What Cat Toys Do Cats Actually Use? A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re a cat owner, you know that felines are fascinated by toys. They’ll chase after just about anything that moves, whether it’s a toy mouse, a ball of yarn, or even a feather on a stick. But have you ever wondered what kind of toys your cat actually enjoys playing with? Is it the expensive, high-tech toys, or the simple, homemade ones? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the different types of cat toys that cats actually use and enjoy, and provide tips on how to choose the best toys for your furry friend. So, get ready to discover the secrets of what makes your cat purr with delight!

Quick Answer:
When it comes to cat toys, there are countless options available on the market. However, not all toys are created equal when it comes to a cat’s preferences. In general, cats tend to prefer toys that offer a variety of sensory experiences, such as toys with feathers, ribbons, or crinkly paper. They also enjoy toys that move or change direction, such as balls or wand toys. Some cats also enjoy interactive toys that they can chase or pounce on, such as laser pointers or remote control toys. Ultimately, the best way to determine which toys your cat will enjoy is to observe their behavior and preferences and experiment with different types of toys to see what they respond to the most.

Types of Cat Toys Cats Enjoy

Perching Toys

Perching toys are a popular choice among cats, as they provide a sense of height and allow the cat to observe their surroundings from a vantage point. These toys typically come in the form of bird-shaped toys or perches with toys attached.

Bird-shaped Toys

Bird-shaped toys are a common type of perching toy that are designed to mimic the appearance and movement of birds. These toys often have soft, floppy wings and a long, dangling tail that can be moved back and forth to simulate the motion of a bird in flight. Many cats find these toys irresistible and will spend hours chasing after them and batting them around.

Perches with Toys Attached

Another type of perching toy is one that is designed to be attached to a piece of furniture or a wall-mounted cat tree. These perches often have toys attached to them, such as feathers or small balls, that can be played with by the cat. These types of toys provide a similar experience to bird-shaped toys, as they allow the cat to perch and observe their surroundings while playing with the attached toys.

Both bird-shaped toys and perches with toys attached provide cats with the opportunity to engage in their natural instinct to hunt and pounce, while also satisfying their need for height and observation. When choosing perching toys for your cat, it’s important to consider their size and strength, as well as the type of toy that they are most likely to be interested in.

Hiding Toys

Cats are known for their love of hiding and playing hide and seek. This natural instinct can be satisfied by providing them with hiding toys. Hiding toys are designed to stimulate a cat’s innate desire to hide and provide them with a sense of security. Here are some details about hiding toys that cats enjoy:

  • Hiding spots: Hiding spots are toys that have small spaces or openings where cats can hide and feel safe. These toys can be made from a variety of materials such as cardboard, fabric, or plastic. Hiding spots can be designed to resemble a small house, a cave, or a box. The key feature of hiding spots is that they provide cats with a place to hide and feel protected.
  • Interactive hiding games: Interactive hiding games are a type of hiding toy that involves the cat owner playing an active role in the game. These games are designed to simulate the natural hunting and hiding behavior of cats. In an interactive hiding game, the cat owner hides a toy or treat in a designated area and the cat has to find it. This type of game provides mental stimulation and physical exercise for cats.

Both hiding spots and interactive hiding games are great ways to provide cats with the stimulation and security they need. They are also a fun way to bond with your cat and watch them use their natural instincts. When choosing hiding toys for your cat, it’s important to consider their size and preferences. Some cats may prefer small and cozy hiding spots, while others may enjoy larger and more challenging interactive hiding games.

Pouncing Toys

When it comes to cat toys, there are certain types that cats simply can’t get enough of. Pouncing toys are one such category, and they’re a great option for providing your feline friend with hours of entertainment.

Feather Toys

Feather toys are a popular choice among cats, as they mimic the movement of a real bird or small animal. These toys often have a string or a wand attached to them, which allows cats to chase and pounce on the feather as it moves around. Feather toys are not only fun for cats, but they’re also great for improving their hunting skills and instincts.

Squeaky Toys

Squeaky toys are another type of pouncing toy that cats love. These toys often have a small plastic or rubber squeaker inside them, which makes a noise when the toy is squeezed or bitten. Cats find the sound of the squeaker irresistible, and they’ll often stalk and pounce on the toy in an attempt to get it to squeak again. Squeaky toys are also great for providing mental stimulation and encouraging play.

In addition to feather and squeaky toys, there are many other types of pouncing toys that cats enjoy. These include toys that move on their own, such as electronic or battery-operated toys, as well as toys that can be filled with treats or hidden compartments for cats to explore. The key is to find a toy that your cat finds irresistible and that provides them with plenty of opportunities to use their natural hunting and play instincts.

