Best automated cat toys 2024 to keep your furry friend entertained

cat chasing a toy
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Keep your curious kitty entertained with the best automated cat toys. These high-tech gadgets are the perfect playthings for your feline friend, offering a stimulating and rewarding playtime even when you’re not able to lavish them with attention.

We all love playing with our feline friends, but we can’t keep them entertained all the time. As Dr Lily Richards explains, “Cats are natural hunters, active, and playful animals but can get bored easily.” Bored cats are more prone to undesirable behaviors like scratching the furniture, so keeping their minds and bodies active is a necessity and automated cat toys are perfect for this. They’re also a great way to keep your kitty fit and active, contributing towards healthy weight loss for cats, which can be a struggle for house cats especially.

Automated cat toys come in all shapes, sizes, and styles so we’ve made sure to include a wide selection here. There are pop-up toys for them to bat at, floppy fish for them to catch and lasers for them to chase around the room. Just like the best cat toys that aren’t high tech, it can be hard to tell which types of automated options your kitty will enjoy until they try them. It can be a bit of trial and error, but as a rule of thumb, we’d recommend basing your choices on the regular toys that your cat already enjoys.

If you’re looking for a specific type of cat toy, we’ve also got guides to the best laser toys for cats and best interactive cat toys too. Otherwise, let's dive into our selection of the best automated cat toys.

rebecca macmillan
Dr. Rebecca MacMillan

Dr. Rebecca MacMillan is a companion animal vet with over 13 years of experience treating and looking after pets. She graduated from the UK Royal Veterinary college in 2009, and has worked in several practices over the years. Rebecca is also an experienced writer, using her veterinary background to offer expert opinion and advice. 

PetsRadar's pick of the best automated cat toys

PetSafe Dancing Dot Laser automated cat toy

(Image credit: Amazon)
Best overall automated cat toy

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Two play modes
+
Rest modes between sessions
+
Can be hung from a doorknob 

Reasons to avoid

-
Chews through batteries quickly
WHAT CAT OWNERS SAY

Averaging 4.1 stars on Amazon, pet parents say that this is one of the best and highest quality laser toys they've ever used. While cats seem to go crazy for it, people report that it does tend to chew through batteries fairly quickly and can be quite noisy.

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. 

Potaroma Electric Flopping Fish automated cat toyPets 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

+
Rechargeable battery
+
Catnip pouch
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Washable cover

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be quite noisy
WHAT CAT OWNERS SAY

Another toy that receives 4.1 stars on Amazon, people love how long the charge lasts on this toy and that the catnip pouch keeps their kitties engaged for longer. The only drawback appears to be the thumping noise the fish makes, with cat owners reporting they wish it were a little quieter.

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. 

Cat playing with Migipaws automated 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

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

Reasons to avoid

-
Short 5-minute program
WHAT CAT OWNERS SAY

Cat owners say that their cats give this toy two enthusiastic paws up, returning to it again and again thanks to its engaging design. While people would like the charge to last longer, it appears to be a small flaw when compared with how long it keeps cats content for.

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 3-Tier automated 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

+
Colorful and fun
+
Replacement balls available
+
Doesn't need batteries

Reasons to avoid

-
Could be sturdier
WHAT CAT OWNERS SAY

With an impressive 4.6 stars on Amazon, this hugely popular toy is a hit with pet parents who say that their cats have so much fun rolling, batting, pouncing and chasing. The only drawback appears to be the sturdiness, with some people wishing it had a more solid and durable design.

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 automated 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

+
Rechargeable with USB
+
Sleep mode
+
Irregular movements for unpredictable play

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for carpeted floors
WHAT CAT OWNERS SAY

Keeping cats amused for hours, reviewers note that this toy works beautifully on wooden floors, makes cute noises and has a decent battery life but it does tend to get stuck when it runs into a wall, which is why it's only been awarded 4 stars on Amazon.

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 automated 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

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

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite noisy 
WHAT CAT OWNERS SAY

A hit with younger cats, people praise how engaging this toy is and that it has two speeds, allowing them to select the one that best suits their kitty. However, there's no automatic shut off and reviewers cite this as the main drawback as the batteries drain quickly.

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.

PetSafe FroliCat Cheese automated cat toy

(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

+
Engages your cat's natural instincts
+
Compact
+
Durable

Reasons to avoid

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

Praising the design, quality and pleasing aesthetics, many pet parents report that this is hands down their favorite cat toy - and their feline friends agree! As with many automated options though, people note that it can be noisy and it does have a tendency to drain the batteries quickly. 

