All cats get what I like to call “the zoomies” from time to time. For those of you not familiar with “the zoomies” it is when your cat just decides to run back and forth like crazy throughout your house jumping all over and meowing randomly. Your cat will get this way when they don’t get enough exercise in their day to day life. It is important for cats to have exercise and cat toys for indoor cats will help them get that exercise! Not only is it a good way for your cat to kill time, but it is also great from a general health perspective.
It is ingrained in cats to stalk, hunt & pounce. If cats don’t get some exercise not only do they tend to get cranky and do things like meow all night long (or play with your Christmas tree), they can also get in really unhealthy shape. Exercise is especially important for indoor cats that don’t tend to get as much time performing their normal hunting and stalking activities.
Given this, it is important for you as a cat owner to ensure your cat is getting plenty of healthy exercise! To help you along the way I’ve compiled a list of cat toys for indoor cats and also added in details on why it is important to play with your cat. I’ve included the best cat toys out there. No surprise, a laser pointer is right near the top! Adults and kittens alike absolutely love laser pointers:
I absolutely love these toys, they are one of my go to toys for my cats and I would recommend them to almost anyone so long as they have a floor that is tile or wood. These toys are one of the best interactive cat toys that is automated and your cats truly cannot easily predict how they will move. They provide an awesome play experience by:
- Being fully automated once turned on, just flip the switch and set them down
- They are totally random and don’t require your interaction
- Super durable and have taken ongoing beatings from both of my cats
- Automatically right themselves when they are knocked over
- Having batteries that can be replaced for long term use
The only item I’d note is to keep a general eye on your cat while they’re playing with these. They can easily get under places like the stove and can be a pain to get out. Just remember they’re only useful on a hardwood or tile floor. See my full video review below or check out my full written review here.
Laser pointers are truly one of the most reliable go to cat toys on the market. While there are a bunch of unique cat toys out there, laser pointers are a great traditional fallback. Both my resident cats and every cat I have ever fostered have absolutely loved to chase around a laser pointer. Laser pointers carry a bunch of benefits with them as cat toys as well:
- Most cats love them and go nuts for them
- If you don’t shine them in your cats eyes they are incredibly safe for your cat
- It works on almost any surface during the day or the night
- There’s no mess to cleanup after your cat plays with a laser pointer
- It is easy to get your cat moving across entire rooms all from the comfort of a chair
- The batteries are 100% replaceable on almost all models, this one takes simple AA(huge perk!)
The only thing I’d note with a laser pointer is to ensure you finish your play session with something your cat can get a hold of physically. This gives your cat a chance to actually feel success in their hunt and will improve their satisfaction. You could finish with a wand or any stuffed toy or ball.
The Turbo Scratcher is a combination scratcher and toy, two birds with one stone! While this is often rated as one of the best toys for kittens it is a great toy for adult cats as well! The ball is locked into a track so your cat can bat it with her paws or push it with her nose and if she feels the need to scratch she has a scratching pad right there! Talk about convenient, what else could a cat need?
- You can easily spray either the cardboard or the ball with catnip spray to entice your cat to play (regular catnip works too)
- When cats have an approved place to scratch they are less likely to damage your furniture, floors & woodwork
- The balls are replaceable in case they get damaged or pop out and get lost
- The scratch pads are replaceable for a super cheap price, they are also recyclable for you green thumbs
- Check out the video below of a cat absolutely loving it!
This toy is particularly awesome for kittens, but adult cats love it too. Once of the greatest benefits here is that the toy is totally hands off once you set it up for the first time and there’s really not reason you can’t just leave it out all the time (unless your cats like to play while you sleep).
- It has a peek-a-boo track design that allows your cat to see, chase and swat at the ball, but the ball can’t get out
- The balls are specially designed with a color combination that will catch and attract a cat’s attention
- You have a ton of configuration options you can use and additional tracks can be added on to make it bigger
- Zero batteries, that means it is 100% cat powered and you’ll never have to try to match a battery again
If you’ve kept up with my site you know that I absolutely love the Petlinks Mystery Motion cat toy. The Mystery Motion is mostly focused on spinning a set of feathers around under a mat to entice your cat to pounce on it. Sounds straight forward, but wow is it engaging! The primary reason I love it is because it is so easy to setup and my cats totally love it too. The key features on this toy include:
- The rotation pattern is very random which keeps my cats interested over and over again
- It has multiple speed settings to keep your cat entertained, and even a fully random setting too
- Even if the cats stop the feather for a period of time it hasn’t yet damaged the engine, it keeps spinning
- Multiple cats can play with the toy at the same time and mine do this consistently
The only real improvement I wish this toy had was an automated timer so I could flip it on when I leave for work and it would stay on for 15-20 minutes. Check out my full written review or watch the video here:
One of the easiest and most simple toys I’ve ever seen, it is a pretty straight forward plastic spring. The true fun in this toy comes from the fact that your cat will start batting it around a little bit and then can’t stop chasing it all over the place. I never would have thought cats would love them so much!
