The 7 best cat toys 2024, tried and tested by our feline friends

White cat biting feather teaser toy
(Image credit: Waitforlight/Getty Images)

The best cat toys play a huge role in your feline’s health and happiness, which is why it’s a good idea to have plenty to hand. Not only do these boredom busters keep your cat mentally stimulated, but they also help them to release pent-up energy and stay fit. 

We understand that every cat is different, which is why we’ve tested a variety of toys to suit each preference. If you’ve got an active cat, then they’ll love pouncing after our selection of wand toys. If your furry friend doesn’t venture outdoors, they’ll love our selection of the best toys for indoor cats

 For felines that enjoy mental stimulation, we’ve included a couple of puzzle toys that will keep their brain ticking. If you’ve noticed your cat is feeling a little anxious, the catnip toys are a great way to relax them while promoting exercise. For more recommendations, we’ve also got a guide on the best interactive cat toys

Daniel Warren-Cummings, Cats Protection’s central behavior officer, says: “Using toys is a great way for a cat to use up some of their energy, keep fit and healthy, and keep their brain alert and active. It’s particularly important for kittens as it teaches them the skills needed for life and lessons about the world around them.

“Cats need to exhibit hunting behavior to avoid stress and frustration and toys can reduce a cat's motivation to seek out prey. Fishing rod toys can imitate their natural hunting instinct, for instance, while catnip toys will provide hours of fun.”

The quick list

The best cat toys we recommend in 2024

Why you can trust PetsRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The best cat toy overall

1. Frisco Fabric Teaser Wand Cat Toy

Best overall

Specifications

Toy type: Wand toy
Age suitability: All ages
Material: Plastic and polyester
Cleaning instructions: Spot clean only
Dimensions: 16.25 x 1.25 x 0.25”

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Durable
+
Fun for cats to chase

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for independent play
Buy it if

You want to keep your indoor cat active: This colorful toy is great for keeping your feline friend moving, thanks to the enticing ribbon teaser. 

Don't buy it if

You want a toy for solo play: If you’re looking for a toy that your cat can play with independently, this might not be the right option, as you need to move the wand for them.  

The bottom line

🔎 Frisco Fabric Teaser Wand Cat Toy: Your cat will love chasing after the colorful ribbon teaser and spending some quality time with you. This toy will help your fur baby to stay fit and active while activating their hunting instincts. Plus, it’s super affordable.

This teaser toy is a great way to keep your furry friend fit and active. They will have hours of fun chasing after the colorful ribbon (which is available in two different patterns). Not only does it encourage them to use their natural instincts of hunting and pouncing, but it’s also a great way to bond and have some fun with your feline.

This toy gets the stamp of approval from our tester Julie Johnson and her cats, Holly and Max. She recommends this toy to all cats, but especially those who are older or need exercise. If you’re looking for ways to keep your indoor cat active, then this is a great option, according to Julie. 

When spending your money on a new cat toy, you want to make sure that it’s durable and worth it. So, we were pleased to hear that this one lasted well and seemed to be well-made. This one was more durable than the Ethical Pet Feather Dangler Wand Cat Toy with Catnip also tested.

Julie says: “My cats both love pouncing on anything slinky that moves. I flip it around on the bed and sling the ribbon part over the edge, and they jump up and attack it.”

The best catnip cat toy

2. Pioneer Pet Catnip Toy Nip Nibblers

Best catnip cat toy

Specifications

Toy type: Catnip toy
Age suitability: All ages
Material: Nylon-woven
Cleaning instructions: None provided
Dimensions: 5 × 0.5 × 5"

Reasons to buy

+
Catnip is exciting and engaging
+
Affordable
+
Doesn't take up too much space

Reasons to avoid

-
Only suitable for independent play
Buy it if

 Your cat loves catnip: If your feline is a fan of catnip, then they're going to be obsessed with this toy. The catnip interior will help them to relax and unwind as they bite into it. 

Don't buy it if

 You want to play with your cat: This toy is great for solo play, but there are limited ways for you to get involved. If you're looking for a game to spend quality time together, a wand teaser is a better shout. 

The bottom line

🔎 Pioneer Pet Catnip Toy Nip Nibblers: An exciting catnip toy that your feline will enjoy gnawing at. It doubles up as a dental hygiene toy and helps to clean tartar off their teeth.

If your kitty loves catnip (what cat doesn't?), then they're going to love the Pioneer Pet Catnip Toy Nip Nibblers. The nylon-woven shells release a small amount of catnip as your feline chews at it, and also helps to clean any tartar on their teeth. Plus, they're super affordable and come in a pack of three.

