The Best Toys For Cats Alone at Home — Reviewed and Ranked

Written by Liz Coleman
Published: April 14, 2022
© Katrin Baidimirova/Shutterstock.com

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If you feel guilty about leaving your cat home alone, perhaps it’s time to consider a special cat toy that will make the experience less painful and stressful for both parties. The best toys for cats offer many benefits: they keep pets out of mischief, promote exercise, alleviate boredom and separation anxiety, and stimulate your cat’s mind. 

Whatever your cat’s preferred mode of play, there’s a cat toy out there to add to the fun. You’ll find interactive motorized toys, soft plush toys, puzzle toys, feather teasers, laser toys, and more. 

So how do you know which type of toy your furry friend will like, or even play with? That’s where things can get tricky. To help you find a toy that meets your cat’s unique needs and preferences, we’ve taken a look at some top-rated toys in several categories. Let the games begin!

  1. KONG Puzzlements Pockets Cat Toy
  2. KONG Puzzlements Pockets Cat Toy
    • Hide-and-seek mat for multiple modes of play
    • Hide treats, toys, or catnip in the pockets for your kitty to discover
    • Made of crinkly material that most cats love
    • Includes a rattling ball for kitties to swat
    • Also includes a catnip mouse
    Check Chewy
  3. Frisco Butterfly Cat Tracks
  4. Frisco Butterfly Cat Tracks
    • Budget-friendly
    • Available in baby blue or pink
    • Easy to assemble
    • Non-skid pads on the bottom
    Check Chewy
  5. SmartyKat Scroll Cat Scratcher
  6. SmartyKat Scroll Cat Scratcher
    • Designed for cats who love to scratch
    • Unique S shape marries form and function
    • Durable
    • Includes snap-on dangling feather toy
    • Strong enough to support heavy felines
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  7. Frisco Refillable Catnip Squirrel
  8. Frisco Refillable Catnip Squirrel
    • Very affordable
    • Features a refillable compartment for catnip
    • A small container of catnip is included
    • Machine-washable
    Check Chewy
  9. PetDroid Cat Toy
  10. PetDroid Cat Toy
    • This electronic toy features colorful LED wheels
    • Includes 3 attachable toys so it's always new and different
    • Works on carpets and hard floors due to built-in sensors detect obstacles
    • USB rechargeable with an 8-hour battery life
    Check Amazon
  11. YVE LIFE Cat Laser Toy
  12. YVE LIFE Cat Laser Toy
    • This toy is motion activated to start when it senses your cat is nearby
    • You can attach it to a counter, the wall, or even a window
    • It has two speeds and a quiet motor
    • The USB-rechargeable battery holds a charge for 8 hours
    • You can use 4 AA batteries if you prefer
    Check Amazon
  13. TRIXIE Activity Fun Board 5-in-1 Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy
  14. TRIXIE Activity Fun Board 5-in-1 Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy
    • Includes 5 different challenges
    • When your cat solves a puzzle, it will receive a food reward
    • Dishwasher safe
    • BPA-free
    • Nonslip rubber feet 
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  15. Frisco Plush Ball & Tri-Tunnel Toy
  16. Frisco Plush Ball & Tri-Tunnel Toy
    • Includes a tunnel and 19 cat toys
    • The pack includes plushies, feather teasers, crinkly toys, balls, catnip toys and a 3-way tunnel!
    • Great for homes with multiple cats
    • Perfect for pet parents who don't know what their cat's toy preferences are
    Check Chewy

1. Best Overall: Kong Puzzlements Pockets Cat Toy

In our review, the best toy for entertaining cats at home is the Kong Puzzlements Pockets Cat Toy. This hide-and-seek mat won us over for its nearly universal appeal: it offers multiple modes of play, for all kinds of felines. 

Before you head out for the day, simply stash some of your cat’s favorite treats, toys, or catnip in the mat’s pockets. Then your furry pal can pass the time working to find her rewards—whatever those may be. 

This toy is made with the crinkly material that (most) cats love. There’s also a rattling ball attached for kitties to brush up on their swatting skills. And for catnip lovers, a plush catnip mouse is included. 

When your cat is tuckered out after playtime, this mat gives her a cozy place to nap until you return home.

Key Features:

  • Dimensions: 15.75” X 15.75”
  • Includes 9 pockets for hide-and-seek
  • Spot-clean only
Best Overall
KONG Puzzlements Pockets Cat Toy
  • Hide-and-seek mat for multiple modes of play
  • Hide treats, toys, or catnip in the pockets for your kitty to discover
  • Made of crinkly material that most cats love
  • Includes a rattling ball for kitties to swat
  • Also includes a catnip mouse
Check Chewy

2. Best for Kittens: Frisco Butterfly Cat Tracks Toy

Is there anything cuter than a kitten playing with butterflies? This Frisco ball-and-tracks toy should keep your young cat occupied. There are three circular tiers, each with a plastic ball for your cat to swat and push around the track. And an adorable fluttering butterfly on the top adds to the fun. 

