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Reviewing the Top Interactive Cat Toys!

Reviewing the Top Interactive Cat Toys!

I set out to review the top interactive cat toys on Amazon and Chewy to point you in the right direction. Granted, I'm a pretty harsh critic - but it took a LOT of digging to find good toys. Many cat guardians know that cats are underrepresented in the pet industry, and the only way to change that is to make your voice heard.

What are some of your cat's favorite toys? And what things frustrate you about them?

What is an interactive cat toy?

Let's set the record straight: not all toys labeled as "interactive" truly live up to the name. Interactive isn't just about a cat playing with an object—it's about genuine engagement and connection between feline and human. Forget about those suction cup contraptions or lasers that zip around the room. While they may elicit some level of curiosity, they fall short of true interaction. The cat is just interacting with an inanimate object!

So, what defines an interactive cat toy in my book? It's simple: one end of the toy is connected to a human, while the other end is connected to a cat. This setup fosters a dynamic exchange of play between animal and human, hence the term "interactive."

Imagine dangling a feather wand or teasing your cat with a fluttering butterfly toy. In these scenarios, you're actively involved in the play session, enticing your cat to pounce, chase, and engage in natural hunting behaviors. THAT is interactive.

So, the next time you're shopping for cat toys, remember: it's not just about the toy itself—it's about the shared experience between you and your cat. Choose toys that promote genuine interaction and watch your bond with your cat flourish.

What makes a good interactive cat toy?

When it comes to choosing a perfect cat toy, I have a strict set of criteria that I judge every contender against. Use this checklist next time you go toy shopping and you’re sure to find something your cat loves!

Prey moves like prey

The first and foremost requirement is how the toy moves during playtime. Whether it's resembling a bird fluttering through the air, a snake slithering across the ground, or a bug scuttling along the floor, the ideal toy should evoke the thrill of the hunt for your cat.

Think about those moments when your cat encounters a real mouse or bird—there's a certain intensity in their movements, a sense of anticipation as they stalk their prey. That's the experience we aim to replicate with toys.

No more lackluster batting sessions resulting in a lifeless toy under the fridge. We're raising the bar here: prey should act like prey, plain and simple!

Built to last

Durability is key. It’s important to me — and anyone who invests in cat toys — that the toys can withstand the rough play of an enthusiastic cat. Opt for toys with sturdy construction and secure attachments


Safety is paramount when it comes to selecting cat toys, and it's a factor I take very seriously. I've witnessed firsthand the potential dangers that poorly-designed toys can pose to both cats and their guardians.

Imagine this scenario: your cat grabs hold of a toy and manages to tear it apart, only for you to discover remnants of it in their litter box a few days later. Not only is this a potential choking hazard for your cat, but it can also do damage on its way through your cat's digestive tract.

There's also the risk of injury during playtime. Take, for example, toys with stretchy cords or heavy attachments. If your cat pulls too hard or suddenly releases tension, it could result in a painful accident.

Additionally, the length of the wand plays a crucial role in your safety. A too-short wand increases the likelihood of your cat inadvertently grabbing your hand instead of the toy, leading to unintended scratches or bites. This not only disrupts the positive bonding experience but can also instill fear in your cat, making them hesitant to engage with the toy in the future.

Ultimately, safety considerations extend beyond physical harm—they also impact the human-animal bond. A well-designed toy fosters enjoyable, stress-free play sessions where you and your cat can share moments of laughter and fun. Conversely, a toy that poses risks to either party undermines this bond and detracts from the joy of playtime.

A good wand

One common issue with interactive toys is that the wand itself is more distracting than the toy at the end. If the wand is adorned with flashy decorations or noisy elements that capture your cat's attention and detract from the main attraction — the intended prey — then that can lead to a less engaging play experience.

Your cat likes it

And of course, the last point on the checklist is what should be most important: your cat has to like it! While safety, durability, and engagement are important, your cat’s enthusiasm and engagement are the ultimate indicators of a great toy.

Other cat toy tips

Variety is key

Just like humans, cats thrive on variety. That's why I emphasize the importance of rotating toys regularly, keeping playtime fresh and engaging for my cats. With a diverse selection of toys, I can ensure continuous stimulation and prevent boredom.

Storage and accessibility

Proper storage is essential for maintaining excitement during playtime. By stowing away toys when not in use, you create anticipation and excitement for your cat. Retrieving a toy should feel like opening a can of cat food—your cat should come running when they hear the toy drawer open up!

Storing toys away also prevents potential hazards, such as small parts or strings, from becoming accessible to your cat when unsupervised. By making a habit of storing toys after playtime, you can minimize the risk of accidents and keep your cat excited about the toys in rotation.

Cat lovers must advocate for change

As I sit here amidst the wreckage of disappointing cat toys, I'm reminded of the importance of advocating for better products in the market. While playing with your cat is undoubtedly important regardless of what toys you have available, the lack of quality toys can be disheartening.

But I promise—there ARE good toys out there. As someone who has designed and sold numerous toys, I can attest to the existence of tried and true options that stand out from the rest. Just visit my store to see what toys have received my stamp of approval.

However, the prevalence of underwhelming, poorly-designed cat toys reflects a broader issue within the pet industry. Cats are often overlooked compared to their canine counterparts. Just walk into any pet supply store and you’re sure to see three dog toys for every one cat toy. Dog toys are well-designed and well-marketed, but after all this time, many companies still don’t know what to do for cats.

But it doesn't have to be this way. We can do better, and it starts with making our voices heard. By speaking up and letting the industry and pet stores know that the current offerings are inadequate, we can drive change. Let's work together to improve the quality of cat toys available!

In the meantime, consult your checklist and prioritize safety and engagement. If a toy is remotely dangerous or fails to keep your cat entertained, don't hesitate to toss it aside. And while some toys may disappoint, remember that many are affordable, so stock up and get to know your cat’s preferences. 

Together, we can advocate for better toys and ensure that every play session is a rewarding experience for both you and your cat!

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