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10 Best Cat Toys in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

Frisco Butterfly Cat Toy_Chewy

Cats are inquisitive, playful creatures that need to be mentally engaged and entertained if you want them to live healthy, long lives. Plus, doing so will help to alleviate boredom, and when your cat is bored, it can easily start tearing up the house with those destructive claws and teeth. But nowadays, keeping your cat entertained is easier than ever before, thanks to the many toys on the market.

Some of these toys are electronic and can provide engagement beyond that of an inanimate toy. Others can hold treats or catnip to drive your cat crazy or make it work to earn its prize. Whichever you and your cat prefer, you’re sure to find a great option on this list. We’ve even written up short reviews comparing each of these cat toys to help simplify the decision for you.hepper cat paw divider

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy
  • Comes stuffed with catnip
  • No fillers or plastic
  • Crafted from durable cotton twill
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Frisco Bird Teaser with Feathers Frisco Bird Teaser with Feathers
  • Dirt-cheap pricing
  • Great way to provide exercise
  • Spiked with Canadian catnip
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy
  • Keeps your cat mentally stimulated
  • Provides multiple ways to play
  • Non-skid bottom
  • Frisco Colorful Springs Frisco Colorful Springs
  • 10 springs for at minimal cost
  • Very affordably priced
  • Provides exercise and mental stimulation
  • Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser
  • Provides engagement for user and pet alike
  • Emits safe white and red lights
  • The 10 Best Cat Toys – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy – Best Overall

    Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy_Chewy

    • Requires Human Input: No
    • Holds Catnip or a Treat: Yes
    • Material: Cotton twill

    When it comes to cat toys, there’s no shortage of selection. But out of all the possible choices, we think that the Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana is one of the best overall cat toys. It comes pre-stuffed with 100% organic catnip to entice your cat. Your cat will probably be excited to play with the toy before you even get it unpacked!

    This toy is crafted from durable cotton twill that’s safe for cats and durable enough not to be destroyed by sharp claws and teeth. There are no fillers or plastic used in its construction, and the only colorings used are made from soy and natural vegetables.

    It’s hard to imagine any feline not falling in love with this banana catnip toy. More than likely, your cat will become highly possessive of it, showing serious displeasure if you attempt to move it or touch it. Aside from the addiction factor, there’s not much to dislike about this toy. It comes ready to play with right out of the box, so no input is needed from you. Just give it to your cat and let the entertainment begin.

    Pros
    • Comes stuffed with catnip
    • Contains no fillers or plastic
    • Crafted from durable cotton twill
    • Only natural vegetable and soy-based coloring used
    Cons
    • Your cat may become highly possessive of its banana!

    2. Frisco Bird Teaser with Feathers – Best Value

    Frisco Bird Teaser with Feathers Cat Toy_Chewy

    • Requires Human Input: Yes
    • Holds Catnip or a Treat: Yes
    • Material: Polyester and feathers

    The Frisco Bird Teaser with feathers is proof that toys your cat will love don’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, they hardly have to cost anything, as this toy is dirt-cheap. It’s basically a little furry creature attached to a string at the end of a wand. You hold the wand and bounce the toy around, enticing your cat to pounce and play. It’s a simple way to interact with your cat and give it some great exercise.

    You’ll have to be careful when using this toy because the string tends to tangle rather easily. But the wand is long enough to allow for vigorous play without any chance of being bitten. Your cat can get plenty of exercise, and you don’t have to do much work to make that happen.

    This toy is spiked with Canadian catnip to ensure your cat will be attracted. It’s a simple device, but very effective, and at this price, it’s really hard to beat. Overall, we believe it’s one of the best cat toys for the money, and it has earned our recommendation for the best value cat toy.

    Pros
    • Dirt-cheap pricing
    • Great way to provide exercise for your cat
    • It’s spiked with Canadian catnip
    • Long wand prevents you from getting bitten
    Cons
    • The string tangles easily

    3. Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy – Premium Choice

    Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy_Chewy

    • Requires Human Input: No
    • Holds Catnip or a Treat: No
    • Material: Plastic

    Getting your cat to play with toys is about mental stimulation and engagement as much as it is about physical activity. With the Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly cat toy, you can easily provide both for your feline, and it takes no input from you. This three-tiered toy provides several different ways for your cat to play, ensuring that boredom will be staved off for quite some time.

    On the downside, this toy is a bit pricier than many alternatives. It’s also loaded with premium features, such as the butterfly on top that jumps around and goads your cat into pouncing. The bottom is also non-skid to prevent it from sliding around on hard floors. In the end, we think it’s worth the slightly higher cost since it’s capable of keeping cats entertained for extended periods of time.

