Best cat toys of 2020 to entertain your pet

Pete Wise
·10-min read

From chasing teasers and catnip animals, to interacting with more complex toys like lasers and cat trees, cats are often at their happiness while at play.

Daily play with your cat is one of the best things you can do for their health and happiness. The many benefits include promoting exercise, satisfying hunting instincts, and developing the bond between cat and their human keepers.

Cat toys appeal to felines in a variety of ways, thanks to interactive features like laser lights and mechanical motions, as well as catnip stuffing, lifelike textures such as fake fur and feathers, sound, and human interaction.

Choosing the right toy for a cat can be tricky, as most cats will naturally lose interest in a given toy at certain times.

This can make it tough to tell apart the toys which the cat doesn’t like, from the toys it's simply set aside temporarily. It’s a good idea to buy your cat a variety of toys of different types, so there’ll always (hopefully) be something to pique their interest.

In this guide, we test 26 of the best cat toys on the market, covering a range of toy types, manufacturers and price points.

The toys have been tested with the help of our very own feline reviewer, a long-haired moggy named Martha, who has had the time of her life helping to research this roundup.

See our favourites below

Catit Play Pirates Parrot Catnip Wand Toy

This wand toy was a smash hit with Martha, our cat reviewer. The colourful parrot prey at the end of the wand is both cute and eminently killable, at least from a cat’s perspective. Accompanied with a clutch of feathers, a bell and a catnip scent, it captured our cat’s attention better than any other toy we tested. The wand is nice and bendy, which makes it especially fun to wield, we must admit.

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£3.29 | Amazon

Archie & Oscar Samiyah Interactive Cat Laser Toy

This laser light toy mesmerised our cat. It projects little red dots of light onto the floor or walls around it, and causes them to move on unpredictable trajectories. Cats can’t help but chase these phantom prey.

The toy can be set to keep running for 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes. So, if you have some washing up to do but want to keep kitty entertained, simply turn the toy on and let your cat reach for the lasers, while you less excitingly reach for the sponge.

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£26.99 | Wayfair

Cattitude Box – Monthly Subscription Box for Cat Ladies

We were blown away by the quality of cat toys and cat-lady treats included in this fabulous subscription box. It’s the ultimate gift-to-self-and-cat. The box we tried had a Parisian theme, represented beautifully with a graphic cat print scarf for the hu-mum, and baguette- and wine bottle-shaped catnip toys for puss, plus much more besides.

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£25 per box | Cratejoy

Catit Senses 2.0 Super Circuit

This sprawling 62cm circuit is a major investment of space – but the payoff seems to be a very happy cat.

As with all the best cat toys, the premise of the Super Circuit is simple: the cat chases a tinkling ball up and down the length of a track. If you’re looking for a circuit toy for your cat that will stretch theirlegs a bit, this one would be an exceptional choice. If you’d like to make a super-long track, buy two!

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£20 | Amazon

King Catnip Soft Refillable Plush Sprat

This lil’ sprat may not look like much, but it is packed to the gills with weapons-grade, 100 per cent organic, American catnip leaf.

Our cat was enraptured with it before it was even out of the parcel, and has very much enjoyed playing with it over a period of weeks.

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£4.96 | Amazon

Catit Senses 2.0 Ball Dome

It turns out that a transparent-lidded dome with an automatically moving ball inside it is pretty much TV for cats.

Our feline review assistant watched this toy for minutes on end, occasionally venturing in with a paw to dab the ball. Apparently, placing a bit of catnip inside the ball may trigger a more frenzied response - perfect for a special occasion treat.

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£23.94 | eBay

King Catnip Soft Refillable Plush Carrot

What’s up, mog? This plush carrot is the perfect prop to help with your cat’s Bugs Bunny impression.

Perhaps more importantly, from the cat’s perspective, it also seems to be great fun to play with, and is filled with high-quality organic catnip.

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£6.69 | Amazon

Archie & Oscar 67cm Alva Cat Condo

Combining play, rest and in-built storage space for all your cat supplies, Archie & Oscar’s Alva Cat Condo is the perfect mid-century-modern centrepiece for a feline play area.

Our cat took a bit of coaxing to get it into the 'screen' of the TV – but she really took to it after taking some time familiarising herself with the furnishing.

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£81.99 | Wayfair

Catit Play Pirates Cat Cannon

Our cat loved playing in this cutest of cannons. The inside is a perfect place to relax, while the feathery 'fuse' provides enough enticement to venture a paw out the back of the tube.

We can’t over-emphasise how keenly our feline reviewer took to this excellent toy from Catit. She usually spends a good few hours a day inside it.

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£13.99 | Amazon

Kong Softies Patchwork Bear Cat Toy

This may sound a bit grim, but adult cats tend to like it when they can tear a few chunks out of their toys. It gives them the sense they’re getting somewhere with their prey.

Kong’s Patchwork Bear toy is a prime candidate for destruction, with a ragged texture and full complement of limbs and ears for the cat to maul. What’s more, it’s catnip-scented too.

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£5 | Pets At Home

Spot Long Felt Cat Teaser

Anyone for a spot of ribbon dancing? This long felt cat teaser flows rather elegantly through the air, providing a pleasant and calming experience for you, while also riling up your pet.

Pretty much every cat lover will have played with a toy like this at some point. It’s a classic way to simulate the erratic movement of a prey animal.

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£4 | Pets At Home

Catit Play Pirates Crab Catnip Toy

This adorable catnip crab offers untold joy to feline friends, thanks to the soft felt exterior and a bell that jingles. Great price, too.

