Cats are known for being exceptionally bright. This intelligence can manifest itself as bad behavior or mischievous games that can become frustrating for cat owners. For cats that always seem to be up to no good, there are enrichment toys that will help keep them occupied throughout the day. Cats that get mental and physical enrichment are usually calmer and less likely to get into trouble, especially when you are away. There are multiple types of enrichment toys made for multiple different types of cats. Here are ten of the best cat enrichment toys this year, including reviews, a buyer’s guide, and top picks for each category.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024
|Hepper Hi-Lo Scratcher
|Hepper Catnip Mouse Toy Set
|Nina Ottosson by Catstages Buggin' Out Puzzle & Play
|PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy
|Catit Senses Digger Interactive Slow Feeder
The 10 Best Cat Enrichment Toys
1. Hepper Hi-Lo Scratcher – Best Overall
As the best overall cat enrichment toy, the Hepper Hi-Lo Scratcher is a high-quality enrichment toy that is designed to mentally and physically stimulate your cat. This toy is perfect for any mischievous cats that tend to get in trouble when they are bored. If you struggle with your cat scratching your furniture or chewing your shoes, you should get some serious value out of the Hepper Hi-Lo Scratcher. This scratcher is made with dense cardboard that does not wear down easily. It is also made from a sturdy plywood frame that bolsters the lifespan of this scratcher.
The Hepper Hi-Lo Scratcher can be placed into three unique positions that allow for different angles and different types of scratching. This will help keep your cat from getting bored with this toy over time like they would with regular flat scratchers. If your cat does wear out the cardboard, you can always buy a replacement from Hepper to keep the fun going.
The biggest downside of this product is the price. This is one of the priciest toys on this list, but that is due to the high quality and extra longevity you get with the Hepper Hi-Lo Scratcher. Still, this product may not fit everyone’s budget.
2. Hepper Catnip Mice Toy Set – Budget Buy
|2; one big, one small
Not everyone has the budget to pay large amounts of money for cat toys. Some cat toys can be expensive and buying them can be a gamble. For anyone looking for the best cat enrichment toys for the money, we recommend Hepper Catnip Mouse Toy Set in Flax. These toys are simple and filled with organic catnip – options that some cats absolutely love. These mice come in a 2 pack, one big and one small making them very affordable to stock up on.
Some cats like to chase and bat these toy. Others like to hold them in their paws and chew on them. If you are scratching your head wondering if your cat will like a simple mouse toy, there is a good chance they will!
3. Nina Ottosson by Catstages Puzzle & Play
|1 puzzle system
The Nina Ottosson by Catstages Buggin’ Out Puzzle & Play is a simple puzzle that is sure to entertain your cat while stimulating their brains. This puzzle has you put treats into a series of slits and then move the pieces over the top of the treats to hide them. Your cat then comes along and has to move the pieces around to reveal the treats.
For food motivated cats, this puzzle can be a dream. It is a great way to provide mental stimulation to keep naughty cats from getting bored and causing trouble. There are four different styles of puzzles to choose from, and none of them use harmful materials. Each one contains over a dozen hidden treat compartments for your cat to explore.
Not all cats will understand this toy. Cats that are not food motivated or do not figure out how to move the pieces will simply ignore this toy. It also requires you to refill the toy with treats (12 or more) whenever you want to reset the puzzle, which can be a hassle.
4. PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy
|1 automatic laser system
It is no secret that many cats love laser pointers. There are millions of cats that will go absolutely nuts at the sight of a laser dot. This is great, but not everyone has time to sit on the couch and operate a laser pointer at all times for their cat. That is where the PetSafe Bolt Automatic Interactive Laser Cat Toy comes in. This is an automatic laser toy that will send a laser out into the room and move it around automatically. This will give your cat the exercise and stimulation they crave without you having to be stuck sitting with a laser pointer in your hand for hours on end.
This system works in 15-minute intervals, perfect for kitty exercise bouts, and uses a mirror to redirect the laser at crazy angles all on its own. You can also use it in manual mode if you choose. There are four affordable options to choose from so you can find the system that best fits your particular cat.
Some people have complained that the laser moves too quickly for their cats, which reduces their interest in the product. Other people have reported that they don’t like the sound of the automatic motor when it is running. It is too noisy for some.