Playing with Human Toys

Cats are social animals and enjoy spending time with their human companions. It’s no surprise that many cats love playing with human toys as it provides them with an opportunity to interact with their favorite humans. Here are some of the types of human toys that cats enjoy playing with:

  • Toys that can be played together with humans

Cats love playing with toys that they can play with their human companions. This type of toy includes objects that can be thrown, such as balls or toy mice, or objects that can be rolled, such as cardboard tubes or plastic bottles. These toys allow cats to chase and pounce on their prey while also interacting with their human companions.

  • Games that involve human interaction

Cats also enjoy playing games that involve human interaction, such as hide-and-seek or peek-a-boo. These games provide cats with mental stimulation and make them feel like they are actively participating in the game with their human companions. Other games that cats enjoy playing with their human companions include tug-of-war, fetch, and obstacle courses.

Overall, playing with human toys is a great way for cats to interact with their human companions and provide them with the physical and mental stimulation they need to stay happy and healthy.

Age and Activity Level

  • Kittens vs. adult cats
    Kittens, being younger and more playful, tend to enjoy a variety of toys. They often engage in more exploratory play, and their curiosity can be satisfied with simple items such as balls, small stuffed animals, or even cardboard boxes. Adult cats, on the other hand, may prefer more complex toys that challenge their hunting instincts, such as toys that resemble birds or other small animals.
  • High-energy vs. low-energy cats
    High-energy cats, often found in younger or active breeds, require toys that can keep up with their energy levels. They may enjoy toys that they can “hunt” or interact with, such as toys on strings or toys that make noise. Low-energy cats, found in older or more sedentary breeds, may prefer more low-key toys, such as soft fabric or plush toys, that they can cuddle with or lay on. It’s important to note that each cat is unique and may have their own preferences, regardless of age or activity level.

Personality and Prey Drive

When it comes to choosing cat toys, understanding a cat’s personality and prey drive is crucial in determining which toys will provide the most enjoyment and stimulation. Here are some factors to consider:

Hunting Instinct

Cats have a natural hunting instinct, and toys that mimic prey movements and sounds can be highly entertaining for them. For example, toys that move unpredictably, such as a toy on a string or a remote-controlled toy, can simulate the movement of prey and satisfy a cat’s hunting instinct.

Timid vs. Confident Cats

Cats have different personalities, and some may be more timid than others. For timid cats, it’s important to choose toys that are not too intimidating or loud. Soft and cuddly toys, such as stuffed animals or soft fabric toys, can be a good choice for timid cats. On the other hand, confident cats may enjoy toys that are more interactive and challenging, such as puzzle toys or toys that require some effort to retrieve.

Overall, considering a cat’s personality and prey drive when choosing cat toys can help ensure that the toys are enjoyable and provide appropriate levels of stimulation.

Environment and Space

When it comes to cat toys, the environment and space in which a cat lives can play a significant role in determining which toys they will enjoy. For example, apartment cats may have different preferences than house cats, and indoor cats may have different preferences than outdoor cats.

Apartment vs. House Cats

Cats that live in apartments may have different preferences when it comes to cat toys than cats that live in houses. This is because apartments often have less space for cats to run around and play, so cats in apartments may prefer toys that they can play with in a smaller space. Some examples of cat toys that apartment cats may enjoy include:

  • Small, stuffed animal toys that can be easily batted around
  • Interactive toys that can be played with using just a few feet of space, such as laser pointers or feathers on a stick
  • Puzzle toys that can be solved in a small area, such as hide-and-seek toys or treat-dispensing toys

On the other hand, house cats may have more space to play in, and may therefore prefer toys that allow them to run around and play more actively. Some examples of cat toys that house cats may enjoy include:

  • Toys that can be chased, such as balls or small, squeaky toys
  • Toys that can be climbed on, such as scratching posts or hammocks
  • Toys that can be played with in water, such as floating fish or squirt toys

Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats

Cats that live indoors may have different preferences when it comes to cat toys than cats that live outdoors. This is because indoor cats may not have access to the same types of environments and experiences as outdoor cats, and may therefore prefer toys that provide them with new and stimulating experiences. Some examples of cat toys that indoor cats may enjoy include:

  • Toys that mimic the sounds and movements of birds or other small animals, such as catnip mice or bird-on-a-string toys
  • Toys that provide cats with new textures and smells, such as catnip toys or toys filled with catnip-infused stuffing
  • Toys that challenge cats mentally, such as puzzle toys or toys that require cats to use their problem-solving skills

On the other hand, outdoor cats may prefer toys that allow them to hunt and play in their natural environment. Some examples of cat toys that outdoor cats may enjoy include:

  • Toys that mimic the movements of small animals, such as wind-up mice or cat toys with feathers
  • Toys that can be hidden and retrieved, such as balls or small, squeaky toys
  • Toys that allow cats to climb and perch, such as scratching posts or outdoor hammocks.

