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The Best Cat Toys For Your Pet’s Personality

By Colleen Williams
published: August 14, 2021 - updated: September 20, 2023 • 3 min. read
cat toys

Key Takeaways

  • Certain toys are more desirable to cats with different personality traits.
  • Flirt poles are fun for cats with strong interests in birds.
  • Fuzzy mice are preferred by cats with strong predatory instincts.
  • Some cats enjoy jingly balls to kick and paw around.
  • There are mentally stimulating options for cats, such as motion-activated toys.

Last updated May 11, 2023.

Cats are notorious for turning their noses up at expensive gifts like beds and toys. Most felines prefer a box over its contents, to the frustration of their pet parents. The best cat toys are believable and mentally stimulating to your pet, and preferences vary from cat to cat. Learn which type of cat toy your pet prefers and find the right one for your cat’s personality.

best cat toys

The Birder

If your pet shows a strong interest in birds, he may be this kind of kitty. Studies have shown that cats are natural-born predators, no matter how closely they snuggle up at night; remember that cats also kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds and between 6.9 billion and 20.7 billion small mammals yearly. Cats who are Birders love feathers and flying things, often leaping into the air to give chase.

Try a flirt pole for hours of play hunting to keep your cat entertained. For solo play, try a feather toy that hooks around a doorknob or over a door. If the sound of birds chirping drives your cat wild, try interactive cat toys that mimic real birdcalls. Just make sure your cat doesn’t ingest any feathers – a few pieces of fluff are fine – but avoid feathers made of plastic or with a hard quill.

cat toys
Protect your pet

The Predator

Cats who love to bring home the bacon – or bird, mouse, rat or rabbit – have especially strong hunting instincts. These pets may also be escape artists who sneak outside to make their kills. Outdoor cats have an average lifespan of just two to five years. Indoor cats, on the other hand, frequently live up to 20 years old. Although your cat may beg and plead to explore the outdoors, the risk of illness and injury is too strong to risk Fluffy’s wanderlust. Never let your pet catch or kill wild mammals and birds, which may carry parasites and diseases.

Some pets prefer a good ol’ fashioned fuzzy mouse to toss around for mock hunts. Very convincing bird toys are also available if your cat is a Birder/Predator hybrid. Interactive cat toys allow your pet to safely tap into their natural instincts with technology. A laser can be motion-activated for solo play or handheld, or puzzle cat toys like “Whack-a-Mouse” provide endless entertainment.

cat toys
(Taylor Malowney)

The Batter

Pet parents who find a dozen jingly balls underfoot know this type of feline all too well. The Batter prefers to play with balls or other objects she can swat, toss and catch. “Rabbit kicking” the back legs is another characteristic behavior and great exercise for cats. For the pet parent on a budget, Batters love homemade cat toys – anything from crumpled paper to bouncy balls will do.

Any kind of ball, from wool to jingle bell or catnip, may be suitable, but each cat has his or her own preference. Batters may also enjoy stuffed animals that they can get their paws around and kick or cat toys with a ball and track.

cat toys

The Brainiac

If your cat is too smart for traditional toys, this is definitely the right category. Some felines aren’t fooled by fake feathers or jingle bells and require additional mental stimulation. Every cat could use a little extra brain exercise though, so consider investing in a cat puzzle toy even if you’ve got a Birder or Predator on your hands. Brainiacs may engage in play for a little while but will eventually roll over bored, or they may just give you a disdainful look when you try to play.

Scents and sounds are very mentally stimulating for cats. Consider putting a birdhouse or squirrel/chipmunk feeder in front of Fluffy’s favorite window – what’s better than the real thing? – or plant an indoor cat garden with pet-safe herbs like catnip, lemongrass and mint. Cats love rubbing their faces on interesting textures, like tree bark and plant leaves, so be sure any indoor house plants are not toxic to pets. Motion-activated cat toys and those with interactive features like lights or lasers can also be beneficial for Brainiacs.

(Featured image via

cat toys
colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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