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21 Best Cat Toys: Your Ultimate List

Cat toys come in a wide variety of styles, but there are a few categories that continually emerge as favorites. Here we’ve collected five example of five different categories of toys: balls, catnip toys, toys with feathers, mice and other prey animals, and scratching posts and playgrounds. These are all tried-and-true toy types which can add a new dimension to your cat’s environment and pique their interest.

To give you a place to start shopping, we’ve compiled 21 of the best cat toys in different styles that are sure to entertain your cat for hours.

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The Human Society of the United States recommends that you make a rotation of your cat's toys to keep them interesting. Only keep a few out at a time, then switch them the next week. When you do, make sure they have one of each type of toy, including at least a couple that you use with them, since domestic cats enjoy bonding activities with their humans.

Ball Cat Toys

Just like dogs, cats love to chase balls. Sure, they're pretty simple and you could certainly use any kind at all. They have the added advantage of being highly animated without much input from you or your cat. Especially on non-carpeted floors, you can get a lot of mileage (pun intended) out of a cheap ball.

Catnip Toys

Catnip is actually a member of the mint family. It’s an herb that contains a specific essential oil to which some cats are extremely sensitive. All they need to do is breathe it in to trigger a reaction that generally lasts about ten minutes. During that time, cats can get really wild and energetic, attacking the object that has catnip on it and rubbing it on their faces.

Cat toys that come with catnip, preferably in a refillable vessel, are excellent for inciting very active play periods that will stimulate your cat and give them excellent exercise.

Feather Cat Toys

Between the noises they make, their particular shape and texture, and the color, feathers are a favorite cat toy. They tend to float and behave differently than other toys, so having a feather-based toy around can help to vary a cat’s playtime. The Humane Society actually suggests removing feathers from any toy you give a cat, but given their popularity, we think there can be a compromise.

Feather cat toys are better for supervised play, so you can make sure your cat doesn’t swallow any of them. You should promptly throw away any loose or broken feathers, but until that point, they’re still good toys for exercising your cat.

Mice and Prey Animal Toys

Naturally, small rodents are the prey of choice for most cats. That gave rise to the most iconic of cat toys: the simple fake mouse. They’re ubiquitous, and for good reason. They’re inexpensive and simple, and cats love them. We always had at least a dozen of these laying around the house when I was a kid, and it was the toy the cats would consistently rediscover and spontaneously start playing with most often.

If the basic mouse won’t cut it for your cat, toy makers have obliged by making any number of other adorable woodland critters available in various configurations.

Scratching Posts and Cat Playgrounds

Scratching posts are a necessity for any cat lover’s home. Cats need a place to scratch, dig their claws in, and stretch. Just as important, a cat needs areas that it knows are its own, so it can do what it likes with that space. This helps cats behave better by giving them their own sanctuary, making them less territorial over human spaces.

Both of these types of cat furniture can also be equipped as toys in order to multi-task. Having both small toys and larger pieces can add excellent variety to your cat’s play habits.

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