Let’s face it, we can’t always be around to entertain our pets. We have work schedules, extracurricular activities with children, meetings, and other obligations that keep us away from home sometimes. So, how can you keep your purring pal entertained while you’re away?
Lucky for you, we rounded up 10 of the coolest self-play toys we could find on the market. These toys will keep your cat so busy, they’ll barely notice you’re missing. Here are our reviews of each.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
The 10 Best Toys for Cats Home Alone
1. Hepper Hi-Lo Scratcher– Best Overall
The Hepper Hi-Lo Scratcher is our pick for the best overall toy for cats home alone. This scratcher allows your cat (or cats) to sharpen their claws without scratching your furniture to shreds. It has a design that allows it to sit in three different positions so that your cats don’t get bored with it.
We love that it’s so easy to use! It simply uses a solid birch plywood frame, metal hardware, and laminated cardboard, making it durable and sturdy for long-time use. And when the cardboard does wear out, you can buy replacement cardboard!
While we think any cat will get a lot of enjoyment out of this scratcher, it is a little pricey. However, the durability and longevity of this product ensures that you get your money’s worth in the long run.
- Durable construction
- Multiple scratching positions
- Can buy replacement cardboard
2. Petlinks Tippy Teaser Self-Righting Rocking Feather Cat Toy– Best Value
The Petlinks Tippy Teaser Self-Righting Rocking Feather Cat Toy is an affordable way to keep your cats busy for hours—no participation is necessary. This is the best cat toy for cats home alone for the money. Plus, there are other cute options to select depending on the design you like best.
Even though your pet can play with this toy perfectly well when you’re away, watching them do it while you’re at home is very entertaining. It has a weighted base, so it stays upright.
This teaser is multi-textured, keeping things interesting for your cat’s claws and mouth. Each item is safety tested to make sure it is suitable for your furry companion. It does not contain tiny parts or easy-to-pull-off pieces.
This teaser wand is a straightforward way for your cat to get some exercise when you aren’t available. Whether you have a packed agenda at home for the evening or you’re gone at work, your cat can entertain themselves without your help.
- Safety tested
- Weighted base
- Might not withstand super-aggressive cats
3. Coziwow Exercise Wheel– Premium Choice
|Toy Type:||Exercise wheel|
This is certainly going to be a hit with at least one feline in your home! If your cat loves to run around, they might get a ton of use out of the Coziwow Cat Exercise Wheel. This exercise wheel is of incredible quality, so you can rest assured you’re getting your money’s worth.
However, this is a pretty expensive investment and will only work for cats with a certain activity level. This wheel only takes up a small portion of space, although you’ll need to think about where you will put it. Your cat can comfortably run at high speeds and slow down at their leisure.
The wheel has very good motion control, and your cat should find the carpeted surface very comfortable on their paws. This design has a safety lock to avoid accidental rolling when you don’t want your cat to use it, and it comes with a teaser wand to further entice your cat to play.
This wheel has a weight capacity of 110 pounds. Ultimately, if you have a very active cat, this is a good way to let them burn off some steam. It can also be very helpful to cats that are getting a little overweight, giving them some indoor sprinting options. Even though the price tag is a little hefty, it is a very excellent piece of entertainment to have in your home to keep your buddy occupied.
- Solid wood construction
- Allows plenty of exercise for your cat
4. MIB0TE Assorted Interactive Toys– Best for Kittens
If you have a little kitten, and you are looking for a way to allow them to explore different types of toys, try out the MIB0TE Assorted Interactive Toys combo pack. This is a very cost friendly, excellent way to provide your tiny kitten with a variety of toys to match their play needs.
Buying this variety pack will help you uncover your little guy or gal’s favorite items so that you can purchase them again in the future. Some cats prefer chasing things, others prefer catnip or stuffed toys, and others are inspired by crinkling and other noise making forms of entertainment.
With this set of toys, you’re going to get a little bit of each to keep your kitty busy. If you have an adult cat around, they can also benefit from this variety pack, but we want to ensure you know this is especially good for juvenile cats.
For the price, the quality is expected. But it will surely last your kitties at home several weeks or months and give them a broad selection so they don’t get bored.
- Excellent for kittens
- Variety for different play styles
- Colorful and cat-safe
- Not as quality as some options
5. Catit Play Interactive Grass Circuit
|Toy Type:||Cat grass/Ball circuit|
Do you have a cat that thoroughly enjoys ripping up your house plants? If you have a houseplant killer, this might be a very good form of entertainment while you’re away from home, saving your aloe plants.