If your kitten gets a little too frisky and damages the butterfly, there’s a spare one included. Of course, this toy isn’t just for kittens—we have a feeling your older kitty will like it, too.

Key Features:

  • Budget-friendly 
  • Available in baby blue or pink
  • Easy to put together
  • Nonskid pads on bottom
Best for Kittens
Frisco Butterfly Cat Tracks
  • Budget-friendly
  • Available in baby blue or pink
  • Easy to assemble
  • Non-skid pads on the bottom
Check Chewy

3. Best for Heavy Scratchers: SmartyKat Scratch Scroll

As far as cat behaviors go, scratching isn’t one of our favorites. But, alas, cats need to scratch. The key to keeping your furniture intact? Give your cat something he’s supposed to scratch. The unique “S” shape of the SmartyCat Scroll offers the perfect blend of form and function. It allows for angled scratching, which is more comfortable for cats. And the sisal and carpet combo provides two surface options.

Several reviews mention this scratcher is sturdy enough to hold their cat, and even heavier felines gave their stamp of approval. So after your cat has satisfied her urge to claw, she can curl up in the scroll’s cozy nook. On the downside, the SmartKat doesn’t score well on longevity. But with the affordable price, purchasing a couple of replacements seems reasonable. 

Key Features:

  • Dimensions: 7” X 18.5”
  • Durable construction holds up to heavy scratchers 
  • Includes snap-on dangling feather toy
  • Safe for children and pets
Best for Heavy Scratchers
SmartyKat Scroll Cat Scratcher
  • Designed for cats who love to scratch
  • Unique S shape marries form and function
  • Durable
  • Includes snap-on dangling feather toy
  • Strong enough to support heavy felines
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best for Catnip Lovers: Frisco Refillable Catnip Squirrel 

Does your cat go nuts for catnip? Then she’ll love this super-cute squirrel from Frisco. It comes with a refillable compartment for catnip, so you can keep the fun going as long as you like. A small container of catnip is included, but when that runs out (because you know it will), you can buy a tub of catnip here

Key Features:

  • Machine-washable
  • Includes a vial of Canadian-grown catnip 
  • Very affordable (under $5)
Best for Catnip Lovers
Frisco Refillable Catnip Squirrel
  • Very affordable
  • Features a refillable compartment for catnip
  • A small container of catnip is included
  • Machine-washable
Check Chewy

5. Best Electronic Moving Toy: PetDroid Interactive Boltz Toy

If you’re looking for an interactive electronic toy that will get your cat moving, the PetDroid Boltz may be for you. It’s a fun choice for active kitties who need to blow off steam. The toy’s irregular movement patterns are sure to keep your cat on her toes. 

The Boltz comes with a few toy attachments that are interchangeable to keep things fresh and new. It’s suitable for carpets and hard floors, and it has built-in sensors that detect obstacles.

If we had to pick a favorite feature, it would have to be the automatic shutdown. After ten minutes of active play, the Boltz turns off to give your cat a sufficient rest period of 1.5 hours. Then it powers back up for another 10 minutes of fun. This gives your cat at home the perfect amount of interactive playtime throughout the day. 

Key Features:

  • Includes 3 different toy attachments 
  • Colorful LED wheels
  • USB-rechargeable
  • Long-running battery life (8 hours)
Best Electronic Moving Toy
PetDroid Cat Toy
  • This electronic toy features colorful LED wheels
  • Includes 3 attachable toys so it's always new and different
  • Works on carpets and hard floors due to built-in sensors detect obstacles
  • USB rechargeable with an 8-hour battery life
Check Amazon

6. Best Laser Toy: YVE LIFE Automatic Laser Toy

If you want to encourage your feline friend to exercise while you’re away, you might want to consider a motion-activated laser. When this automatic laser detects your pet’s movements, it springs into action for 5 minutes. Your cat will get in her steps (and then some) as she chases the elusive light around. Once the 5 minutes are up, the toy automatically turns off. 

We love that there are options when it comes to placement: you can set it on a counter, attach it to the wall, or stick it to a window. And there are two speeds, making it suitable for both your speed bullet kitten and your more leisurely-paced senior cat. 

The USB-rechargeable battery takes roughly 3 hours to charge and lasts for 8 hours (perfect for a day at the office). Alternatively, you can use 4 AA batteries to operate this toy. 

Key Features:

  • Two speeds: fast and slow
  • USB-rechargeable 
  • Quiet motor
Best Laser Toy
YVE LIFE Cat Laser Toy
  • This toy is motion activated to start when it senses your cat is nearby
  • You can attach it to a counter, the wall, or even a window
  • It has two speeds and a quiet motor
  • The USB-rechargeable battery holds a charge for 8 hours
  • You can use 4 AA batteries if you prefer
Check Amazon

7. Best Puzzle Toy: Trixie Activity Fun Board

Boredom can be a drag for cats alone at home. Puzzle toys offer one way to engage your bored kitty while keeping her physically and mentally stimulated. This Trixie Activity Board includes 5 different challenges to engage your cat and pique her curiosity. And then it rewards her efforts with a tasty bite!

