You have a new kitten. Yay! Now what? Most likely, you’ve got the necessities covered — kitten food, litter box, food and water bowls — but what about toys? It can be hard to find toys that will engage your new kitten when you’re still learning who they are and what they like. But we’ve got you covered with a roundup of the best kitten toys for a variety of interests, so you’re sure to find one to fit your adorable new feline friend.

Though kitten toys may seem like a secondary consideration, we’d rank them right up there as new kitten essentials. Young cats come equipped with a strong sense of curiosity and an urge to explore. And toys play a big role in helping your kitty discover the world and how it works. 

Plus, kitten toys can help keep the newest member of the household safe. Kittens are curious, with a highly developed play instinct. Having appealing, engaging toys on hand can keep them from playing with household items that may pose safety risks, like electrical wires or corded window shades.

According to a Future Market Insights report, cat moms and dads spent an estimated $951 million on cat toys in 2022. So there’s no shortage of options to choose from. But which ones are right for your kitten? Feather wand or plush toy? Classic ball or interactive fish toy?

To help you spend your toy budget wisely, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite, safety-tested, kitten-approved toys, plus a helpful guide outlining what to consider before you buy.

How Kitten Toys Benefit Your Cat

Kitten playing with a toy

Kitten toys are, of course, designed for fun. But they offer plenty of developmental benefits essential for young cats, too. Most importantly, kitten toys:

  • provide mental and physical stimulation
  • satisfy hunting instincts
  • encourage exercise
  • foster bonding between kittens and cat parents

“With this in mind, a great toy for kittens is a wand toy. These toys allow you to be part of the play in order to help build a bond between you and the kitten,” says Dr. Chyrle Bonk, DVM, a veterinarian in rural Idaho and devoted cat mom.

“They also come with interchangeable ends to keep your kitten engaged. Just make sure to always supervise your kitten when playing with them to make sure they don’t chew the end off,” she adds.

Cat Toys vs. Kitten Toys: What’s the Difference?

Cat playing with a toy

Unlike adult cats who’ve racked up plenty of playtime hours, when kittens encounter a toy, they may be experiencing many things for the first time. As excited as they get to play, it’s important to keep in mind that they are still learning balance, how gravity works, and developing a sense of what’s dangerous and what’s not. Because of this, not every cat toy may be safe for kittens who still developing crucial survival skills. 

According to Dr. Alex Schechter, DVM, of Burrwood Veterinary, there are certain toys that you should not give kittens. “Avoid giving your kittens strings,” he says. “Strings can easily get caught in the kitten’s mouth or claws. It can also be a danger to cats if caught around doors or furniture, causing strangulation,” he cautions.

In addition, Schechter also suggests keeping a close eye on kittens playing with rope toys, rattles, and small fuzzy felt balls, which can be a choking hazard for kittens. He adds that toys with ribbons, yarn, feathers, or plastic eyes or ornaments should not be played with without your supervision. 

Warnings aside, Schechter goes on to say that kittens are curious and energetic, and they love to play, explore, and discover. “Look for toys that stimulate the kitten’s senses with sounds or movement. A pool noodle is great for playing alone or with another kitty,” he recommends. “Kittens will also enjoy toys that have bells on them. A wand toy, laser pointer, colorful stack of racetracks with bright moving balls, and puzzle feeder toys are also good choices.”

And since cats — young or old — love to chew and claw, be sure to invest in durable toys that can stand up to sharp teeth and claws.

Finally, remember that as your kitten gets older, his or her toy preferences are also likely to change. So be sure to cycle through your kitty’s toys regularly to make sure they’re age-appropriate and suitably engaging for your growing cat.   

Best Toys for Kittens: Our Top Picks

Kitten playing with a ball

Ultimately, your kitten will be the best judge of the perfect kitten toy. But if you want to improve your chances of bringing home a toy that’s sure to delight your little furball, you’re in luck! We talked to a wide range of veterinarians to find out what toys they’d recommend and which to avoid. We also factored in potential dangers and considered safety ratings. 

We researched toy features and developmental benefits, zeroing in on those with great reviews (and plenty of them). 

Finally, we factored in the most important element of all — toys that are kitty tested and approved — by seeking out toys with the best real-world track reputation for delighting kittens, including those standouts my own cats were obsessed with as kittens.

Here are the best-of-the-best toys for kittens that made the list.

Our Picks

10 Best Kitten Toys for Young, Curious Cats

To help you find the perfect kitten toy for your cat, we chose options that span various categories, types, benefits, and price points. You’re sure to find one to captivate your kitten. But just remember: Variety is the key to keeping your kitty engaged and learning as they mature. So even if you find the perfect match for your cat, be sure to change things up to combat kitty boredom. 