5. Catit Senses 2.0 Digger Interactive Slow Feeder
Some cats are absolute fiends for food. These cats can turn dinner time into a nightmare with incessant begging, fast eating, and overconsumption. For cats that seem to enjoy food just a little too much, there is the Catit Senses 2.0 Digger Interactive Slow Feeder. This is an enrichment toy that makes your cat slow down and use their brain during mealtime. Instead of pouring your cat’s food into a bowl, you pour the food into a variety of different tubes from which your cat has to fish out the kibbles. This stimulates your cat’s brain and makes them slow down while eating. A win-win.
This system is easy to assemble, easy to clean, and comes with a rubber mat that keeps the whole thing firmly in place. If you don’t want to feed your cat their full meals with this toy you can always drop treats into it instead.
This toy operates on a sort of bell curve. Some cats are not slowed down at all by this slow feeder, while other cats are deterred so much that they don’t want to use it at all. This is uncommon, but there is a chance your cat can fall on either end of this spectrum.
6. Potaroma Cat Toys Rechargeable Flapping Bird Sparrow
|Automatic motion toy
The Potaroma Cat Toys Rechargeable Flapping Bird Sparrow is a great automatic toy that can provide hours of fun for your cat, even when you are not home. This toy uses motion sensors to activate when your cat comes near and starts to play. Once it activates, this realistic bird will start flapping and chirping, which instantly excites most cats.
You can set three different levels of activity for the bird. The outer shell is soft yet durable and is bite resistant. The batteries are rechargeable, and you can power this bird up again and again, allowing your cat to use it for weeks or months on end. Potaroma also makes a variety of other styles of birds for you to choose from. And each one is affordable.
You do have to watch to make sure that your cat does not open the back flap and get to the battery compartment. This does not happen often, but sometimes a cat can start chewing on the charging area which could be an issue.
7. Hepper Fish & Chews Fish Cat Toy
Most cat toys are cheap and cheaply made nowadays. That is fine for most people, but sometimes you just want something quality that is going to last for a long while and outlast the competition. If that sounds like you, you want to check out the Hepper Fish & Chews Fish Cat Toy.
This is a classic cat wand made from high quality materials. Instead of plastic and synthetic feathers, you get a sturdy birch wand along with wool and polyester materials for the fish. The result is a natural toy that will hold up better over time than plastic. The string length is 32 inches, which is a nice size for play. You can also buy it in multiple colors.
The biggest drawback to the Hepper Fish & Chews Fish Cat Toy is the price. The high-quality materials featured here come at a cost. Not everyone is going to feel comfortable spending the money when there are cheaper options available. However, the quality here is nearly unmatched.
You might have guessed, this is our own product – but we love it so much we just have to share it, and hope you get to own one too!
8. Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy
|1–3 catnip bananas
The Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy is a classic catnip toy that is sure to delight your cat. This toy is absolutely stuffed to the brim with aromatic catnip. The catnip used here is organic and free of pesticides. It does not include any fillers or harmful plastic pieces. It is simply a cotton shell with natural catnip inside, which is great for your cat. It even uses natural dyes for the color rather than synthetic dyes. The Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy is made in the United States. You can buy a single banana toy or up to three at a time for multiple cats or store the excess for later.
The main drawbacks to the Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy is the fact that it is not refillable. Each toy is sewn shut. The other issue is that some cats go so wild for this toy that they end up tearing it open and shredding it rather quickly. While the price of the Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy is fair, it can get expensive if your cat destroys them after a matter of minutes or hours instead of days or weeks.
|1 wand assembly
The Frisco Bird with Feathers Teaser Wand Cat Toy with Catnip is a classic teaser wand that is sure to drive cats wild. This wand includes a crinkly bird toy at the end, which is filled with potent Canadian catnip. The string measures 22-inches long, and the wand itself is 18.5 inches long. That gives you plenty of room to twitch, yank, and twirl the end for the delight of your cat.
This toy is also incredibly affordable, allowing you to try it out or buy multiple to help keep your cat entertained. The Frisco Bird with Feathers Teaser Wand can help provide your cat with both mental and physical stimulation, but it does require human input to use it effectively.