- Once your cat gets them moving on the floor they move very erratically given their design
- The springs are about 2 inches by 1 inch and are quite bouncy, they are made of flexible plastic
- They come in a bunch of different colors to try to catch your cat’s eye
Everyone knows that cats love wand toys, but this is basically the Cadillac of wand toys and it shows. Cats go crazy for this particular wand based on the color combination and the awesome material that lets it flex the way it does. A few things worth noting here:
- The wand itself is made of polycarbonate (plastic basically) that is very strong, but flexible so you can tug of war a bit with your cat
- Fabric coloring is specifically designed to be eye catching for your cat as it spins and bounces in the air
- It is extremely durable, my cats tug and pull on it with their teeth consistently and it shows little sign of wear and tear
- The combination of the long wand and the long attachment give you plenty of space if you have a bit more aggressive cat during play and don’t want to take a stray claw to the arm
Honestly, at this price, how could you go wrong getting 20 different assorted cat toys? You’ve got all sorts of balls and stuffed toys in here, any cat would go completely nuts over this combination! I wish I got this many toys in a single pack as a kid for a couple of bucks, I would have been ecstatic. Key features worth noting:
- The combo features feathers, balls, mice and other toys that make this pack is the perfect choice for your furry friend
- You can easily buy some catnip and put most of these toys in a bag or container with it to make them even more enticing for your feline friend
- You might get lucky and get the coveted Fashion’s Talk Cat Toys Furry Rattle Ball for Kitty which every cat ever loves
- You’re getting a ton of toys for an amazing price, if you bought them individually you’d pay triple if not more
Looking for an even lazier way to entertain your cats than sitting in a recliner with traditional laser pointer like I do? You’ve found it, and it is amazing. This is one of the best cat toys for lonely cats because it can entertain them while you’re not around! Every once in a while we get these at the Cat Shelter I volunteer at from kind souls who want to provide for our kitty cats as they wait for families to come adopt them. The cats go absolutely bonkers for this thing because:
- It is a hands off laser pointer that draws patterns along the floor and walls for your cat to chase, patterns include both ovals and zig zags
- The Bolt automatically turns the laser off after 15 minutes to prevent your cat from being over-stimulated
- You can flip it on before you leave the house to entertain your cat for a little while with no issue
- You can always switch it to manual mode and direct the laser pointer yourself like a traditional laser pointer
The Titan’s Tower is a multistage track and ball type toy for cats. The balls are locked into the tracks on each level and the cat can bat them around, but they will not fall out of the tracks and end up rolling under the couch or something. An improvement on previous models, this one also contains a bar over the hole in the top to ensure your cat won’t stick their head into it and end up in a very large cone of shame. A few features worth noting:
- The balls slide around the tracks mimicking moving prey to keep your cat interested
- It is a great toy for multi cat or multi kitten households, they can all play with it at once
- It has anti slip grips across the bottom to keep it from sliding around or getting knocked over
- There’s a block bar across the top to stop your cat from getting stuck in the tower head first
This particular item is a combination of a toy and a feeder. If you’ve got a cat that is either a bit of a vacuum or a cat that simply eats too much without moving then this is the toy for you. The Slimcat Interactive is a puzzle feeder at its most base description, it basically fills with food and the cat has to bat it around to get the food to fall out. It’s a great way to encourage exercise while slowing down food intake. A few things worth noting:
- It is super easy to refill with dry food or treats as needed (you can’t use wet food)
- My cat Lexi that eats like a vacuum now has to take some time to knock pieces out then eat them, it helps stop her from vomiting after eating too fast
- It comes in a variety of colors, take a look at the link below to see all available options
- You can toss it right in the dish washer to clean it out after it has been used
Hexbug is a really cool company in my opinion, they’ve come up with a bunch of automated cat toys that basically let your cat get a great workout without requiring a human to be 100% involved. That’s an awesome perk at the end of a long day, especially since otherwise your cat can keep you up all darn night playing on their own or meowing to get you to play! Similar to the Nitro bugs I noted above, the Hexbug Mouse is specifically designed to mimic an actual hunt for your cat:
- This industrious little mouse exhibits realistic random movement, starting, stopping and pausing just like a real mouse
- It can navigate around objects, find its way out of corners and flip over from its back to its feet in an attempt to escape its captor
