We tested the best toys for indoor cats - here are the winners

Ginger cat poking its head through a yellow cat toy tunnel with dangling balls
(Image credit: Getty Images/Sharleen Chao)

Are you looking for the best toys for indoor cats? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We put seven to the test by our team of experts (and their furry friends) to help you find the right choice.

If you’re wondering whether cat play is that important and if they really need toys, the answer is yes! Experts recommend playing with them two to three times a day for 15 to 20 minutes. The best interactive cat toys provide your feline with essential stimulation and strengthen your bond together. Regular play also helps to reduce unwanted behavior, like aggression and can prevent boredom and anxiety in cats

If your cat stays inside, you might find it trickier to entertain them. However, having a good selection of toys can make things easier. Whether they’re using their natural foraging instincts with the best cat puzzle feeder or activating their hunting skills with the best laser toys for cats – play is excellent for their mental and physical health. Here are the best indoor cat toys in 2024:

The best toys for indoor cats [year}

How we tested the best toys for indoor cats

To ensure your cat is healthy and happy, they need to have a good selection of toys to play with. As well as improving their physical health by keeping them active, it helps with stress and anxiety in cats. Regular play will also strengthen your relationship; building trust and communication. 

With so many options on the market, it's challenging to find the best toys for indoor cats. As pet parents ourselves, we know what that's like - and we also know what you're looking for. We gave every one of these toys to our team of experts, who put them to the test on their cats. Here's what they looked out for:

Suitability: Just like humans, every cat is different. That's why we included a variety of toys to suit different personalities. Whether your cat has lots of energy and loves to run about, or needs a little motivation with food - we've rounded up a great selection to choose from.

Enjoyment: What's the point in spending money on toys that your cat won't enjoy? We ensured that the toys were engaging, stimulating, and something that they actually wanted to play with. 

Affordability: Not everyone wants to fork out hundreds of dollars on cat toys - and we totally get it! High-quality toys don't need to cost the earth, and we're pleased to say that all of these are under $30. We also included some budget options in the mix for under $15.

Whilst we recommend all of these cat toys, there's always room for improvement. Here at PetsRadar, we're transparent about the things that could be better and make sure we include these in our testing notes. That way, there are no unwanted surprises for you.

White ginger cat stalking a ball that's rolling away from it

(Image credit: Getty Images/NickyLloyd)

How to choose the best toys for indoor cats

Cat toys are relatively inexpensive, so the best way to find them is to just try things out and see what works for your cat and its temperament. 

Be led by how your cat behaves. If they enjoy running around your home, something like a cat ball is best, as they encourage your cat to sprint and pounce.

You should also think about how much you want to be involved in play. Most vets recommend you play with your cat for 15 to 20 minutes, two to three times a day.

If you don’t exercise your cat daily, this can lead to disinterest and obesity, which can have a detrimental effect on your cat’s physical and mental health. A healthy cat is happier and more affectionate.

We suggest playing with cats yourself as much as possible. As tempting as it is to leave toys lying around the home for them to interact with, cats form better bonds with their owners through play. Plus, they lose interest in items that they see frequently, so tidying them away, rotating toys, and playing with your cat directly will always be more exciting and rewarding for them than just leaving them to their own devices.

White cat sitting down next to an automated indoor cat toy

(Image credit: Getty Images/Witthaya Prasongsin)

How do you keep an indoor cat entertained?

If you have an indoor cat, you might find it difficult to find new ways to keep them stimulated. We asked Dr. Rebecca MacMillan, an expert vet, for her top tips:

1. Give them a scratching post

"It’s normal for cats to want to scratch, not only to keep their claws in good shape but also to scent mark. An indoor cat won’t have access to trees or a garden fence for this purpose, so make sure they have scratch mats or scratch posts to fulfill these natural behaviors," she says.

2. Give them a cat tree

"Cats also enjoy looking down on their territory and keeping half an eye on it whilst relaxing. An indoor cat should have access to a cat tree or some other way of getting up high, so try and incorporate this into your living space where possible," she says.

White cat standing on its back legs to attack a ball toy indoors

(Image credit: Getty Images/Somsri Luangsod)

3. Mix up the toys

Dr. MacMillan says: "A variety of toys will help to keep an indoor cat amused. Try limiting and rotating which toys are out for your cat at any one time as this will help prevent boredom.

"Puzzle toys or feeders can be a great way of exercising your cat mentally and physically. Instead of putting treats in them (which can add additional calories and lead to weight gain), [...] use some of [your] cat’s daily kibble allowance in there instead. This helps them work for their dinner!"

4. Provide some outdoor space if you can 

She says: "If you can, build an enclosed outdoor space for your cat (e.g. a catio), then this will help greatly with their mental wellbeing. We all benefit from some fresh air and being able to watch the world go by, so it is well worth providing for your cat if you can."

If you're looking for some catio ideas, check out this feature.

Curated by
Megan Milstead smiling
Curated by
Megan Milstead

Megan Milstead is Staff Writer on PetsRadar and is a lifelong animal lover. As a pet parent of two cats (Chilli and Nala), she understands the importance of cat play for their health and happiness. That's why she's committed to helping you find the best toys for your indoor cats. She graduated from the University of Westminster with a degree in BA Journalism and joined the PetsRadar family last year.

Dr. Rebecca MacMillan
Dr. Rebecca MacMillan BVetMed BSAVA PGCertSAM MRCVS

Rebecca is a vet surgeon who graduated in 2009 from the Royal Veterinary College in London. She has a wealth of experience in first opinion small animal practice, having done a mixture of day-to-day routine work, on-call emergency duties and managerial roles over the years. She enjoys medicine in particular and she is proud to have recently achieved a BSAVA postgraduate certificate in small animal medicine (with commendation). She writes on various feline and canine topics, including behavior, nutrition, and health. 

Andy Hartup

Andy is an online Editor-in-Chief, a photographer, and a cat owner of 25 years. He has owned many types of cat, rescuing some and adopting others from kittens. He currently lives with Pickle, a tortie, who loves to play with Christmas wrapping bows and eat flowers.