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9 Types of Cat Toys & How to Use Them (With Pictures)

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on February 8, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

a cat playing with toys

9 Types of Cat Toys & How to Use Them (With Pictures)

Cats love to play (though they can be picky about what they’ll play with), and for good reason! Play is an integral part of keeping pets stimulated. Plus, play helps our feline friends engage in their instincts and keeps them active and healthier. However, there are so many cat toys you can choose for your cats, so how do you know which are the most suitable?

You need to have a variety of toys for your pet, as each type of toy taps into a different instinct. But most importantly, you need to choose the toys that play best with your cat’s temperament and personality. For example, your kitty may enjoy climbing more than pouncing, so something that fits that urge to climb would be best.

Below, you’ll find nine types of cat toys and how each kind fits in with your cat’s instincts. Knowing this will enable you to find the most suitable toys for your feline!

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The 9 Types of Cat Toys

1. Balls

domestic cat playing fetch
Image Credit by: sophiecat, Shutterstock

Some kitties love to chase after balls and bat them around. Chasing after balls is fun for your cat because the ball’s movement is similar to that of a small animal, meaning chasing after it plays into your pet’s prey drive.

Plus, balls for cats often include jingly bells, catnip, feathers, and other enticing items. So, if you’re willing to hang out and toss a ball around with your cat, it’s an excellent choice.


2. Catnip Toys

cat playing with catnip toy
Image Credit by: Ellie Burnett, Shutterstock

Catnip toys are fun for your cat and you. All kitties deserve to try catnip at least once to get a little buzz, zoom around, or relax for a quick cat nap. However, not all felines enjoy catnip; some don’t have the necessary genes to be affected, and kittens don’t react to it until 6 months to 1 year. If your cat does not have a reaction to catnip, there are several alternatives you can try to give them a similar experience.

Playing is an important part of keeping your cat mentally and physically engaged, and a great toy will make it much easier. We like Hepper's Catnip Stick Toys because they're sturdy enough to handle intense play and completely filled with organic catnip. You'll love the fun range of pastel colors and your cat will enjoy the prey-like shape!

Hepper Stick Catnip Cat Kicker Toy
  • No Filler - Like all the best cat toys our is stuffed with 100% organic catnip. Cheap cat toys with...
  • Flexible Play - Simple plush shape is great for biting, scratching and pawing. It can start life as...
  • Durably Designed - Our cat safe toys are hand-stitched with a double-lined exterior construction for...

At Catster, 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!


3. Climbing Places

Cute pet sharpening claws on cat tree at home
Image Credit by: New Africa, Shutterstock

Felines love to climb things, and it enables them to view their kingdoms, watch out for predators, and observe prey on the ground. Although your cat doesn’t need to avoid predators or look for prey in the home, climbing still activates their instincts. So, if your kitty is a climber, give them something to climb, whether it’s a cat tree or a fun wall jungle gym!


4. Hiding Places

cat playing at home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Of course, some cats prefer staying closer to the ground and hiding away in cubby holes or boxes. Felines enjoy places they can hide since it makes them feel safer and gives them a spot to sit back and watch the world unseen.

Investing in hiding places for your kitty is a good idea, whether it’s a cardboard box, a cat tunnel, or a cat condo.


5. Hunting Toys

kitten playing mouse toy
Image Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock

As we said earlier, felines have strong prey drives. It leads them to stalk and hunt anything that catches their attention, whether a bug flying about the room or a mouse in the house. You can easily indulge your cat’s hunting instincts with toys they can hunt.

Whether it’s a toy mouse you toss or a toy that moves around your home on its own, your cat will love the opportunity to catch “prey.” After all, our indoor cats don’t get the chance to do so very often!


6. Laser Pointer

Laser Pointer Cat Toy

Laser pointers are a classic, and there’s an excellent reason for that! With this toy, you’ll indulge your kitty’s hunting instincts while helping them get a good workout. Even the laziest of felines goes crazy over the laser pointer.

Plus, laser pointers are incredibly simple to use, so anyone in the family, even small children, can engage with your cat. Laser pointers are also super cheap!


7. Puzzle Toys

TRIXIE Brain Mover Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy

Puzzle toys are a fabulous way to keep your cat engaged and stimulated so they don’t become bored. Cats love them because most puzzle toys involve hidden treats or food pieces, and cats can be quite food-motivated!

However, some puzzles involve trying to reach toys rather than food. Having a few puzzle toys around will also help your cat feel less lonely when you’re away.


8. Scratching Posts

Gray cat lying down a cat tree with scratching post
Image Credit: husnerova, Pixabay

You’ve likely noticed that your cat enjoys scratching, and though it may seem destructive, there are several reasons cats scratch. Scratching enables the cat to sharpen their claws, gives them a good stretch, and helps them mark the territory.

You don’t want your pet to start on your furniture, but you can invest in a handful of scratching posts instead! Ideally, you should have one in several rooms throughout your home (particularly if you have multiple cats). This gives your cat lots of space to engage their scratching instincts.

Alternatively, if you want to surprise your cat with something cool, check out the Hepper Hi-Lo Cat Scratcher. It's not just a scratcher; it's a piece of modern furniture that your cat can play on. It's got a curvy design that's perfect for stretching and moving, and it's built tough with strong birch plywood and thick B-flute cardboard. You can adjust it to three different heights, which keeps cats entertained. Plus, it won't break the bank! Our cats love it, and we do too.

Hepper Hi-Lo Cardboard Cat Scratcher with Real...
  • Premium Materials - Hepper's cardboard scratcher is made with dense, B-flute cardboard, and a metal...
  • High, Low and Lower - A single cat scratch pad won't keep your cat engaged. 3 unique positions keeps...
  • Activates Muscles - The Hi Lo isn't just a cat nail file to stop the chief cat couch scratcher. The...

At Catster, 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!


9. Wands

cat playing with owner
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

Not only do wand toys allow your cat to engage in the instincts to hunt and pounce, but because the toys require your participation, it helps strengthen the bond between the two of you. There are several wand toys you can pick from—those with feathers, those with mice hanging off the end, those with colorful ribbons, and even some that make sounds!

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Conclusion

There’s a world of cat toys out there to explore, but when picking the most suitable ones for your feline, consider which instincts your pet engages in most. Does your kitty love to pounce? Or do they prefer sitting atop your bookshelf and gazing down on their kingdom? Figuring out how your cat likes to play and interact with the world around them will help you find the best toys in no time!

See also:


Featured Image Credit: winni-design, Shutterstock

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