Usually, when we think of a cat, we think of a lazy creature that sleeps all day long. But some cats will be more active than others. This energy can be misdirected into destructive behaviors, or it may disrupt your sleep schedule. Remember those times your poor toes became prey in the early hours of the morning! As their owner, you will notice if and when your cat is particularly crazy.
A range of different cat toys on the market can be a great way to direct all this pent-up cat energy. We’ve compiled a list of our top ten picks of toys for active cats. Each toy is designed to mentally and physically stimulate your cat to use up all that energy in a productive way. In addition, all our picks are chosen from genuine customer reviews.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 10 Best Cat Toys For Active Cats – Reviews & Top Picks 2021
1. SereneLife Automatic Laser Cat Toy – Best Overall
All owners of high-energy cats will tell you that lasers are a great way to get lots of activity and exercise from your cat. This automatic laser toy is our best overall cat toy for active cats, as it provides 30 minutes of unpredictable laser movement. The automatic feature is a great pick if your cat has much more energy to play than you do, as you can set it up for play and leave them to it.
The design is sleek, not bulky like many other automatic laser designs. Its geometric shape is designed to sit on any flat surface and is adjustable to put the laser anywhere in the room.
The laser light is strong and can project a long way, enticing your cat to run, jump, and chase the red light across the room. It does, however, require batteries. We consider investing in the rechargeable kind to save you money on battery repurchasing costs.
2. Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy – Best Value
|Toy type:||Bouncing and rolling|
This ball-and-track toy from Frisco is our top pick for the best cat toy for active cats for the money. It offers an excellent toy for an affordable price. It showcases 3-tiers of tracks, each with a ball of its own. The rolling balls capture and hold the attention of the most active cats. Past customers love that the design is slimmer than others, meaning the ball will roll around faster and keep their cat’s attention longer.
In addition to the rolling balls, it has the added feature of a butterfly toy on a bouncing wand. While this also attracts cats, it’s reviewed not to be as durable as the rest of the toy. This is one of the top-rated and reviewed products on our list and is a massive hit for highly active cats.
3. Penn-Plax Spin Kitty Cat Wheel – Premium Choice
|Toy type:||Exercise wheel|
|Material:||Solid wood frame and sisal mat|
When we think of exercise wheels, we usually envision a hamster wheel, right? Well, this product is just like that but designed for cats. This wheel will only be enjoyed by specific cats but is a great choice for highly active cats who are kept exclusively indoors.
A wheel can be a great way to burn energy and provide healthy exercise. This particular wheel does come disassembled but is reviewed to be simple to put together. It’s made of solid wood, so it’s durable for cats up to 15 pounds in weight. It also has a carpet-like interior and a fibrous outside covering for your cat is scratch on.
4. Catit Design Senses Circuit Cat Toy – Best for Kittens
|Usage:||Self-directed, multi-cat play|
This product is our favorite pick for active kittens for multiple reasons. Firstly, the design features an expandable track, so the size of the toy can be adjusted as your kitten ages. Multiple cats can use this toy at once, so if your kitten is joining a household with existing cats, it can promote bonding between them.
The design is safe for cats of all ages. The openings are suitable for the small size of a kitten’s paws, and there is no risk of them getting stuck in any of these spaces. The light-up ball will attract their attention as they learn to explore their instincts and play behaviors.
5. Frisco Peek-a-Boo Cat Chute Cat Toy
|Usage:||Self-directed, multi-cat, owner interactive|
This tunnel toy is great for cats who are highly active and love to run and chase. The dangling toys in the tunnel provide an incentive to engage, but everything around them will become stimulating once in the tunnel. Looking down the tunnel stimulates an instinct, and many find their cats will run and dive into the tunnel at high speed, burning a lot of energy.
While it does take up a lot of space, the design of the supports is made to fold down to be stored away easily. But many owners will leave this toy out as their cats like to play with it and find it a cozy place to sleep.
6. TRIXIE Activity Fun Board 5-in-1
|Toy type:||Puzzle, treat dispenser|
Many cats will take no notice of an enriching treat-dispensing item like this. The average cat will prefer to be fed directly and burn energy other ways. But, for a very active cat, you may find this product intrigues them.
While it doesn’t offer a physical outlet, it will mentally stimulate them to work out mild puzzles to receive treats. This kind of stimulation can be beneficial for a very active cat. The product has five different puzzles in one, so in addition to using various treats, you can ensure your cat does not get bored by constantly mixing it up for them.
7. SnugglyCat Ripple Rug
|Toy type:||Scratching, hiding|
|Material:||Recycled material, rubber, polyester|
If your active cat is the type to get under the sheets while you make the bed or mess with your basket of laundry while you try to fold it, then this toy might be the one for them! Mind you, when you think of a cat toy, you don’t usually imagine a glorified rug, but you will be surprised just how this attracted a high-energy cat!
