Cats are natural-born hunters. Anyone with a cat has probably noticed their hunting behaviors more than once. Whether they’re stalking a bug or attacking your toes at night, many cats spend a lot of their active time “hunting.”
Therefore, it only makes sense to purchase toys that help promote these behaviors. If your cat is going to hunt, providing them with appropriate things to hunt can keep your furniture and toes safe. Luckily, cat toy companies know this and produce many toys that fit into this category.
However, it is very easy to get overwhelmed by all the potential options out there. We’ve reviewed several hunting toys below so that you can choose the best one for your cat.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Frisco Bird Teaser with Feathers||
|Best Value||Ruffin’ It Crinkle Ball Cat Toy||
|Premium Choice||Frisco Butterfly Cat Tracks||
|Best for Kittens||Pet Fit For Life Squiggly Worm Wand||
|Pet Zone Ball of Furry Cat Toy||
The 10 Best Hunting Toys for Cats
We highly recommend the Frisco Bird Teaser with Feathers for anyone who wants to play with their cat. This wand toy features a cute little bird at the end of a long string. The colorful features and crinkly noise make this bird attractive to cats, especially if you’re making it fly all over the place. It is even scented with catnip to make it even more enticing to your furry friend.
Out of all toys, this wand is one of the best at enticing your cat’s hunting instincts. You can make the bird fly around and act similarly to a real bird, stimulating your cat’s need to hunt. Therefore, it is easily the best overall hunting toy for cats.
However, this toy does require a human to play with the feline. Otherwise, it isn’t nearly as fun. So, this doesn’t work well if you’re looking for a toy your cat can play with alone.
2. Ruffin’ It Crinkle Ball Cat Toy – Best Value
Despite being extremely simple, the Ruffin’ It Crinkle Ball Cat Toy is perfect for felines that like to chase things. These balls are made of crinkle paper that makes a noise every time it is touched. Plus, they are incredibly lightweight, so they travel far when hit. The bright colors make it easy to find these balls, however.
This pack of toys is extremely inexpensive. The material is durable, though, so your cat likely won’t break them anytime soon. We recommend spreading them across the house to provide plenty of playtime. For these reasons, these balls are easily the best hunting toy for cats for the money.
These toys are so inexpensive that there is little excuse not to have them in your home.
3. Frisco Butterfly Cat Tracks – Premium Choice
For those with extra money to spend, you may want to consider the Frisco Butterfly Cat Tracks toy. This interactive toy comprises three rings on top of each other. Each ring contains a ball that cannot be removed thanks to the ring above it. Therefore, the toy is designed for your cat to hit the ball and then chase it around the ring. There is also a butterfly on a wire sticking out of the very top, encouraging pouncing.
This toy is an excellent option for those with lazier cats that need some extra encouragement to get moving. The interactive nature of this toy tends to grab a cat’s attention better than other options.
However, it is more expensive than most cat toys. Therefore, you’ll need to consider whether the higher price is worth it.
4. Pet Fit For Life Squiggly Worm Wand – Best for Kittens
As previously explained, cat wands are a great way to encourage exercise and stimulate your cat’s—and kittens—hunting instincts. The Pet Fit For Life 5-piece Squiggly Worm Wand is another great cat wand that fits this purpose. However, this cat wand is special because the cat-stimulating toy on the end of the string can be removed and replaced. This pack comes with five different squiggly worms that can be replaced as necessary.
The company also makes other toys to go on the end of the wand. Therefore, you don’t necessarily have to purchase multiple wand toys. Instead, you can just purchase multiple toys to go on the end.
However, because of this feature, this want is a bit more expensive than most. Still, it is a genuinely premium option for cat wands. Therefore, the extra price may be worth it if your feline likes wand toys.
5. Pet Zone Ball of Furry Cat Toy
If you’re looking for a ball that is a bit more involved, you may consider the Pet Zone Ball of Furry Cat Toy. This ball has a lattice design and a mouse in the middle. Therefore, your cat can hit the ball and attempt to snatch the mouse inside. It’s a simple two-in-one toy that may promote more interest and longer playtimes.
