Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

10 Best Cat Puzzle Toys – 2024 Reviews & Top Picks

Chris Dinesen Rogers

By Chris Dinesen Rogers

kitten plays with an interactive or puzzle toy

Cats are intelligent animals. Just ask any pet owner who has had to secure their cabinet because of a nosey feline. Another trademark of intelligence is problem-solving. That’s where puzzle toys come into play.

It’s essential for pet owners to provide their cats with enrichment opportunities. While being indoors protects them from many threats, it also lessens their chances for mental stimulation. Things change constantly outside. Inside, not so much. Our guide covers what you must know about cat puzzle toys. We’ve included detailed reviews as well, so you know what to expect from your kitty.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Nina Ottosson Petstages Buggin' Out Puzzle Nina Ottosson Petstages Buggin' Out Puzzle
  • Food-safe materials
  • No removable parts
  • Engaging
  • Best Value
    Second place
    KONG Active Treat Ball Cat Toy KONG Active Treat Ball Cat Toy
  • Affordable
  • Makes noise while it moves to entice cats
  • Engaging design
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Cat Amazing Treat Maze & Puzzle Cat Toy Cat Amazing Treat Maze & Puzzle Cat Toy
  • Excellent engagement
  • Interactive opportunities
  • Versatile use
  • Best for Kittens
    Cat Amazing Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Cat Toy Cat Amazing Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Cat Toy
  • Highly engaging
  • Recycled materials
  • Durable
  • TRIXIE Brain Mover Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy TRIXIE Brain Mover Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy
  • Engaging
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Durable
  • The 10 Best Cat Puzzle Toys

    1. Nina Ottosson Petstages Buggin’ Out Puzzle – Best Overall

    Nina Ottosson Petstages Buggin' Out Puzzle

    Material: Wood, rubber
    Durability: Excellent
    Engagement Excellent
    Other Features: Exercise

    The Nina Ottosson Petstages Buggin’ Out Puzzle is an excellent way to entertain your cat with a hide-and-seek game including treats. We love these types of toys since they rarely get old—as long as snacks are involved. You’ll get a lot of use out of this one. It has lots of moving parts, but they aren’t removable. Nevertheless, we don’t recommend it for chewers that may find a shortcut to the rewards.

    You should only use dry treats or kibble with it. Oily morsels may stain the wood, with the possibility of odors developing. We recommend cleaning it between uses. Smart felines will break the code quickly.

    Pros
    • Food-safe materials
    • No removable parts
    • Engaging

    Cons
    • Unsuitable for chewers


    2. KONG Active Treat Ball Cat Toy – Best Value

    KONG Active Treat Ball Cat Toy

    Material: Polyester
    Durability: Very good
    Engagement Very good
    Other Features: Exercise

    The Kong Active Treat Ball Cat Toy is our pick for one of the best cat puzzle toys for the money. The design is simple, with a ball filled with treats. Your pet has to figure out that rolling it around dispenses them. That can encourage your kitty to stay active, especially if they are food-motivated. If you feed your cat wet food, you can put some kibble inside the ball to add variety to their diet.

    The toy can be engaging because the sounds of the food inside make it more interesting for your pet. However, we suggest putting this product on your rotation instead of leaving it around all the time. Some cats may get bored with it if they run out of treats.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Makes noise while it moves to entice cats
    • Engaging design

    Cons
    • Toy rotation necessary to prevent boredom


    3. Cat Amazing Mega-Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Cat Toy – Premium Choice

    Cat Amazing Mega-Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Cat Toy

    Material: Cardboard, paper
    Durability: Good
    Engagement Excellent
    Other Features: Exercise

    The Cat Amazing Mega-Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Cat Toy is the purr-fect choice for the pet that already has everything. We bet that this product will be a first. It’s essentially a playhouse with lots to explore. That can make it more mentally stimulating for your cat. After all, felines love boxes. This one also has a pretty design. It’s not terribly big, so you’ll likely find a place for it someplace else if you don’t want it in the living room.

    The box can hold various treats; your cat’s task is to find them. You can adjust the difficulty level for the clever pet that solves the puzzle. It has openings of different sizes, although some might be too small for some cats.

    Pros
    • Excellent engagement
    • Interactive opportunities
    • Versatile use

    Cons
    • Pricey


    4. Cat Amazing Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Cat Toy – Best for Kittens

    Cat Amazing Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Cat Toy

    Material: Cardboard, paper
    Durability: Good
    Engagement Excellent
    Other Features: Training

    The Cat Amazing Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Cat Toy will provide hours of fun for your kitty. The different hiding places make it even more enticing. It’ll also keep your cat occupied if you fill it with favorite treats they only get while using this toy. It has three difficulty levels in case your pet figures it out quickly. However, it’s a versatile design that makes it easy to switch things up for more challenges.

