Searching for adequate chew and teething toys for cats is more difficult than I expected. What you want out of a chew toy is twofold: you want something a cat will actually be inclined to use, but you also want something that’s durable enough to handle constant gnawing. That can be a hard combination to find in a cat toy, especially since our feline friends can be pretty viscous around their playthings – most domestic cats can easily tear nearly anything you hand over to shreds!
This ability to tear toys to shreds is probably the only reason why catnip toys are often not a good fit for chew toys, though if you haven’t yet given them a shot, I’d still recommend you try! Some cats are gentle with their toys, and in these cases, catnip toys are a good fit for a chew thing, though I definitely don’t think cats who are gentle with their playthings are the norm.
For the rest of cats, finding dedicated chew toys created specifically with cats in mind, rather than canines isn’t easy. Looking for a chew toy for a dog will result in hundreds of products to choose from. For cats? It’s slim pickings, and that I think is a huge part of the problem with finding something out there that’s good enough to meet the two criteria mentioned above. Luckily, while there aren’t too many options, it seems that one big brand has finally caught on to the fact that cats and kittens need their own uniquely made chew toys too, and that’s Petstages.
Now, before I get into the particulars in terms of options there are out there for chew toys (mostly by PetStages, though other companies do make the odd one or two), I’ll go over my firsthand experience with the chew toys I’ve personally bought.
When I first wrote this article, I never had a single chew toy on this list. My first cat, Avery, isn’t a big chewer at all. He doesn’t care for the act very much based on what I can tell. My newly adopted stray/feral cat, Bjorn? Obsessed with chewing. I’m so happy he hasn’t taken to chewing on power cables/cords, well except for the one time…
Either way, this cat is viscous. Because he was a stray/feral cat who’s only been indoors with us a matter of one or two months, this is completely understandable, and the fact that he’s roughly four years old means he’s not likely to lose his ferocity very quickly. So essentially what I did was go out and buy a slew of chew toys on this list (boy did having it already made up come in handy). Here were the results:
- Kong Cat Wubba Mouse: Avery likes rubbing his face on. Bjorn initially showed no interest, but one day he “discovered” it proper and went nuts biting and licking it – too intense, so I’ve now hidden it away for when he’s able to keep his cool a little better (working on this via training!).
- Kong Plaque-Away Pretzel: Again, Avery loves rubbing his face on this. Thus far, Bjorn gives zero attention to this thing, which I prefer to his absolutely bonkers chewing. So this toy belongs to my non-chewer cat – Avery – now. He uses it about 2-3 times a day for rubbing his face on. Seems to love it as much as if not more than shoes for scenting.
- Matatabi/Silver Vine Sticks: These don’t have to be from any particular manufacturer; they’re just sticks cut from a specific plant that cats really seem to love. Bjorn. Goes. Crazy. For these. Chew toy win, at least in my books. I don’t think I need anything besides copious volumes of these for him from now on, and I’ll explain why right now.
Basically, when I first bought them, I thought I could hand ’em over like I’d hand over a chew toy for a dog, and he’d gnaw away at them whenever he wanted and be a good little boy with a stick. Nope. I was initially seriously worried about leaving them with him unattended – he basically bites at them until they’re wet and tears them to shreds until he can eat them. They obviously worked, but I was also confused about how to deal with the fact that he’d probably eat them all in a matter of hours if I left them out. In which case my guess was he’d probably have some watery side effects left for me in the litter.. boy was I right.
The diarrhea lasted a couple days? I can’t exactly remember. I don’t know if they’re a chewing hazard, please let me know in the description if you do, but based on the way he was chomping on them, it seemed they could possibly be, though it’s unlikely, and more likely they were to be a diarrhea hazard. That being said, when he first got the stick, it would take a long time before he mangled it enough for him to consume enough to have issues in the loo. So here’s my system…
Every morning, after I feed the cats their breakfast, wait a couple hours, have my own breakfast, I take out a Matatabi silver vine chew stick for Bjorn. I throw it into a little plastic vegetable crate, he immediately jumps in and starts chomping. I put it in the crate so he doesn’t carry it of and/or chase it around the room and lose it. I could probably hold it for him while he chews, that may actually increase the time it takes for him to chew and reduce damage to the stick, but I’ve yet to try this out for long. Will need to.