    Pros
    • Keeps your cat engaged without your input
    • Provides multiple ways to play
    • Non-skid bottom to prevent sliding
    • Keeps your cat mentally stimulated
    Cons
    • It’s more expensive than other cat toys

    4. Frisco Colorful Springs

    Frisco Colorful Springs Cat Toy_Chewy

    • Requires Human Input: No
    • Holds Catnip or a Treat: No
    • Material: Plastic

    These colorful plastic springs from Frisco almost seem too simple to provide as much entertainment for your cat as they do. When your cat starts to mess with them, they’ll go bouncing all over, keeping your cat endlessly engaged. Unfortunately, many of them will end up getting lodged into tight spaces and under your furniture, so expect to spend quite a bit of time fishing plastic springs out of various nooks and crannies in your home!

    One great thing about these springs is how affordable they are. For just a few bucks, you’ll get 10 springs, so even if a few get lost in your home, there should be plenty to keep your cat entertained. Not only will your cat be mentally stimulated while playing with these springs, but it will also get plenty of physical activity chasing around the springs as they scatter!

    Pros
    • You get 10 springs for at minimal cost
    • Very affordably priced
    • Provides exercise and mental stimulation
    Cons
    • Springs will often get stuck in various places

    5. Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser

    Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser

    • Requires Human Input: Yes
    • Holds Catnip or a Treat: No
    • Material: Metal

    Everyone knows that cats love to chase around laser pointers. Unfortunately, many laser pointers are actually dangerous and can even cause blindness if pointed into the eye. The Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser emits safe white and red lights so you can have all the fun of watching your cat chase a red dot without any chance of causing harm. It’s an easy way for you to stay engaged with your cat, but you can do it from the comfort of your favorite chair.

    We found that this laser falls short in two key areas. It’s not built very well, so many of them appear to fall apart when you attempt to change the batteries. Also, it seems that these lasers have a very short usable lifespan before they cease working. Thankfully, they’re very cheaply priced, so it’s not a major loss when this happens, though it’s still disappointing.

    Pros
    • Provides engagement for user and pet alike
    • Emits safe white and red lights
    Cons
    • Sub-par construction
    • Short laser lifespan

    6. SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy

    SmartyKat Hot Pursuit cat toy_Chewy

    • Requires Human Input: Yes
    • Holds Catnip or a Treat: No
    • Material: Plastic

    The SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion cat toy is a great concept with poor execution that prevents it from working as well as it could. It’s an electronic cat toy that spins a furry mouse-like item around a circle, which will motivate your cat to pounce on it. A small motor in the middle of the device moves the mouse, while a pad covers the motor. But the pad is too big and prevents the mouse from sticking out far enough for your cat to catch.

    For the price, there are many cat toys you could get instead, but we like the idea of an automated toy that makes your cat feel like it’s hunting. This one even offers multiple speeds to vary up the way your cat can play. If it performed a bit better, this product would probably be near the top of our list, but sub-par performance prevents it from climbing out of the bottom half.

    Pros
    • Electronic mouse toy moves on its own
    • Multiple speeds
    • Keeps your cat engaged and entertained
    Cons
    • Pricier than alternatives
    • The fur toy never quite makes it out of the fabric circle

    7. Frisco Refillable Brown Squirrel Catnip Cat Toy

    Frisco Refillable Catnip Cat Toy_Chewy

    • Requires Human Input: No
    • Holds Catnip or a Treat: Yes
    • Material: Polyester

    It’s generally a good bit that any toy filled with catnip will attract your cat. This brown squirrel toy from Frisco features a refillable cylinder for holding catnip. It’s a great idea, but many cats are able to get this cylinder out and open it, which results in a rather sizable mess.

    This toy turns out to be much smaller than it appears in pictures, though it’s still big enough for most cats to play with. Catnip already fills the cylinder inside the toy, so you won’t need to purchase any separately. If the cover of the toy gets too dirty from rough play, it’s machine washable, so you can keep it looking good as long as it survives your cat’s claws.

    Pros
    • Can be easily refilled
    • Machine washable
    • Catnip included with the toy
    Cons
    • The toy is much smaller than anticipated
    • Some cats can open the catnip and make a mess

    8. Frisco Moppy Balls

    Frisco Moppy Ball Toy_Chewy

    • Requires Human Input: No
    • Holds Catnip or a Treat: Yes
    • Material: Polyester

    Frisco Moppy Balls are as simple as cat toys come. They’re just little floppy balls made out of soft material. While some cats might be attracted to such a toy, there’s not enough here to stimulate many felines. Still, it’s an affordable toy that can be easily tossed and pounced on, allowing you to play with your cat or for it to play solo when you’re busy.

    Unfortunately, it feels like an opportunity was missed since these balls don’t have a compartment for holding catnip. That would help with the toy’s main problem, which is that it doesn’t hold cats’ attention for very long.

    Pros
    • Floppy texture entices play
    • Ideal for interactive or solo play
    Cons
    • Balls don’t seem to hold cats’ interest for long
    • Many cats are uninterested in this toy

    9. Catit Design Senses Circuit Motion Activated Illuminated Balls

    Catit ball cat toy_Chewy

    • Requires Human Input: No
    • Holds Catnip or a Treat: No
    • Materials: Polyester

    Balls with motion-activated lights seem like they’d be a big hit with cats, and the idea is certainly a sound one. When these balls move, they light up, and the flashing lights will rile your cat up for playtime. Well, that’s how they should work, but the lights aren’t sensitive enough, so the balls have to be hit pretty hard for the lights to activate.