    The holes are in various sizes, so it’s suitable for cats of all sizes. Declawed pets may have trouble getting a hold of small treats. We suggest experimenting with the size to give your kitty an edge. We also recommend inspecting it for damage occasionally and replacing it as necessary.

    Pros
    • Highly engaging
    • Recycled materials
    • Durable

    Cons
    • Not suitable for cats of all sizes


    5. TRIXIE Brain Mover Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy

    TRIXIE Brain Mover Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy

    Material: Plastic, rubber
    Durability: Very good
    Engagement Very good
    Other Features: Training

    The TRIXIE Brain Mover Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy is a fun puzzle toy. There’s a lot to explore, with four different modules. It will challenge your pet’s problem-solving skills to discover the solutions. You may have to show your kitty how to use it the first time. Once they’ve broken the code, they’ll likely make it a must-do every time you fill it with treats.

    This toy works best with curious and intelligent pets. Some cats may not find it as interesting as others. The manufacturer mentions the necessity of patience. Perhaps that descriptor applies to pet owners, too.

    Pros
    • Engaging
    • Dishwasher-safe
    • Durable

    Cons
    • Too small for large cats


    6. OurPets Sushi Treat Dispensing Puzzle Cat Toy

    OurPets Sushi Treat Dispensing Puzzle Cat Toy

    Material: Plastic, rubber
    Durability: Excellent
    Engagement Excellent
    Other Features: Training

    The OurPets Sushi Treat Dispensing Puzzle Cat Toy will challenge your pet with the promise of a reward if they succeed. The design is cute and sure to appeal to cat owners. You can fill all the dispensers the first few times until your kitty gets the hang of it. You can up the ante by mixing it up with different treats or putting them in only a few containers.

    Some clever cats will learn how to get to the goodies quickly, making it less of a challenge. Rotating the toy out occasionally may make it more entertaining for your pet. We suggest only using dry foods inside it since it’s hand washable.

    Pros
    • Excellent durability
    • Engaging
    • Cute design

    Cons
    • Too easy for some cats
    • Not dishwasher safe


    7. Nina Ottosson Petstages Rainy Day Puzzle & Play Cat Toy

    Nina Ottosson Petstages Rainy Day Puzzle & Play Cat Toy

    Material: Wood
    Durability: Excellent
    Engagement Very good
    Other Features: Training

    The Nina Ottosson Petstages Rainy Day Puzzle & Play Cat Toy is another hide-n-seek game with treats as a welcome reward. The wooden product is well-made and sure to take a lot of hunting and exploring. It has 14 spots for plenty of places to hide goodies. They are a decent size for most pets, although some are a bit tight to open.

    Some cats will figure out this toy quickly. Luckily, it has difficulty levels to keep your pet challenged and engaged. It works best if you use larger treats to avoid them getting stuck in the grooves.

    Pros
    • Holds lots of treats
    • No removable parts
    • Well-made

    Cons
    • Tight openings


    8. TRIXIE Mad Scientist Turn Around Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy

    TRIXIE Mad Scientist Turn Around Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy

    Material: Plastic
    Durability: Very good
    Engagement Excellent
    Other Features: Training

    The TRIXIE Mad Scientist Turn Around Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy is a fun riff on many puzzle toys we’ve seen. The action is different from the others and may initially seem unnatural to your pet. Once they figure out the premise, they’ll enjoy playtime with treats. You can adjust the difficulty level by using the included lids with holes. Of course, you have to choose treats that will fall through them.

    The maze on the bottom makes the toy even more entertaining since they have to pull them out of it to get their reward. It’s an excellent way to slow down feeding time with so much to do.

    Pros
    • Engaging
    • Dishwasher-safe
    • Relatively durable

    Cons
    • Difficult for some pets to learn
    • Must use very small treats


    9. TRIXIE Cat Activity Flip Board Cat Toy

    TRIXIE Cat Activity Flip Board Cat Toy

    Material: Plastic, rubber
    Durability: Very good
    Engagement Very good
    Other Features: Training

    The TRIXIE Cat Activity Flip Board Cat Toy is an excellent choice for pets new to these activities. This one is smaller, with relatively large openings to get to the treats inside of the containers. However, it is lightweight. An overzealous kitty will easily upend it, which we guess is the reason behind its name. It has three different types of mechanisms to make it more difficult. However, there are no additional adjustments.

    We like the mix of activities. Some cats will figure out some quickly, with the others there to keep them trying. It has moving parts, so make sure to find the balls if your kitty bats them away to get your full use out of the toy.

