Toys Your Cat Will Actually Want to Play With

December 2, 2017

Are you on the prowl, hunting up fun games for cats?

As a cat lover, I've come into contact with dozens of cat toys, both professionally made and last minute do-it-yourself improvisations with shoelaces or yarn tied around borrowed feathers from the chickens in the backyard coop or the ducks around the corner at the lake.


Kittens are the ones who most often desire playtime, of course. Older cats vary. I know a 16-year-old cat, Sweetie Pie, who never showed any interest in playing at all. Throughout her life, she’d been offered a variety of toys, but only her younger brother Pewter engaged in the fun. She simply observed from the sidelines.

Sweetie Pie’s apathy disappeared when she was introduced to the Cat Dancer -- The Original Interactive Cat Toy.

Cat Dancer Products 101 Interactive Cat Toy, Brown
  • The original interactive cat toy from Cat Dancer
  • Spring steel wire and rolled cardboard

There is also the Cat Charmer Safe Wand Teaser which is a plastic wand offering a long fabric snake.

The Cat Dancer that Sweetie Pie plays with is a long, skinny but curvy bendable wire with tiny little offerings of twisted cardboard at the end. 

Cat Dancer -- Cat Charmer Wand Teaser Toy
  • Cat charmer cat toy, from cat dancer
  • Interactive cat toy designed to charm, not harm

Once Sweetie Pie witnessed this toy in action, she not only got in on the fun, she completely stole the game! She didn't just come out from under the couch; she darted like a wildcat. I pull the Cat Dancer across the floor, enticing her with the twisty dancing cardboard bits, then just as she's about to pounce on her prey, I whip it up, over and behind her. When the timing is just right, she literally flips!


Pewter is much more easily pleased. As soon as he sees the opposite end of the wire (which has absolutely nothing on it), he pounces. He also picks it up from the floor in his mouth and carries it around proudly, meowing loudly as if he has just hunted and killed the world’s most elusive snake.


More than just a toy

If you're looking for more than just a toy and like the idea of creating a private play space, the Prosper Pet Cat Tunnel might be for you. It is fun not only for cats, but also for small dogs, rabbits, and maybe even a hamster. It offers your feline and their playmates three spacious tunnels with crackle-sounding paper to jump on inside, all enclosed in an ultra-strong, tear-resistant polyester wrap. It even offers a jingle bell toy at the end of the tunnel.

I've heard cat owners praise this tunnel for providing hours of exercise and entertainment. In my experience, the cats I know get excited in the beginning, but after a few weeks, it starts to gather more dust than kitty dander. Maybe if it were in a multiple cat home or for a cat that has a puppy or bunny sibling, it might really keep the party going.

The laser pointer

Over the years we've learned that the laser pointer is useful for more than just the next work presentation. Laser pointers are almost always a favorite with cats young and old. And this is probably the easiest toy for an overworked and exhausted cat owner.

Just want to lie on the couch and have no energy to play with kitty? If you have the strength to hold a pen, then you can point this at the wall and move it a little. If your cat is entranced by small bugs, the laser dot will certainly get his attention.

Petsafe Bolt Laser Toy

There is also the PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy. The device looks like a bowling pin and can be set on the floor. It shoots out laser lights, just like the pointer, only without you having to participate. The laser is on a rotating turntable and is reflected off a mirror that is adjustable by 15-20 degrees. Skittish cats might consider it too loud, though, because it does have a small motor running inside. 

PetSafe Interactive Laser
  • HANDS FREE PLAY: Automatic Mode entertains your cat for 15 minutes and uses mirror to create...
  • MANUAL MODE: Pick up the Bolt and play together with your cat for as long as you’d like

Milk rings? Never a bad idea

Have a cat that likes to play with 2-liter plastic caps, or insists on chasing around twist ties from the grocery store, or even plastic hair bands? Made of BPA-free plastic, milk rings might be an appealing and safer option. They roll, fit easily in a cat's paw, and can be batted around or chewed on. However, due to their small size, they do tend to get lost a lot.

Small Spaces

Live in a small apartment without much play space for Goober to run about? Why not try a few ping-pong balls in the bathtub? While the human version of ping-pong is meant for two, this cat is having a ball all by himself batting around balls in the tub. 

MAPOL 50- Pack Orange 3-Star Premium Ping Pong Balls Bulk,Advanced Training Table Tennis Ball
  • Consistent bounce,More Power,Decent Spin,Solid.
  • Great for stadium,club and school,home.Excellent balls for robot machine play,great for multi ball...


Scratching up furniture?

Has Miss Kitty been scratching up the furniture, and you think it's a cry for help? Does she need both an area to scratch and a new source of active entertainment?

If Captain Fuzzle is looking for balls to play with while also sharpening his claws, the Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy may be just what he's been meowing for. This can provide hours of fun and exercise for your cat while reducing potential furniture damage from scratching.

Turbo Cat Scratcher
  • Cat Toy Ball Track: The rounded race track with a ball encourages cat exercise and kitten play
  • Practical Cat Toy: The no-slip bottom prevents this cat toy from moving around during play

Got a tech-savvy puss that just can't keep his fuzzy paws off your flat-screen devices? There are lots of fun games for cats that you can download.

Petfinder offers a comprehensive list of the most popular Free Apps for Cats. Some kitties go crazy for birds. Others prefer mice or squirrels or fish. Certain cats are biased toward their own species, and most enjoy seeing other cats playing. Netflix offers a cat documentary called The Lion in Your Living Room. This flick has been a purr-inducing crowd pleaser for a couple of years now. 

If your cat does not immediately respond to toys, try playing with your pet at a different time of day, such as immediately before or after a meal. Every cat is different, and some may need more time than others before they begin to enjoy a new game.

Many highly intelligent cats demand new and different types of stimulation on a daily basis. For these curious kitties, try rotating which days are spent playing with one toy or another.

Last update on 2023-04-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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