The mouse makes “mouse-like” noises whenever it is hit. These noises can entice your cat to play. However, it does require an initial swipe to activate. Catnip is also included to stimulate your cat’s instincts.
This ball is a bit more expensive, largely because it is a bit more complex than most toys.
6. Hexbug Nano Robotic Cat Toy
For cats that love to chase bugs, we recommend the Hexbug Nano Robotic Cat Toy. Simply put, this interesting cat toy is an electronic bug. When turned on, the bug will crawl around in a life-like manner. Of course, this encourages the cat to play with the toy—even if they aren’t usually the playful type.
Because your cat doesn’t have to interact with the toy for it to move, this toy works great for cats on the lazier end of the spectrum.
This bug’s navigation is decent. It vibrates, which allows it to move around furniture pretty easily. Plus, it can also flip back over onto its feet. Therefore, it won’t get stuck after your cat hits it. Batteries are included, so your feline can play with it right away.
However, because it is electric, it is less durable than other options—there are simply more things to break.
KONG is a pretty popular toy company that most pet owners have heard of before. Therefore, the KONG Active Father Teaser Cat Toy is also pretty popular. This wand features a brightly colored bird on the end with feathers. The bird also creates a crinkly sound when it is batted. Because of the wand style, you can utilize this toy to play with your cat. However, it isn’t fun by itself.
Sadly, you can’t choose the exact toy that you receive. There are three different types of birds that this toy could be. While they are all very similar, you cannot choose which option you get. As you might imagine, this can be rather disappointing for many.
8. SmartyKat Chickadee Chirp Electronic Cat Toy
The SmartyKat Chickadee Chirp Electronic Cat Toy stimulates your cat’s hunting instincts. This bird simply sits on the ground until your cat touches it. Then, it makes chirping noises, just like a real bird. Therefore, it encourages your feline to play with the cat toy longer and harder. However, it does require touch activation first, so it isn’t always the best option for lazy cats.
This toy is also filled with catnip to entice your cat to play with it. Plus, it comes with a safety guarantee.
With that said, this cat toy is more expensive than most. It also requires interaction from your cat before it makes noise or entices them to play.
9. Catit Treat Ball Cat Toy
Not all cats like puzzle toys. However, for those that do, you may want to consider the Catit Treat Ball Cat Toy. Simply fill this toy up with treats. Then, as your cat smacks it around, the treats will slowly be dispensed. Therefore, your cat will be encouraged to play with the toy even longer.
Of course, not all treats will work. They must be able to fit through the dispenser hole. Furthermore, you’ll have to replace the treats often to keep your cat playing. Because excessive treats can lead to obesity, you should not simply keep adding treats to this ball. Instead, you can use your cat’s regular kibble if they run through their daily treats.
If your cat is obese, this toy may not be the best option.
10. Petstages Buggin’ Out Puzzle & Play Cat Toy
Once again, puzzle toys aren’t for everyone. Some cats could care less about puzzle toys, typically because they are not very food-driven. However, if your cat really likes puzzle toys, they can help stimulate the mental part of hunting. In this case, you may want to consider the Petstages Buggin’ Out Puzzle & Play Cat Toy.
This toy features several sliding bugs your cat must move to find the hidden treats. The toy is made with food-grade materials and is completely free from BPA and PVC. There are also no removable parts to help your feline remain safe.
However, on the other hand, this toy isn’t as active as others. You’d also have to refill it often to ensure it kept your cat’s interest. Plus, there is no way to adjust the difficulty. Therefore, once your cat figures it out, it likely won’t be challenging anymore.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Wand Toy for Your Cat
When choosing a toy to stimulate your cat’s hunting needs, there are several things you’ll need to consider. Choosing a toy may seem pretty straightforward. However, if you want a toy worth its price, it helps to consider a few different factors.
Below, we’ve described some of the most important considerations to have in mind.
Several types of toys can stimulate your cat’s hunting instincts. It helps to keep these types in mind when shopping. Some cats may prefer toys of one type. However, it does help to have at least one toy of each type around your home so that your cat can choose whatever toy they’re in the mood for.
