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Best Catnip Toys Reviewed & Rated for Fun

last updated Jul 03, 2019

Cat toys. There’s nothing more successful at getting your normally docile and lethargic kitty cat up and about than a good toy for them to rip into with their claws without fear of getting chastised for it later. In fact, there is pretty much only one thing that cats love more than a good cat toy, and that’s catnip. If you need to keep your cat distracted, there is nothing more effective than throwing one of these little beasts their way. It’s like crack wrapped in felt, and with a little toy string at the end. But of course, this is something that some brands do better than others, which is why today, we’re counting down the top ten best of them. So, get your feline friend ready for some truly addictive fun, because we’re counting down the best catnip toys.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research

icon
KONG Naturals Incline Scratcher
99/100 our score
Ease of Use
99
Effectiveness
100
Durability
98
KONG Naturals Incline Scratcher
Why is it better?

Rotating pads allow for extensive use

Ergonomic design

Cheap

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
KONG Naturals Incline Scratcher
Test Winner: KONG Naturals Incline Scratcher
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
18
Researched Sources
Total Readers
18K
Total Readers
Reviews Considered
21
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
14
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
32
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Taylor Belmer
By Taylor Belmer:

We made an update to this guide so that you can find the best catnip toys for your little furry friend that loves the stuff so much! Now, when you read through this guide, you will find the exact toy that you are looking for. You can also link to other guides that we have and learn more features about catnip toys, too.

Sorting Options
Ease of Use Effectiveness Durability By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99
Ease of Use
99 %
Effectiveness
100 %
Durability
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$4.89
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
Ease of Use
97 %
Effectiveness
98 %
Durability
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$4.95
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Ease of Use
96 %
Effectiveness
95 %
Durability
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$2.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Ease of Use
95 %
Effectiveness
93 %
Durability
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$4.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.7
Ease of Use
92 %
Effectiveness
91 %
Durability
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$20.92
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Ease of Use
90 %
Effectiveness
89 %
Durability
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$8.81
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Ease of Use
88 %
Effectiveness
87 %
Durability
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.3
Ease of Use
85 %
Effectiveness
84 %
Durability
84 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$3.97
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
Ease of Use
82 %
Effectiveness
81 %
Durability
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$6.82

10 Best Catnip Toys

1. KONG Naturals Incline Scratcher

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99
KONG Naturals Incline Scratcher
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
99
Effectiveness
100
Durability
98
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$4.89
Pros:

Rotating pads allow for extensive use

Ergonomic design

Cheap

Cons:

Not much grip on the bottom, making use on hardwood floors a bit tricky

When it comes to high-quality catnip toys, KONG has pretty much everyone else beat. Though not necessarily because what they make is the best, despite this item’s placement, but rather that no one makes high-quality material nearly as consistently as he or she does. And nowhere else is this more exemplified than with the KONG Naturals Incline Scratcher.

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Extensive use

Of course, when you have a scratching post like this, the part the cat is meant to scratch on can only last so long. Which is why this scratcher has reversible scratch pads. Now when one runs out, you can replace it by simply turning it around. Meaning more playtime for your kitty for longer periods of time.

Ergonomic surface

Ergonomics is a part of the design that permeates pretty much all aspects of any product in which design is a priority (so, most of them). And it’s no different for cat scratchers, after all, the cat shouldn’t have to struggle to stay atop of it. Which is why this incline is just angled enough for the cat to stay on comfortably, while still giving them the room required to scratch to their heart’s content.

Cost and Value

The great thing about pet toys, cat toys, in particular, is that they rarely cost all that much. This one, in particular, is incredibly affordable.

2. Yeowww!

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
Yeowww!
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
97
Effectiveness
98
Durability
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$4.95
Pros:

Tough with teeth

Handmade

Cheap

Cons:

Larger cats will make short work of it, or just get bored with it

Coming in second place is the Yeowww! Banana Catnip Toy. Yeowww makes some of the best simple novelty cat toys, and in this case, catnip toys. But we wanted to focus on the banana, because, well, we like bananas. Not much else besides. So there. Now then, onto the qualifications.

