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Kittens love to play—but it’s not just for fun. Play is a critical aspect of their development, helping them develop social, hunting, and movement skills. You can feel good buying your kitten a wide variety of toys to explore, knowing that you’re preparing them to live their best life.
As the owner of five middle-aged cats, pulling together the list of the best kitten toys was a walk down memory lane. And it reminded me that the toys my kittens loved the most were not the ones that initially appealed to me—and certainly not the most sparkly. Most of my kittens enjoyed the toys they could really interact with—especially the ones like scratchers. Remember: You’re teaching them to use the scratcher instead of your couch! And they’re learning to gnaw on their toys instead of on your hands or ankles.
The Best Kitten Toys for Active Kittens
From furry mice to puzzle feeders you can fill with treats, these 12 toys will keep your kitten busy and help them grow up strong. (If you have multiple kittens, expect to see a few tugs-of-war as they learn how to share their playthings.)
The “turbo” part is the ping pong ball in a track that your kitten will love to swat around in circles at high speed. The inner cardboard scratching circle is replaceable, so this affordable kitten toy will keep your fuzzball busy as they grow up. This 16 x 16-inch plastic frame is easy to wipe clean, and the scratcher toy comes with a packet of grown-in-the-USA catnip.
These fluffy little mice from Kong will hold up to those sharp kitten teeth and claws. It will tantalize your bitty kitty with crinkling sounds and Kong’s own North American catnip. Some purchasers report that their kittens developed an affection for the mouse and insisted on carrying it around with them!
Whether you’re entertaining one kitten or a whole litter, a tunnel provides endless fun. Crackling nylon interior material adds to their sensory interest. When it’s not in use, the tunnel collapses and folds flat into a ring for easy storage. There are many tunnels on the market, but the SmartyKat gets high ratings for durability.
A classic wand toy with a twist, this hardworking Kong teaser comes with bright feathers, a crinkle sound, and enticing catnip. It’s a fun addition to your kitten’s play repertoire.
Some kittens play with it. Some kittens sleep on it. Almost all kittens are attracted to this soft, cuddly surface topped with bug-shaped toys that can be pulled off and batted around the house. The 10-by-14-inch mat is enticingly crackly; the bugs are stuffed with catnip.
It’s hard to beat a laser pointer as a top-notch kitten toy! This has a red LED light with three modes, pulse, strobe, and steady, as well as a laser pointer for kittens to chase across floors and furniture. (We know that you know that adult supervision is required so the laser beam is never pointed at human or kitten eyes.) It includes three replacement batteries.
This colorful stack of racetracks with bright moving balls on each level will keep your kitten busy! With sturdy construction and non-skid pads, it can stand up to some serious roughhousing.
These durable, heavy-gauge springs drive kittens wild with their unpredictable bounce patterns. Soft coatings are safe for kittens and bright colors make these easy for humans in the household to keep track of underfoot.
This interactive wand on a durable fiberglass pole comes with a whole set of neon-bright wiggly tips. Be sure to stow it out of reach when not in use, as some kitties may try to eat the wiggly worms. (Running out of clip-on worms? You can get replacements.)
This durable cotton kitten toy is “top banana” in many households. It’s stuffed with organic catnip, perfect for grabbing, nuzzling, and bunny kicking.
This SmartyKat chickadee toy will bring out the hunter in your kitten. It mimics the unpredictable sights, sounds, and movement of a cat’s natural prey. Plus, it’s stuffed with catnip for extra fun! (One reviewer noted that the chirping drove her nuts, so she waited until she was going out for a while to turn on the toy for the cats.)
The original Cat Dancer is one of those toys that doesn’t look like much; it’s just some pieces of rolled cardboard at the end of a wire. But once you start waving it around, your kitten will go nuts trying to catch it! Pretty soon, you’ll understand why this is one of the most popular toys around.
Does your kitten love to hunt? This puzzle feeder toy will let them run, chase, pounce—and then devour their prey. It’s designed to randomly dispense treats and dry food and is adjustable to three levels of difficulty. Easy to keep clean—you can put it in the dishwasher with your other cat dishes.
Place these in a small box or basket and watch as your kitten has hours of fun taking each toy out and chasing them all over the house. Some kittens even come up with clever hiding places to stash their favorites. This variety pack has 25 bouncy, crinkly toys to keep your kitty busy—plus the lightweight play tunnel to race through.
Featured image via Chewy