. Whether the cats are chasing each other through the tunnel, or just taking a nap in the soft center, reviewers say this item is a win.
Buyers like that cats can get their zoomies out in this tunnel, instead of running underfoot. They also mention that it’s pretty big—about three feet across—so be sure you actually have the space! In her review, buyer Deb writes, "My cat loves this, even sleeps inside the tubes. The zippers are a bit tricky, but I won't be taking it apart now that it's together...It is attractive and big enough for large cats. Highly recommend!"
13. A touch-activated moving fish for hours of on-land hunting
For another toy that will keep your cat involved in independent play, consider this catnip-filled moving fish. This is a touch-activated toy, so it will only begin flipping around once your cat pounces—no need to worry about finding an off switch. Plus, it’s USB-rechargeable! That being said, reviewers do mention that each charge could last longer. If your cat really loves this fish, it might need to be recharged more than once a day.
Many reviewers say the fish is surprisingly large, impressively lifelike, and durable enough to survive a high-energy play session. Buyer Hailie writes, "my cat was skeptical at first when the toy was flipping out all over the place but eventually she found it amusing. The only struggle I have is that my two-year-old daughter fights the cat for it and I have to take it away from both of them. Wish it held a charge longer and the catnip that's supposed to go in the pouch with the charging port gets messy, but it’s AMAZING. So lifelike that I almost freaked out when it started to move.”
14. A top-tier, multi-tier track toy
This three-tier ball track promises playtime that doesn't end with toys lost forever under the couch (or, in my case, under the refrigerator). It also has a non-skid base to help keep it stay in place while your cats play. I love cat toys on tracks, because there’s much less of a chance that my kitties will manage to ingest and choke on something. Determined cats might be able to pop the balls off the track, but in general, this toy is less likely to get lost or become dangerous.
With multiple tiers and rolling balls, this toy offers more interest than a single-level track—something that reviewers like 7ruby18 love. "My cats love this toy,” they write. “They have a similar toy with only one level, but they like this one more. I think the reason is because when they smack one of the balls it shakes the whole toy so that the other two balls 'move on their own' which intrigues my fur babies no end."
15. A cat grass planter to help your kitty’s digestion
Almost every plant in my house is in a hanging planter these days. If they weren’t, there’s no way I could keep my cats from chowing down on leaves nonstop. You might know that many household plants are toxic to cats—but if your kitty is determined to snack on some leafy greens, there is actually a healthy option that might satisfy them. This grass is friendly to your cat’s digestion and gives kitties an alternative to chewing up the houseplants.
Buyers say the cat grass is easy to grow, but also note that the kit doesn’t come with instructions—for that, you should look to the Catit brand’s website. Reviewer Conceptress says this kit has been “a huge hit,” and that it produces a plentiful crop of grass. “The kit comes with A LOT of seeds,” they write. “I only used about a quarter of them, and it still produced a lot of grass. I also purchased some wheatgrass seeds to mix with the seeds that came with the kit so the kitties get two kinds of grass. I actually purchased two so I could have one current crop for the kitties to play in & eat, and a second one to start growing when the first starts to fade."
16. A squeaking toy to satisfy hunter instincts
Poor indoor cats—sometimes it feels like outdoors cats get all the fun! If your cat is hypnotized by the chirping of nearby birds, they’ll love this toy. It contains a speaker that plays a realistic squeaking sound when the toy is caught, so your cat will get the full experience of tossing around unsuspecting prey. Yes, it’s a little bit grim, but that’s what we get for adopting and loving tiny predators.
Even if your cat isn’t interested in the sound this toy makes, they might be attracted to its catnip-stuffed body. When a cat likes this toy, they really like it—many reviewers say they’ve repurchased it over and over again. Amanda is one of these buyers, writing, "At this point I have bought this toy multiple times. Still a favorite among all my cats. I have even bought one for family members cats, and they also love it. It’s a low-cost toy that def gets the cats going. Mine keeps getting lost somewhere under the furniture, but the cats really love it."
17. A treat ball to keep their minds and bodies active while they snack
Got a food-motivated kitty in the house? It might be hard to get them to slow down when they eat. Luckily, there are solutions! Food-filled puzzle toys like this one can discourage overeating by making dinnertime last longer, while also stimulating your kitty's brains as they figure out how to reach their dinner. This simple, affordable treat ball can entice your cat into play mode, even if all they really want to do is chow down.
Reviewer Lee has had a positive experience with this treat ball, and appreciates the simple, effective design. “The spiral design requires the cat to work a little harder to get treats and increases the sound and movement that the ball makes, which makes kitty more interested,” Lee writes. “The product is well-made enough that it does its job without frustrations. My cat loves it. I use mine to give my cat an activity while I'm away and to supplement his diet between wet food meals. (He has a few pounds to lose.)"
18. A motion-concealed toy to train them for mousing
This nifty toy will keep your cat's mice-hunting instincts sharp (and, hopefully, keep your home pest-free). Essentially, this is a wand toy attached to a motor. The motor spins the charm in a circular motion at two different speeds, with the mechanics hidden underneath a fabric cover. The result is a toy that keeps moving, even when you aren't there to whip it around under your kitty's nose.
Buyer Carol says that her cat had to warm up to this toy, but once he did, it was a hit. "It took him a little while to get brave and interact," says Carol. "Now he really enjoys it. I especially like the automatic shut-off feature. He just lets me know when I need to turn it on. My cat is a senior and picky about his toys but he really likes this one."
19. A set of plush mice for both noisy and quiet play
If your cats are prone to losing their favorite toys under the furniture, you might want to consider a set that comes with multiple pieces. These plush mice come in packs of four, so there's no problem if one or two goes missing. You can choose between a set with a bell or a rattle, depending on what sound effects your cat seems to enjoy (or which noises you think you can stand). If you opt for the bell set, you'll get two mice equipped with bells, and two without—so you can put the noisy ones away at bedtime to avoid being woken in the night by jingling.
Reviewer Serena is especially impressed with the length, writing, "The tails crinkle, they have a rattle and a bell in them, they're soft, and they're SO much bigger than I expected! They're about the length of him! The actual mouse body, however, is small enough that he can fit it in his mouth, and he loves running around with it." As with any toy with small parts, you'll want to keep an eye on these ones to make sure nothing comes dislodged. Some buyers mention removing the bells, out of concern that their cats would choke on them.
20. A motorized butterfly toy to take them to new heights
With its grounded base, this rotating butterfly will have your cat flying around the toy, but not around the house. I love grounded toys because they encourage independent playtime that is relatively contained—a boon for me when I need to concentrate on something other than multiple energetic cats zooming around the office. This toy also features a ball on a track, but most reviewers report that the butterfly is the star of the show. It operates with a manual on/off switch, so just remember to turn it off when your kitty's done, and be wary of extended unmonitored playtime that could end in your cat trying to eat the charm.
Some buyers find that their cats are happy to play with this toy even when it's switched off, while others report meowed demands for it to be turned on. Reviewer Julia is in the latter category, writing that their cat "waits for me turn it on every evening while I am making dinner. Such a great toy! She loved to try and 'kill' the butterfly then stops, holds it while it tickles her face - very cute. Also, comes with two extra butterflies we haven't even used yet. Highly recommend!"
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.