It’s ridiculously annoying when cats prefer the cardboard boxes their toys were shipped in over the actual cat toys in the box, but this rule of thumb doesn’t stop us from trying to find at least a couple toys our cats like nearly as much as the packaging.
Luckily for us, cats sure do love their feathers. No one in their right mind would deny it. Whether it’s a bird out the window, a duster for the house, or even a single loose feather tracked inside on the bottom of a shoe – the way feathers look, feel, and move seem always to manage to put cats in a sort of trance, driving a desire to reach out and touch, or even bite!
Taking a simple cat toy and throwing feathers into the mix always seems to generate some extra interest – no matter how simple the original cat toy was. This makes feathered toys a really good place to start (and hopefully finish!) a search for the perfect cat toys for your feline, no matter his or her temperament or the type of toy (interactive, home alone, exercise, etc.) you’re looking for.
My cat? He’s one of the laziest around. I’ve never met a cat who ignored playtime and toys in general so much as my Avery. I have to work for playtime to happen, and even went so far as to create a list so I could remember a few tricks to try when he’s being especially lazy, refusing to engage in play at all, which happens a lot more than you might think. Luckily, even he has a thing for feathers. So while I wish he was into way more toy types (he doesn’t even care for catnip toys, let alone toy balls like some other cats), I’m happy I’ve at least got something to work with.
To be fair, there’s a pretty large selection of feather toys to try out, so I’m not all that bothered by the fact that Avery really only seems to like playing with feathers and yarn alternatives these days (though I was really sad to see his interest in cat springs go out the window!). And while feather toys aren’t often the most durable cat toys around (how could they be considering it’s so easy for feathers to be plucked out?), they’re not all that expensive to replace, and at the very least I’m likely to get some activity out of Avery when feathers pop into the toy rotation.
Without further ado, here’s an overview of some of the different feathered cat toys you can get your hands on to test out and see if your cat likes. Let me know in the comments down below if there’s a type of feather toy I’ve missed – and if there’s a type your cat particularly happens to love!
9 Varieties of Feather Cat Toys to Keep Cats Engaged
Almost certainly the most popular cat toys around, feather wands make it to the top of every well-loved cat toy list for good reason. For nearly every cat, they just plain work. Even my fussy little kitty has never categorically turned down feather wands, and that’s impressive enough of a feat for me. Feather wand cat toys are made by so many different companies you have an enormous variety to choose from.
The one in particular I’ve recommended, the Go Cat Da Bird, is one of the most popular on the market as it’s incredibly engaging, relatively durable, and has replaceable feather wand heads – a great feature since we all know feathers never last!
Electronically rotating feather wands seem to get a fair share of glowing reviews from other cat owners. I would hazard a guess that they are probably better at engaging cats than hide-under-mat interactive toy varieties that I mention in spot #7 on this list. There’s just something about catching feathers mid-air that our feline friends seem to adore. While there aren’t many interactive cat toys I think Avery would be completely obsessed with – if I had to choose one I thought he’d be almost certain to like, these rotating feather wand types would be at the top of the list.
If Avery was a fan of the rotating feather wand variety, I’d definitely try these self-moving feather wand ball toys. Considering they’re a lot more unpredictable, I think they’d probably manage to hold Avery’s interest better in the long run, but I think the rotating feather wand would be a good introduction/tester that wouldn’t be too complicated for him to get in the habit of interacting with to start. I’ve seen a few videos of cats playing with the self-moving ball types of toys on YouTube and I have to admit – I love the fact that a lot of cats will grab onto and kick the ball section. Definitely something I can see Avery doing, since he loves his kick toys to this day!
Not quite the same as feather toy wands and thus I think feather teasers deserve a separate spot on this list. Instead of having a dangling thread from which a feathery section hangs, feather teasers are simply a rod portion with a feather section stuck onto one end. Avery loves these, which I discovered when I bought the Interpet Kat Tikkler (reviewed here). Not sure if Avery prefers toy wands or teaser toys since I’ve actually only ever had one at a time for him to play with, but I think I should do some testing to figure it out. Either way, they both do the trick when he’s in the mood to play. I do find feather wands and feather teasers break easily (again, still haven’t tried the durable feather wand types), but considering they’re so affordable, I really don’t mind replacing them regularly. Worth the expense since he’s almost guaranteed to play with them every so often!
Ah, the simple catnip toy. Since Avery’s one of those cats who doesn’t react to catnip, and just happens to enjoy the taste, adding catnip to make a toy more attractive has never really done a thing for him. These days, I don’t bother buying any toy based on the fact that it brags it’s got catnip in it, or can have fresh catnip added to it by being refillable. It’s not really a bonus at all for Avery. However, I’d definitely be keen to look for these types of toys if I had a cat who reacted to catnip. Who knows, maybe one day I will, when I finally adopt a second cat. But sad to say, these won’t be added to my own cart any time soon, even though they’re ever so popular with other cat owners.
I haven’t actually seen a lot of these around or heard many cat owners comment about them if they’ve got them at home. Play mats in general are just one of those toys I never seem to remember exist for cats. I still feel like if I was to get something to put on the floor for Avery, it’d be a Ripple Rug, but I wouldn’t mind trying one of these at all, especially since I know Avery loves any ol’ mat – including our ordinary bath mat! Please do let me know in the comments if you’ve ever tried a cat play mat before and what your cat(s) thought of it!
Again, not the first feathered interactive cat toy I’d jump to buy – not even the second – but still an option I’d entertain grabbing to test out with Avery since he’s a huge fan of feathers. I think these typically get a bit boring for cats since they’re pretty darn predictable, but I’m guessing if I do what I’ve done with the Frolicat Bolt (an interactive laser toy I reviewed here) and make sure not to over-use it by pulling it out maximum once a week, Avery won’t become completely disinterested in a toy like this. Only one way to find out!
I gave a tweeter toy a try just before we moved to England, specifically the OurPets Compressed Catnip Twinkle Egg, though the one we had didn’t have a feather tail. Since Avery didn’t take to it right away, I “donated” it to his cousin (my brother‘s cat) Beau, who still plays with it, years later, to this day. Still think I need to give tweeter toys a proper shot with Avery, especially since so many now exist with the enhancement of feathers. Regardless, that combo of feathers + a tweeting noise sure does do it for a lot of other cats, even if it won’t particularly do it for my own.
I legitimately feel if I’m going to get my cat to like any ball toy, it’ll have to be a ball toy enhanced with feather tails. Not at all sure if he’ll take to these at all, but it feels to me like they’re in a similar-but-different vein to the Ethical Pet Cat Springs Avery loved for so many months before he went off them. They’re the type of toy a cat can technically play with on their own, but would be easy for you to throw so your cat could leap mid-air to catch or even chase down a hall when you’ve got time to play. Would be perfect if you have one of those mystical felines who likes to play fetch (and by the way, if you do – note that I am incredibly jealous!). Worth a shot if your kitty’s a fan of batting things around, especially since they’re so affordable.
What Are Your Cats’ Favourite Feather Toys?
Does your cat have a favourite feather toy? Love them all?
Which, in your experience are the best? Which are the worst?
Does your cat pluck feather toys to pieces? How long do they usually last? Do you have any tips for making the feathers last longer?
Would love to hear any and all thoughts you have in the comments down below! Looking forward to reading about your experiences!