Essentially a double-layered rug, this design encourages your cat to dig, nest, and play in the folds between the top and bottom layers. It is excellent for active cats looking to burn energy independently. Once playtime is over, this toy also tends to make a nice place for a nap.
However, some owners said their nervous cats would not approach it, so it is best left to the brave cats. You can adjust the size of the holes to match your cat’s size. In addition, you may wish to use it under supervision as some larger cats have become caught in the holes.
8. SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy
|Toy type:||Chasing, light-up|
This cat toy is designed to resemble the movement of hiding prey. Think of the times your hand or foot moves under the covers of your bed, and it drives your cat wild; this is just like that! The mechanical arm moves under the fabric cover, setting off the same hunting instincts in cats.
While most cats adore this toy, the speed of the attachment is not very quick (even at the highest speed), so it may not be much of a challenge to catch. A few owners also state that despite this being an automatic toy, it needs human help as the arm gets caught in the sheet easily and requires readjustment.
9. Cat Amazing Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Cat Toy
|Toy type:||Puzzle, treat dispenser|
A puzzle toy like this may not seem suited for a highly active cat, but cats will be drawn to this toy by the allure of food, the challenge of getting the food will keep them occupied and slow them down from their usual high-energy activity.
Surprisingly durable for a product made from cardboard, it may not be suited for more aggressive cats who may chew or rip at the toy. The ink used is metal-free, so it is safe if your cat does chew on this toy.
|Toy type:||Spinning, wand, chasing, jumping|
This product takes the classic cat teaser wand and makes it automatic! The swaying motion of the feather on the end of the wand will encourage chasing and jumping in active cats. It has adjustable speed levels to suit cats of all ages and abilities. It also has an adjustable timer which you can set from 15 minutes to two hours to entertain your cat when you leave the house.
Reviews do state that it is hard to assemble. The wand is so flexible that it is hard to clip into the base. In addition, the mechanics make this toy quite noisy, which may put off more cautious cats from engaging with it.
Important Consideration in Cat Toys
Play is an essential part of a cat’s life. Play behaviors support good physical and mental health in felines. It also provides a healthy outlet for energy to reduce the effects of destructive behaviors. Playtime can also be a time to strengthen bonds. Play between you and your cats can build your relationship, but two cats can also improve their friendship through play.
Cat toys make a great place to start for this vital play! The differing cat toys can offer different benefits, so take some of the below into consideration when picking out cat toys.
Type of Play
Consider the design of a cat toy and what kind of behavior it will illicit. Natural cat behaviors in play include:
You’ll notice that these behaviors are all things wild cats do when hunting prey. That’s essentially what play is for your pet cat, a chance to be their wild selves and let their instincts take over.
The value of the item is a balance of the item’s quality and its cost. A thing of poor value will be costly, but poor quality and an item of good value will be a reasonable price for the quality and features. In cat toys, consider the cost of the item compared to the reviews that they have the product’s features. Rest assured the products that we review are of good value!
As solitary animals, most cats are more than content to engage in solo play. They will often hunt alone, so they like to play alone also. Most cat toys are designed, so they are easily enjoyed alone. Automatic toys could be a good pick for cats that spend a lot of time alone.
Some cat toys will also be designed so that multiple cats can use them at once. This feature could be beneficial in a multi-cat house. The time to play together can help bond to form. We cat owners all know that forcing friendship between two cats doesn’t always go well.
Don’t forget the most important of interactions between your cat and you! While you may not be able to keep up with the play demands of a very active cat, your participation in their play behaviors will help you form and keep a close bond.
Now, this one may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. You could research and pick out the perfect toys for your cat, and once you present them to them, they can be met with utter disinterest.
There’s no point in having a fancy toy if your cat won’t touch it! Get to know your cat and what drives their playful behaviors. If they love to chase your hands under the bed covers, perhaps a tunnel toy would suit. If they like to chase flying bugs around the house, they may like a wand-based toy.
Tips for Managing an Active Cat
A highly active cat that you just can’t seem to tire out may become a problem for you. They may redirect their energy into destructive behaviors around the house, they may be aggressive or annoying to other pets in the home, or they may disrupt your sleep schedule with activity during the night.
Here are our tips for keeping an active cat happy and keeping you, their owner, sane.
Our top pick for cat toys for active cats is SereneLife Automatic Laser. We loved this product because it combines a classic laser toy, a popular choice for many active cats, with a modern design.
Our next best pick and the one we deemed as best value is Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy. This product is affordable and comes with barrel loads of great reviews from real customers.
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.