Overall Best Kitten Toy 

Our pick: All for Paws Interactive Flutter Bug

All for Paws Cat Toys Interactive Butterfly Flutter Bug Toy

Cats of all ages love to hunt and capture prey, even if that prey is just a toy. And this interactive teaser toy from All for Paws brings the joy of the chase (and the catch!) right to your kitten! The automated Flutter Bug toy features a brightly-colored butterfly on a flexible wire attached to a battery-powered base. With the tap of a button, the butterfly will flutter around a full 360-degree rotation, encouraging your kitten to give chase — and hopefully capture it. The action is designed to stimulate and develop your kitten’s prey instincts. And don’t worry if your kitty gets really good at catching the fluttering target. This toy comes with two replacement butterflies, so you can keep the fun going.

Highlights

  • Perfect height for a kitten.
  • Great way to keep your new kitty entertained and encourage active play. 
  • Two replacement butterflies included, so you can easily exchange if the first one breaks or go missing.
  • Very quiet while in use.
  • Comes with one-year, money-back satisfaction guarantee.

Things to Consider

  • Requires 3 AA batteries, which are not included.
  • No auto shut-off feature, so you have to remember to shut the toy off yourself when not in use.

Best Moving Cat Toy for Kittens

Our pick: Potaroma Flopping Fish Cat Toy

Potaroma Cat Toys Flopping Fish with SilverVine and Catnip

If you’ve never seen these flopping fish in person, they truly are a hilarious sight to behold. The convincing plush toy looks just like a real fish. And (thanks to a motion sensor) when your kitten interacts with it, the fish flops around as if it were just pulled from the water. This kicker toy is designed to appeal to your kitten’s instinct to grab, hold, and kick their prey. And to make it even more tantalizing, it comes with a pouch of silvervine and catnip you can zip into the fish. Best of all, it’s rechargeable so you don’t have to worry about running out of batteries. And the removable plush cover is washable, too. 

Highlights

  • Built-in motion sensor encourages interactive play.
  • Soft, plush fish cover is removable and washable.
  • Comes with pouch filled with dried natural silvervine and catnip.
  • Powered by a durable motor you can easily recharge with the included USB cord.
  • Available in a wide range of fish designs — Carp, Clownfish, Rainbow Trout, or Red Carp.

Things to Consider

  • Depending on the kitten’s age, the fish might be the same size.
  • Note that most cats don’t react to catnip or silvervine until they are 6 months or older. 

Best Interactive Cat Toy for Kittens

Our pick: Leaps & Bounds Brass Laser Pointer

Leaps & Bounds Brass Laser Pointer

For hours of endless prancing, pouncing, and playing, nothing delights a curious kitten like a laser pointer. This affordable, well-built option from Leaps & Bounds features a brass exterior and bright laser light to engage and entertain your kitten. Great for sharpening your growing kitty’s reflexes, encouraging exercise, and busting boredom. 

Highlights

  • Durable brass construction with built-in clip for easy attachment.
  • Highly-reviewed with an average rating of 4.5 stars.
  • Also available in blue and pink designs.

Things to Consider

  • Some pet parents said the batteries don’t last long. However, the pointer comes with three AGi3 button cell replacement batteries included.
  • Always use caution when playing with laser pointers, as shining the light directly into your kitten’s eyes (or your own) for too long could cause retina damage.

Best Mouse Cat Toy for Kittens

Our pick: MeoHui Fur Mice Rattling Cat Toy

MeoHui Fur Mice Cat Toys

It’s not just a stereotype from classic Tom & Jerry cartoons. Cats really do love chasing mice. Hopefully, your kitten doesn’t have the opportunity to go after real ones in your home. But that doesn’t mean they should be deprived of the hunt! And with this bountiful mouse pack from MeoHui, your kitten will have plenty of colorful, catnip-filled plush mice to play with — 30 in total! Each mouse comes pre-filled with catnip and a durable plastic rattle inside, making it extra fun to chew, carry, and swat around. Plus, the plush outer layer makes it extra gentle on kitty’s paws and teeth. I can attest that our cats love to toss the mice in the air only to catch them. They hide them everywhere, so they can hunt them later.

Highlights

  • Set contains 30 mice — a great value and perfect for multi-cat households!
  • Durable plastic body covered in soft plush fabric.
  • Each mouse contains a rattle element and comes pre-filled with premium catnip (plus extra pouches of catnip are included).
  • Assortment comes in a variety of bright colors.
  • Mice measure 1.2 inches in height, with bodies 2.5 inches in length (5.7 inches from nose to tail).

Things to Consider

  • Note that most cats don’t react to catnip or silvervine until they are 6 months or older. 
  • Be prepared to find these mice everywhere in your home when you least expect it because cats love to hide them.