We gave this toy to our tester Norah Murphy, who says her cat Maple really enjoyed playing with them. Not only did they engage her for a long time, but they didn't take up too much space in the house.

She says: "Maple loves to fling her toys around, so she did that for quite a while. She’s typically a huge fan of springs, so this really engaged her for quite some time.

"Maple chased the toy and threw it around as well, she is great at playing solo. She also loved to chew on the toy, which I feel was her way of attempting to squeeze and release the mesh to distribute the catnip."

Since the shells release a small amount of catnip, you might be wondering whether it's going to be messy in your home. Norah reports back that they didn't break or cause a mess. When she first distributed the catnip, anything left over was easy to wipe or vacuum up.

In terms of durability, Norah says: "I’m not sure if the mesh has the opportunity to come apart and for her to potentially swallow it, but as of now I feel confident giving her the toy knowing it is safe."

The best puzzle toy

3. Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Buggin' Out Puzzle & Play Cat Toy

Best puzzle

Specifications

Toy type: Puzzle
Age suitability: All ages
Material: Composite material (mix of wood and plastic)
Cleaning instructions: Hand wash with soap and water
Dimensions: 13.78 x 1.77 x 11.42”

Reasons to buy

+
Great for mental stimulation
+
Easy to learn
+
High-quality

Reasons to avoid

-
It moves about if placed on hard flooring
Buy it if

You’re looking for a beginner puzzle: Even if your cat has never cracked a puzzle before, they’ll enjoy solving this one. It’s simple to learn and they’ll love getting their paws on the tasty treats hidden inside. 

Don't buy it if

❌  You want an advanced puzzle: If your cat is a bit of a puzzle whizz, then they’ll probably need something a bit more challenging than this one (like the Rainy Day puzzle in this guide).

The bottom line

🔎 Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Buggin' Out Puzzle & Play Cat Toy: This puzzle game is super engaging and will get your cat thinking. To retrieve the treats, they just have to spin the wheels and twist the pegs.

If your cat has never tried a puzzle toy before, then this is a great one to start with. It has eight different compartments to hide the treats in; these can then be retrieved by moving the pegs and twisting the leaves. 

At first, my cat Chilli didn’t like the idea of working for his food, but after some encouragement, he got stuck in and loved this game. I put his favorite treats in the compartments and he didn’t stop until he had got them. 

Chilli hasn’t always been the biggest fan of puzzle toys, so this was a great option for beginners like him. Simply place your treats in the holes and cover them with either the ladybug pegs or the green leaves. He was able to do both of these things - using his paws and nose to move them out of the way. I store the toy in my guest room and now and then, he’ll try to find it to play. I think it’s safe to say that he’s a huge fan of this one.

Helen, our other tester, also tried it out and says: "The two different configurations of hiding the treats mean you have more flexibility when setting up the puzzles. The design allows scent to pass through each obstacle, so it's easier for the cats to pinpoint the source of the food and focus on the puzzle."

Whilst it gave her cats some mental stimulation, she say's it's not that challenging.

Like the Rainy Day puzzle, this toy is made from high-quality materials and feels very durable. The design is BPA, PVC, and phthalate free which is always important for toys involving treats. I have confidence that this puzzle is going to last a long time and be a favorite of Chilli's for years to come. 

The best runner-up catnip toy

4. Planet Pleasures Spiral Cylinder with Catnip & Bell Cat Toy

Best runner-up catnip toy

Specifications

Toy type: Catnip toy
Age suitability: All ages
Material: Rope
Cleaning instructions: None provided
Dimensions: 3 x 1.25 x 1.25”

Reasons to buy

+
Catnip is exciting 
+
Suitable for independent play
+
Doesn't take up too much space

Reasons to avoid

-
 It doesn’t roll as easy as the best ball toy
Buy it if

✅ You're looking for a catnip toy: This is one of the best catnip toys I've ever tested - I couldn't believe how quickly Chilli smelt it. It's safe to say that he's a huge fan of this toy.

Don't buy if

 You want a ball that rolls: This toy is great for biting and swiping, but it doesn't roll that easily or that far. This means it might not keep them as active as the best ball toy.

The bottom line

🔎 Planet Pleasures Spiral Cylinder with Catnip & Bell Cat Toy: An engaging catnip toy that your feline will be hooked on. This toy is great for everyday enrichment.

This spiral toy is perfect for mental and physical stimulation, and contains catnip for extra excitement. Whether your cat enjoys independent or interactive play, they'll have hours of fun with this one. Although the manufacturer says it's great for solo play, they recommend supervising your cat as the small parts might be a choking hazard.