- It will come in either grey or white, I guess you’d need to order a few to ensure you get the color you want
- Note you will need a completely smooth surface for this toy to work
If you have a cat that is super interested when birds chirp outside the window then you’ve found a great toy right here. The SmartyCat Chickadee mimics real bird sounds and is activated whenever your cat (or you) give it a little whack or a bounce. Once it is set off your cat will go bonkers and keep batting it around. A few things worth noting:
- Chirps mimic those of real chickadees in the wild to entice your cat’s interest
- This is just about the size of a regular old brown sparrow that you see almost anywhere in America
- You can put catnip inside the bird as well to encourage interest initially (or catnip spray is good too)
- The filling is made of 100% recycled material so you can feel environmentally sound as well
While my cats love to scratch my rug, I never thought I’d end up buying a rug that was purposely made to be scratched up and used as a cat toy. This is probably one of the most entertaining cat toys on the market due to its simple but mass appeal! The Ripple Rug is exactly that though, a special toy in the shape of a rug with all sorts of design features to keep your cat(s) interested:
- It is a two layer rug where the top layer is filled with holes and has velcro attachments to you can basically create any design you’d like and then lock it onto the bottom layer of the rug
- This lets you have complete creative control and also the ability to constantly change the structure of the rug keeping cats intrigued and interested over time
- It is a pretty darn large rug coming in at 47″ by 35″ so you’ll have lots of space for multiple cats to explore & play on
- The rug is made to withstand extended scratching and help keep your cats from scratching up your own furniture
The Trixi Pet Five in One Game Board is pretty unique in its design in the marketplace. This is definitely one of the most mentally stimulating cat toys out there. It is a heavily food and treat driven toy so if you’ve got an overweight cat it can be a good way to make your cat work for their food. The board, no surprise given the name, has 5 different ways to engage your cat:
- Little globes resemble fish bowls and require the cats to scoop out food with their paw
- The pegs allow cats to see food from a distance and map out a hunting strategy to sneak it out
- Alleys are a playful option that encourage cats to earn treats while lying down using their paws or claws or toes
- The top is primarily for liquid treats since the slits hinder the cat from using its paws easily
- The tunnel is big enough to stick a small catnip toy in or hide a treat inside
All in all a great way to make a cat work for their food or treats, any cat that needs some exercise will love this activity board! This little video shows it in action:
Anyone remotely familiar with cats knows that they love a place they can hide and keep an eye on the rest of the room. While this is typically up high, they’re often happy to take the low ground if they feel the location gives them a good place to watch from. Not only does this collapsible tunnel allow for a great vantage point to hide and watch from, it also gives cats a place to explore. A few features worth noting:
- It has a spacious tunnel, built-in crinkle crackle paper, & a hanging ball toy for your cat to bat around, tons of ways for your cat(s) to have fun
- The material it is made of is ultra-strong, tear-resistant polyester wrapped around a sprung-steel frame
- The ends are designed specifically with additional protection to ensure the safety of your cats and it is also engineered to stand up to crazy cat scratcher antics
- I mentioned collapsible up top, with a provided elastic band it folds down small in seconds for easy travel and storage
- Each tube is about 10 inches tall and 1 foot long, take the entertainment with you anywhere so your pet is never bored
Smarty Cat Fish Flops are a fun and simple little toy. They are fish shaped cloth toys (maybe burlap?) that have crinkle paper inside them as well as a dose of catnip to get your cat interested the first time. The only real drag about these toys is that you can’t refill them with catnip, but that problem is easily solved by catnip spray. Just give them a quick spray and they are good as new!
- The material the toys are made from is extremely durable and while cats love batting them around and chewing on them they have a difficult time destroying them or ripping them open
- Crinkling paper inside keeps your cat interested after they start chewing on the toy
- The catnip initially entices the cats to jump right on them and start playing
- You can easily get your cats interested by spraying some additional catnip spray on them
If your cat is a fan of feather wands, or wands in general, this is a great option. Most wand toys only come with the single end included that has a couple of feathers, not only does it get beat up or destroyed quickly, but they rarely sell the ends on their own. You’d be forced instead to go buy a whole new wand toy, how wasteful is that?
