The 7 Best Cat Toys For Older Cats

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by Andrea Hannah
Originally Published: 

While enticing your kitten with toy mice and feather wands is part of the fun of having a new pet, older cats still enjoy playtime, too. Your senior cat may snooze more nowadays, but there’s no reason to give up playing altogether. The best cat toys for older cats don’t require lots of running and jumping, so they’re easy on kitties with limited mobility, and they come in a variety of styles so you can find one that’ll interest your cat.

Even as cats age, playtime is highly recommended for their mental and physical health. The staff at Vetstreet noted, “It’s often too easy to assume an older cat is satisfied with a day of leisure, but that’s not fair to your cat, who may just be waiting for you to entice him to play.” And the right combination of toys can help older cats stay alert, active, and happy well into their senior years.

The key is to find toys that are the right shape and texture for more fragile teeth; free of anything that can cause a stomachache; and tame enough that your kitty won’t hurt itself while playing. It’s best to keep toys soft (yet stimulating) and within a contained space if possible.

Shop The Best Cat Toys For Older Cats

In a hurry? Here are the best cat toys for older cats:

  1. The Best Hunting Toy: SmartyKat Chickadee Chirp Electronic Sound Toy
  2. An Editor-Recommended Cat Toy: Petstages Catnip and Dental Health Cat Toys
  3. The Best Roller Ball Toy: Petstages Cat Tracks Cat Toy
  4. The Best Grooming Toy: Catit Senses 2.0 Wellness Center
  5. The Best Teaser Wand Toy: Earthtone Solutions Sisal Wand Toy
  6. The Best Hiding Toy: Pawz Road Cat Tunnel
  7. The Best Scratch Toy: Vivaglory Cat Scratchers

Though laser lights and ping pong balls aren’t the best for aging felines, here are great cat toys for older cats that are just as fun and adhere to the guidelines listed above. Your cat will thank you later!


The Best Hunting Toy

Toy mice and birds are pretty much a staple of any cat’s collection, but SmartyKat’s electronic sound toys are sure to trigger your older cat’s attention. In addition to being extra soft and easily chewable, this tiny chickadee is soft-touch activated. As soon as your cat gives it the gentlest tap, the toy begins to chirp, providing your senior cat hours of entertainment without a ton of effort. The filling is made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials, and it comes with a small removable pouch of organic catnip to boot.

According to a reviewer: “This little chirping bird toy has brought my old cat back to her youth! She loves flipping it around, then chasing it, then rolling around playing with it. This is the best cat toy I’ve ever found to bring the spark back to my older feline!”

Also available on: Chewy, $5


An Editor-Recommended Cat Toy

“It’s really tough to get my senior cat to play, but these donut toys always catch his attention. They’re soft, filled with catnip, and make a crinkly sound that my cat finds irresistible,” says Cristina Sanza, an editor at Bustle. “We also tie the large donut to a string to create a DIY wand toy.” The donut toys come in a set of three, and you can also opt for a variety of other styles, including stars, an avocado, and strawberries.

According to a reviewer: “My cats love this toy. They both love catnip and batting the donut holes around and getting the case of the zoomies. Very entertaining for the cats and us!”

Also available on: Chewy, $6


The Best Roller Ball Toy

Toss a ping pong ball down a hallway, and there’s no doubt just about any cat will rocket past you to find it. While older cats also love playing with balls, too much movement can trigger feline arthritis or sore muscles. Luckily, this track tower toy is perfect for cats that love the chase but can’t quite like they used to. With a four-level track and colorful plastic balls contained within the rings, your senior cat can still bat his heart out without budging. It’s made with heavy-duty plastics, so it’s sure to hold up to claws and teeth without showing wear and tear. Because this toy has no choking hazards or small pieces and there’s a safety bar on top to protect paws, your cat can keep himself entertained while you’re away — no worries.

According to a reviewer: “My cat acts like a kitten again with this thing. He can spend half the day bapping the different balls around. Great toy.”

Also available on: Chewy, $25, and Petco, $25


The Best Grooming Toy

Treat your senior kitty to Catit’s wellness spa, specifically designed to help cats groom all over without all the bending and reaching. The spa provides a variety of textures to massage and groom your cat’s head, neck, face, and torso. At the top, for instance, there’s a silicone brush for your cat’s head and neck. And there are wavy ridges on the sides for hard-to-reach spots on the shoulders. Plus, of course, no kitty spa would be complete without a plush napping pad and small catnip portal. If your cat isn’t into catnip, however, you could always place some treats in the portal for the ultimate pampering experience.

According to a reviewer: “My cat is 13 years old and not active anymore but she loved this and was rubbing her head all over this and I think it will help keep her a little more active. It’s so fun to watch her on this cat rubbing mat. Glad I bought it for her.”


The Best Teaser Wand Toy

Cats of all ages love wands, but a lot of them are made with prickly ribbons or fabric that can irritate the soft gums of older cats. Earthtone Solutions’s teaser mouse wand is made of organic sisal and contains zero stomach-irritating dyes. The toys are super soft and won’t hurt your cat’s jaw. Plus, they come in a convenient set of three, so you can easily replace them as you notice tears in the fabric. On top of that, the elastic string is 16 inches long — aka the perfect length to play without wearing out your kitty.

According to a reviewer: “Every cat has their own taste in toys. Some like toy mice, some like lasers, some like balls, and some like string. My cat is the string type and this suits her. [...] The string is nice and elastic so it has nice springy action to keep her enticed. The mouse on the end has feathers and a bell. The pole is very sturdy and shows no sign of snapping when my cat pulls on the mouse with her claws. I'd recommend this.”

Also available on: Chewy, $11


The Best Hiding Toy

Every cat loves to snuggle into small spaces (mine loves a good cardboard box), but as cats age, they tend to prefer softer, more comfy spaces. They also tend to sleep closer to the ground than younger cats, making this floor tunnel perfect for hiding away and napping. It’s made with faux fur material and has two “peek holes” so your cat can rest comfortably and still watch what’s happening outside. It’s spacious and can be connected to other tunnels to create a fun maze, and there’s a dangling ball at the entrance for the kitty to swat at. The best part is that the whole thing can be folded up when it’s not in use.

According to a reviewer: “My babies love this! Older and younger. All 3 of them enjoy playing or hiding in it. Way more sturdier than other brands. I like that it is more cloth-like and I can vacuum it with my attachments so the hair isn’t all over it.”


The Best Scratch Toy

Bustle editor Cristina Sanza writes,“We’ve tried fancier options for our 15-year-old kitty, but he always prefers a simple cardboard scratcher to stretch his muscles and keep his claws healthy.” Sold in a three-pack, this set of extra-large scratchers are made from recycled cardboard and are comfortable for cats of all sizes to use. Plus, the scratcher inserts are reversible, so your cat will get plenty of use out of each one. They come with three small bags of catnip for each of the scratchers.

According to a reviewer: “These are the most sturdy, long-lasting scratchers, and they’re reversible! All of the others I’ve bought leave pieces of the scratcher all over the floor and these don’t. Rub some crushed catnip over the top and your cat will love it.”

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