Best automated cat toys 2023: Banish. boredom once and for all

Best automated cat toys
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Automated cat toys are well worth the investment if you're looking for a way to keep your feline friend mentally and physically stimulated when you're out and about. Some of the best cat toys (opens in new tab) that money can buy, automated toys are easy to set up and will keep your much-loved moggy amused for hours thanks to their erratic movements and unpredictable play.

Very similar to the best interactive cat toys (opens in new tab), automated cat toys are brilliant if you're away from home for long periods or are simply too busy to play as your kitty can use them independently without any input from you. 

If you have a furkid that tends to scratch the furniture when you're not giving them enough attention, automated toys also do a wonderful job of occupying their focus and therefore reducing the unwanted behaviours that can occur when cats get bored. 

Automated cat toys come in a variety of guises, some of which are going to be more suitable for your pet than others. When choosing one, consider how your cat tends to play while also taking personality and age into account. Older cats are going to appreciate slower moving toys, for example, while kittens will love being kept alert by something that shifts fast.

It's also important to select toys that tap into a wide range of natural instincts. To that end, there are automated toys which are better at engaging an instinct to stalk, for example, while others will capitalize on a cat's craving to pounce, chase or paw. 

If you have a fur baby under the age of 12 months, we also recommend you check out our guide to the best kitten toys (opens in new tab) for a great range of options that are specifically designed for that life stage.

To help you find the best automated cat toys for your feline friend, we've rounded up a few of our favorites, including laser toys, flapping fish, and one fast moving little mouse. Let's take a look....

PetsRadar's pick of the best automated cat toys

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Automated cat toys: PetSafe Dancing Dot Laser Toy product shot

(Image credit: Amazon)
Best overall automated cat toy

Specifications

Batteries: Three AAA batteries
Material: Plastic
Best for: Cats of all ages

Reasons to buy

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A laser toy that doesn’t need human intervention
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A timer enables it to be pre-programmed

Reasons to avoid

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Not mains powered
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Potential for loop to catch on items

Let’s face it, nothing beats a laser toy when it comes to keeping a cat’s attention for longer periods of time. The beauty of this standalone laser is that it can be placed on any flat surface, or hung from a doorknob – no human intervention required. 

The 15-minute setting is great for a short burst of laser-powered fun, while the all-day play mode is perfect if you’re leaving your cat on its own for longer periods of time – the laser will turn on for 15 minutes every two hours. It’s also perfectly safe – like most laser toys it uses a Class 1 laser, which is the least hazardous type.

Some pet parents do find that the Dancing Dot Laser Cat Toy is slightly louder than expected when in use, but, overall, we feel that the random patterns and movements of the laser do a great job of stimulating a feline's natural instincts to chase, stalk, and pounce, resulting in a plaything that is sure to keep your much-loved moggy challenged and entertained. 

Best automated cat toys: Potaroma Electric Flopping FishPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Amazon)

Potaroma Electric Flopping Fish

Best budget automated cat toy

Specifications

Batteries: Rechargeable
Materials: Plush
Best for: All ages and stages

Reasons to buy

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Rechargeable battery
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Catnip pouch
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Washable cover

Reasons to avoid

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Can be quite noisy

If you're after a cheap and cheerful toy that's sure to delight your feline friend, then look no further than this fun flopping fish that's bound to captivate your kitty with its wiggling and realistic movements.

Featuring an automatic built-in motion sensor that kicks into action whenever your cat touches the fish and a catnip pouch that will entice them to keep playing, this is a great affordable toy to help alleviate boredom and loneliness whenever your fur baby is home alone.

We love that this fish comes with a rechargeable battery, so you don't have to worry about being caught short without replacement batteries, and the cover is washable so you'll easily be able to keep it clean. 

Migipaws interactive cat toy

(Image credit: Amazon)

Migipaws Interactive Cat Toy

Best premium automated cat toy

Specifications

Batteries: Rechargeable
Materials: Plastic and feathers
Best for: All ages

Reasons to buy

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Built-in rechargeable batteries
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Infrared approach sensor and auto-off
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Great for multi-cat households

Reasons to avoid

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Short 5-minute program

Cat toys don’t come much more fun than this smart interactive box from Migipaws with automatic moving feathers that will unpredictable movements that will delight and entertain your kitty for hours.