As soon as I opened up the parcel, Chilli's eyes lit up and he leaped up onto my desk. He instantly wanted to play with it and has had so much fun chasing it about the house. For the first two days, he was obsessed with it and would enjoy rolling, biting and licking it. My other cat Nala also liked gnawing at it, as well as kicking her feet against it. 

After a couple of weeks, this toy is still a hit, but they play with it less frequently than before. Although they seem slightly less interested in terms of play, Nala still enjoys sleeping with it and I often see them kicking it about.

When it comes to durability, I have no concerns about this falling apart or being dangerous for my cats. The spiral springs bend when you apply force to them, but this isn't an everyday concern (or something my cats would even do). However, this could be a good thing as it means that you can replace the catnip or remove the bell if you wanted to.

The best advanced puzzle

5. Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Rainy Day Puzzle & Play Cat Toy

Best advanced puzzle

Specifications

Toy type: Puzzle toy
Age suitability: All ages
Material: Composite material (mix of wood and plastic)
Cleaning instructions: Hand wash with soap and water
Dimensions: 15.55 x 1,18 x 9.25”

Reasons to buy

+
Mentally stimulating and challenging
+
Durable 
+
High-quality

Reasons to avoid

-
It moves about if placed on hard flooring
Buy it if

✅  You want to mentally stimulate your cat: This puzzle is great for challenging your cat and encourages them to problem solve to find the treats.

Don't buy it if

Your cat hasn’t tried a puzzle game before: If your cat isn't good a puzzles, then they might be better off with an easier one instead.  

The bottom line

🔎 Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Rainy Day Puzzle & Play Cat Toy:  This puzzle game is super engaging and will get your cat thinking. To retrieve the treats, they’ll have to spin the wheels and twist the pegs - they'll never be bored again!

If your cat loves a challenge, then this is the perfect puzzle for them. There are 14 different compartments to hide their favorite treats in. They can then be retrieved by spinning a wheel, moving the pegs, or swiveling the raindrops. 

I put this toy to the test on my playful cat Chilli, who hasn’t had much interest in puzzles in the past. Once he got the hang of how to use it (with a little assistance), he enjoyed using his natural foraging instincts to remove to treats from the compartments. The best thing about this toy is that there are various ways for them to get the treat - from spinning the wheel to dragging the pegs. This means that even if your cat doesn’t understand one method, they can still have fun trying another way. 

In comparison to the Buggin’ Out toy, this one was a little trickier for Chilli to understand. He seemed a bit frustrated at times that he couldn’t work it out (nothing gets in between him and his treats!), and it took him much longer to solve. However, with a little practice and help from mum, he was able to work out how to spin the wheel.

This toy feels very durable and I have no concerns about any of the pieces falling off. It’s made from food-safe materials, giving you peace of mind that it’s fine for your cat to eat from. This toy is s high-quality, durable, and fun - making it worth the price tag.

The best ball toy

6. Planet Pleasures Spiral Ball with Catnip & Bell Cat Toy

Best ball toy

Specifications

Toy type: Catnip ball
Age suitability: All ages
Material: Rope
Cleaning instructions: None provided
Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 2"

Reasons to buy

+
Easy for cats to roll about
+
Keeps your cat active
+
Durable

Reasons to avoid

-
Catnip wasn't as effective as the best catnip cat toy
Buy it if

✅ You want to keep your cat active: Even the laziest of cats (like Nala) can't resist rolling this ball about. This means it's a great way to get your cat running around and keeping fit.

Don't buy it if

 You want a catnip toy: Although this technically is a catnip toy, I wouldn't recommend it for solely this purpose. My cats weren't too fussed about this side of things and were more interested in using it as just a ball.  However, this might be dependent on the cats in question.

The bottom line

🔎 Planet Pleasures Spiral Ball with Catnip & Bell Cat Toy: An exciting ball toy that your cats are going to love chasing around your home. It's also filled with catnip and a bell for extra fun.

This colorful ball would be a great addition to your cat's toy collection, and contains a bell and catnip inside. This is a similar design to the best runner-up catnip toy, but this one rolls around much easier in comparison. 

My cats Chilli and Nala have had lots of fun chasing it around the house and giving it a good old sniff. This is a great toy for keeping your fur babies fit and active - especially if they're indoor cats and you're looking for new ways to get them moving. Despite this being a catnip toy, my cats didn't seem to notice it and were more interested in rolling it around. 

I also love how this toy doesn't take up too much space in the house . The colors are very subtle, blending in with most of my furniture. The toy also feels durable, high quality, and I have no concerns about it falling apart. In comparison to the cylinder version, the springs do not bend as easily. 