- You get 7 different ends for your wand toy with this combination, they all act and sound a bit different when you spin them around
- If one gets destroyed or damaged you have plenty of other options available
- There are lots of different colors to attract your cats attention
- The wand extends and shrinks for easy storage (be careful when closing it up so you don’t break it!)
This treat maze is a wonderful cardboard contraption that basically allows you to hide treats inside it and make your cat really work for their snacks! It has three built in difficulty levels for different levels of curiosity and it will keep your cat well entertained for long periods of time! Just drop a few treats or a catnip covered toy inside and let them go to town!
- It is perfect for cats of all ages, both kittens and adults are forced to think to get to their treats
- This isn’t your typical cardboard, it is reinforced and sturdy, it’ll last a good long time
- The product is 100% recyclable for those of you that are environmentally conscious
- Great for exercise, slower eating, weight loss and meal management
Whether you’ve got a tiny kitten or an elderly cat, toys provide a fun way to get your fur ball exercising and engaging with you. It is always a riot to watch them chase after their favorite toy, pounce on it, then settle down for a quick grooming session before zonking out for a few hours! The Natural Pet Company wants your cat to do exactly this and they make this awesome collection of toys to enable exactly that.
- Each toy is made from natural wood, sisal, elastic and feathers, so you can have peace of mind whilst your cat gets busy developing their hunting skills and imagining they’re fighting a real bird or mouse
- The collection includes seven unique toys, giving you a box full of fun to share with your cat at an affordable price that will leave your cat wanting to see these toys out all the time
- The Natural Pet Company prides itself on good quality, natural products that are safe for you and your pets to use, these toys will last a lifetime and will see your cat through from kitten to adult
Playing with your cat has a host of benefits worth considering, but here’s a quick rundown of the major ones:
- Bonding Time: The more you play with your cat the more your cat will come to associate your presence with good things. This means your cat will come to adore you and want to spend more time with you.
- Natural Instincts: Cats naturally want to hunt, stalk and pounce. Giving them a chance to play and do these things is great for exercising their natural instincts. Doing this at a time of day that you choose is far better than your cat deciding to do it at 3 AM while you’re trying to sleep!
- Health Related: Just like us humans, exercising decreases overall stress and gives your cat a chance to focus on something. Not only is this great for producing endorphins (yes, cats have them too!) but it also helps them keep their weight down. A healthy weight helps deter health problems in general.
Age: Definitely take into the account the age of your cat. Cat toys for indoor cats or cats in general are often age agnostic, but some of them are definitely more appropriate for kittens or adults than others. You should also take age into account when deciding how often and for how long to play with your cat. No surprise, but the older your cat gets the less likely they are to spend time playing.
Variety: Remember that cats will get bored of the same toy if you use it over and over constantly, this is true for pretty much any toy. Having a variety of toys and rotating them in and out really helps maintain interest since cats are finicky little beasts! Definitely remember to hide some toys from time to time and keep them guessing.
One other item definitely worth considering outside the realm of toys is whether or not you should consider adopting a feline friend for your existing cat. Now obviously if you already know your cat is a one and only then do your best to focus on ensuring he or she gets lots of fun play sessions.
On the other hand if you’re open to another feline shelters are bursting at the seams with cats that need a happy home and many cats love having a friend to play with. Not only will it encourage them to get exercise and keep them fit, but they’ll also be less likely to cause mischief around the house when you’re not around because they can play and wrestle together.
There are a few things you should definitely keep in mind when considering an adoption:
- Ensure any cat you consider is spayed or neutered! The last thing the world needs is more kittens. No matter how darn cut they are!
- Make sure you adopt an age appropriate cat. A kitten isn’t a great idea for your 14 year old cat!
- Demeanor is important to consider as well. If your 1 year old cat is super lazy and likes to sleep then adopting a wildly energetic 1 year old cat as a friend might not be the best idea.
- Be sure to discuss options with the shelter you visit as most shelters have in depth information on cats through their foster programs.
Wrapping It Up On The Cat Toys For Indoor Cats
The market is loaded with an immeasurable number of cat toys these days. It seems like every time I look online or walk into Petco I find some new contraption. Keep in mind that cats often get just as much entertainment out of cheap simple toys as they do out of expensive ones.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works for your cat! That’s where some of the combo or large packages of toys can really come in handy.
If you have any toys you love that I totally missed then please please leave a comment below or send me an email at Craig@StuffCatsWant.com so I can update this article.
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