Choosing the Right Cat Toys

Key takeaway: Cats enjoy playing with a variety of toys that allow them to engage in their natural instincts to hunt, pounce, and hide. When choosing cat toys, it’s important to consider their size and preferences, as well as their age, activity level, personality, and prey drive. It’s also important to rotate toys regularly to keep them fresh and interesting. Additionally, homemade toys can be a fun and affordable way to keep cats entertained and stimulated.

Safety First

When choosing cat toys, safety should be the top priority. Cats are curious creatures and can easily get injured if they play with the wrong toys. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when selecting cat toys:

  • Avoid toys with small parts: Toys with small parts, such as batteries or buttons, can be swallowed by cats and cause blockages or other health problems. Avoid toys that have small parts that can be easily removed, such as plastic beads or tiny balls.
  • Check for durability and safety features: Choose toys that are made from durable materials and have safety features, such as sturdy construction and no small parts. Look for toys that are designed for cats’ play styles and have features that appeal to their natural instincts, such as feathers or moving parts.
  • Consider your cat’s age and size: Cats of different ages and sizes have different play preferences and needs. Kittens and small cats may prefer soft, gentle toys, while adult cats may enjoy toys that challenge them physically. Choose toys that are appropriate for your cat’s age and size to ensure they are happy and engaged.
  • Inspect regularly: Regularly inspect your cat’s toys for any signs of wear or damage. Discard any toys that are damaged or no longer safe for your cat to play with.

By following these safety tips, you can ensure that your cat is having fun and staying safe while playing with their toys.

Rotate Toys to Keep it Fresh

  • Introduce new toys regularly

Cats are curious creatures by nature, and they love to explore and play with new things. By introducing new toys regularly, you can keep your cat’s playtime exciting and engaging. This not only keeps them interested in their toys but also helps prevent boredom and the development of destructive behaviors.

  • Store toys away to keep them interesting

It’s important to store your cat’s toys away when they’re not in use to keep them fresh and interesting. This can help prevent your cat from becoming bored with their toys and also helps to extend the lifespan of the toys. You can rotate the toys you offer to your cat by bringing out a new selection of toys every few days, and then storing them away again. This can help to keep their playtime exciting and engaging.

In addition to rotating toys, it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your cat’s favorite toys and replace them regularly to ensure they remain interesting and stimulating. By regularly replacing old toys with new ones, you can keep your cat’s playtime exciting and help to prevent boredom.

Making Homemade Cat Toys

DIY Perching Toys

Creating DIY perching toys for your feline friend is a great way to keep them entertained and stimulated. These toys can be made using simple materials such as PVC pipes and rope or cardboard tubes. Here are some steps to help you create your own perching toys for your cat:

Materials Needed:

  • PVC pipes and rope
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Scissors
  • A saw (optional)
  • Glue (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. PVC Pipe Perch:
    • Cut the PVC pipes into different lengths to create different levels for your cat to climb on.
    • Attach the pipes together using rope or tape to create a structure.
    • Place the structure in a safe area for your cat to play with.
  2. Cardboard Tube Perch:
    • Cut the cardboard tubes into different lengths and shapes to create different levels and obstacles for your cat to climb on.
    • Stack the tubes to create a tower-like structure.
    • Secure the tubes together using tape or glue.


  • Experiment with different shapes and sizes of PVC pipes and cardboard tubes to create unique perches for your cat.
  • Consider adding some toys or treats to the perches to make them more enticing for your cat.
  • Always supervise your cat when they are playing with homemade toys to ensure their safety.

By following these steps, you can create your own DIY perching toys for your cat using simple materials. These toys can provide hours of entertainment and exercise for your feline friend.

DIY Hiding Toys

When it comes to making homemade cat toys, hiding toys are a great option. These toys not only provide cats with mental stimulation, but they also allow them to exercise their natural instincts for hunting and stalking.

Empty Boxes

One simple and affordable way to create a hiding toy for your cat is by using empty boxes. You can use any type of box, such as a cardboard box or a plastic container. To make the toy more interesting, you can cut holes or slits in the box to create hiding spots for your cat to explore. You can also add a toy or a treat inside the box to make it more enticing for your cat.

Cardboard Rolls

Another easy-to-make hiding toy is a cardboard roll. To make this toy, simply take a piece of cardboard and roll it into a long cylinder. You can then cut the cylinder into smaller pieces and hide treats or toys inside them. This toy provides cats with the opportunity to use their sense of smell to find the hidden treats or toys.

Both of these DIY hiding toys are great options for providing mental stimulation and exercise for your cat. They are also a cost-effective way to create engaging and fun toys for your feline friend.

DIY Pouncing Toys

Creating homemade cat toys can be a fun and affordable way to keep your feline friend entertained. One simple option is to make DIY pouncing toys. These toys are easy to make and can provide hours of entertainment for your cat.

