If you work and are out of the house most of the day, your indoor cat will be bored alone.
Like humans, cats need mental and physical stimulation to keep them fit and well. This will also keep them mentally sharp, which will be good for their morale.
This article contains a round-up of the best interactive cat toys online at the moment. These are engaging and fun choices to stimulate your cat.
We have highlighted our top choice below if you are in a rush, and we have reviewed the top 5 on the market.
We have also written a Buyers’ Guide to help you with your search and answered a few FAQs
In a hurry?
Our top pick is the Interactive Treat Maze and Puzzle Feeder by Cat Amazing. It is made of 30% recycled cardboard and is 100% recyclable - saving the planet!
It is recommended by vets and has won multiple awards, making you confident in its quality.
Top 5 Best Interactive Cat Toys for Indoors Cats
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
This toy is a treat-seeking mental stimulation game, perfect for your bored indoor cat.
It measures 14x9x3.5 inches and weighs 12oz. It is made of reinforced cardboard which may raise issues about the longevity, but user reviews suggest it lasts up to 4 months. It is printed with non-metal ink.
The maze encourages your cat’s natural predatory instincts and has 3 difficulty levels to stimulate your cat over and over. The suggested playtime for this toy is 5-15 minutes.
You can put any of your cat’s favorite treats inside the maze. It is recommended by veterinarians for slower eating and weight management.
- Very interactive
- Encourages mental stimulation
- Made of recyclable materials
- No electronics or choking hazards
This is a 3 level track for colored plastic balls to move up and down. It measures 9.3x7x9.3 inches and weighs 8.8oz. The tracks are made from reinforced polypropylene (PP) so are scratch-resistant.
The tracks work like the maze to stimulate the natural hunting instincts and prevent your cats from scratching the furniture. The toy is safe to leave alone with your cat and will provide them with hours of entertainment.
The toy comes with anti-slip pads on the base to prevent damage to your floor.
- Mentally engaging
- No hazards
This is a self-rotating moving ball with LED lights and a feather attachment. It measures 3.7x3.1x6.5 inches and weighs 4oz. It is made of a material called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), the same as LEGO.
The toy has LED lights to stimulate your cat while protecting their eyes and moves by itself. This encourages the cat to chase the toy, getting exercise and entertainment. There is also a feather attachment to mimic prey to further amuse your cat.
The toy works on all floor types. It has built-in rechargeable batteries and a USB port. The battery life is around 3-4 hours from a 2 hour charge time. The toy goes into standby mode after 10 minutes of activity and wakes up around 1.5 hours later.
- Encourages your cat’s predatory instincts
- Suitable for all floor types
- LED lights and feathers
- Most expensive of our picks
This is a freestanding device that emits a laser beam in one of 5 adjustable circling motions. There are 2 speeds so that your cat can chase the beam to their heart’s content. It measures 7.5x3x3 inches and weighs 8.3oz.
The toy has a silent motor. IT switches off automatically after 15 minutes of use and reactivates after 3 hours. The device is rechargeable via a USB port.
- 5 ranges of motion
- 2 speeds
- Only one of our picks covered by the manufacturer’s warranty
- Has to be up high and could be knocked off
These are 4 robotic fish with LED lights inside. Each fish measures 3x1.4 inches and weighs less than 1oz.
The fish are made of a hard plastic casing housing a rechargeable battery. The fish have an automatic swimming feature to entertain your cats and will last for around 20-25 minutes of continuous use. The manufacturers advise removing the fish after 3-5 minutes to extend the battery life.
The toy must be used in water and will need a large bowl or small paddling pool to operate.
- Automatic movement
- Flashing lights
- Has to be used in water
- Battery operated
Best Interactive Cat Toys for Indoor Cats Buying Guide
Ensure the Toy Mimics Prey
Cats are natural-born hunters and need to flex these traits regularly. Your cat will get much more enjoyment from a toy that acts and looks similar to their natural prey, as they indulge their natural instinct.
You can get toys designed to look and feel like prey, as well as ones that can be moved in a similar way. Try a few different styles of toys out on your cat to see what they enjoy the most.
We like feathered toys on long strings that can be quickly darted about for your cat to run and chase.
Who Will Be Playing With the Toy?
Are you after a toy to occupy your cat while you are out at work? A toy you will use to play together? This is an important factor to consider when you are searching for the perfect cat toy.