Cat grass grows in the center of this toy, making it a main attraction for a feline and giving your cat a little more roughage in their diet. This extra dose of fiber can keep your cat’s system running smoothly and prevent them from eating plants that could be problematic for their health.
This cat grass toy is beneficial for a few reasons. In addition to munching fresh greens, they can also play with the outer rim, chasing the ball. But you will want to ensure this toy is secure on whatever surface you put it on. If your cats tip it over, they could knock out the cat grass or make a mess in the home.
- Provides roughage
- Saves houseplants
- Must grow grass first
- Can be easily tipped over
6. YVE-LIFE Generation Laser Cat Toy
If you have a particularly active cat on your hands, get them a laser toy. Many lasers are only operable if you are the one holding the pointer. However, because cats respond so well to lasers, there are tons of new toys on the market, like this fantastic YVE-LIFE Generation Laser Cat Toy, that do all the hard work for you.
You can allow your cat to play even while you’re gone. This allows them a great way to burn off some steam and to prevent boredom. This toy has motion detection, so it is automatically activated when your feline comes around. This will automatically spark your cat’s play response, and they can stay busy for hours!
This particular toy charges for 2 1/2 hours, providing a playtime total of 2 days without breaks included. If your cat only plays with this pointer sometimes, you can get a lot of battery life out of it. Also, you can leave it plugged in for use.
This device also comes with three different play modes for all sorts of activity levels. It has a slow mode, perfect for relaxed cats to get a little enjoyment. It also has a fast mode which is for more active cats that love pouncing and chasing. Then, there is a mix between the slow and fast pace to really stimulate a cat’s play response. You can set it to the best setting for your particular animal. It is a wonderful addition to multicat households, too.
- May break easily if knocked over
7. ORSDA Interactive Electronic Toy
|Toy Type:||Teaser/Light up|
We love that you can choose from several eye-catching colors, like purple, pink, white, yellow, and robin’s egg blue. You can also purchase the attachment separately in case you need to refill after purchase. To start, it comes with six attachment pieces.
Depending on your cat’s destructiveness level, they might go through each attachment very quickly, or it might last a while. Regardless, it’s nice that you can easily replace them once they become frayed or otherwise destroyed.
This toy offers a smooth, sleek, modern appearance and is made from ABS plastic. All of the feathers are natural and non-toxic to your cat, so you don’t have to worry about harmful dyes and chemicals. It has an anti-skid bottom and five modes for optimal playtime.
This highly interactive toy will keep your cat entertained, especially for energetic cats. If you have a relatively tame cat, they might not be interested in this toy, and may be better off with a different selection on our list.
Don’t worry about being disrupted from your slumber every night either. This toy is set to turn off in nighttime hours automatically.
- Comes with several attachments
- Motion detected
- Auto shut off at night
- A little pricey
8. UPSKY Colorful Interactive Turntable
|Toy Type:||Teaser/Ball circuit|
What cat would enjoy multiple levels of ball-chasing fun? This 3-level cat toy offers balls on a track that your cat can chase at their leisure. You don’t have to worry about any fancy bells or whistles, like changing batteries or plugging it in. It works as a standalone object.
It offers two balls on each level that your cat can chase and tumble with. This toy is great for a single cat that needs some entertainment around the household, or multiple cats that are simultaneously interested in the chase. You can get this cat toy in multiple colors, such as varying shades of green, blue, and pink.
Because it is a multiple level design, two cats can comfortably play, sharing the fun. Plus, if it gets a little dirty, don’t fret. It is easy to dismantle, clean, and then reassemble. This is ultimately a cat classic.
However, it is a little top-heavy and lightweight, so your cat may knock it down frequently. Take note if you have a particularly active cat.
- Three tiers
- Multicat play potential
- Several selections to choose from
9. Potaroma Flapping Cat Toy
How adorable is the Potaroma Flapping Cat Toys Flapping Bird? If you have a cat with a high prey drive, this fabulous self-play selection will drive your kitty crazy. This little bird is a prince sandpiper, but there are other choices—like the princess sandpiper or the combo pack for both.
This little toy flaps and chirps to get your cat excited to romp around, even if it’s solo play! This toy is touch activated, so once your cat makes contact with it, all of its functions begin automatically. If it goes dormant, it will automatically shut off to conserve battery.
It’s a rechargeable toy, making it extremely easy to put on the charger at night and give to your cat during the day. Your cat should love flapping wings and noise stimulation, as it will trigger their natural play response.