Materials Needed

To make DIY pouncing toys, you will need the following materials:

  • Soft cloth or fleece
  • Scraps of fabric or yarn

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Cut out several small squares of soft cloth or fleece. These will be the bases of the pouncing toys.
  2. Cut out several small strips of fabric or yarn. These will be used to create the “strings” that your cat can pounce on.
  3. Attach the strings to the centers of the squares, creating a small pouch.
  4. Squeeze the pouch to create a “popping” sound, which will attract your cat’s attention.
  5. Throw the pouncing toy on the floor, and encourage your cat to pounce on it.

Why Cats Love Pouncing Toys

Cats naturally love to pounce and catch objects, so DIY pouncing toys provide a fun and engaging way for them to do so. The pops and rustles created by the toy can also be highly stimulating for your cat. Additionally, these toys are easy to make and can be customized to your cat’s preferences, such as using different fabrics or adding bells or other noisemakers.

DIY Human Toy Games

When it comes to making homemade cat toys, one great option is to repurpose human toys for your feline friend. Here are some ideas for DIY human toy games that can be easily adapted for cats:

Playing fetch

Yes, you read that right! Cats can play fetch too! Start by tossing a small toy or ball across the room and encouraging your cat to chase after it. Once they catch it, bring it back to you and toss it again. With enough practice, your cat will learn to bring the toy back to you every time.

Learning new tricks

Cats are naturally curious and love to learn new things. One way to keep them mentally stimulated is to teach them new tricks. Start with simple tricks like “sit” or “high five” and gradually work your way up to more complex ones. You can even use clicker training to reinforce good behavior and speed up the learning process. Just be sure to keep the training sessions short and fun for your cat.

Enriching Your Cat’s Life with Toys

Benefits of Playing with Toys

  • Mental stimulation: Cats are natural hunters and have a strong instinct to use their brains. Providing them with toys that challenge their minds, such as puzzle toys, can help keep their brains active and prevent boredom.
  • Physical exercise: Playing with toys can also provide cats with the physical exercise they need to stay healthy. Toys that encourage chasing, climbing, and jumping can help burn off energy and keep cats fit.
  • Bonding with the cat: Playing with toys can also be a great way to bond with your cat. Interactive play sessions can strengthen the bond between you and your cat and provide a fun way to spend time together.

Encouraging Playtime

Set aside time for play

Cats are naturally active animals, and providing them with adequate playtime is essential for their physical and mental well-being. To encourage playtime, it is recommended to set aside at least 15-20 minutes each day for interactive play sessions with your cat. This can include activities such as playing with toys, engaging in fetch, or simply tossing a ball of yarn across the room.

Make it a regular routine

Consistency is key when it comes to encouraging playtime with your cat. By making playtime a regular part of your daily routine, you can help establish a strong bond with your cat and keep them mentally stimulated. It is also important to be patient and consistent in your approach, as cats may take some time to warm up to new toys or activities.

Be patient and have fun!

Above all, the most important aspect of encouraging playtime with your cat is to have fun! Cats are highly attuned to their owner’s emotions, and if you are enjoying yourself, your cat is likely to follow suit. So, put aside any distractions and focus on engaging with your cat during playtime. Be patient, and remember that even small moments of play can make a big difference in your cat’s overall well-being.


1. What kind of cat toys do cats enjoy the most?

Cats are instinctively drawn to toys that resemble small prey, such as mice, birds, and insects. Toys that mimic the movement and sound of these animals are usually the most popular among cats. Other types of toys that cats enjoy include feathers, balls, and scratching posts.

2. Are there any specific materials that cats prefer for their toys?

Cats tend to prefer toys made from materials that are soft and flexible, such as cloth or rope. These materials are easy for cats to grip and can be used for both playing and scratching. Some cats also enjoy toys made from paper or cardboard, as these materials can be easily shredded and provide a satisfying scratching experience.

3. How often should I replace my cat’s toys?

It’s a good idea to regularly rotate your cat’s toys to keep them interested and engaged. Cats can become bored with the same toys over time, so it’s important to switch things up and introduce new toys on a regular basis. You should also periodically check your cat’s toys for wear and tear, and replace them if they become damaged or unsanitary.

4. Can I use human toys as cat toys?

While some human toys can be suitable for cats, it’s important to make sure they are safe and appropriate for your cat’s size and play style. Avoid giving your cat toys that have small parts, as these can be easily swallowed or aspirated. You should also be cautious about giving your cat toys that are designed for children, as they may not be durable enough for cat play.

5. Are there any benefits to providing my cat with toys?

Yes, providing your cat with toys can have a number of benefits. Toys can help satisfy your cat’s natural instinct to hunt and play, and can also provide mental stimulation and exercise. Toys can also help reduce stress and provide a sense of comfort and security for your cat. Additionally, interactive toys can help strengthen the bond between you and your cat.

What is the best cat toy in the world? Trust me, I know!

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