The best automated cat toys are perfect if you’re a busy pet parent who isn’t always able to play with your feline furkid as much as you’d like. Automated cat toys can help keep your kitty engaged for hours and they’re a great way of providing mental and physical stimulation.
Just like the best dog toys that keep our canine companions occupied, automated cat toys come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors, so it can be worth investing in a few to see which ones your cat likes best. If you have a younger cat or one who loves a good chase, choose something with fast and unpredictable movements that will tap into your kitty’s instinct to crouch, stalk, and pounce. For older cats or those with mobility issues, there are plenty of toys that are slower but still engaging.
While you might think that the best cat toys are going to set you back a small fortune, the good news is that there are plenty of affordable options that come with feathers, lasers, and all of the other usual suspects that cats go crazy for. Simple toys are often just as effective as their more expensive counterparts, which is good news if you’re on a budget.
Automated and interactive cat toys are a great way of preventing boredom and unwanted behavior, providing vital enrichment and enabling your kitty to expend their energy appropriately. In this guide, you’ll find the best automated cat toys to suit every age, stage, and budget, including our best pick for cats who are home alone.
PetsRadar's pick of the best automated cat toys
- Best overall automated cat toy: PetSafe Dancing Dot Laser Toy
- Best automated cat toy for cats who are home alone: Petsafe Peek-a-Bird Electronic Cat Toy
- Best automated cat toy for all ages: PetSafe FroliCat Cheese Automatic Cat Teaser
- Best automated cat toy for mobility issues: PetSafe Frolicat Fox Den Toy Automatic Cat Teaser
- Best battery-free automated cat toy: Ferplast Tornado Circuit
- Best compact automated cat toy: EaMien Catnip Fish Toy
- Best automated cat toy for outdoor use: Cheerble Wicked Ball
- Best automated cat toy for energetic cats: Moody Pet Fling-Ama-String Cat Toy
- Best automated cat toy for agile cats: Yami Windmill Cat Toy
- Best concealed automated cat toy: SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Cat Toy
PetSafe Dancing Dot Laser Toy
Best overall automated cat toy
Batteries: Three AAA batteries | Material: Plastic | Best for: Cats of all ages
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.
Petsafe Peek-a-Bird Electronic Cat Toy
Best automated cat toy for cats who are home alone
Batteries: Three AA batteries | Materials: Plastic and artificial feather | Best for: Kittens
Although this toy is a pretty simple one – a brightly colored feather on the side of this duck-shaped toy moves from side to side – various added extras will certainly prevent boredom setting in. To start with, there are two modes. One-time-play will prompt the feather to flutter back and forth for 10 minutes, while play-all-day mode will fire up the toy for 10-minute sessions every two hours, although a handy motion sensor will always kick-start the toy when your cat’s nearby.
PetSafe FroliCat Cheese Automatic Cat Teaser
Best automated cat toy for all ages
Batteries: Three AA batteries | Materials: Plastic | Best for: Cats of all ages
Even the coolest of cats won’t be able to resist this ridiculously cute toy. The premise is simple – plastic mice pop out from holes on either side of the cheese wedge, only to (hopefully) disappear once your cat makes a lunge. An auto shut-off feature kicks in after 15 minutes of play to help preserve battery life, and the play-while-you-are-away mode will keep boredom at bay when you’re not around.
PetSafe Frolicat Fox Den Toy Automatic Cat Teaser
Best automated cat toy for mobility issues
Batteries: Three AA batteries | Materials: Plastic and faux fur | Best for: Older cats
The low profile of this toy makes it perfect for cats whose jumping days are behind them. That said, the swishing fox tail will still give your pet a decent workout, and the two-tone design means the tail is easy to spot, too. It’s another toy with a mode designed especially for when you’re not at home, and the random pattern of the tail’s movement does a wonderful job of capturing and holding your pet’s attention for longer periods of time.