The best catnip wand teaser

7. Ethical Pet Feather Dangler Wand Cat Toy with Catnip

Best catnip wand teaser

Specifications

Toy type: Wand teaser
Age suitability: All ages
Material: Plastic
Cleaning instructions: Spot clean only
Dimensions: 0.5 x 2 x 16”

Reasons to buy

+
Catnip makes playtime more exciting
+
Looks like a bird to activate hunting instincts
+
Keeps your cat active

Reasons to avoid

-
Not very durable
Buy it if

✅  You want to keep your cat active: This teaser toy is guaranteed to get your cat moving and chasing after the bird-like feather (especially since it’s made with catnip). 

Don't buy it if

❌ You want a toy for solo play: To get the full benefits of this toy, you’ll need to move the wand about for your furry friend. 

The bottom line

🔎 Ethical Pet Feather Dangler Wand Cat Toy with Catnip: Colorful feathers and dangling string is hard for any cat to resist. This enticing teaser toy is going to be a firm favorite in your cat's collection, and you'll enjoy quality time playing with them too.

If you want to keep your indoor cat moving, then it’s worth investing in this super fun teaser wand. Even if they’re not usually a fan of this sort of toy, we’re sure they’ll go crazy for it once they get a whiff of the catnip. Whether you dangle it in the air or drag it on the floor, your cat will have a blast chasing and pouncing after it (like it’s a real animal). 

Our tester Julie tried it out on her cats, Holly and Max, who enjoyed playing with it. She says that the feather feature mimics a real bird when you move it around, grabbing their attention immediately. This means it’s great for activating their natural hunting instincts, keeping them mentally and physically stimulated (and reducing the chances of them bringing in the real deal). 

This toy is great for keeping cats active but Julie notes that it’s not as durable as  other toys she’s bought in the past. She says that it’s “kind of easy for them to pull apart” and she has to watch her cats play to ensure they don’t sit and chew the feathers to pieces. This means that you might need to watch over your kitty and keep it out of reach when you’re not around.

How we tested

We scoured the internet for the very best cat toys,  then gave them to our team of testers to  try out. Cat play is such an important part of their life - reducing boredom, keeping them active and providing much-needed enrichment. That's why we've rounded up the best in the business to ensure your cat is fulfilled and happy. We took the following factors into consideration:

Enjoyment: When you're buying a new cat toy, you want them to actually enjoy using it. We ensured the toys were engaging, exciting and fun for our felines. We also included real pictures to prove how much they loved them!

Fit for purpose: If your cat doesn't understand how to use a toy, then it's pretty much useless. We made sure that all of the toys in the guide are easy for cats to understand and do what they say on the tin. We understand that no two cats are the same, which is why we included two puzzles with different ability levels.

Durability and safety:  We asked our testers to include details on the durability and safety of the toys to ensure there are no nasty surprises for you. 

Affordability: Everyone deserves access to the best cat toys, which is why we included a variety of price points within this guide and every product is under $20. 

How to choose the best cat toy

Before deciding on the best cat toys for your feline friend, you should assess your kitty's personality. How your cat interacts with toys and the environment will help to steer you towards more suitable products. Personality can also dictate the number of toys you need to buy to ensure a cat is suitably stimulated both mentally and physically.

“Cats that don’t have toys to display their inbuilt prey/play behaviors may start directing these behaviors on to people (particularly if owners encourage their cats with fingers or toes) and over time this can develop to be a substantial problem,” says Daniel Warren-Cummings, Cats Protection’s Central Behavior Officer.

“Frustration-related aggression or redirected play aggression can occur when cats are under-stimulated and need an outlet. If an owner’s cat is regularly displaying ‘zoomies’, then it’s a good indicator that they might be under-stimulated and need more toy play in their life.”

Watch your cat

By watching your cat and identifying certain behaviors, you can better target your toy buying. For example, if your cat is scratching the furniture, a toy that relieves the urge to scratch would work well. Likewise, if a cat is displaying an urge to chase, a toy which includes an element of hunting is sure to go down well.

Offer cats a challenge

“Wild cats would have spent a large part of their day hunting for food, but our domestic cats get it in a bowl twice daily. Filling the rest of their time can be tricky!,” says vet Dr. Joanna Woodnutt. “If your cat spends all their time indoors, consider using a puzzle feeder to help them keep those hunting instincts honed. Some puzzle feeders are designed to be hidden around the house so your cat has to hunt for his dinner!”