You also have the option to add a little catnip for enticement. Some cats might be fully engaged with this toy, others might play for a while and lose interest, and then some might not like it at all. It’s a gamble that you will take. But one thing’s for certain: it certainly is adorable!
- Triggers prey response
- Automatically shuts off/on
- Some cats might lose interest quickly
10. Kalimdor Interactive Feather Toy
|Toy Type:||Door hanger|
Do you have a free doorway available during the day? If so, this can really capture your cat’s attention. It is a little mouse that you hang from a bungee cord over a doorway. It will dangle, move, and bounce with minimal effort.
Once your cat starts playing, they’re certain to think there’s two parties in the game. It is a great way to promote multicat or single-cat play when no one’s home. The rope is made from a durable, stretchy elastic rope extending from 10 inches to 70.8 inches.
It is made of abrasion-resistant material, so your cat won’t bite through it with minimal effort. There are small stones inside of the mouse to make it more attractive to your cat. Once they’re batted around, its noise will persuade them to keep going. They will certainly have a new favorite doorway and a fun activity to do whether you’re home or not.
What we love most about this product is that the company offers a 30-day free return policy. We love a company that can take responsibility for their products, so you can buy this particular cat toy worry-free.
- Multicat play
- Encourages prey behavior
- Enticing to cats
- May obstruct door
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Toys for Cats Home Alone
If you’re shopping around for self-play cat toys, the guidelines will be pretty much the same as they would be if you bought a toy of any kind. However, since these toys are most generally going to be used out of your sight, it is important to run down a quick checklist to make sure you’re getting a safe, entertaining, effective product. Here are a few things to keep in mind before purchasing.
Consider Activity Level
When you’re choosing a toy for self-play, activity level matters. For example, some cats are extremely energetic while others prefer a more lackadaisical approach to life. Some cats prefer running, chasing, and pouncing, while another is content to bite on a toy filled with catnip as a means of entertainment.
Some cats also enjoy a variety pack, keeping interest in a number of different types of toys. If you’ve had your cat for a while, you likely know which types of toys really seem to pique their interest. If you have a kitten or have just brought a new kitty into your home, you might be trying to work out the kinks.
Regardless of what type of toy you choose to get your cat, you want to make sure it’s cat friendly. Certain materials can break or poke, causing injury or posing a choking hazard. If you get well-stitched, strong items, your cat can use them longer, and you can certainly get your money’s worth.
Safety should be one of the most important factors to consider when you’re buying your cat any kind of toy, especially if you won’t be there to supervise. Some toys can be dangerous, with tiny components or jagged edges that can put your cat at risk while you’re away. You’ll want to get items that your cat can play with in and out of your direct sight.
It would be a good way to kill an evening, buying a brand new cat toy with no way for your cat to play with it. Some cat toys come with or without necessary batteries. If the toy you choose takes batteries, it is essential to ensure you already have the selected size on hand or that the toy comes equipped with them upon arrival.
Toys can also come with other accessories, such as loose catnip, cat grass seed, add-ons, and so on. Read the description thoroughly to verify you have everything you need to make your cat one happy camper.
When in doubt, read reviews. Even if you think you found a top-notch product that looks to have excellent reviews, the detailed descriptions can tell you a lot. A hundred people might have a good experience, but a handful of bad reviews might sway your decision on whether a toy is suitable for your feline.
There’s no better way to better understand how a product will work than to read real life accounts from actual customers.
The Hepper Hi-Lo Scratcher is a really fun and practical selection that we think a majority of cats can benefit from. It encourages their natural desire to scratch, making it a perfect daytime favorite for multi-cat households. It’s also durable, and the cardboard is replaceable.
Petlinks Tippy Teaser Self-Righting Rocking Feather Cat Toy Is an excellent toy to have in your home to entertain your cat while you’re away. It has a weighted base to stay upright, withstanding rough play. It has all the fun of the teaser, without your participation, and it’s affordable!
The Coziwow Cat Exercise Wheel is an excellent addition if you have the right setup. This is a perfect way to keep your busy cat entertained while you are not home. The sleek design can help you store it out of the way while your cat still has free-reined access to this solid wood and carpet exercise wheel.
Ultimately, only you can decide which of these toys would work best when you are away. With any luck, and our reviews, you were able to fill your cart with a few new goodies to keep your cat company when you can’t.
Featured Image Credit: jojosmb, Shutterstock