Either way – I leave it with him for about 5 minutes, monitoring his progress, making sure large chunks aren’t falling off of it for him to swallow whole, then after I see the stick is pretty darn watery (at which point it seems to get a lot easier to break apart), I take it away and store it completely out of his reach for it to dry for the next day. I think a typical stick lasts 2-3 days before he’s torn it into 2-3 pieces down the middle and I feel I have to throw it out before consumes the whole thing and ends up with diarrhea. After I take it away, he sniffs around the crate, licking little pieces of bark and the juices of the inside that have touched the plastic, and then he moves on.
This absolutely seems to have helped him so much with not chewing other things. I really would love to know more about Silver Vine/Maatabi sticks, if you’ve ever tried them, if your cat goes bonkers for them or doesn’t care, if you think they’re potential choking hazards, and/or if your cat has ever ingested a lot of them and whether that had physical ramifications.
Anyway! Back to the full list of chew toys for those who my experience doesn’t apply to. First, I’ll go over all the Petstages chew toys that seem to be great options to try out if you’ve got a teething kitten or an adult cat who likes to chew. Maybe you’ll have better luck with me, and (crossing fingers) a less viscous cat when it comes to chewing. Next I’ll go over chew toys by other brands that might work out.
Good luck, and if you find other/better options, and/or have advice/experiences of your own to share on the topic of chewing toys – please leave them in the comments below! You’d be helping me directly and so many other pet parents as well! Now to the list (finally).
Petstages Adult Cat Chew Toys & Kitten Teething Toys
A lot of cats really seem to love this dental toy. Makes a lot of sense since it looks to be around the perfect size for cats to nibble on, while also having a bunch of string-like strands to draw a cat’s attention. Apparently some cats get really possessive over the Petstages Dental Health Chew Toy, which I honestly feel is the biggest complement a cat could give to any cat toy, let alone one that’s got such an enormously helpful primary purpose of giving a feline something safe (unlike wires around the house) and non-destructive (unlike the table cloth!) to gnaw on.
Only downside is if you find out your cat is completely disinterested in this plaything. Based on the sheer volume of positive reviews, however, it stands a good chance of striking his or her fancy.
Yet another immensely popular chew toy, head and head with the dental toy mentioned in spot #1.
Not sure why, but apparently these catnip rolls are so amusing for felines, some cats will play with them for hours on end. Because of that fact, if your cat takes to them, these rolls could easily double as the perfect toys to pull out for kitty whenever you leave the house – so your cat has something to play with in your absence. Toys like these really help fend off the all-too-common feline boredom bug that many indoor cats deal with at one point or another.
Apparently, if you’ve got a cat who isn’t all that into catnip, he or she may be harboring a secret passion most of us had no idea cats might have: for mint!
Honestly, I had no idea mint + cats were a thing until I read through some of this product’s glowing reviews. If your cat is anything like my own cat, Avery, and isn’t into catnip toys because a lack of reaction to catnip, maybe take a hard pass on the catnip rolls from #2 and give this mint stick a try instead. Here’s to hoping your cat turns out to be mad for mint!
These are so ridiculously cute it hurts. Seriously adore cutesy looking cat toys, and these are for sure up my alley. If your cat is a fan of the standard sisal rope toy mice that everybody and their mother’s got for their cats at home, I can’t see how these wouldn’t be absolutely perfect for your feline. Hard to go wrong with these chew mice if they’re similar to something you already know your pet likes!
Okay again, I’m really into cutesy looking cat toys, and for me that also includes cat toys in the shape of food (my favourite still being these sushi catnip toys – wtf levels of cute!). Anyway, this Pretzel catnip toy in particular seems to be hit and miss with cats. Many will not even go near them or give them a second glance. And if engagement is an issue, they can’t possibly be any good as chewing or teething toys for cats or kittens.