Ferplast Tornado Circuit
Best battery-free automated cat toy
Batteries: None required | Materials: Plastic | Best for: Fully grown cats**
This colorful creation is a welcome reminder that the best moving pet toys don’t necessarily need batteries. This toy will keep your cat entertained in two ways: with a colorful flashing ball that moves around the base unit and can be tapped and batted by your cat; and with a fishing hook-style ball suspended from the central tower. It’s also wonderfully easy to assemble and surprisingly stable.
EaMien Catnip Fish Toy
Best compact automated cat toy
Batteries: None required – charges via USB | Materials: Cotton and stuffing | Best for: Older cats
Although cat owners who also keep fish might want to bypass this particular toy, it’s proof that some of the best pet toys are the simplest – in this case, two small rechargeable fish that twitch and flap across the floor. The best bit? They’re stuffed with catnip, making them irresistible to feline friends. A word of warning – they’re also surprisingly lifelike, which means there will inevitably be a fleeting moment when you’re convinced your cat’s caught an actual fish.
Cheerble Wicked Ball
Best automated cat toy for outdoor use
Batteries: None required – charges via USB | Materials: Plastic | Best for: Fully grown cats
The Wicked Ball is packed with features that won’t simply keep your cat entertained, but will improve their fitness, too. This hi-tech smart toy has been designed especially for cats to play with when they’re left home alone for short periods of time, but its rugged nature means it’s one of the best outdoor cat toys, too. It’s best described as a tennis ball-sized toy that will roll around the floor, relying on sensors to avoid hard surfaces and giving its movements an unpredictability your cat will love. It will work equally well on carpets, grass or hard flooring.
Moody Pet Fling-Ama-String Cat Toy
Best automated cat toy for energetic cats
Batteries: Three AA batteries | Materials: Plastic and string | Best for: Young and middle-aged cats
Although we’d urge caution when it comes to toys featuring loose lengths of string, this hi-tech teaser is an exception. It’s a battery-powered gadget that can be propped against a wall or hung from hooks and door knobs. The premise is simple but irresistible to cats. Simply turn it on (there are two speed modes), and an internal conveyor belt will start rotating. Attached to this belt is a length of brightly colored, ultra-tough cord that flings through the air as it rotates. When a cat grabs the cord, the conveyor belt stops, only to start again when kitty’s claws release.
Yami Windmill Cat Toy
Best automated cat toy for agile cats
Batteries: None required | Materials: Plastic | Best for: Kittens and young cats
Another reminder that batteries aren’t always best, this turquoise cat toy ticks multiple boxes. To start with, it will give your cat a brilliant workout as they bat the spinning pods. Then there’s the central column, topped with soft bumps that are designed to enhance grooming regimes. The plastic balls can be filled with small cat treats or pieces of catnip, making it irresistible to the coolest of cats. We’re also pleasantly surprised by the strength of the suckers, which ensure that it won’t topple over during the most energetic play sessions.
SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Cat Toy
Best concealed automated cat toy
Batteries: 3 x AA | Materials: Plastic wand and plush toy | Best for: All ages
Playtime just got more fun with this fascinating toy that replicates the movement of hidden prey. Satisfying your cat’s natural hunting instincts, this toy contains an erratically moving wand hidden under durable fabric with moving lights.
With adjustable speed that lets you control the fun, choose from complete circles, half-circles, or small movements. The toy takes 3 x AA batteries and gives around an hour of life, making it ideal for brief interactive play sessions.
Cheap and cheerful, the SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Cat Toy has plenty of fans with one reviewer stating “I don’t often give five stars, but my kitty LOVES this toy. He never seems to get bored with it. Sometimes he attacks it, sometimes he sits and watches it. He has played with it pretty much daily since Christmas and waits rather impatiently every morning for me to turn it on for his morning playtime. Haven’t changed batteries yet, and he isn’t exactly gentle with it so it’s pretty sturdy.”
If you’re looking for an affordable toy that will provide your kitty with plenty of amusement, then this product from SmartyKat is well worth a go.
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