We all know that cats will make a toy out of a piece of trash while ignoring the $20 catnip scented plush rodent you just bought them but we humans like to amuse ourselves with cat toys and buying cat toys. The best cat toys for indoor cats are often trash items, a ball of paper, some bits of wool or feathers, the back of your favorite armchair, but sometimes it’s nice to have proper toys for kittens and cats to distract them from the things we don’t want them to play with and to enrich their lives daily. Cats need toys to be happy and fulfilled and an indoor cat is more likely to be a bored cat. Indoor cats need toys, but which toys?
Cat toys aren’t just fun for your cat, they’re important for his health and happiness, particularly for indoor cats. Cats need to hunt, stretch, perch and climb and you must allow them to do all that indoors. You should be having fun with your cat too. Guardian and cat should be playing together for ultimate cat enjoyment. But what cat toys do cats actually like, which do they ignore and which are unnecessary, poor quality or pointless ? We look at and test cat toys from under $10 to well over $100 to find what works for our indoor cat. We also called on a few friends and brainstormed the cat toys our indoor cats liked best. What are the best indoor cat toys, for fun, for happiness, for fitness and health? Cat toys can also help your cat’s behavior with a little cat brain insight.
Best Cat Toys for Indoor Cats
Toys for Scratching
Indoor cats are unlikely to have anything around the house that their humans actually want them to scratch. Cats need to scratch, it’s part of their catness and necessary for claws and muscles. In an indoor scenario your kitten will need a scratch toy. We apply the KISS ( Keep it Simple Stupid) rule to cat scratch toys and this toy does double duty. It gives your indoor cat a full height scratch pole plus a perch up top. The scratch pole must be tall so your indoor cat can get a full stretch as he would with a tree outdoors.
If you didn’t know, cat’s love to be high up, so providing them with perching spots from which to survey the world is pretty important. It might help keep them off the back of your favorite chair or from grappling their way to the curtain poles. This simple scratch toy and perch does well for our indoor cat.
Obviously there are heaps of other scratch toys around and we’ll cover them in full later, this page is just an overview of the different kids of cat toy your indoor cat might need. Or you might need to buy for him.
The Cat Fishing Rod or Wand – The Cat Toy Essential You Need
This is the number 1 toy we use every day to simulate hunting behaviors for our cat. If you only buy one cat toy for your indoor cat, this should be it. Move the feathers to drive him into hunting behaviors, alternate motions, learn what triggers his urge to hunt. We also run up and down the house with it and play ” the chair game” encouraging to jump between wooden dining chairs. It tires him out.
If a cat is showing antisocial behaviors like biting at ankles, he may just need a release in the form of play hunting .
The wand allows you to move the feathers in a more interesting way and keeps fingers unassociated with hunting behaviors.
Balls for Cats
Cats do love to bat and chase things around the floor. Our cat likes pretty much anything that moves with one of the kids’ rubber erasers being favorite currently. I’m a bit of an Eco warrior and I’m reluctant to buy plastics so I’m on the fence here. We tend to make do with things we have at home already but I’m told that the cat toy balls below are the best cat toys by another indoor cat family we know. They’re light to bat around and their scrunchy texture is interesting as well as making a crunchy noise.
Tunnels For Cats
Cats love to hide and cats love tunnels. Watch your cat launch himself into one of these cat tunnels. Tunnel cat toys start at under $10. This one isn’t the cheapest, but we like the triple entry rather than the straight tube. If you want to spend big, tunnel cat toys can be up to $100.
Laser Pointers – Possibly Bad For Cats
Cats love to chase spots of light up a wall but is it good for them?
They’ll get the exercise and physical outlet they need with a laser pointer and hunting behaviours will be triggered but they’ll never be able to catch that shiny red spot. It’s like hunting rainbows. Their hunt will never come to conclusion and that’s not the best for your cat’s natural cycles. Using a laser pointer on its own is probably not good for cats but if you end their laser pointer session with an object they can catch, maybe that’s better. They will have reward for their hard work and hopefully feel the cycle is complete. It’s best to end hunting games with meals so that your cat can then pass into a chilled out, sleeping, grooming and loving part of his day.
If you want a laser pointer this one is under $10 and has a USB charger to make your life so much easier.
Relief For Bored Cats – Cat TV Aquaria
Cats like to have something to watch. I’m sure you’ve noticed your indoor cat looking out of the window at birds or just surveying the street. If there’s not much happening outside your window it’s great to bring “Cat TV” indoors. We have chickens in our garden, our cat TV is pretty awesome, but if you don’t have feathered friends, how about an aquarium? Real or fake aquaria make great cat distractors and boredom busters for cats at home, indoors, all day.
. Top of my wish list currently is a small indoor aquarium with built-in aquaponics set up. Fish poo becomes plant food for my indoor herbs. Take a look at the large set up below. This one is big and heavy enough that your cat can’t possibly knock it over, neither can the cat access the fish. Smaller indoor aquaponics setups are available but to grow a useable amount of edible plants, you’ll need something that’s a decent size. If you click through you can also check out the smaller setups.
Cat Trees – Indoor Cats Need to Climb and Perch
A good cat tree is worth investing some money in for your cat’s happiness and fitness. We have ours ( the one below) set up next to a window so that our indoor cat can perch, hide and watch everything going on in the garden. Climbing up and down, chasing a fishing rod toy ( above) is a good way to tire him out and use up some energy while triggering hunting responses and play. He stays strong, gets a good stretch and afterwards often takes a nap on his perch.
There are many cat trees on the market, many with plush finishes, we chose this one because it’s super easy to keep clean and takes up a relatively small space while having good height. The plush sleeping mats come off for washing. Also we live in a hot climate, we didn’t need our cat snuggled up in fake fur. Take a look below, see what you think, but we and our indoor cat love this cat tree for indoors.
The best cat toys for indoor cats are always what you have. If you can give him your time he’ll be happier and more active straight away. He needs to climb and perch so I think the best and first toy should probably by a good cat tree, perch and scratching post.