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10 Best Cat Toys for Exercising Your Cat in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

silver chinchilla Scottish fold playing toy

If your cat seems to have way too much energy or needs to lose a bit of weight, then choosing a few toys to help them exercise is a great idea. Some cat breeds are particularly active and love to exercise as much as possible. They need plenty of toys to keep them entertained! Another issue is an overweight cat that needs more encouragement to exercise and stay fit and healthy.

There are so many toys out there to choose from, it can be hard to know which ones are going to suit your cat best. The good news is that our reviews are designed to answer that exact question! We checked out the most popular toys, along with feedback from users, to round up the top 10 for you to choose from.

hepper cat paw dividerA Quick Glance at Our Winners

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy
  • Great for cats of all ages
  • Includes replacement butterfly
  • Durable
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Frisco Bird Teaser Cat Toy Frisco Bird Teaser Cat Toy
  • Great value for money
  • Choose from two colors
  • Keep cats active
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    PetFusion Ambush Interactive Electronic Cat Toy PetFusion Ambush Interactive Electronic Cat Toy
  • Interactive
  • Anti-skid feet
  • Includes replacement feather
  • SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy
  • Different speeds
  • Safety tested
  • Two toy attachments
  • Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser
  • Great for exercise
  • Prevents boredom
  • Safe for cats
  • The 10 Best Cat Toys for Exercising Your Cat in 2021

    1. Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy — Best Overall

    Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy

    • Toy type: Track
    • Features: Ball track and butterflies
    • Materials: Plastic

    As our choice as the best overall toy for exercising your cat is the Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy. This bestselling toy combines three tracks, each with a ball that your cat won’t be able to resist chasing around. There’s also a plastic butterfly attached to a wire that flutters around and will catch your cat’s attention.

    This is a great choice for kittens that love to move around and senior cats that can’t chase toys that require more movement. The non-skid pads stop this from tipping over, and the balls can move around the tracks but they won’t pop out of the runners. This toy even includes a spare butterfly in case your cat happens to pull it off.

    All in all, we think this is the overall best cat toy for exercising your cat.

    Pros
    • Great for cats of all ages
    • Includes replacement butterfly
    • Durable
    Cons
    • None that we can see

    2. Frisco Bird Teaser Cat Toy — Best Value

    Frisco Bird Teaser with Feathers Cat Toy_Chewy

    • Toy type: Wand
    • Features: Catnip, crinkles, and feathers
    • Materials: Polyester

    If you’re looking for the best cat toy for exercising your cat, then the Frisco Bird Teaser Cat Toy is our absolute favorite. This toy combines so many things that cats love: It’s filled with catnip, it crinkles when they catch it, and it stimulates your cat’s natural hunting instincts to chase and pounce. The colorful feathers and dangly tail catches your cat’s eyes and encourages them to chase.

    Wand toys are a wonderful way to get your cat to exercise, and your cat will love playing with you as you wave the wand and watch them pounce. Interactive play with your cat is also a great way for the two of you to bond, so you might find that you both look forward to your daily play sessions.

    Pros
    • Great value for money
    • Choose from two colors
    • Helps keep cats active
    Cons
    • Requires your presence

    3. PetFusion Ambush Interactive Electronic Cat Toy — Premium Choice

    Petfusion Ambush Interactive Cat Toy

    • Toy type: Interactive electronic
    • Features: Feathers
    • Materials: Plastic

    While it’s great to play with your cat, if you need to spend time working or cooking, you might need a toy to keep your active cat entertained. The PetFusion Ambush Interactive Electronic Cat Toy stimulates your cat’s natural desire to pounce by offering a moving feather target that pops out of six different holes.

    This toy also has an LED light to attract and capture your cat’s attention and a replacement feather if your cat gets a little too rough! This uses four AA batteries, which are included, so you can use this straight out of the box. There’s an auto-shutoff feature after 8 minutes, which helps extend battery life but also stops your cat from getting overstimulated.

    If a premium option is what you’re after, we think this is the top of the pop best cat toy for exercising your cat.