The Frisco Bird with Feathers Teaser Wand Cat Toy with Catnip includes catnip inside the body of the bird, but the bird is not refillable. That means if your cat is interested in this toy because of the catnip, it will lose interest when the catnip loses its potency since you have no way to refill it with fresh catnip.
10. ORSDA 2in1 Interactive Cat Toys for Indoor Cats
|1 combination system
The ORSDA 2in1 Interactive Cat Toysfor Indoor Cats is a combination cat toy that mixes a tracked ball toy with a feather ambush toy. This toy is great for multiple cats because it can be used from all sides, it has multiple different types of games to enjoy, and it does not have any food or catnip inside that could cause competition to break out.
Everything moves automatically, making this a great option for people who want to leave their cats at home to entertain themselves. You can even buy different attachments and replacements for the ambush game, allowing you to swap out the moving feathers to prevent things from getting damaged or stale over time. This toy is a great way to entertain multiple cats for hours at a time.
The two biggest concerns surrounding the ORSDA 2in1 Interactive Cat Toys for Indoor Cats are the noise and the durability of the feathers. Some people reported that this toy is noisy and can disturb a quiet space while it is in use. Other aggressive hunters were able to destroy the included feathers in a matter of minutes. That is why they sell affordable replacement feathers in bulk, but it is something to keep in mind.
Buyers’ Guide: How to Choose the Best Enrichment Toys For Your Cat
Types of Enrichment
There are two primary types of enrichment for cats. There is mental enrichment, which is for cats that get bored during the day. Then, you have physical enrichment, which is for cats that have excess energy or need additional exercise for their health. Cats that are bored will chew or scratch things around the house. They might also knock things over, like saltshakers and cups. Cats that need exercise might be obese or exhibit signs of excess energy, like running or jumping around.
Some toys excel at providing mental stimulation, and other toys are better for physical stimulation. Some toys do both. Each cat is different, and your cat will likely need one type of enrichment or the other. Choose a toy based on the kind of enrichment you are looking to provide for your cat for the best results. Pairing your cat’s needs with the proper type of enrichment is key to making a successful purchase.
You want to have an idea of what kind of budget you have for your cat’s toys. Some cat toys are extremely affordable, easily coming in at less than $10. Other toys are more elaborate and will cost quite a bit more money. It is perfectly fine to start at a low price point before investing in something more expensive over time. Sorting your options by the price and pairing the best choices with your budget is an easy way to make a decision you can feel good about.
Try Multiple Types of Toys
Suppose you don’t know what kind of toys your cat enjoys or needs. In that case, you should try multiple types of toys. Many toys are affordable, and you can buy three or four different kinds without shelling out a ton of money. You don’t want to invest a bunch of money into a toy only to discover that your cat has no interest in it. For example, buy a cheap keychain laser pointer for a couple of bucks to see if your cat will chase a laser before investing in the automatic laser tower. Some cats love toys, but other cats don’t like toys at all. Some cats only like one specific type of toy. Figuring out what kind of toy will connect with your cat is important to making an effective purchase.
Be Aware of Safety Concerns
Some toys have small pieces or parts that could pose a safety concern to your cat. One of the best ways to find out about potential health and safety hazards is to read reviews of toys before you buy. Some cats are chewers or scratchers, and those cats have the potential to shred and destroy toys, which could lead to small parts or sharp edges that can be a hazard. Try to avoid any toys that have been flagged for safety issues. None of the toys on this list have any overt or widely reported safety concerns, but that is not the case for every cat toy available online.
Buy Toys for When You Are Away
One way to provide consistent physical and mental stimulation for your cat throughout the day is to buy toys that your cat can use while you are out of the house. Some toys are active and require you to operate them for your cat. However, there are numerous different options (and plenty on our list) for automatic toys that cats can use without human input. These types of toys will give your cats the option to run, play, and entertain themselves even when you are not around. That will increase the likelihood and potential for your cats to gain enrichment throughout the day while you are at work or out running errands, which is great for both you and your cat.
These ten toys represent a great selection of interactive and enriching toys that are sure to appeal to cats of all kinds. For the best overall choice, we like the Hepper Hi-Lo Scratcher. For those on a budget, we like the Hepper Catnip Mouse Set. Whether you want your cat to get up and move more or if you are trying to get them to stop chewing your shoes, there is a great option here that is sure to work for you and your cat, and we hope our reviews give you some great options.