In an ideal world, you could take your favorite fluffball with you anywhere. Unfortunately, whether it's due to work, social outings, or vacation, that's just not always possible. That's why it's so important to invest in one (or maybe a few) of the best toys for cats home alone. Because without them, even the cleverest kitten is bound to go a little stir-crazy.
What are the telltale signs that your cat needs some extra stimulation while you're away? If you've ever come home to see that your furniture has been scratched up, or things have been mysteriously knocked off the shelves, you've seen what cats can do when they get really bored. The best way to stop destructive habits from forming is to give cats new and creative ways to channel their energy positively. The easiest way to do that? Better toys, of course.
From wacky but surprisingly genius activity mats to scratching posts that can really withstand a beating, the most popular toys for cats in need of stimulation vary widely. This list features some of the most top-rated and affordable picks that reviewers on Amazon swear will actually make a difference when it comes to entertaining frisky felines.
1The Best Overall Pick: This Massive Toy Pack With Just About Everything
There are all kinds of toys out there that could make your cat go nuts, but sometimes it's good to start with the basics. That's exactly what this variety pack does, since it comes with 20 assorted toys and essentially covers all the bases. Whether your cat loves catnip-infused toys, play mice, or feathers, this set has a little bit of everything. In the process, it will save you tons of money, and you can surprise your cat with a new toy every week. This is also a great choice if you've just adopted a cat and are unsure what its favorite toys are yet. With over 1,500 positive reviews on Amazon, this is also a popular pick for good reason. "I bought this package of toys for my cats as their Christmas present (yes we are those pet owners that give gifts to their pets)," wrote one reviewer. " ... These toys have been through a lot in the last [eight] months but still are able to withstand the wrath of [three] young kitties ... 10/10 would recommend! Great bargain too!"
2This Collapsible Tunnel For Cats That Love To Burrow
This five-star-rated cat tunnel is one of the best picks if you're trying to encourage your cat to exercise while you're away. It includes three tunnels in one, so your kitty can basically stay entertained for hours. It also has a swinging bell toy, peephole, and tubes lined with crinkly material. Made from durable polyester, this washable tunnel also collapses completely, so if you're traveling, you can take it with you and still give your cat a way to play. Reviewers say this toy is especially good for cats that love to burrow or hide.
3This Springy Set For Frisky Kitties That Love A Little Extra Bounce
If you've never introduced springs into your cat's toy repertoire before, get ready for an experience. Because reviewers on Amazon say that this 10 pack of springs, while seemingly pretty meh at first glance, are about to become your cat's new favorite obsession (after maybe catnip, of course.) "I had to buy more of these spring toys because of their AWESOMENESS," one reviewer raved. "They’re so light, springy and the best part is they’re QUIET, so no annoying jingle bell to hear. I’ve never seen a cat LOVE a toy so much. They bounce across my hardwood floors so easily and they “boink” just as great on the carpeted areas of my house. My cat will literally play with these springs for hours."
4This Post That'll Keep Your Furniture Safe From Cat Scratch Fever
Spare your furniture from mischievous cat paws with this 22-inch scratching post. Incredibly durable and made from eco-friendly materials, this post promotes scratching in a way that's positive for cats and won't result in wrecked sofas or box springs. Wrapped in sisal rope, which kitties find irresistible to scratch, this one has a stable base made of thick pressed wood, making it really safe for cats. Reviewers say this easy-to-assemble post, which is also very affordable, makes a great investment over time, too, since you can use velcro at the bottom to prevent scratching on the surfaces of your floors.
5This Weird But Brilliant Activity Mat That Multiple Cats Can Get A Kick Out Of
The Ripple Rug is one of those WTF inventions that'll probably make you do a double-take, but is actually deceptively brilliant. Don't believe it? Just check out what more than 1,000 reviewers on Amazon have to say about it and chances are, you'll be sold. Technically, it looks like a sheet of fabric with holes cut out in it. But actually, it's made from recycled carpet materials and is totally hypoallergenic. Whether your cat loves to snuggle, stretch out, scratch, tunnel, or hide, this rug can be their magic carpet ride to all kinds of stimulating play scenarios. It also has a thermal base and molds to fit their shape. One reviewer noted: "This is great for our Bengal cat ... She loves speeding through the holes to go after her toys and balls. She loves to hide and pounce on her toys. She also enjoys just laying on it and resting after play, and she never seems to get bored with it. I highly recommend this."
6This Oh-So-Clever Activity Center So Cats Can Munch On Treats While You're Away
Inherently, cats are predators, which means they love being able to hunt and grab at stuff. For indoor cats, the opportunities to do this can be few and far between, but with this cool five-in-one activity toy, it doesn't have to be. Created as a slow feeding solution with a non-slip base, this toy features multiple compartments where you can add your pet's favorite kibble and treats. It's great for stimulating your pet's natural pawing instincts, so they have to dig for their favorite food. It's also a good investment if your pet is a binge-eater since this forces them to go at a slower pace and actually work toward getting their food. One reviewer wrote: "Interactive, engaging cat toy. Tempted by the delicious aroma of treats, the cat has to figure out how to rescue delicious treats from this undoubtedly evil human designed contraption. Great for frisky felines who inhale their treats and then promptly vomit."
7This Affordable String Toy That Promotes Activity
Does your cat love playing with wands? If so, then this springy little toy could be just what they need when you're not at home. It comes with a featured mouse and bungee cord and can attach easily to virtually any doorknob. Because of this, your cat can actually play with it on their own, making this a really interactive option that promotes exercise, especially in normally sluggish kitties. It's nice and affordable, too, so why not give it a try?
8This Cute Little Grass Planter That Nibblers Will Go Ga-Ga Over
Grow your own catnip with this super cute grass planter from Catit, which holds grass in an open way so kitties can nibble and sniff at it as long as they want. In addition to stimulating your pet's digestive system, Cat Grass also helps prevent hairballs from forming. It features built-in drainage holes to prevent overwatering and comes with a special grid cover that reduces the risk of digging. Unlike other pots, this one is tough to knock over due to its low, stable design. One note: you to have to purchase the seeds to grow the grass separately, which can be found here.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.