Well-designed toys will keep your cat happy and engaged. For a sturdy, fun toy that will look nice in your living room, we recommend Hepper’s Catnip Stick Toy! These toys are designed to look like prey and double-bagged to stand up to your cat’s sharpest claws and teeth. Plus, they’re filled with organic catnip and handmade in the USA. At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
Well-designed toys will keep your cat happy and engaged. For a sturdy, fun toy that will look nice in your living room, we recommend Hepper’s Catnip Stick Toy! These toys are designed to look like prey and double-bagged to stand up to your cat’s sharpest claws and teeth. Plus, they’re filled with organic catnip and handmade in the USA.
At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
Wand toys probably resemble hunting more than any other type. However, they require a human to work the toy (and there is a small amount of skill required). With that said, this does help you adjust the toy’s movements to fit your cat’s needs. Plus, it gives you the option to play with your feline, which is something you can’t say for other types of toys.
We recommend having at least one wand toy around when you want to play with your feline. Even children can use these toys with a decent amount of success. Therefore, they are nifty to keep around.
Often, cats love to chase and swat at balls. Balls naturally roll when your cat interacts, so they can easily entice your cat to play with them. These toys are an easy way to keep your cat entertained, as they don’t require any input from you. You don’t have to activate the toy, and the toys don’t need to be refilled.
Therefore, these toys are a wonderful option to have around when other toys aren’t available.
Interactive toys are often pretty expensive. However, they are great for enticing your feline to play. Many of them move without interaction with your cat, which means that they can encourage your cat to move even if they’re on the lazier side.
These toys often need batteries, though. Therefore, you’ll need to check them often to ensure they’re still operational. Plus, they usually have more parts to break, as well.
Puzzle toys can be helpful for food-motivated cats. These toys usually contain food of some sort and are refillable. You can continuously add food to the toys and encourage your cat to play with them. You can use either treats or your cat’s regular food.
We highly recommend you consider a puzzle toy, as it can help keep your cat mentally stimulated. However, not all puzzle toys are equal, and they come in many types.
Most toys require interaction from you or your cat to bring about playtime. For instance, wand toys require you to move them around and entice your cat to play. Balls and chasing toys often require a swat by your cat.
For people with plenty of time and active cats, this isn’t an issue. However, if you’re away often or your cat is on the lazier side, this interaction may never happen. Therefore, the toys may not get used at all.
Interactive toys are the one exception to this rule. They are powered by batteries and, therefore, move by themselves. In this way, they can encourage your cat to exercise even if they don’t make the first move. Thanks to the batteries, they don’t need you to be the power behind the toy, either.
Cats tend to be hard on their toys. When “hunting,” cats use their claws and teeth to shred the toy—or attempt to, at least. Therefore, it is vital that you purchase toys that can put up with some abuse. Toys made of feathers or similar materials may entice your cat, but they often don’t last long.
Of course, some cats play harder than others. Consider how hard your cat is on their toys before you make a purchase. If your cat chews a lot, they may need an exceptionally durable toy.
On the other hand, shredding the toy is often part of the fun. Therefore, cheap toys that come in packs may be made to be destroyed. In this case, you should consider these toys the same way dog owners consider bones. They may last a while, but they are made to be replaced regularly.
There are tons of cat toys out there for your feline to explore. Cats can be picky with their toys, and it is often difficult to determine what your feline may like. Therefore, we highly recommend trying out multiple toys to find your cat’s favorite—like humans, cats can become bored of only one or two toys.
We particularly like the Frisco Bird Teaser with Feathers. This wand toy is designed to be used by a human. Therefore, it is a great option for those looking to play with their cat.
Your cat may also like the Ruffin’ It Crinkle Ball Cat Toy. These toys are inexpensive and come in a pack of four. Therefore, they work well for homes with many cats. They are made to be destroyed and replaced regularly, though they seem surprisingly durable. Our premium option is the Frisco Butterfly Cat Tracks which will encourage play and exercise for your cat.
Featured Image Credit: Monika Designs, Pixabay