Best Cat Ball Toy for Kittens

Our pick: Petstages Chase Meowtain Cat Toy

Petstages Chase Meowtain Interactive 4-Tier Cat Track Toy

Dogs aren’t the only ones who love to chase a ball. This multi-level cat toy features four brightly colored balls your kitty can chase and bat around each level. And the best part is, the balls pop into each track, where they can easily roll around without falling out. So your cat can swat away at this interactive toy, and you never have to worry about losing the most important parts.  

Highlights

  • Includes four balls cats chase around multiple levels for hours of fun.
  • Interactive puzzle toy satisfies kitty’s hunting instincts.
  • Sturdy structure is built to last.
  • Tracks designed to keep balls rolling, without rolling away. 
  • Great for multiple cats.
  • Measures approximately 7”Hx10”D.

Things to Consider

  • With enough force, it is possible to remove the balls from the track. But the toy is designed to make them easy to pop back into place. 

Best Cat Spring Toy for Kittens

Our pick: Whisker City Spring Cat Toys

Whisker City Spring Toys Cat Toys

One of the simplest kitten toys around, these swift, colorful springs are perfect for swatting, pouncing, hunting, and stalking. And what’s even better is the fact that there are four to a pack, because you’re always going to want one close at hand. What makes these so ideal for kittens is that they’re super light, so your tiny furball can tote them around. Plus, they’re soft and only about 3 inches in length. So they won’t overwhelm even tiny kittens like some cat-sized toys do. 

Highlights

  • Super budget-friendly.
  • Encourages pouncing, swatting, and hunting play.
  • Small and light enough for kittens to carry.
  • Set contains pink, orange, green, and blue springs.
  • Offers hours of fun.

Things to Consider

  • If they get damaged, throw them out so your kitten doesn’t accidentally ingest part of the toy. 

Best Feather Cat Toy for Kittens

Our pick: MeoHui Retractable Cat Wand Toy 

MeoHui Cat Toys

Our cats loved these wands more than any other model we tried. The telescoping mechanism makes it easy to adjust the length of the wand to fit your needs. And the handy clasp at the end of the line makes it easy to add or change the wide variety of feather options that come with the set. Just pull the end of the wand to adjust from its shortest length (15 inches) to fully extended (38.9 inches). At any length, the wand itself is strong enough that you can get some decent swing from it. Our kittens enjoyed catching the feather lures and then releasing them to repeat the cycle of play. Just keep in mind that these wands are best for supervised play. The features present an alluring target, but if your cat grabs them and takes off, they risk dragging the whole wand with them, which could be hazardous. 

Highlights

  • Set contains two telescoping wands, 5 natural feather lures, 4 squiggly worm lures, and extra replacement lines with easy-open clasps.
  • Lightweight wands extend from 15 inches all the way to 38.9 inches.
  • Lines are 23.6 inches long.
  • Included lures feature a jingling bell and come in a variety of colors and styles. 
  • Additional colors and styles of replacement squiggly worms and feather lures are also available.  

Things to Consider

  • Both the metal clasps and bells have some heft to them, so be careful not to bonk your cat in the face with them while playing.
  • Feathers may present a choking hazard, so never let can play with wands unsupervised. 

Best Cat String Toy for Kittens

Our pick: Cat Dancer Cat Wand

CAT DANCER Products Jungle Cat Charmer

If you don’t need a wand with lots of bells and whistles, these soft, supple cat wands from Cat Dancer will definitely do the trick. This set features a pair of short, flexible polycarbonate wands, each featuring four feet of soft, colorful fleece ribbon to tantalize your tiny kitten. If you’re wondering how such a simple toy could keep your kitten entertained, just one session will convince you that there’s something magical about the mesmerizing movements of the ribbon no kitten can resist! 

Highlights

  • Affordably priced and high quality.
  • Flexible 18-inch polycarbonate wands.
  • Color-safe, non-toxic fleece ribbons measure four feet in length. 
  • Made in the USA.

Things to Consider

  • This toy requires your active participation, but it’s also a great bonding experience.

Best Kitten Puzzle Toy

Our pick: Catit Senses 2.0 Digger Interactive Cat Toy 

Catit Senses 2.0 Digger Interactive Cat Toy

This pick offers a lot more than a standard kitten toy. But we couldn’t resist including it because it makes mealtime so much fun! The innovative Digger from Catitt functions as both an engaging puzzle toy and an interactive feeder. It’s essentially a food bowl featuring multiple tubes of varying sizes and shapes you can fill with dry kibble or treats. Your kitten then sniffs out the food and digs out their tasty reward. 

This toy appeals to your kitten’s natural foraging behavior and hunting instincts while helping them develop dexterity and cognitive ability. As an added bonus, the feeder encourages slower eating, which ultimately helps kittens stay healthier. “Cat food puzzles are also suitable for physical exercise and mental stimulation,” says Schechter. “It helps you to keep them happy and engaged.”

