The only cat I know who absolutely does not care for toy balls is my own. My mother’s, my brother’s, even my friend’s cat whom I house sat for over a month all love at least one form of ball toy or another. Not my Avery!
I’ve always found this to be an absolute shame. Balls are probably the best toys ever to leave out for cats home alone while you’re out. They’re cheap, ubiquitous, and come in so many varieties, it’s impossible for a cat to become bored of them altogether.
Unless he or she is completely indifferent to balls in the first place – like mine happens to be. I’ve tried 4-5 different types of ball toys on this list, and Avery hasn’t properly engaged with any one. There are still a few more varieties I think I should try (#3 & #9 for instance), but I’m not holding my breath, as my fella’s not only the laziest cat I know, he’s also incredibly fickle when it comes to what he plays with. Doesn’t even play with “ordinary objects” (pens, hair elastics, etc.) like most cats do, and I can’t count the number of toys I’ve given away after trying desperately to get him to play with them. Obviously, the other cats were appreciative, but from my perspective, it’s still a shame.
All this to say, if you have a cat who enjoys playing with ball toys: do not ever take it for granted. Capitalize by grabbing or scavenging your house for as many varieties as you can of this ubiquitous, cheap toy. And if your cat is the sort who, like my mum’s, basically plays fetch with you as though he or she’s some sort of dog – I’m ridiculously jealous. You have no idea how lucky you are that playtime is that simple for you!
Without further ado, let’s get into some of the varieties that are excellent toys for cats who love balls to play with! Some are actually toys created for cats, others are crafting supplies, some are toys made for kids, or even sports balls that would actually double very well as cat toys. Let me know below in the comments if your cat likes to play with balls and which types he or she prefers over others.
11 Types of Toy Balls Your Cat May Enjoy Playing With
Sparkle balls are essentially bright, colourful pom pom toys with little bits that stick out of them that are made out of tinsel. They grab a cat’s eye quite well because of the way the tinsel sparkles in the light, they’re very lightweight, especially when compared to something like a bouncy ball, and they’re silent when being played with, which is a huge plus if you’re not a fan of the sound of rolling on the floor and need something for kitty to play with while you work.
These things are apparently unbelievably addictive to play with for some cats. They’re so cheap, it doesn’t matter if they’re lost under furniture, and are one of the only cat toys out there that don’t hurt your feet if you accidentally step on them without socks on. Not much not to like, really. Worth a shot if your cat likes any type of ball toy.
2. Sponge Balls
I first bought sponge balls for Avery when he was a kitten. I loved the idea of them for many of the reasons I mentioned sparkle balls are great: they’re easy on the feet if stepped on, are silent when cats play with them (which was important to me back then because Avery used to become very hyper and want to play only in the middle of the night), they’re cheap, and thus no big deal if they get lost under furniture, and they’re lightweight.
Unlike sparkle balls, which are way too light to throw, sponge balls are also good in case your cat is a fan of fetch or catch – which I desperately wished Avery would like. Alas, while he’ll stare at a ball if I throw it, and maybe go after it once, that’s about as far as his interest in catch with a ball goes. Go after the ball repeatedly? Pick it up and bring it back? Forget it.
This is the first type of ball toy on this list I still need to try. Avery’s got a thing for feathers, and little pieces of string-like objects made to look like tails, which is why I have a feeling if I’m going to have any luck with any balls, it’ll be this category that does the trick.
There are a lot of these types of balls floating around for you to try, but some of the most interesting are the ones that are battery operated and move by themselves; basically being alternatives to remote control mouse cat toys. One version of an interactive ball with a tail (though not a feather tail) is this Weasel Ball cat toy. Another that seems to be very popular is the SmartyKat Feather Whirl, again automated, but having a wand feather that sticks out of it instead of a stuffed Weasel with a tail on top. Easy to see why any cat might love these toys.
Ball track toys are immensely popular cat toys, and for very good reason – they’re usually incredibly well built, affordable, and they make it impossible for a cat to lose the ball(s) he or she’s playing with. The only downside? Some cats just aren’t into them (ehhem – my own!).
If your cat likes to play with balls, it’s likely you’ve already tried one of these out already. But in case you haven’t, they’re certainly worth a shot. Besides the one by Petsages, there’s also the Bergan Turbo that’s incredibly popular, and that’s got a built-in cardboard scratcher your cat might love as well.
If you find your cat loves track toys and you feel he or she might be into an adjustable track rather than a set, round/circle one, there’s the Catit Play Circuit, which you can reshape as many times as you want. You can even buy multiples of it and make a crazy large track that your kitty will hopefully get a kick out of. I’ve actually owned this one and can’t recommend it based on personal experience, since – as I’m sure you already guessed – my cat full on ignored it after engaging with it a couple times. If track toys are the type of thing you know your cat would actually go for, however, I’d imagine it’d be a great toy to have.
