Types of Cat Toys to Get Your Not-So-Active Cat Going

Do you have a cat who is just not that interested in playing? Cats who show little interest in play may be sick, but they may also just be getting older and showing their feline lazy side a bit more. If you’re trying to encourage your cat to play more often, it’s important to find the right toy to suit their needs.

cat toys for inactive cats

Below, you’ll find some information about different categories of cat toys that can help you get started. Use this information to consider the play style your cat prefers and narrow down the possibilities when it comes to their toys.

Treat Dispensing Toys

Treat dispensing toys can help encourage even the laziest of cats to get up and play. These toys are filled with treats (or kibble), and they release a few small pieces of food at a time when your cat bats them around in play.

Try another type of toy if your cat is very overweight, or use treat dispensing toys as a slow feeder option instead. Otherwise, you can add treats to the toy and use it to entice your cat into some active playtime throughout the day.

Interactive Toys

Interactive toys include any toys you are intended to use to play along with your cat. One of the most popular styles of interactive cat toy is the wand. These wands are designed somewhat like a fishing pole with a long string or ribbon on one end and a handle on the other. You can hold the handle and dangle a toy at the end of the string for your cat to chase and pounce on.

Interactive toys may also include games and puzzles for your cat to solve. Puzzles are a great way to encourage cats to use their minds and bodies at the same time.

Kick Toys

Kick toys are some of the most classic of the cat toy styles available. These toys are intended to be tossed for your cat, and he is encouraged to stalk them, pounce on them, bite them, or kick them as much as he wants to. They are often decorated with feathers or ribbons to entice cats to play with them even more.

Kick toys are great for most cats, but some are just not interested in this style of play. If your cat isn’t showing much interest in a kick toy, consider spraying it with catnip spray or choosing a toy that makes noise.


Scratchers are available in all sorts of sizes, shapes, styles, and colors. You can find them as tall scratching posts for cats to stretch up and claw, or as flat rectangles cats can pluck at during play. You may also be able to find round scratchers that are surrounded by a ball in a track, giving your cat two ways to enjoy the same toy.

Scratchers are a great option for cats who get excited during playtime and want to claw something. Instead of scratching you, another cat, or the furniture, you can help your cat keep up that level of enjoyment by providing several scratcher surfaces throughout the home.

Exploration Toys

Exploration toys come in a variety of styles. One popular option is a pop-up tube, which is usually made of crinkle material. These tubes allow cats to explore, crawl, and dive through them while chasing toys (or chasing other cats). As such, they encourage extremely active playtime.

Other exploration toys include cat trees and towers as well as treat mats. Treat mats are a good option for cats who are food motivated, since your cat can look through the treat mat to explore and find morsels of his favorite snacks hidden inside.


Never underestimate the power of catnip! If you find a toy for your cat that is filled with catnip, this may make a big difference in his willingness to play. You can also purchase dried catnip and sprinkle it onto toys and surfaces to encourage him to play as well.

You may also choose to grow your own catnip. This herb isn’t difficult to grow and dry yourself, and you can provide your cat with a steady supply of catnip to help him get excited about playtime once again.

It’s Time to Get Your Not-So-Active Cat Up and Moving

As you can see, there are plenty of toy types available to suit cats with almost any preferences. With the help of this guide, you should be able to think about the way your cat likes to play when he is active, then use that knowledge to choose toys in the same category.

When you find toys that encourage your cat to play, you’re doing him a favor by helping him exercise. Older cats, overweight cats, and cats with chronic health problems can especially enjoy the benefits of exercising, especially if they aren’t usually inclined to do so.