    Still, these balls roll easily, so once your cat starts playing with them, they’ll likely travel all over. Soon, the batteries will start to die, as the battery life of this toy is rather dismal. That’s when you’ll notice the biggest drawback of this toy; you can’t replace the batteries! Instead, you’ll have to replace the entire toy, which seems like a major design flaw.

    Pros
    • The balls contain motion-activated lights
    • Smooth surfaces let the balls roll easily
    Cons
    • Batteries can’t be replaced
    • Limited lifespan
    • The lights aren’t sensitive enough

    10. Hexbug Mouse Robotic Cat Toy

    Hexbug Mouse Robotic Cat Toy_Chewy

    • Requires Human Input: Yes
    • Holds Catnip or a Treat: No
    • Material: Plastic, rubber

    Here’s another toy that seems great in concept but doesn’t quite work out the way we hoped. An automated robotic mouse sounds like the perfect toy for a cat. This one is a bit too fragile though, and parts such as the ears and tails will break off with only mild play. But the lifelike movements it uses are almost guaranteed to get your cat to pounce. You can even choose between different play modes to figure out which one your cat prefers.

    But this is another toy with horrendous battery life. After what feels like just a few minutes of play, the batteries will need to be replaced. And don’t expect this toy to work on the carpet. It won’t roll on anything but hard, smooth floors, so it’s not going to work in many homes. Altogether, it’s a toy we’d skip since there are so many better alternatives to choose from.

    Pros
    • Uses lifelike movements to entice your cat
    • Has multiple play modes to choose between
    Cons
    • Tail is too easy to bite off
    • Batteries die very quickly
    • Only works on smooth, hard floors
    hepper cat paw divider

    Buyer’s Guide

    We know that trying to pick a toy to please and entertain your cat can turn out to be more difficult than you might initially anticipate. That’s why we put together this short buyer’s guide. It’s written for the person that’s looking to narrow down the choices by figuring out exactly what they’re looking for. After reading the buyer’s guide, you should be prepared to make a more informed decision about which toy will be a good fit for your feline.

    Two Main Types of Cat Toys

    While cat toys come in many designs, shapes, colors, and styles, they can really be boiled down to two main groups. Each group serves a different purpose, but neither is better. In fact, it’s generally best to have toys that fit into each of these groups.

    Solo Toys

    Yeowww! Catnip banana cat toy_chewy

    Solo toys are toys that your cat can play with on its own. These toys don’t require any input from you. They include stuffed toys that contain catnip, automated or electronic toys that move on their own, and toys that move after your cat touches them.

    Interactive Toys

    Interactive toys allow you to play with your cat. Such toys include stuffed animals attached to a wand by string or a laser pointer. You can use these toys to interact with your cat, enticing it to bite, pounce, and play.

    Things to Look for in a Cat Toy

    It can be hard to compare cat toys since each toy is unique. We’ve found that there are a few main traits you’ll need to consider most if you want to ensure you get a toy that will provide your cat with all the benefits you’re hoping for.

    Is Your Cat Interested?

    Frisco Bird Teaser cat toy_Chewy

    At the end of the day, the most important thing is that your cat is interested in the toys you provide. If you give your cat toys it doesn’t want, then it won’t use them. Granted, it’s difficult to know what toys your cat will like before offering them to it. But you can use your knowledge of past toys and how your cat has reacted to them to help fuel your decision.

    Does it Provide Mental Stimulation?

    It’s good for your cat to play, but the best toys help your cat take playtime even further, keeping them mentally engaged and stimulated. This will help your cat to remain healthy while expending any excess energy that could manifest in unwanted behaviors if not given an outlet.

    How Long Can It Keep Your Cat Engaged?

    Hexbug Robotic cat toy_Chewy

    Some toys might initially attract your cat but fail to keep its attention for any length of time. A good toy will be able to entertain your cat for extended periods.

    Does it Hold Catnip?

    Toys that hold catnip tend to be favorites of most felines. It’s no secret that most cats love catnip, and toys that are stuffed with catnip can easily entice most cats into playing. Many toys will come stuffed with catnip, but others will feature areas where catnip can be hidden, allowing you to replace the catnip as needed for maximum effectiveness.hepper cat paw divider

    Conclusion

    You might think it’s hard to go wrong when picking a toy for your cat, but if you pick the wrong one, you’ll soon find out that your cat has no problem letting you know. Luckily, our reviews should help you pick a perfect toy for your pet. Our favorite is the Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy that’s made from durable cotton twill and stuffed with organic catnip. We also like the Frisco Bird Teaser cat toy that’s dead-cheap and provides plenty of engagement and exercise for your cat thanks to a feather-covered toy that’s loaded with catnip to attract your cat.