Whoever penned the words ‘curiosity killed the cat’ has never made a truer statement. Cats are inquisitive and adventurous and the world around them is their oyster. It provides endless opportunities to explore, hunt and play. Even though many owners choose to keep their cats indoors for their own safety, this doesn’t dampen their sense of curiosity, boisterousness and the need to assimilate their predatory nature. The ninja within still yearns for adventure and Kung Fu fighting. Keeping your indoor cat stimulated and active is as important for your cat as it is for you and the best way to do this is with interactive cat toys.
A lack of activity or exercise will increase your cat’s chances of obesity that can lead to other health problems, such as heart disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes and skin disorders. Your furniture and carpets may also suffer from excessive scratching as the cat may release energy through climbing and jumping. Behavioural problems may occur due to frustration and boredom. Your cat may become stressed by the lack of stimulation and opportunity to express their normal behaviours; like hunting and sharpening their claws. Your cat will act out certain behaviours that’s indicative of boredom. This might include constantly looking for your attention (neediness), vocalisation (excessive talking) and physical harm to your furniture, belongings, toilet rolls and to you or those around you (may include biting and scratching).
Therefore, if you wish to keep an indoor cat content you will have to continue to be creative and introduce new toys and games to keep your cat stimulated and exercised, both physically and mentally. Using moving cat toys and interactive cat toys to keep them engaged and intellectually stimulated is essential for a happy and healthy indoor cat.
When searching for a cat toy consider the cat’s modus operandi during play. What games or toys do they prefer during your interaction with them and on their own? This will be a good indication of what type of toy/s to look for. You should also make sure you get age appropriate toys for your cat to ensure safe playing. Keep in mind that you won’t always be available to engage with your cat during play time and may need an interactive cat toy that will keep your cat active and entertained. However, it's good from time to time to swap the toys or put them away, to be new another day.
Three tunnels to keep your cat running around.
Peep hole in the middle for curious kitties.
Crinkle paper for extra noise and fun.
Ball attachment for swatting.
Soft fabric perfect for napping in.
Ball attachment for swatting at.
Foldable and lightweight for moving around.
Mice infused with catnip for extra fun.
Made of 100% recycled material.
Perfectly sized for carrying around and pouncing on.
Combines a toy with a scratching pad.
Interactive ball for your cat to chase around.
Three levels of individually moving balls.
Newer models have safety bar across the opening.
Seven different toys.
Made of natural materials.
Three levels of individually moving balls.
Comes in a selection of colours.
Comes apart to make separate toys.
Encourages human and cat interactive play.
The holes are covered to keep the cat curious while playing.
The ball is contained in the track for long lasting fun.
Openings are at the top and sides for more interaction.
Rewards your cat for playing with treats.
Five different activities keep your cat entertained.
Encourages your cat to use its natural behaviours.
Top 5 Interactive Cat Toys
The things to look out for in choosing cat toys kind of comes down to your cat. You need something that will engage its curiosity and keep it entertained. Some cats will require random motion to get them engaged while others are happy to chase anything with catnip.
The following toys have been rated by hundreds and sometimes thousands of users and tested on a large variety of cats. I’ve collated it all here to give you as much information as possible for making your choice and choosing the best interactive cat toys for your cat.
Prosper Pet Cat Tunnel (4.8/5)
Finding a cat toy that can keep your cats and other family pets entertained for long periods of time is rare. Most cats get bored easily, but The Prosper Pet Cat Tunnel is an interactive cat toy that’s received enthusiastic reviews from consumers. The design was well thought out with its three spacious tunnels, built-in crinkle crackle paper, peephole and bell toy. The tunnel also has various colours to choose from. The Prosper Pet Cat Tunnel is durable, made of polyester with a sturdy frame and is easily collapsible and portable. This toy will provide your cat with hours of exercise and self-amusement while running or playing through the tunnels, not to mention the peephole in the middle for the inquisitive kitties. It can easily be stored away for convenience.
Most Common Complaints
- The size and length of the tunnels was smaller than expected. Adult cats of 20lbs are too big to use the toy.
- It does take some damage due to excessive clawing.
- The ball attached to the tunnel was easily torn off and needs to be attached more securely.
- The tunnel slides around on the smooth flooring.
The Favourite Medium Cat Tunnel is ideal for hide and go seek and cat naps, with its soft velvety double velour fabric covering the frame inside and out. There is a dangling ball with the same fabric for interactive playing. This tunnel is suitable for one cat to hide out in and small enough not to obstruct the room. It can easily be collapsed and tied up for storage or transport. Multiple cats can enjoy this lightweight toy house which can be dragged and played with throughout the house. The steel frame will maintain the tunnel shape, even with the roughest cat play. It’s the perfect cat toy for indoor cats, especially timid and shy cats use it as a hide out. Cats also enjoy hiding their toys in the tunnel.
Most Common Complaints
- The tunnel is too small for larger cats, over around 18lbs.
- The ball attached to the tunnel comes off easily.
The SmartyKat Skitter Critters cat toy includes three adorable mice with pure and potent catnip in each one. It’s Fiberfil made from 100% recycled plastic and not fake fur. The mice are durable and will withstand wear and tear. It’s perfectly sized to bat and carry and the tail adds to the functionality and realism of the mouse. It’s not just the catnip that keeps the cats coming back for more but the size and shape of the mouse that’s a good replica. This is an ideal interactive cat toy that can be thrown into an empty bathtub to keep your cat entertained.
Most Common Complaints
- The picture on the packaging is misleading. The tails are made of coloured paper and detach easily and the dimensions given are for the packaging, not the mice. They are smaller than expected
- Some more vigorous cats managed to destroy these mice pretty quickly.
- After the mouse has lost the catnip scent the cat loses interest.