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 automated 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

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

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for use on carpet
WHAT CAT OWNERS SAY

Averaging 3.9 stars on Amazon, reviewers describe this as a 'cool' toy that's really well made. With random movements and different colors, people say that it's very engaging, however it doesn't work well on carpeted surfaces and is prone to getting stuck in certain spots around the home. 

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 choose the best automated cat toys

When choosing your automated cat toy there are some important things that you need to consider:

Personal preferences

First, it is important to remember that different cats like different things. While some might go crazy for toys that make erratic movements other cats will prefer the mental stimulation of a hide-and-seek toy. Try and identify what games your cat likes to play with you and see if you can find something similar in an automated form. 

Toys that stimulate natural behaviors

The best automated cat toys tend to be the ones that stimulate natural behaviors, which for cats means hunting! Cats enjoy toys that act like prey – this means sudden or unpredictable movements or toys that have a hide-and-seek feature. The reward in these games is the ability to be able to catch the prey. Toys that feature lasers can lead to frustration as there is nothing for your pet to physically get hold of at the end.

Physical ability

Factor your cat’s age and fitness levels into your decision-making process. An elderly, arthritic, or overweight cat may not be able to get much enjoyment out of a very fast-paced toy, leading to frustration and disinterest. 

Safety

The other thing you need to consider when selecting your automated toy is safety. Choose a toy that comes from a reputable retailer, is robustly made, and features a secure battery compartment. This should have screws to ensure the compartment never comes open by itself, which is vital when this toy is being used by unsupervised cats. 

Cost and ease of use

Automated cat toys will have different price points depending on their design and complexity. Equally, some will require batteries or charging, which can run out at inopportune moments. These are all things to think about when making your purchase decision. 

Will an automated cat toy keep my cat entertained while I’m out of the house?

An automated cat toy can be a useful tool for cats that are home alone. It can provide mental stimulation as well as encourage physical activity, which is important to keep your cat happy. 

Cats may not play with their toy endlessly (many cats sleep 15 hours or more a day!), but it does allow them to express natural behaviors should they choose to use it. Remember that nothing can replace the social aspect of playing with you, so make sure you give your cat lots of attention when you are home again.

Are automated cat toys good for cats?

It is generally agreed that yes, reputable automatic cat toys are. Whilst they do not replace you and your interaction with your cat, usually their favorite form of play and connection, they provide a myriad of mental stimulation, playful fun and opportunities to keep cats satisfied.

Both physical and mental activity are required daily to consistently maintain a happy, stress free and healthy cat. As well as that, automatic toys help to maintain movement, healthy joints, ideal weight and, if they are on a weight reduction diet, support weight loss. They also prevent you from stressing and worrying about them being alone as you work, run errands, and generally live life.

You should tailor the type of toy to your cat's personality too. “It is also important to consider which natural behavior it is encouraging and what your cat prefers." explains Dr Lily Richards. So, if you cat likes stalking and playing with prey then they may prefer a teaser toy, while cats who like to pounce might enjoy a pop-up toy more. 

Dr Richards recommends keeping a variety of toys on hand too, as "offering a range of toys that encourage different play types, stimulating both body and mind, is a good idea.”

Do cats get bored of automatic cat toys?

Cats can quickly get bored of doing the same thing over and over, just like us, and this includes playing with the same toys. Automated toys can be more stimulating than regular cat toys, but that won’t stop your furry friend from tiring of their high-tech toys after a while. 

Overexposure is the main reason that cats get bored of toys, and while an automated toy might keep them engaged for longer, they aren’t immune to this issue. Dr Ricahrds notes that an “abundance of prey can lead to a lazy cat”, noting that an automatic toy that’s always available, or too many choices of toys can lead to them feeling overwhelmed or even apathetic.

There are some tricks you can use to keep your kitty entertained though. “Toy rotation is a useful tool to ensure that buying new toys to entertain our feline friends doesn’t get out of hand”, explains our expert vet Dr Lily Richards. “Simply put away some of their toys and bring them back out a couple of months later, it will be like they are brand new all over again.”

Tamara Hinson

Tamara Hinson is a freelance writer who grew up with huskies but unfortunately now has a husband who is allergic to dogs. Luckily she has a neighbour who lets her dog-sit her Maltese terrier and a nearby greyhound rescue centre where she can walk the residents.