Key Features:

  • Varying levels of difficulty make it perfect for all types of cats
  • Dishwasher safe
  • BPA-free
  • Nonslip rubber feet 
Best Puzzle Toy
TRIXIE Activity Fun Board 5-in-1 Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy
  • Includes 5 different challenges
  • When your cat solves a puzzle, it will receive a food reward
  • Dishwasher safe
  • BPA-free
  • Nonslip rubber feet 
Check Chewy Check Amazon

8. Best Value: Frisco Variety Pack with Catnip

Here’s a smorgasbord of toys that has something for every cat. With 20 toys to choose from, feline boredom will be a thing of the past. There are soft plushies, feather teasers, crinkly toys, rolling balls, catnip toys, and even a 3-way tunnel

This pack makes a great starter kit for new cat owners who aren’t sure what type of toys their new family member prefers. It works for both kittens and adult cats, and it’s a smart choice for folks with multiple cats.

Key Features:

  • Includes an assortment of 20 cat toys (including a tunnel)
  • Great for cats of all ages
  • Chewy exclusive
Best Value
Frisco Plush Ball & Tri-Tunnel Toy
  • Includes a tunnel and 19 cat toys
  • The pack includes plushies, feather teasers, crinkly toys, balls, catnip toys and a 3-way tunnel!
  • Great for homes with multiple cats
  • Perfect for pet parents who don't know what their cat's toy preferences are
Check Chewy

Choosing the Best Cat Toy: What to Look For

With the abundance of toys available to cat owners, where do you begin? Your cat’s personality and preferences are a good place to start. Once you’ve discovered the type of toy your cat likes, you should look for something safe that’s made to last.

Toy Type

Cats are particular creatures, and what suits one feline may not suit the next. Consider your cat’s play habits and preferences: does she like darting around in pursuit of prey? A laser toy or electronic moving toy might appeal. For more sedentary kitties, a puzzle toy or mat can encourage gentle exercise and some mental effort. 

Durability

If your cat is going to be left at home with her new toy, it needs to stand up to her level of play. Buyer reviews can be pretty telling in this regard, and we stuck to products that can hold up to more active cats. 

Safety

If you’re looking for something your cat can play with by herself, safety is your #1 priority. Avoid toys with sharp points or small parts that could be swallowed, and look for secure batteries and nontoxic materials.

The Different Types of Cat Toys: Pros and Cons Compared

If you’re torn between all the different kinds of toys, here are some benefits (and drawbacks) to each type. Please keep in mind that some cats may benefit from more than one type of toy, as they each work on different skills. We’ve taken a closer look at cat puzzle toys, electronic toys, and the ever-popular plush cat toys.

  • Puzzle Toys: Puzzle toys challenge cats cognitively and physically. They require problem-solving skills and put your kitty’s hunting chops to the test. Puzzle toys are appropriate for kittens and senior cats alike, and they can alleviate boredom and destructive behavior. If you have an 
  • Electronic Toys: For energetic cats on the go (or for cats who need persuading to exercise), an electronic toy that moves is a good option. These toys use motion, sounds, and/or lights to engage cats and get them moving. While electronic toys are helpful in most cases, some sensitive or nervous cats may find them too frightening. Also, cats with limited mobility may not fare as well with these kinds of toys.
  • Plush Toys: Often filled with catnip, plushies are a soft, snuggly choice for cats. They’re good for easing nerves, but they may not be durable enough for pets with a mischievous streak.

Verified Review: User Experience

One of the most common issues raised by shoppers is their cat’s lack of enthusiasm (or outright disdain) for their new plaything. While we can’t predict with absolute certainty which toys our cats will like and which ones will be ignored, we can make an educated decision by paying attention to our cat’s unique habits and abilities. 

There’s also the issue of durability. It’s important to remember that no cat toy is ever 100% indestructible, and active cats with a penchant for scratching or biting will wear out a toy faster than more sedentary felines. 

And don’t forget about your own noise tolerance—some cat toys are louder than others, and you might find them too intrusive to enjoy.

About the Author

Liz is a freelance writer who loves putting pet owners in touch with top-rated, life-enriching pet products. She shares her home in Western New York with 2 cats, 2 zebra finches, 1 husband, and an animal-loving daughter. Visit her at Lizwritesforyou.com.

The Best Toys For Cats Alone at Home — Reviewed and Ranked FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the best toy for a cat to play with?

This depends largely on your intentions for the toy. Ask yourself: do I want to encourage exercise, redirect scratching, or give my cat something to cuddle with? Puzzle toys are a good option for all kinds of cats, from kittens to seniors. Electronic moving toys are best for active cats who become easily bored. And soft, plush toys are an affordable choice that often include catnip.

 

How do I keep my indoor cat entertained?

Keeping your indoor cat entertained is critical to raising a well-behaved and happy pet. To that end, interactive cat toys are extremely helpful. Also worth considering are cat scratchers, and cat trees that offer vertical space.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.