- There doesn’t seem to be very much catnip in the mice, some cats aren’t interested at all and some people can’t even smell the catnip.
Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy (4.5/5)
The Bergan Turbo Scratcher cat toy is a dual combination toy for both active play and scratching. This cat toy has a track for a small ball and in the centre, is the Turbo Scratcher. The small ball can be shoved with the paw and will go around the track for hours of fun. It comes with 1 base (16" diameter), 1 scratch pad and 1 ball. The colour for this toy may vary, but the scratch pad is durable and can be replaced from Bergan. To enhance the scratch pad, you can also add catnip to further stimulate your cat’s play time. Keep your cat busy with this moving cat toy and scratch pad that will certainly be more inviting than your furniture.
Most Common Complaints
- The ball comes out easily while the cat is play with it.
- The Amazon version comes with a promotional sticker glued to it scratching part that leaves behind sticky residue when removed.
- Quite a few of the purchases came without the ball.
There’s not one, but three track levels and three balls in this Petstages Tower of Tracks for triple the fun. This toy is only available in orange and each level has a ball that spins and rolls around each track individually. The construction of the tower is sturdy and will withstand vigorous play with one or multiple cats. The non-skid pads at the bottom will also keep the toy in place while the cat plays. It has a bar that covers the opening in the centre of the tower to prevent an inquisitive cat’s head from getting trapped. This three-level tower with its colourful balls will be the perfect toy for indoor cats that are thoroughly engaging. A tap from the cat’s paw moves the balls smoothly around the track. This cat toy is safe to use and the balls stay intact.
Most Common Complaints
- Cat’s head got trapped in the centre after following the shadows of the balls before the safety bar was added across the opening.
- It's quite lightweight so it slides a bit on smooth flooring.
- Several people have found that their cats get bored of it pretty quickly as it doesn't move on its own.
Other Awesome Cat Toys
The following interactive cat toys didn't quite make it into the Top 5, but at positions 6-10 they still provide hours of fun for you and your cat and deserve some recognition.
- This mega cat toy pack is value for money with seven different toys to choose from.
- The toys are made of natural materials that include natural wood, sisal, elastic and feathers.
- The Natural Pet Company Cat Toys collection is an ideal cat toy for indoor cats as it develops their hunting skills and encourages them to play hunt in a safe environment.
- The cat toys also encourage interaction between owner and pet, whether playing fetch or swinging the string toy around.
- The toys provide a fun way to get cats to exercise indoors.
- Perfect as a gift for families or friends with cats.
- The durability and quality of the toys is a main concern as the toys start unravelling soon after use.
- After a while, some cats just lose interest in it.
Gimilife Pet Three Levers Tower of Tracks Interactive Cat Toys Pet Ball Toys Amusement Plate (4.5/5)
- It lasts well during vigorous play and it's portable so you can move around the house.
- The design of the Gimilife Pet Three Levers Towers of Tracks provides a great play station for cats.
- The tower is sturdy enough with one or more cats playing at the same time.
- Moving cat toys are ideal for keeping cats interested and occupied indoors.
- Easy to transport.
- This requires some self assembly.
- Some people were disappointed in the quality of material used in the construction of the toy as it’s light weight.
- The balls easily come out of the toy.
- The tower is smaller than expected and more appropriate for kittens.
- Some cats chew it.
- This is a very stimulating toy for indoor cats that encourage interactive play for owner and cat.
- It’s an engaging toy for the cat and it's great quality time you spend together.
- It’s user friendly.
- The Hugs Pet Products Whack-A-Mouse promotes cat’s natural instincts and curiosity.
- This is a sturdy and well-made interactive cat toy.
- Possible choking hazard from the pieces covering the holes coming loose.
- Once the material covering the holes wears out, it comes loose. This means there's no more element of surprise and the cats tend to lose interest them.
- The handle that attaches to the mouse is of substandard quality.
- Most cats easily destroy the mouse, which creates a choking hazard with the stuffing peeled out.
Petmate Crazy Circle Interactive Cat Toy (4.3/5)
- The ball is enclosed in a durable plastic circle preventing it from jumping out even during vigorous play.
- This toy is very entertaining and can keep cats occupied for hours trying to get the ball out.
- It has openings in the top and sides so that the cat can move the ball around with its paws for more interaction.
- The Petmate Crazy Circle cat toy is well constructed and the ball moves smoothly around the circle.
- The plastic edges of the toy are sharp and have sharp jagged plastic protruding from the openings.
- It appears cheaply made and of low quality, it also comes apart easily.
- The access openings are too small for a grown cat’s paws.
- Trixie Pet is a 5-in-1 activity centre with 5 interactive games. Each game stimulates all of your cat's five senses.
- The unit is steady on all surfaces.
- It encourages cats to play each game with the reward of a treat.
- The games include scooping out treats from a fish bowl, mapping out a hunting strategy, earning treats using their paws and a tunnel for hiding toys and treats.
- This 5-in-1 activity centre is a perfect cat toy for your indoor cat’s mental stimulation and health.
- The inside edges of the little fish bowls are sharp and could hurt the cat’s paws.
- The treats need to be a bigger size to prevent it falling through the openings.
- The plastic fish bowls have a lip on the inside making it hard to get the treats out.
- It doesn’t always dispense the treats properly and sometimes needs some manual intervention.
There are so many incredible toys that you can get for your cat to keep it stimulated and active. However, there's a good chance that, despite all of the choice, your cat will end up preferring the box it came it. Or else favouring a crisp packet tied to a string or the pine cone you brought home. The most important thing though, is that you play with your cat. This is beneficial for both you and your kitty by providing you with hours of fun, keeping your cat from getting bored and destructive and also helping you bond to become life long friends. Most of all, have fun with your cat.