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£1.99 | Amazon

Pets At Home Scrunchie Ball Toy

Whoever designed this toy has clearly recognised that cats often enjoy playing with things like packaging more than the actual toys they come in.

This scrunchie ball toy is very much like a crumpled up piece of shiny wrapping paper. Naturally, it’s a real cat-pleaser.

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£0.50 | Pets At Home

Kong Kickeroo Cat Toy

There’s something special about those moments when a cat grabs a toy with its front paws, while using its hind legs to kick the toy into submission.

The Kong Kickeroo is a toy designed especially to encourage this primal hunting behaviour, with a tempting feather to grab and a snuggly body that can take a good kicking.

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£6 | Pets At Home

King Catnip Soft Refillable Plush Cigar

Here’s yet another tantalising catnip toy from King Catnip. As was the case with this brand’s other toys, the Plush Cigar is packed with high-quality organic catnip, which sent our cat into gleeful raptures.

The earthy tone and twill weave of the cigar make it a particularly wholesome-looking choice of toy – despite the narcotic reference.

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£5.89 | Amazon

OurPets Play-N-Squeak Sumo Wrestler Cat Toy

As a product reviewer, one only rarely encounters an item that is both conceptually brilliant and sublimely realised. This is just such a thing: a catnip-scented felt Sumo that squeaks as your cat wrestles it around the room. It’s great fun for cat and owner alike.

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£3.50 | Pets At Home

Glitter Bell Ball

It’s a ball, it glitters, and you had better believe it has a bell inside it!

Balls of this biteable-yet-not-swallowable size are great toys for cats, as they safely provide plenty of movement in response to the cat’s aggressions. The jingling bell inside this option adds another sensory dimension to the excitement.

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£0.50 | Pets at Home

Vealind Pet Interactive Fun Roller Exerciser

This roller exerciser looks a little like a character from a Pendleton Ward cartoon – and we love it for that alone.

Cats, it turns out, love this toy for more practical, play-related reasons. With three tracks for three balls in contrasting colours, this is a wildly stimulating toy that absorbed our Martha the Cat’s attention.

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£7.99 | Amazon

EaMien Interactive Catnip Fish Toy

This eerily lifelike simulation fish offers all the thrill of the hunt, with a wagging tail and catnip compartment thrown in for good measure.

It’s surprisingly large – you wouldn’t turn your nose up at it if you were given it wrapped in newspaper with a portion of chips. Unusually, this toy is washable, so you have the option of cleaning it between play sessions. Just be sure to remove the tail-wagging mechanism before you get it wet.

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£7.99 | Amazon

Vealind GiGwi Melody Chaser Pet Bird

As plush prey animals go, this little brown bird is a rather lovely one.

This toy provides a great variety of realistic textures to capture the cat’s interest, including downy fluff on the sides and a feathery tail. Better still, it makes a pretty convincing bird noise when the cat plays with it, which really seems to dial up the excitement.

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£7.21 | Amazon

Pets at Home Christmas Festive Laser Chaser Cat Toy

Lure kitty across the floor, up the walls, and perhaps even under the festive dinner table with this festive toy that will make the purrfect Christmas gift.

You can’t beat a laser pointer when it comes to playing interactively with your cat. Our reviewer cat found this one mesmerising.

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£5 | Pets at Home

Beco Wand Toy: Beatrice The Butterfly

Beatrice the Butterfly is a really excellent teaser toy, combining a cute design with great cat-tempting capabilities.

The string is long and elasticated, perfect for bouncing, dangling and pulling the toy around the room. Beatrice herself is stuffed with American catnip, providing a further incentive for kitty to give chase.

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£5.99 | Amazon

DADYPET 2-in-1 Light Chaser and Feather Toy

This high-tech toy attaches to your table, desk or cat tree, where it plays the combined role of laser light toy and feather tempter. The laser moves irregularly, providing continuous variety in the cat’s pattern of play. Further, the toy can be triggered by the cat itself, which can be a great option for supplying feline entertainment when you’re not at home.

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£19.99 | Amazon

PiuPet Set of Four Catnip Toys

These geometric animal-shaped catnip toys are up there with the most stylish cat toys we’ve tested. Crucially, they’re appealing to cats too, with dangling tails, jingling bells and a delightful catnip stuffing. These toys are great value as a set of four.

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£12.98 | Amazon

Archie & Oscar 72cm Stacie Cat Tree

A star. A crescent moon. A ball on a string. A den. Cuteness.

This gorgeous cat tree from Archie & Oscar is a dendritic delight, providing a whole forest of ways for cats to play.

The trunks are scratching posts, perfect for helping a cat keep her claws healthy. They proved particularly popular with our reviewer’s cat.

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£58.99 | Wayfair

Tuff Pets Pet Hair Remover

This isn’t a toy for your cat – but we do strongly recommend picking one up if you’re going to invest in an upholstered piece of cat furniture, like the 72cm Stacie Cat Tree above, featured in this article.

The Tuff Pets Pet Hair Remover is an exceptionally handy tool which you can use again-and-again to remove loose hairs from soft furnishings. We found it handy for sprucing up our cat’s cat tree, cat bed – and also the sofa, which the cat seems to prefer over anything which has actually been designed for cats to sit on.

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£11.99 | Amazon

Verdict

Providing great fun and a thrilling chase for both the cat and its owner, the Catit Play Pirates Parrot Catnip Wand Toy is our ES Best Top Pick. Our cat never tired of playing with this toy over several weeks testing, and nor did we. What’s more, this toy will cost you about the same as a supermarket meal deal, so you’ve very little to lose and much to gain.

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