The box features seven holes spread across the top and sides and contains three durable multi-colored feathers that pop out at random, stirring your cat’s hunting instincts and allowing them to pounce and play for up to five minutes at a time.

We love the infrared sensor which detects when your kitty is within 5-10 inches and switches the box on, and the built-in rechargeable battery means you’ll never be caught short. 

A great choice for single or multi-cat households, this durable cat toy will provide your furkid with all the mental and physical stimulation they need to thrive. All the materials are safe and cat-friendly and there are three replacement feathers included ensuring this cool cat box goes the distance. 

Petstages Tower of Tracks Interactive 3-Tier Cat ToyPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Petstages)

Petstages Tower of Tracks Interactive 3-Tier Cat Toy

Best multi-level automated cat toy

Specifications

Batteries: Not required
Material: Plastic
Best for: Cats of all ages

Reasons to buy

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Colorful and fun
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Replacement balls available
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Doesn't need batteries

Reasons to avoid

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Could be sturdier

If you're looking for an easy and fun way to entertain your kitty without the constant need for batteries, then look no further than the Petstages Tower of Tracks Interactive 3-Tier Cat Toy.

Tapping into your cat's love of hunting and pouncing, the toy features spinning, multi-colored balls for your feline to chase, complete with three levels. Simply place it on the floor and watch your feline friends go nuts for it - it's great for one or two cats to engage in, leaving you free to do other things around the home. 

While some automated toys may lose power quickly or required a power outlet to work, this terrific toy keeps on going for hours of fun so your kitty can play for a while, then return at a later date. 

Just be sure to check in on your cats from time to time; though the toy does feature a safety bar design and a non-slip base, some excited cats may be prone to flipping the tower over, particularly if it's being used by multiple cats at the same time.

Petchain Interactive Cat ToyPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Amazon)

Petchain Interactive Cat Toy

Best automated cat toy for cats that love to chase

Specifications

Batteries: USB
Materials: Not stated
Best for: All

Reasons to buy

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Rechargeable with USB
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Sleep mode
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Irregular movements for unpredictable play

Reasons to avoid

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Not suitable for carpeted floors

This mouse-shaped toy with its unpredictable movements is sure to surprise and delight your fur friend as it chases it around the house in an attempt to catch it. Complete with a feather tail, this realistic toy will capture and maintain your kitty's attention and is sure to provide hours of fun.

Featuring erratic movements to keep your feline entertained, the mouse can move forwards and backwards as well as turning around when it encounters an obstacle, so there's plenty of uncertainty to keep your kitty on their toes. 

Requiring no batteries and rechargeable via a USB cable, the mouse toy offers around two hours of play for every 90 minutes of charge and comes with a sleep mode that enables it to automatically shut itself off if your cat doesn't play with it for five minutes. 

Pawaboo Cat Toy with Running Mouse

(Image credit: Amazon)

Pawaboo Cat Toy with Running Mouse

Best automated cat toy for cats who are home alone

Specifications

Batteries: Three AA batteries
Materials: Plastic
Best for: All

Reasons to buy

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Multiple levels of play
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Durable micro-fibre scratching mat
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Doubles up as a comfortable place to rest

Reasons to avoid

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Quite noisy 

This exciting toy is bound to be a huge hit with your fur baby regardless of whether they're big or small. Mimicking the hide-and-seek movement that taps into your cat's natural instinct to pounce and play, simply turn on this toy and watch as they try to catch the unpredictable and cunning mouse.

We love that this toy features two settings, so you can set the mode to fast or slow depending on your feline furkids age and stage. The top of the toy is covered with a soft micro-fibre layer that means your kitty also has a comfortable place to rest in between play sessions.

The only drawback to this toy is that it can be quite noisy, but that small issue aside, this is a really fun and interactive peekaboo plaything that will keep your kitty amused for hours.

Automated cat toys: PetSafe FroliCat Cheese Automatic Cat Teaser

(Image credit: Amazon)

PetSafe FroliCat Cheese Automatic Cat Teaser

Best automated cat toy for all ages

Specifications

Batteries: Three AA batteries
Materials: Plastic
Best for: Cats of all ages

Reasons to buy

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Engages your cat's natural instincts
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Compact
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Durable

Reasons to avoid

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We’d like to have seen more moving parts
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The shape of the plastic mice makes them tricky to grab

From the moment we got this toy out of the box, we were very impressed by its build. Although it uses an abundance of plastic, it's sturdy, well-created and has no sharp edges which makes it a toy that is sure to last while also proving to be very safe. 