Highlights

  • Interactive toy designed for play and feeding.
  • Features multiple tubes to stimulate natural pawing behavior in a fun manner.
  • Made of kitten-safe, BPA-free materials.
  • An included rubber mat will keep the bowl from tipping.
  • Use with dry kibble and treats.
  • Easy to disassemble and clean.
  • Handwash for best results.

Things to Consider

  • Designed to slow down eating for healthier digestion, but still a lot of fun if your kitten doesn’t need such interventions.
  • Catit makes even more elaborate cat puzzles if your kitten is interested in a challenge.

Best Kitten Plush Toy

Our pick: Yeowww! Catnip Toy, Yellow Banana

Yeowww! Catnip Toy, Yellow Banana

This simple banana toy holds a lot of ap-peel for older cats because it is stuffed chock-full of catnip (which typically doesn’t affect kittens until they are 6 months or older). However, there’s something about the design, size, heft, and texture that makes it a big hit with kittens, too…even without the mood-enhancing influence of catnip! My own cats went crazy for the yellow banana toy when they were kittens. They’d pick it up by their teeth and carry it around the house, placing it in spots that they claimed as their own. They almost treated it like their own baby. They’d also wrestle it because it was durable enough and dense enough to grab and kick while they had it in their grip. This classic banana toy isn’t as soft and cushy as other traditional plush toys. But the high-quality cotton twill fabric makes it a lot more durable and able to withstand plenty of attention from kitty’s claws and teeth. Plus, it’s 100 percent stuffed with catnip, which gives it more of a beanbag feeling, which my kittens loved. 

Highlights

  • Classic banana-shaped toy stuffed with organically-grown catnip.
  • Made from extra durable cotton twill.
  • Curved shape makes it easy to carry and snuggle.
  • Measures 7 inches in length.
  • Made in the USA.

Things to Consider

  • Banana toy is as simple as they come, but cats and kittens love it!
  • Note that most cats don’t react to catnip until they are 6 months or older. 

Kitten Toy Buyer’s Guide

Sweet kitten playing with a toy

As you shop for toys for your kitten, be sure to factor in the following consideration:

  • Safety: Is there any way this toy could harm your kitten? Look for hazards like easily detachable elements your kitten could ingest, or strings that could get wrapped around them. 
  • Variety: Though play is the primary goal, keep in mind that kitten toys teach valuable skills. So make sure your kitty has a wide variety of toys to help them develop their brain, body, and instincts. 
  • Interactivity: Will you be the one playing with your cat or are you looking for something to entertain your kitty while you’re busy or away from home? Try to strike a balance so your kitten has options to fit every situation or mood. 
  • Age: Some toys are more appropriate for older cats, either due to materials (like catnip) or safety concerns. And toys that are too advanced could frustrate your kitty. If you notice that a particular toy isn’t a hit, you can always try putting it away and re-introducing it as your cat matures. 
  • Any special needs: Does your kitten have any special needs to keep in mind, like sensitivities or anxieties? 

Your cat will need options. “Having many different toy options for kittens is a good idea because you’ll want to get a feel for the things they like and don’t like,” says Bonk. “You also want to be able to switch them out every couple of days so that they don’t get bored.”

And no matter how many options you offer your developing kitten, stay away from small toys that can be swallowed, or soft toys that can be easily chewed up, says Bonk. “Strings and ribbons shouldn’t be given to kittens either, especially if unsupervised,” she adds. 

Kitten Toy FAQs

Kitten playing with a toy on the bed

To help you find the very best toys for your kitten, here are some expert answers to the questions pet parents most commonly ask.

What kind of toys should a kitten have?

Kittens love playing with wands, mice, puzzles, balls, and puzzles. All such things will be fun for a young cat, as well as help them develop both motor skills and mental prowess. 

Do kittens need toys?

Toys are nice to have, but are they an absolute must? According to vets we spoke to, cats can pretty much amuse themselves and play with anything. Boxes, paper bags, cardboard tubes…even your feet can present an entertaining diversion. But because many toys are designed to develop specific skills, toys can help your kitten learn more effectively than playing on their own. Plus, they can help distract your kitten from playing with potentially hazardous items in the home you don’t want them to touch. 

How many toys should a kitten have?

The easy answer is: as many as they will actually play with. But until you have a sense of your kitten’s preferences and appetite for playing, it’s best to start with around three toys, so as to avoid overwhelming your kitty (or yourself, if you’re new to being a cat parent). Eventually, you’ll want at least five or more toys in the home, depending on your cat. 

Should you give kittens catnip toys?

“Catnip is okay for kittens,” says Dr. Bonk. “However, most kittens won’t have a reaction to it until they’re at least 6 months old.”