The Petstages Catnip Pretzel does seem to be well liked enough to have garnered quite a lot of positive reviews, but it’s still a risk, and you never know if your cat will be on the love it or leave it side of things. If your cat isn’t one who’s easily engaged by toys in general, I’d probably go with something more likely to strike a cat’s fancy – namely, #1 or #2 above. Or even the next chew toy I’m going to mention…
The Tons of Tails Catnip Toy apparently excels when it comes to holding a cat’s attention. This chew thing seems to be very likely to entice a cat to want to play and bite. The enormous downside – and the reason this toy didn’t make it anywhere near the top of this list? This catnip toy is not very durable at all.
In fact, it seems quite easy for cats and kittens to tear this plaything to shreds – pulling stuffing out and all. If you’ve got a cat who’s anything like mine: lazy and usually way too disinterested in toys to engage with anything, but pretty gentle when he/she does play, this teething toy may be ideal for you. Otherwise, I’d probably do a hard pass on giving it a go.
If your cat is a viscous biter, this is another cat toy that probably isn’t going to work out so well. It seems the plastic on the Kitty Chew Wheel is perfectly fine for nibblers, and gentle biters, but if your cat really goes at it the biting, plastic may break off.
Not good at all considering the plastic could become lodged in your cat’s throat! Being a potential choking hazard puts this toy way, way down at the bottom of this list. Again, I really would only recommend it if your cat is a gentle biter, and if you monitor your cat closely when you pull it out for your cat to play with. If it looks like it’s getting to the point where it might break, remove the toy immediately.
While I don’t think these Petstages cat toys deserve a spot of their own, I do think they’re worthy of a look if you just want to give as many chew toys as you can a chance. What are my honourable mentions? I have three: 1: The Orkakat Wiggle Worm, 2. The Twice Mice Cat Toys, 3. The Glow Moon Cat Toy. Let me know if you’ve tried any out, and if you had any luck getting your cat to engage with them!
Kitten Teething Toys & Adult Cat Chew Toys by Other Brands
Many pet owners have kittens who adore Kong’s Hugga Wubba cat toy. This is one of those toys that cats seem to obsess over, even going so far as to carry into bed with them because of how possessive they get over it. What more could you want? Possibly a more durable cat toy, considering some teething kittens and adult cats who love to chew have pretty destructive effects on the Hugga Wubba. But if you’ve got a cat who’s more gentle with their nibbling, this may be the only chew toy that may be able to rival any of Petstages’ plethora of viable options.
Not really a chew toy per say, but at the very top of this Catit Wellness Center, there’s a little nipple that’s intended to be bitten and used as a gum stimulator. Many cats seem to absolutely adore nibbling on it, and in case your cat happens to be one, there are pretty affordable refills available to replace this particular bit of the toy.
Some cats really seem to love chewing on the Catit Senses Gum Simulator refills on their own, but for the most part they’re intended to be used with the full toy, and cats seem to enjoy them a whole lot more on there, since they stay still and the rest of the toy helps to entice cats a lot better. One of the few alternatives that’s actually worth a shot.
Tried these with Bjorn, and they’re fantastic if your cat happens to love them, though I’d monitor your cat, only letting him/her at them for around 5 minutes a day, if your cat is anything like mine and will tear one of these to shreds and eat it all in a matter of about half an hour. If you let your cat eat enough, I think diarrhea is a probable side effect (based on that first time I gave Bjorn one of these and wasn’t sure if there would be side effects). Wouldn’t recommend letting a monster chewer like mine keep the chew sticks once they get to the point where they’ve broken into 2-3 pieces, as at that point, they seem to be really easy to ingest quickly, and you don’t want your cat eating too much in my opinion.
Your Take on Cat Chew Toys?
Does your adult cat like to chew? Is your kitten a madman: biting fingers, toes, cardboard, paper, and/or whatever else he can get his paws on to teethe?
What chew toys have you tried out? Have any of them worked out? Any we should know to avoid?
Ever made a homemade chew toy for your cat? How did you do it? What did he or she think of the chew toy?
Looking forward to reading about your experiences in the comments down below!