black cat playing with feather toy

Frequently Asked Questions: What Toys are Best for My Cat?

For some cats, keeping them active and mentally stimulated seems like a daunting task. Or, they like to be active…just at 3 am instead of during the daylight hours. So, what are the best cat toys for your cat? Let us know in the comments what cat toy is your cat’s favorite!

cat playing with catnip
Sweet Pea enjoying catnip!

Catnip and Catnip Toys

Most cats love catnip and it is a safe way to get them engaged with a new toy. Cats are very much smell-driven creatures, and if a new toy doesn’t smell like them, they will be less likely to engage. A great tip is to rub some catnip on it or spray it with catnip spray. That way, your cat will rub itself all over it and get their smell on it. And they will be more likely to play with it in the future. Some toys just come with catnip in it already and that works too. You really can’t go wrong. But if your cat doesn’t seem to care for catnip, there are definitely more options out there. 

Puzzle Feeders and Hunting Toys

If your cat is treat or food motivated, puzzle feeders are a great toy to keep your cat occupied while you are away (or asleep). Puzzle feeders keep your cat mentally stimulated and physically active. It also arouses your cat’s natural instinct to hunt and prey for food. Add your cat’s favorite treat to any of these puzzle feeders and watch them hunt!

doyenworld cat box scratchers
DoyenWorld cat boxes are much cuter than regular boxes!

Cardboard Boxes

Have you ever received a package and your cat insists on playing with the box? If they fits, they sits, after all. But there’s also a real reason– comfort. According to Gabriella Smith,  a doctoral candidate in comparative animal cognition at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, cats find comfort in the side pressure a box brings¹. This sense of comfort is especially crucial in stressful situations, such as when a street cat is brought inside for the first time or in any new enivornment¹. If you would rather not have a random cardboard box sitting in your living room, then check out these nicer looking boxes your cat can enjoy. The cardboard box is not only comforting, but also encourages scratching. This is another outlet, other than your furniture, for your cat to get out their natural urge to scratch and stretch. 

Cat Chasers and Balls

Cats love to bat around random objects like hair ties or crumpled receipts. If your cat loves to do this, consider getting them a toy like a ball or cat chasers. These toys will encourage your cat to chase and play into the wee hours of the night. Bonus points if it has catnip already inside or LED lights to keep your cat’s attention!

black cat playing with wand toy
Kevin playing with a wand toy!

Cat Wands

Cat wands are a great way to get your cat running around. They are better for your cat than a laser pointer because your cat will physically catch something and enjoy the act of hunting and praying for whatever is at the end of the wand! These are a real crowd pleaser for cats and usually even the laziest of cats can’t resist a toy bird attached to a wand! This is also a toy that can enhance the bond between you and your cat!

cat and kitten eating treat
Minnie and Louie love Fussie Cat liquid treats!

Cat Scratchers

Even if you’ve tried all the above toys and your cat will not play, at the very least, a cat scratcher will help your cat not scratch your furniture and get them at least a few minutes of much needed exercise. When you first bring the scratcher home, dust it with some catnip. I would also place it in a low-traffic area of your home. Sometimes cats who won’t play prefer their space. So placing this cat scratcher in an area they already feel comfortable will allow them to give the scratcher a chance without feeling stressed. 

Lickable Treats and Toy Stuffing

A great alternative to keeping your cat occupied is to stuff a x-small or small KONG or make frozen treats in an ice cube tray with a lickable cat treat. In the summer, freezing the liquid treat in a KONG or in an ice cube tray is a great way to keep your cat cool and keep them engaged with a toy. 

Related blogs: Why Do Cats Knead?, Do My Children Know How to Interact with Dogs and Cats?, Cats Rule the House this February!

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¹Arnst, John. “Why Do Cats Love Boxes so Much?” Livescience, 28 Feb. 2022, https://www.livescience.com/why-do-cats-like-boxes. Accessed 17 Aug. 2022. 

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Sarah T.

    My cat LOVES the Go Cat, da bird toy. He doesn’t play with any other toys, but goes nuts for da bird. He not only jumps feet in the air to chase it, but once he’s tired, he’ll still drag it around the house. Also, to keep him stimulated, we put a bird feeder right outside of his favorite window. Now he’s got a rotating cast of birds and squirrels to watch all day.

    1. gracegilman@hollywoodfeed.com

      The bird feeder outside the window is a great idea! And the bird toy is a great way for him to use his hunting instincts!

  2. nancy

    I suspect our store best sellers for floor toys (and also the favorites at my home), are the catnip toys that are a solid stuffed catnip with no fluff. (Dr Pussums and Yeowww brands)
    Also Go Cat’s Da Bird interactive wand/string/feather is a winner across the board due to its unique construction that creates a fluttering and flapping motion when you wave it!
    Catnip infused paper bags and bag tunnels are also consistent favorites around here!

  3. Amber Williams

    That box for the cats is really cool. I did not know it was a thing. Thanks!

    1. gracegilman@hollywoodfeed.com

      Cats love them– they can hide and scratch ’em up! 😀

  4. Heather

    My cat’s favorite is the PurrPeller by GoCat. He loves his treats, so he also really likes hunting his dry meal in the Doc and Phoebe’s Hunter Feeder mice.

    1. gracegilman@hollywoodfeed.com

      Love that!

  5. Matt

    My cat Loki absolutely loves the fur mice. I got him one when he was a kitten… and now three years later, he still plays with the exact same one. It’s missing an eyeball and it’s ripped on one side, but he LOVES it!

    1. gracegilman@hollywoodfeed.com

      That’s so sweet! It reminds me of The Velveteen Rabbit book 🙂

  6. James M

    These are all great recommendations for the cats! Can’t wait to try these!

    1. gracegilman@hollywoodfeed.com

      Thank you!

  7. Mary M

    My cat loves the Doc and Phoebe’s Hunting Feeder mice. I hide her kibble snack in them around my apartment and she goes CRAZY. This is the only time she gets dry food, so she is extra motivated to find them and figure out how to get it out!

    1. gracegilman@hollywoodfeed.com

      That’s a great idea and an easy way to add food variety to your cat’s diet!

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