Toys that cats can play with alone tend to be small toys that they can move and carry around the house. We like ball and maze toys that you can fill with treats. Your cat will have to engage their brain to solve the puzzle and then they will be rewarded with their favorite treat. This is a great way to keep your cat motivated and stimulated even when there is no one around.
Playing with your cat is a great bonding activity, and it is vital that you do this regularly. They love and want to spend time with you, and you should want the same. This playing time also allows you close contact with your cat.
You can use this time to check your cat for signs of injury, mood changes, or personality changes. These can all indicate something is wrong with your cat. Checking in with them regularly means that you can spot problems early and hopefully stop them from getting out of hand.
We recommend getting a mixture of toys, budget allowing, to allow your cat to be having fun constantly!
Choosing an Appropriately Sized Toy
Cats come in lots of different shapes and sizes, just like toys.
It is important to choose a toy that is relatively small compared to your cat if it is moveable. If it is a toy to climb or scratch on, these should obviously be larger than your cat.
Smaller toys are easier for your cat to move and pick up, but if it is too small then it can become a choking hazard. This is why it’s important to choose a toy that is relative in size to your cat.
Digital or Analog
Some cats can become bored with playing with the same toys every day. In 2020 even your pets can now have electronic devices!
There are cat toys with audio, lights, moving elements, and much more. Your cat will love these as they are highly entertaining. Be aware that toys with moving parts are potentially hazardous and should not be left alone with your cat.
Their fur and whiskers could become trapped within the electrics and this can be a serious problem.
If you do opt for a digital toy, check to see if it is mains or battery operated.
As we mentioned above, cats are natural hunters. This means that they enjoy textures that mimic prey, such as feathers and fake fur. Cats will enjoy toys made from this material as they can sink their claws into it.
It is also a good idea to choose toys made from thick yarn and corduroy. These are very tough fabrics and will hold up better to the cat’s scratching and biting.
We do not advise buying your cat toys made from wood as this splinters easily and could cause injury. Your cat could also swallow some splinters, which could potentially make them very ill.
Instead, we recommend opting for plastic toys. These are lightweight so easy for your cat to move, and easy for you to clean.
Engaging All the Senses
Just like humans, cats have 5 senses - taste, smell, touch, sight, and sound. Try to look for toys that engage as many of these as possible to ensure your cat is fully entertained.
You can get toys that come with lights, sounds, and textured surfaces. You can get puzzle toys and those of different colors. Cats often react well to laser pointer toys and those with flashing lights.
You can get toys that make noises when pressure is applied and ones that make noise when moved. Play around with different toys to see what your cat reacts well to.
Give Them a High Time
While catnip only affects around 50% of cats due to a hereditary gene, it has a very interesting effect on those susceptible. People have often likened its effects to that of a certain smokable substance as it makes cats mellow.
It is a completely pet-safe and naturally occurring herb from the mint family. Researchers assume that the smell targets dopamine receptors in the brain and cause your cat to become happy and energetic.
Eating catnip seems to calm and mellow most cats, but if they eat too much they can vomit, so keep an eye on them. They may become hyperactive or aggressive so ensure you are taking into account their reaction. Most cats will rub themselves and roll around before settling and appearing to zone out.
As with anything new, start slowly with your cat and progress based on their responses. The effects should only last around 10 minutes, and if your cat enjoys it then they will love catnip toys.
The Age of Your Cat
The more interactive toys are usually better suited to kittens and younger cats.
This is because they will require more energy to move and older cats may not be up to this task.
Your cat’s toys will need cleaning periodically to prevent smells and mold forming. If they are plastic they will be easy to clean with soap and water.
Fabric toys may be machine washable, but it is smart to check this to prevent unnecessary waste.
Some toys will be made of tough fabric that allows your cat to sharpen their claws or built-in scratchers.
Some toys are designed to improve oral health and have chewable parts. Decide if this is something that you are looking for in a toy before purchasing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can you tell if a cat is happy?
High pitched purring or meowing is a sign that your cat is expressing their happiness to you.
They will have a clean and shiny smooth coat that they take pride in grooming. If your cat licks you, this is also a sign of affection.
If you have any worries, we advise taking your cat to a veterinarian.
Should I let my cat sleep with me?
There is no real harm in letting your cat sleep with you, particularly if they are an indoor cat.
Your cat will enjoy the closeness to you as ~I’m sure you will to them.
Ensure they have had plenty of activity during the day and the door is left open overnight so that you can have the most restful night.