We all need to keep our cats entertained and exercised, especially if they live indoors full-time. While many cats can keep themselves occupied if given the right toys and distractions, like ball toys, scratcher posts, and cat tunnels, they might crave a little more interaction during their playtimes to satisfy those hunting instincts. If you're not able to play with your cat for hours at a time (who is?) then an automatic cat toy might be a great solution for both of you. Automatic toys are available in a number of styles, price points, and sizes, and we've come up with a list of some of the best automatic toys for your cat to enjoy.
What to consider when purchasing an automatic cat toy
Your Cat's Preferences: Not every cat will enjoy every toy. Some felines prefer the unpredictability of a feather wand, while others enjoy a low-key batting of a cat ball, so be sure to keep your cat's interests in mind when shopping for an automatic toy. Some automatic toys are designed to have a feather toy pop up randomly, while others are more interactive, like food dispenser balls, which your cat will need to engage with in order to make it work.
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Safety: Automatic cat toys are designed to be safe, but you should always exercise caution when shopping for any toy. Also, if your cat is a bit jumpy or doesn't appreciate noises, things that move, or toys that jump out at them, look for toys that are quiet, or toys that only work for a few minutes at a time, as to not overstimulate or frighten your feline friend.
Number of Cats: Multi-cat households should keep the number of cats they need to entertain in mind when shopping for toys, and most toy options will state how many cats a single toy can support. Toys that are made with feathers or other items that pop up or move around from a stationary device are usually fine for engaging multiple cats, while solitary items, like a ball or mouse toy, might be better suited for a solo cat home (this will all depend on your cats, but it's always a good thing to keep in mind when shopping).
1. SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy
Does your cat love to run and chase? If so, this toy might be a great thing to keep in the home for them! This is an exercise toy that encourages pouncing, chasing, swatting, and focus—all things that enrich a cat's life as it meets that hunting instinct they all have in them. Just push a button and the toy will mimic prey movement with moving lights and a feathered wand that runs along the outer perimeter of the toy. You can also use a button to control the speed of the feather toy, and even customize its movements to keep things fun and interesting for your cat. This toy runs on batteries and is motion-activated, so it will power down when it's not in use.
2. BENTOPAL Automatic Cat Feather Toy
If you're looking for a teaser toy that your cat can follow around the house, this option is built on a wheeled device that moves, so it's never in the same place for long. Just press the button once to get the wheels going, and press it a second time to adjust the speed of the toy to your cat's liking. This is fitted with a flying feather, similar to a feather wand, which will keep most cats stimulated and fixated on it. This toy is not made to run constantly but runs for 10 minutes every hour-and-a-half, so it forces your cat to take breaks, and turns on throughout the day, which is perfect for keeping on while you're at work. It runs on a rechargeable battery and can sense objects so it's less likely to become stuck somewhere in your home.
3. Hexbug Mouse Robotic Cat Toy
Does your cat prefer something simple and classic in their toy? Pet parents can meet that need with this robotic mouse toy! This is a great budget option for anyone looking to add an automatic toy to their cat's routine. It turns on when it's swatted, then uses sensors to navigate the room, avoiding corners and objects to keep your cat engaged in the hunt. It's fitted with a rubber tail and realistic ears to get your cat excited about it, and it's small, not much larger that an actual mouse. This mouse cat toy is a great choice for mousers or any cat who loves following random patterns and is battery-operated.
This toy is a great option for multi-cat homes as it features one central box, and multiple openings for a feather tail to pop out of randomly, keeping things engaging and exciting for one or more cats. Unlike toys that roll or run, which may have a hard time working on carpeted surfaces, this toy is built to work on any type of flooring as it stays put—only the feathers move. This is a USB-rechargeable teaser that plays peek-a-boo with your cats. If and when your feathers become pulled or torn off, you can purchase replacement feathers that pop on easily so the fun never stops.
5. SunGrow Treat Dispensing Cat & Dog Toy
Automatic cat toys don't necessarily need to rely on batteries or chargers to fulfill their automatic function. Food dispensing cat toys for indoor cats are a great way to keep your feline pal engaged, and makes eating a fun, task-oriented activity, just like it would be in the wild. Unlike the other items on this list, this cat toy requires no batteries or charging in order for it to work, all you have to do is pop open the lid, fill the ball with dry food or treats, and close the top. The treats will come out as your cat bats and rolls it around, dispensing just a few bites at a time. This is not only a great enrichment exercise for cats, but it can also work as a slow feeder or exercise toy. It's an item that provides mental stimulation, which can reduce stress in indoor cats.
6. Potaroma 3-in-1 Automatic Cat Toy
For the cats and kittens out there who aren't easily amused, this toy might be the answer to their wishes as it contains not one, not two, but three different toys in one station to keep them entertained. This toy is designed with a central base station and is fitted with a floppy butterfly chaser toy at the top, rolling balls in the center, and puff toy teaser wands that pop out of the sides, keeping cat play interesting and always surprising. This device is both battery-powered and USB-rechargeable. The wand toy at the top moves 360 degrees to keep your cat moving, and the balls that run around the side perimeter include two colorful balls, a catnip ball, and a bell ball, making this an interactive cat toy that will satisfy any cat, no matter their play preference.
7. Havit Interactive Cat Feather Toy
If your cat would prefer a small toy on wheels, this one is fitted with a feather wand at the top to provide so many opportunities for your cat to chase, stalk, and pounce. You can also opt to have LED lights flicker while the toy is in use, which can engage and stimulate some cats by giving them something to focus on, especially as it moves around the room. This option is USB-rechargeable, so no batteries are required, and the motion sensors in the toy will propel it off of surfaces should it hit a table leg or corner, sending it in a different direction so it will never get stuck.
Some cats love a feather wand or cat dancer toy but don't necessarily want to chase an electronic cat toy around the room to have some fun. In that case, this toy could be a great option as it's stationary, but still provides some movement to keep the feather flickering. Rather than rolling around the room, this toy spins at the base to keep your cat's attention, and turns on and off at random to keep your cat surprised and engaged. The toy runs on two AA batteries, which are not included at purchase.