Our admiration for the Cheese Teaser extended to its use. Although the batteries are not included (which seems par for the course with many cat toys), once we located a trio of AAs and inserted them, it was clear our cats were in for a good time.

The concept is simple enough: a couple of mice pop out of two sides of the cheese at random intervals, sometimes coming all the way out and sometimes just poking their nose through. While it would have been better to have had more holes and, therefore, more mice, this arrangement nevertheless proved sufficient for our test cats to fully engage. Once they figured what was going on, they played with great enthusiasm.

To save battery power and, more importantly, to prevent your kitty from becoming overstimulated and over-familiar with the toy to the point of boredom, each session lasts for between just 10 and 15 minutes. If you decide to program the device, then you can have it set off every couple of hours for that length of time, and we would have no problems leaving a cat unsupervised with this one.

Indeed, it would appear PetSafe has really thought this toy through. The rubber feet on the bottom of the toy means it's not likely to slide around when a cat is attempting to claw at the mice. And, since the button needs to be firmly held down to turn on and off, your cat is going to struggle to accidentally activate and deactivate the device, putting you in control of when it gets used. 

What's more, none of this comes at a particularly high price, certainly not when you consider how well it's made. As a bonus, you get a two-year manufacturer's warranty and only if we were being particularly picky would we express a need for a plug option and some sort of smartphone integration – options that would, granted, push the price up considerably.

Cheerble Smart Interactive Cat Toy

(Image credit: Amazon)

Cheerble Smart Interactive Cat Toy

Best rolling ball automated cat toy

Specifications

Batteries: USB chargeable
Materials: Plastic
Best for: All ages

Reasons to buy

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Charged via USB
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Will keep going for up to four hours
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Moves quickly and randomly

Reasons to avoid

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Not suitable for use on carpet

Give a cat a ball and your pet can be entertained for hours. After all, it taps into their instinct to hunt prey. With this interactive ball toy, you can take playtime to another level, plus, it's super convenient - simply charge for one hour using a USB cable and it will provide up to four hours of play.

The ball – given its natural shape – can roll 360-degrees but it does so erratically to keep your cat alert. It has three interaction modes (normal, passive and gentle) and upon being turned on, it will automatically move, shake or bounce depending on the mode it's been set to.

The surface of the Cheerbe cat ball is made of synthetic fiber that's furry to the touch, making it comfortable to play with. We love that it offers 10 minutes of active play and then goes in to rest mode for 30 minutes to ensure your fur baby has a good play-rest balance and doesn't become overstimulated.

Thanks to the built-in intelligent motion sensor, the Cheerble light up ball is able to reverse itself and move away when hitting an obstacle or tight spots, so you don't need to worry about it becoming stuck, and while we don't recommend it for use on carpets, it works beautifully on wooden flooring.

How to buy the best automated cat toys

When it comes to selecting from amongst the best automated cat toys for your fur friend, there are two main things you want to consider - enjoyment and safety. Automated toys can elevate playtime and make it more fun, but just like with us humans, our kitty companions all have their own ideas about what they consider to be an engaging toy.

First up, give some thought to how old your feline friend is. Younger cats and kittens tend to be more active and will likely enjoy automated toys that are faster paced. For senior cats or any kitty that may be suffering from arthritis or joint pain, you still want a toy that will capture and hold their attention, but you may find they prefer something a bit slower moving that's more comfortable for them to play with. 

The style of automated toy is also worth considering. While some cats will play with just about anything, others are somewhat more discerning so you may wish to experiment with a few different options, such as a laser toy and flapping fish or a track toy and moving mouse to see which one your cat prefers. 

Finally, safety is of paramount importance when it comes to toys, especially if your feline friend is going to be using their new plaything unsupervised. We recommend that you look for cat-friendly materials and steer clear of any toy that has small parts that could be broken off and accidentally swallowed. If you notice a component of a toy that has the potential to be dangerous for your cat, it's worth steering clear of it rather than risking a potentially costly trip to the vet.