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Best Cat Toys for Indoor Cats

An indoor cat is a spoiled cat, isn’t that a saying? Well, it should be.  Having an indoor cat is a responsible choice (just think of the billions of furry critters you’re indirectly saving), and within that umbrella of choices lies the variety of toys you can buy.  We’ve divided this article into (what we think) are the healthiest choices of best cat toys for indoor cats.

Our selection at a glance (for more, see article)

best cat toys for indoor catsWand Cat ToyInteractive$rating 45
skitter crittersSmartyKat Skitter CrittersExercise$rating 45
best cat toy for indoor catsSenses Treat MazeSpecialty$$ratin 4
best cat toy for indoor catsCollapsible TunnelSpecialty$$rating 45

It’s important for indoor cats to get a sufficient amount of exercise and stimulation every day to live a long, healthy life.  There is a misconception about cats that they do not require as much playtime or attention because they are independent, but let’s agree to disagree because that is totally false.

Your furry feline needs plenty of loving attention and crazy playtime, and you can make this as dynamic and as fun as possible with the gigantic amount of cat toys available online, in pet stores, or those that “naturally occur” in your home; hair bows, crumpled paper, your favorite black pen that’s now missing…

Now let’s jump to the toy section, starting with our favorite:

Interactive Toys

Interactive toys, I’d say, are probably of the most importance among the variety of cat toys.

This requires two things: a cat and the cat parent. Sometimes it’s that simple, like playing Hide and Seek (Paul and Yoda play this all the time, Yoda loves it!)

Most of the time, however, interactive play will consist of using a toy that the cat cannot play with on his own; a wand that you drag around, a mouse you throw (when playing Go Fetch; some cats are innate fetchers—Yoda is one!) a laser pointer your cat chases around the room, etc.

cool cat toy for indoor cat

A great start for an interactive toy is the Teaser Cat Catcher Wand Cat Toy

Why we love it:

  • It’s so cheap you could buy one for every season
  • Safe and simple
  • Recommended by Veterinarians

Right, so what’s there not to love?  Not sure whether who’s going to fall in love more, you or your cat.  Interactive toys are purrfect for bonding with your kitty.

Find it on Amazon!

Active / Exercise Toys

Indoor cats live a life of luxury, whether they know it or not.  They sleep up to 18 hours a day, they bask in the sun all afternoon, they get fed everyday without having hunt, they get love and tons of caresses and cuddles, and the list goes on.

Knowing all that, I’d say your cat is already high-risk for laziness, which can lead them susceptible to obesity and more serious health issues.  Let’s avoid that by giving our kitty loads of options to get active during the day.  Giving your cat active toys will release their bottled up energy during the day (from sleeping so long, of course) and will also prevent hyperactive behavior during the night.

best cat toys for indoor cats

Toys, such as balls with bells inside, stuffed mice, cardboard boxes, paper, bags, etc., are active toys because they provoke your kitty’s inner playfulness.

Give a cat a ping pong ball and they will let their own imaginations pretend it’s an alive critter they’re chasing and pushing around.  That’s why stuffed mice are such a popular choice among indoor cat owners; cats love to catch their prey so a rolling mouse or ball toy allows them to satisfy their craving to chase and pounce!

Try this trio of catnip mice and you will see just how much your cat loves it!

SmartyKat Catnip Toys

Why we love it:

  • Cute multi-textured trio
  • Catnip inside for extra fun
  • Cheap (we really love that) ^^

What’s the price of your cat’s happiness?  It can’t be less than that trio of mice, certainly! It’s a great buy for your buck.

Find it on Amazon!

Specialty Toys

“Specialty toys”, you say?  Yes, I named this category “Specialty” because there are just some cool knick-knacks out there that just need their own special name.

Like this Catit Treat Maze

Why we love it:

  • Great idea, great price
  • Fun for your cat
  • Rewards playtime

What’s pawesome about this toy is that it’s both active and rewarding for your cat.  The creator of this toy added two and two together and got this cool product.  Darn, wish we thought of it sooner! ^^

The Catit Treat Maze is a “food” toy designed to stimulate your cats senses, while getting rewarded with treats or food!  This is the purrfect toy / food dispenser for cats who tend to overeat.  Sorry kitty, you’re going to have to work for your food now.

Find it on Amazon!

Here’s another “specialty” item we think is a super toy that needs to be included.  It can be used both as an interactive toy (you can play Tag Your It, Hide and Go Seek) and as a solo/active toy your cat will love to run through anytime during the day.