5. Feeder Balls
This is the only type of ball toy Avery will actually engage with, though saying that feels like an incredibly big cheat as he doesn’t like the toy because it’s a ball – he likes it because it involves eating.
I have had a feeder ball for ages. It doesn’t get much use because I prefer to use the Catit Senses Food Maze (reviewed here) over the Petsafe Slimcat I’ve got. Still, they’re handy to have, and quite good at getting food-motivated cats moving. I have to give them two thumbs up, although I feel better alternatives in the feeding toy department exist.
I can’t remember if I’ve actually given these a try before. I keep going back and forth about whether I bought any crinkle balls for Avery when he was a kitten. Either way, they’re fantastic alternatives to sparkle balls – not being very good for throwing and playing fetch with your cat, but being great toys for cats at home alone for any length of time who might want to entertain themselves playing a form of cat soccer in your absence. They’re shiny and move in interesting enough ways to keep most cats who like balls engaged, which is awesome. Not much else to say besides the fact that they’re good options to have around, though you could also quickly DIY some..
7. Foil Balls
…instead if you wanted to. Obviously, aluminum foil balls are quick and easy to make yourself: just grab some aluminum foil, press it into a ball, and throw it over to your cat. Basically free considering nearly everyone has aluminum foil at home, they’re 100% something you should give a shot.
As a heads up, while Avery hates aluminum foil balls, he will sometimes play with “pancakes” I make out of them by firmly stepping on aluminum foil balls to flatten. I don’t know why he prefers flatter shapes. Maybe he’s more into hockey than soccer. He is, after all, Canadian.
Fuzzy, furry toy balls open up a different kind of engagement with balls, as these, unlike most other options where cats can only really hit them, are possible for a cat to engage with by grabbing and kicking.
Avery happens to be a fan of toys he can hold with his front claws and kick with his hind legs. While he won’t play like this for long, it’s at least some sort of engagement, so I make the most of it. Being a big fan of the Jeepers Creepers Toy Rat (reviewed here) for kicking, we bought a Grumpy Cat Hairball Toy that is a fuzzy/furry cat toy ball to give a try. Though Avery attempted to kick it a few times, he quickly gave up on it when it started rolling away, so we defaulted back to the Jeepers Creepers Rat in the end.
If you’re specifically looking for a cat kick toy, check out this round up for some good options. If you’re looking for another variety of ball because your cat likes balls anyway, I’d give these types of ball toys a shot.
9. Bell Balls
I honestly cannot stand bell ball cat toys because they can be really annoying when your cat starts playing with them in the same room you working or sleeping in… oh and they hurt like hell when you step on them. At the same time, I know a lot of cats love the fact that they make noise, and any added appeal is great when you just need your cat to be entertained.
If your cat loves these, but like me, you can’t stand the noise, only take them out when you’re not around. They’re perfect for keeping a cat busy while you’re out at work.
10. Bouncy Balls
Bouncy balls weren’t made for cats, but they really can make great cat toys. If your cat is a huge fan of balls, like my mum’s cat Walker happens to be, you need to try throwing one of these your cat’s way. Walker will jump ever so high trying to catch bouncy balls being thrown down the hallway, and I’d say they’re probably his favourite type of ball ever. Already have one stashed away in storage at home? Don’t delay giving the humble bouncy ball a shot; your cat will probably love it.
Of course, you can try other balls that are probably lying around your home as well. Ping pong balls are raved about so often by cat parents – they’re apparently incredibly good at keeping a cat’s attention because of their erratic bounce. I know some cats who also go after tennis balls, even though they’re quite big! Do some digging in your garage and see what you have at home to try – you never know what may strike your cat’s fancy!
11. Laser Balls
Just like feeder balls (#5 on this list) these kinds of toy balls aren’t really about the ball, but are more or less just about the other component; in this case, the lasers. Laser toy balls are just what you’d expect, battery operated balls that roll around shooting out light to keep a cat’s attention. Are they good at engaging cats? They sure seem to be.
There probably need a lot more battery replacing than automatic laser toy alternatives like the Petsafe Bolt (reviewed here), but they do appear to be good toys based on reviews and reputation. Not too pricey either, for an electronic cat toy.
Picture from post Aluminum Foil Balls: Ever Made One? Does Your Cat Play With Them?
What Do Your Cats Think of Toy Balls?
Do your cats play with toy balls? What types are they into? Which do they ignore?
Can you think of any types of balls that do actually make great cat toys, but that I’ve forgotten to include on this list?
Finally, are there any cats you know who, like my Avery, just don’t do ball toys at all?
Let me know down below!