    Pros
    • Durable
    • Clever design
    • Easy storage

    Cons
    • Lightweight
    • Not suitable for large pets


    10. Doc & Phoebe’s Cat Co. The Hunting Snacker Interactive Cat Treat Toy

    Doc & Phoebe's Cat Co. The Hunting Snacker Interactive Cat Treat Toy

    Material: Plastic
    Durability: Good
    Engagement Very good
    Other Features: Exercise

    We love products that look like something a pet would chase. That makes Doc & Phoebe’s Cat Co-The Hunting Snacker Interactive Cat Treat Toy so much fun. You put a treat inside the mouse and let your kitty do the rest. You can adjust the mechanism to make it as easy or hard as you please. It’s an excellent way to keep your pet engaged if they figure it out right away.

    The toy is machine-washable, which is a good thing for keeping it clean if it gets a lot of use. We recommend supervising playtime with this product. It’s not indestructible, particularly for determined cats wanting the treat.

    Pros
    • Affordably priced
    • Machine-washable
    • Engaging

    Cons
    • Only one treat fits inside

    Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Puzzle Toy For Your Cat

    A search on cat toys will yield hundreds of choices. Many products are more about appealing to pet owners since a feline doesn’t know Casper the Ghost from Donald Duck. However, the same concerns exist about safety, durability, and engagement. After all, you don’t want to dish out a lot of cash for something your pet won’t enjoy. Things to consider include:

    • Durability
    • Material
    • Engagement
    • Other Features

    young bengal cat playing an interactive toy
    Image Credit: Evdokimova, Shutterstock

    Durability

    We understand that many toys aren’t indestructible. Cats can be pretty determined if they set their minds to it. Of course, there are those sharp teeth and claws. You should take this trait in context with engagement, which we’ll discuss in detail later. Felines get bored quickly. You’ll get more use and bang for your buck by swapping out toys occasionally. Bringing out one your pet ignores after a while will seem like something new to them.

    We recommend checking your cat’s toys sometimes for wear and tear. You’ll likely notice that manufacturers offer this same advice. Replace items that your kitty has destroyed or doesn’t have many days of playtime left intact.

    Material

    Manufacturers balance durability with cost. That’s why you’ll see many products with seemingly flimsy materials, such as cardboard, paper, and foam. You’ll find toys made with wool if your kitty is attracted to it. While there are many plastic products, most of the products we reviewed consisted of softer materials and fabrics.

    Take the material and its durability into account if your cat is especially rough on their toys. Treat these items as you would something you’d give a small child. Beware of small parts that your pet can swallow. Remove them before they become a gastrointestinal obstruction.

    cat playing with interactive toy
    Image Credit: PxHere

    Engagement

    The primary purpose and benefit of puzzle toys is engagement. They can challenge your pet mentally. That’s essential for any cat. Play is vital for wild felines because it teaches them survival skills in a safe setting with littermates or their owners. Kittens are well-known for their antics. We dare you to deny you’ve watched your share of cat videos! They are natural comics.

    Remember that a bored pet is a destructive one. If you don’t provide engagement opportunities, your cat will find them. Anything can become a toy, even if it’s potentially harmful or breakable. We like puzzle toys since manufacturers design them with a feline mindset. That means more mental stimulation and one that is likely safer than whatever your kitty may find to entertain themselves.

    Other Features

    The extra features make puzzle toys more fun for you and your pet. It could be something as simple as the design. We’ve seen products that look like familiar characters, favorite foods, and even household items, like a remote. We must commend the manufacturers on their creativity with the add-ons they put on their products.

    Of course, catnip is a prominent feature to entice the cat to take a look at the puzzle toy. Squeaky or electronic products are always a hit because they capture a feline’s attention. The sounds they make may sound like prey, which is another irresistible incentive. Others are geared toward specific users, such as stuffing-free, tough-chewer, and light-up toys.

    Novelty is the biggest draw. We suggest swapping them out occasionally to keep it real for your pet.

    Conclusion

    After completing our reviews, the clear winner was the Nina Ottosson Petstages Buggin’ Out Puzzle. The design creates a cat-and-mouse game that will entertain your pet for hours. It’s also eco-friendly and made of recycled materials. The KONG Cat Active Scrunchie Cat Toy proves that a product doesn’t have to be complicated to engage your pet. This one keeps them engaged, even if it doesn’t last as long as the other ones on our list. Still, it is definitely the best budget option. At the end of the day, though, all of these should be ideal for keeping your cat mentally and physically stimulated.


    Featured Image Credit: Olya Detry, Shutterstock

    Related Articles

    Further Reading

    Vet Articles

    Latest Vet Answers

    The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database