    Pros
    • Interactive
    • Anti-skid feet
    • Includes replacement feather
    Cons
    • Expensive

    4. SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy

    SmartyKat Hot Pursuit cat toy_Chewy

    • Toy type: Electronic
    • Features: Light-up, feather
    • Materials: Plastic

    The SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy is a great choice if you have an active and energetic cat that loves to chase things. This interactive and electronic toy has a fabric circle that covers up LED lights and a concealed wand with a toy attachment. You can choose from two different toys and two different speeds to keep your cat interested and engaged.

    The LED lights attract your cat, while the motion keeps your cat well exercised! This toy is tested to child safety standards, so you can be sure that your cat will be safe too. The only thing we don’t like about this toy is that the battery life is pretty short at only 1 hour, so make sure you turn it off after a few minutes of playtime!

    Pros
    • Different speeds
    • Safety tested
    • Choose from two toy attachments
    Cons
    • Short battery life

    5. Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser

    Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser

    • Toy type: Laser light
    • Features: Light
    • Materials: Metal

    Laser toys are a great way to encourage your cat to exercise, since they will chase the light around your house! This toy includes batteries, so you can get started enjoying playing with it right away. As a bonus, this has a white light that you can use as a flashlight.

    One problem with laser toys is that they can encourage frustration, as your cat never actually ends up “catching” their prey. To avoid this situation, make sure you finish a session by either shining the laser on a real toy that your cat can catch or throw them a toy as you turn the laser off.

    Pros
    • Great for exercise
    • Prevents boredom
    • Safe for cats
    Cons
    • Can frustrate cats

    6. Frisco Scratch & Roll Cat Toy

    Frisco Scratch & Roll Scratcher Cat Toy

    • Toy type: Scratcher and ball run
    • Features: Catnip
    • Materials: Plastic ad cardboard

    The Frisco Scratch & Roll Cat Toy combines two of most cats’ favorite things: catnip and balls! The outside of this circular toy holds one ball that your cat can bat to their heart’s content. Inside, there is a corrugated cardboard scratcher for them to sink their claws into.

    This toy also includes a sachet of catnip that you can sprinkle onto the cardboard to encourage your cat to play even more. This top-rated toy is a winner with cats of all ages and can be safely used while you’re out of the house or doing something else. After a while, you’ll need to buy a replacement cardboard inner, however.

    Pros
    • Includes catnip
    • Large size
    • Good for cats of all ages
    Cons
    • Cardboard interior needs replacing

    7. SmartyKat Chickadee Chirp Electronic Bird-Sound Cat Toy

    SmartyKat Chickadee Chirp Electronic Bird-Sound Cat Toy

    • Toy type: Electronic
    • Features: Touch-activated
    • Materials: Polyester

    If you’re looking for a toy to keep your cat occupied while you’re away from home but don’t want to leave something with batteries on, then the SmartyKat Chickadee Chirp Electronic Bird-Sound Cat Toy is a great choice. This touch-activated toy will start chirping as your cat catches it, encouraging them to play more and more.

    Even better, it’s filled with catnip, so it will quickly become one of your cat’s favorite toys. The battery of this bird toy is expected to last 10,000 activations, so your cat will get plenty of enjoyment from it! When not in use, it can be turned off to conserve the battery even more. Unfortunately, the batteries aren’t replaceable, so once it’s used up, that’s it!

    Pros
    • Filled with catnip
    • Touch-activated
    • Long battery life
    Cons
    • Batteries can’t be replaced

    8. Catit Design Senses Circuit Cat Toy

    Catit Design Senses Circuit Cat Toy

    • Toy type: Ball run
    • Features: Light-up ball
    • Materials: Plastic

    If your cat loves playing with balls but expects you to keep throwing them again and again, then the Catit Design Senses Circuit Cat Toy is an excellent choice to keep them entertained. The motion-activated ball springs to life as your cat touches it, lighting up to catch and keep your cat’s attention.

    The ball run has raised sections that add speed and unpredictability to the ball’s route and keep your cat captivated. The track can be expanded if you have multiple cats that all want to play at the same time. The hidden sections mean that the ball peeks out as it travels around the track, triggering your cat’s hunting instincts.