Feel free to experiment

Most cat toys are inexpensive so it's worth introducing a range of toys and seeing which ones your kitty takes to the most. You shouldn't give up quickly either. Cats are fickle creatures and while they may turn up their noses at a toy today, that doesn't mean they'll ignore it tomorrow. In some cases, cats can ignore toys for months and then suddenly fall in love with them.

Go for well-made toys

Finally, on a practical level, ensure the toys are robust, unlikely to fall apart under heavy play, and free of small pieces that could come away and be swallowed. As vet Dr. Joanna Woodnutt says: “A common danger is swallowed string from wand toys – if you allow your cat to ‘catch’ the toy, be sure to remove it before they chew through the elastic.”

Why does my cat not show an interest in toys?

There are many reasons why a cat may not show an interest in toys and much depends on the type of feline you have. Indoor cats often react in different ways to outdoor cats, for example. “Indoor cats need more entertainment than outdoor cats who will often engage in hunting activity or will play with fallen leaves or grass blowing in the wind,” confirms Daniel Warren-Cummings, Cats Protection’s Central Behavior Officer.

Sometimes a cat has the urge to do something but will find there is no way of expressing themselves. “Oftentimes a cat will want to play but does not have an appropriate outlet,” Warren-Cummings continues. “Some cats like to chase a feather fishing rod toy (not just have them dangled in their face), others prefer self-directed play with ping pong balls and others will prefer larger ‘kickeroo’ style toys to display more ‘bunny kicking’ behavior.”

Boredom with toys can also set in so it's your job to ensure they are entertained without being overstimulated. “It’s important to swap toys around regularly to keep them interesting and very short games of one to two minutes are fine,” Warren-Cummings adds. “And older cats will love playing three or four times a day, while younger cats will be happy to play 10 times a day or more.”

Why do cats put toys in water?

Every now and then, you may wander over to your cat's bowl and find a toy bobbing in the water. Sometimes, you may even find one in the toilet. But why? “The reason is unknown but there are a few theories,” says Daniel Warren-Cummings, Cats Protection’s Central Behavior Officer.

“Some cats may drop their toys into their water bowls in order to fish them out as their own form of playing. Other cats may have been reinforced for the behavior and thus it becomes a learned pattern. As long as the toy being in, or near, the bowl is not deterring the cat from drinking the water, there’s nothing to be concerned about and owners should just enjoy watching their weird and wonderful cats.”

Curated by
Megan Milstead smiling
Curated by
Megan Milstead

Megan Milstead is Staff Writer on PetsRadar and graduated from the University of Westminster with a degree in BA Journalism. She has a wealth of experience caring for pets, having grown up with animals all of her life. At a pet mom of two tabbies, she has a particular interest in cat happiness and behavior, and is committed to helping you find the best toy for your feline. 

Dr Joanna Woodnutt BVM BVS BVMedSci MRCVS
Dr. Joanna Woodnutt

Dr. Joanna Woodnutt qualified as a vet from the University of Nottingham where she then went on to practice companion animal medicine in the Midlands. She really took to the consulting side of things and helping clients with medical problems such as dermatology, behavior, and nutrition - anything that involved helping clients understand their pets better.

Daniel Warren-Cummings
Daniel Warren-Cummings BSc (Hons), MSc (AWSEL)

Daniel graduated with a degree in Zoology with Animal Behavior from the University of Wales. He is currently working as a behaviorist for the UK’s largest cat charity - Cats Protection.  Daniel has recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law from the University of Winchester and is a volunteer dog trainer for the charity Dog A.i.D which trains pet dogs to provide assistance for clients with disabilities. He has a tabby cat called Lady Bug.

Megan Milstead
Staff Writer

Megan is a Staff Writer on PetsRader, covering news, features and buying guides. She has a wealth of experience looking after animals, having grown up with dogs, cats and horses all of her life. She’s particularly interested in pet happiness and behavior, which she loves to research in her spare time. You’ll often find her watching webinars on reactivity in dogs or researching cat body language. She loves going the extra mile for her cats Chilli and Nala (who also help out with testing the best products for our buying guides). 

Megan studied BA Journalism at the University of Westminster, where she specialized in lifestyle journalism and was editor of Smoke Radio’s online magazine. She also graduated from West Herts College with a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Journalism. Before joining the PetsRadar family last year, she worked on the editorial team at Harrods and has spent most of her career writing for specialized titles, like RunningShoesGuru, Licklist and Mr. After Party. 

Megan works alongside qualified vets and accredited trainers to ensure you get the best advice possible. She is passionate about finding accurate and helpful answers to your pet-related questions. 

With contributions from