SmartyKat Crackle Chute Cat Toy Collapsible Tunnel  (try saying that three times fast)

best cat toys for indoor cats

Why we love it:

  • It’s so much fun you’ll want to crawl through it yourself
  • It’s collapsible for easy storage
  • It crackles! (That’s it, I just convinced myself)

A mysterious, crackling tunnel? Of course your cat will love it. Paws down.

Find it on Amazon!

DIY Toys

Do-It-Yourself cat toys are seriously the easiest DIY projects to exist on the internet.  If Yoda could talk, he would tell you his mommy (me) made the best DIY cat toy ever and that we had so much fun for hours.

It consisted of a ball (that looked like a mouse) and a long blue ribbon (that you’d tie around gifts). Add the two together and you have your own drag-around-the-house scurrying critter that your cat will undoubtedly chase and pounce on.  (Run fast though or your kitty might just get your heels!)

best cat toys for indoor cats

+DIY Ideas

Here are some fun DIY ideas (the materials are probably already lying around your house) that you can magically turn into the best cat toys for indoor cats.

  • Shower curtain rings have an extra ring on that shower pole, do ya? Share the love, clean it up and give it to your kitty cat.
  • Recycled paper if you have some paper lying around, which I bet you do, then crumple it up and toss it to your kitty. It’s their new best buddy.
  • Toilet rolls no, not the paper portion but the cardboard.  Cut it into three pieces/circles about one inch wide and put the circles inside each other.  You will have created a ball in minutes.
  • Baby socks if you have seen these then you already know they are pretty cute.  Stuff a soft baby’s sock with catnip, a bell, cotton, etc., and then decorate it with feathers, eyes (not plastic), or what have you, to turn it into a cute little mouse or bird. Ta-da!
  • Hair bows I mentioned this one earlier, but sometimes all your hard work or money doesn’t amount to the fun and mysteriousness of a hair bow.  Yoda goes crazy even if I just hold my hair bow up.  He loves to play fetch with my hair bows, and most of all, likes to hide them under closet doors.  Silly kitty. ^^
  • Paper bags bags bags bags.  Your cat will have so much fun! Kittens and plastic could result in a hazardous outcome so only use this option for adult cats that don’t chew and swallow toys. Better yet, just use a paper bag like you would get from Whole Foods.
  • Cardboard (it’s the new black) you can make cardboard into anything you want.  Is kitty a princess? Give her a fun castle to reside in then.

More ideas with Erin in the video below 🙂

Not safe toys for Kitty

Last, but not least, make sure these items (not a comprehensive list) are out of kitty’s site as they are hazardous to your cat’s health and thus are best avoided at all costs.

  • Small rubber bands, yarn, string, etc., (anything small and long that can coil up in the intestines can cause serious problems, if your cat swallows something like this seek medical help immediately).
  • Small objects that can be chewed off and swallowed
  • Plastic eyes, small ornaments for decorating fake mice and birds (take them off before giving to your cat)
  • Wands with Mylar streamers
  • Stuffing filled with polyester beads, etc., dangerous if punctured and injected

Overall, though there are many toys out on the markets that are dangerous for your cat, sometimes the safety and health of your cat depends on a little reflection.  Ask yourself twice, “Is this safe for my cat if chewed, swallowed, etc.?” If you hesitate to answer, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family and your local Vet (or us).

Life is already hard enough without losing your best friend over a mass-produced toy with plastic eyes.

Ultimately, this list of cat toys will help your cat stay active and healthy. Aim to play with your cat for at least 15 minutes per day, especially if they are an indoor cat.

If you don’t have time to actively play with your cat, then a self-play toy may suffice. However, you’d give your cat much more space and room to play if you were to build or buy a catio.

Likewise, if ever you go on vacation, instead of keeping your cat bored at home, consider boarding them into a cattery.

We hope this guide was helpful! Does your cat have any favorite playtime toys?

Virginia Dominguez

Sunday 21st of January 2018

This page has some very good advice. I am looking for cat toys with Valeria leaves in them with or without cat nip. If anyone knows where to buy. I have a 2.5 year old male that has interstitial cystitis and I have heard and read that it can be caused by stress from just about anything. Valeria as I have read can bring a cat into a nice state of euphoria or stoned to be more correct.

Brittany, Paul, & Yoda =^^=

Monday 22nd of January 2018

Hi Virginia, Thanks so much for your comment! We have never tried Valerian root for cats so we don't have a recommendation. I looked on pet supplies websites and Amazon and I mostly found mixed catnip/Valerian products, but there is one brand that offers a packet of 3 and the Valerian root is separated in this one. We cannot verify the quality of the product as we've never tried. But have a look through the comments and see what other cat owners say. It might be just what you're looking for. Best of luck and thanks for dropping by!