    Pros
    • Sturdy plastic
    • Affordable
    • Long-lasting battery
    Cons
    • Can be difficult to assemble

    9. SmartyKat Twirly Top Electronic Mini Motion Ball Cat Toy

    SmartyKat Twirly Top Electronic Mini Motion Ball Cat Toy

    • Toy type: Ball
    • Features: Ribbons
    • Materials: Plastic and fabric

    No cat can resist the swirling and spinning of the SmartyKat Twirly Top Electronic Mini Motion Ball Cat Toy! This toy comes complete with two AAA batteries that power an erratic spinning that sets in motion the plastic ribbons on top of this ball. The expected battery life is 15 hours, but this toy does have an auto-shutoff feature that switches it off after 15 minutes.

    Some cats can bite the ribbons on the top of this toy and may even bite through them if they’re particularly keen. So, we recommend that you only use this toy under close supervision. It’s still a great way of getting your cat to exercise and play at the same time!

    Pros
    • Works on carpets and hard floors
    • Includes batteries
    • Auto turn-off feature
    Cons
    • Can’t choose the color

     10. SereneLife Automatic Laser Cat Toy

    SereneLife Automatic Laser Cat Toy

    • Toy type: Automatic
    • Features: Laser
    • Materials: Polypropylene

    If your cat loves playing with a laser but you need something that you don’t have to operate all the time, the SereneLife Automatic Laser Cat Toy is a great option. This toy can sit on a countertop or floor, and it has a rotating laser beam that your cat will have great fun chasing all over the place. The innovative angled design means you can sit this in different positions depending on if you want the laser to shine on the floor or the wall.

    This toy is powered by three AAA batteries, and it can be placed anywhere around your house. It also has an off-timer setting to save power. As with any laser toy, we recommend offering your cat a toy to catch after they’ve finished playing with the laser because this can help them feel satisfied that they did their job and caught what they were chasing!

    Pros
    • Wireless operation
    • Includes different modes
    • Easy to operate
    Cons
    • Doesn’t include batteries

    Buyer’s Guide

    Some cats, especially those that live indoors, can become overweight. This can lead to a whole range of health conditions, including diabetes, osteoarthritis, and heart problems. If you think that your cat is overweight, investing in toys to encourage them to exercise is a great idea.

    First, make sure you get the all-clear from your vet. They may suggest including dietary changes and gentle exercise to start with, as your cat loses those initial pounds. If you’re looking for the best toys to encourage your cat to exercise, here are our top tips:

    • The best toys will encourage and stimulate your cat to exercise through a combination of exciting their senses. Toys with movement, sounds, light, and smells will catch your cat’s attention. Some cats respond more to certain senses than others, so experiment and see what catches your cat’s attention best.
    • Cats love the interest of playing with different toys, so make sure to offer a selection. Keeping a few toys in a drawer and only using them occasionally will keep your cat engaged and interested.
    • Interactive toys. Some cats are just fine playing with a catnip mouse on their own, but others need a bit more encouragement! Interactive toys that use batteries are ideal for encouraging your cat to play and exercise. You can leave these out for your cat when you’re not able to play with them.
    • Cats love the satisfaction of “catching” their toys, so if you’re using a toy that doesn’t actually allow them to grab it with their paws, like a laser pointer or a ball run, make sure to throw your cat a kicker toy or something that they can catch once their play session is finished!
    • Battery-powered toys are great if you want to encourage your cat to play with something moving, but you’ll go through tons of batteries if that’s the only toy that you offer! Also, make sure you schedule time to play with your cat using non-battery-powered toys, like wands or kicker toys.

    Conclusion

    As the best overall cat toy for exercising your cat, the Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy is a best-selling and top-rated toy that is guaranteed to provide hours of fun for kittens and older cats alike.

    If you’re looking for a cheaper option, the Frisco Bird Teaser Cat Toy is our favorite toy that offers great value for money. Your cat will love chasing this cute little catnip-filled bird, and you’ll love watching them get their exercise!

    Cats need plenty of mental and physical exercise to stay healthy and happy, so making sure you have plenty of toys to encourage your cat to exercise is the best way to keep them on top form.


    Featured Image Credit: schlyx, Shutterstock

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