Are there any battery powered cat toys that your cats find entertaining?
February 18, 2023 1:43 PM   Subscribe

My cat used to live with another cat. They weren't best friends but they got some exercise/entertainment by chasing each other around. I think my cat is bored now judging by her always high but now heightened meowy-ness levels, and I'm sometimes not up for wielding the chase-y thing.

I'm looking for suggestions. Amazon has some "interactive" toys that I think generally are like whack-a-mole boxes with a mouse that pops out or something, so that's one thing. Do you have anything that gets your cat interested and doesn't require much effort?
posted by less-of-course to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It depends on your cat. The one I have now doesn't like to chase wand/string toys (they scare him, poor dear), but he is obsessed with watching frogs.

I think there are four or five main toy groups for cats. You can probably find cat videos in each of these families, or at least narrow down what your cat will like:

- "tiny bug" - some cats like to chase small wads of paper, tiny toys on a wire or string ("Da Bird"), or watch, or eat, actual bugs. There are also fake butterflies that flitter around in jars (battery powered) that some like.

- "snake" - a shoelace moved around on the ground, or a ribbon, is difficult for most cats to resist. The key is to have it move around on the ground, not overhead -- overhead is harder to see, harder to catch, and resembles a predator sometimes.

- "mouse" - skittering sounds, jerky movements, vaguely mammalian.

- "ball" - fast moving, lots of running.

Recently I identified this group:

- pompom - a cross between mouse and bug; my current cat loves loves loves this, in a way. Honestly, I think he interacts with them partly because he thinks it's his job: he's up late at night, in the morning, or sometimes during the day, getting his pom poms out of their big box, carrying them around, batting them around, bringing them to me to throw, and leaving them on the bed temporarily/permanently. Maybe it's a kitten nurturing thing?

So, for him, the pompoms are autonomous play, but it's not going to be like that for every cat.

Finally: bird feeders are often entertaining for a cat.

However, just like jigsaw puzzles and jump rope don't substitute for human interaction for you, the cat is going to need some time with a complex alive companion.

I always bring up clicker training. I will say this: it's way more interesting for the human participant than dragging a string toy around, and it's very rewarding for the cat and the relationship.
posted by amtho at 1:55 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]

Some self-contained laser toys are battery-run.
posted by humbug at 2:02 PM on February 18

Best answer: I have an interactive laser toy that comes on every couple of hours and provides about 15 minutes of chase fun with movement for my two cats. One of them adores it and thinks it's the best thing ever. The other (older) cat is more meh about it, but we do see him chase it occasionally. This is in addition to playing with each other and interacting with humans (we are not great players, alas, and younger cat will not play with string toys or with our hands).

The one I bought (from Amazon) is no longer available but this one looks very similar. My search term was "interactive cat laser toy".
posted by gentlyepigrams at 2:08 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]

Ditto the moving laser dot.
posted by kschang at 2:19 PM on February 18

This is what my cats love. We fold the fabric back over half of it and they like it even more, even my very elderly cat plays with it and her playing days aren't what they used to be.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 3:10 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]

My cat is obsessed with the Hexbug cat toys. They have a little robotic mouse and a robotic "bug" with a feather tail type thing. The toys scamper around on the floor. They're battery operated.

For added fun, I take the long strips of packing paper that usually come with my Chewy orders, and leave that on the floor, and then my cat goes nuts chasing the bug or mouse as it weaves underneath the paper.

The bug in particular is small enough that it can end up under furniture, so you'll either want to keep an eye on it or just use it in a room where it can't easily get stuck under stuff (or just be prepared with a broom handle or something to fetch it if it gets stuck).
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:06 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]

Um... CAT TAX?

Seconding the Hexbug toys (if you have hardwood floors). Although my cat tends to whack it across the floor and then just watch as it lies on its back whirring.
posted by Preserver at 10:00 AM on February 19 [3 favorites]

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