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Tough with teeth

This was the price of entry for pretty much the entire list, the first box that every entry had to tick to be so much as considered. But still, some can do it better than others, and for a cloth felt banana just barely bigger than your middle finger, this one holds up shockingly well against the ravages of kitty teeth and claws. Which any cat owner can attest, is no easy feat.

Handmade

Not something you see every day, is it? But indeed, from sewing to crafting, every step of the process of making these toys is handled by normal human hands. And in this day and age, that really is something that deserves commendation.

Cost and Value

One other reason we chose this was that these toys come in the shapes of different fruit, and thus in different sizes and prices. And out of all of them, this one is by far the cheapest of the lot.

3. HARTZ Kitty Frenzy

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
HARTZ Kitty Frenzy
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
96
Effectiveness
95
Durability
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$2.99
Pros:

Lightweight and fun to play with

Perfect for encouraging predatory play

Very cheap

Cons:

Multicolored nature might not attract mice like more realistic colors would

Finishing up our top three segment, we have the HARTZ Kitty Frenzy Toy. This toy is exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a 12 pack of toy mice that look just real enough to make your cat want to hunt them down like the adorable apex predator they are. And the catnip that they’re stuffed full of probably serves an extra bit of incentive.

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Lightweight and fun to play with

We can talk about specs and benefits all day long, but the question must always be whether or not it’s actually fun for your cat when they play with this toy. And the answer to this one is a resounding yes. This pack of toy mice is lightweight and fluffy, making them easy to pick up and bat around. But they’re also durable enough to be able to take what your cat can dish out.

Perfect for predatory play

Cats are stalker animals, that’s why they take so much joy in hunting small skittish animals like birds or mice. And for that purpose, these toys are an excellent choice for your furry little killing machine. Place them all throughout the house and just watch as your cat hunts them all down one by one, getting plenty of exercise in the process.

Cost and Value

These are likely the cheapest products on this list so far, and very likely of the entire list in general. Don’t be shocked if you find this toy for under $5 in most retailers.

4. KONG Beaver

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
KONG Beaver
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
95
Effectiveness
93
Durability
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$4.99
Pros:

Refillable catnip

Catnip goes in the special compartment

Very cheap

Cons:

The tube that holds spare catnip leaves much to be desired

In the #4 spot, we have yet another entry from KONG, the KONG Beaver Catnip Toy. At first glance, you may think this to be just your run of the mill cat toy, just shaped like a beaver this time around. You may even be confused because, upon looking inside, you’d find not a bit of catnip. However, that is one of this toy’s many secrets.

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Refillable catnip

In this toy is a special compartment, in which you are meant to pour in catnip. Now don’t worry, there is plenty of catnip already included with the toy in a little plastic bottle. Catnip has a tendency to go away quickly, especially when the actual cat is involved. So, it’s smart to have a toy that can have its supply refilled.

Special compartment

We mentioned it in the previous section, but we feel that the compartment in which you put the catnip deserves mentioning on its own. Because it goes in its own special little pouch, you don’t have to worry about the cat getting to it too quickly or tearing through the toy because it has to be too thin to play with to compensate.

Cost and Value

While not quite as cheap as the previous entry, it’s still a very affordable toy, that your cat will simply adore.

5. KONG Kickaroo

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.7
 KONG Kickaroo
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
92
Effectiveness
91
Durability
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$20.92
Pros:

Great when active and when sleepy

Specially sized to promote realistic play

Filled with a generous portion of catnip

Cons:

No way to add more catnip to the toy

In the #5 slot, we have yet another KONG product, with the Kickaroo. If there is one type of cat toy that soars above the rest, it’s the kickable tail toys like this one here. They’re one of the most adaptable and versatile toys made for cats. As we will now demonstrate.

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Great when active and when sleepy

Even when your cat is hopped up on catnip and bouncing off the walls, there are still going to be times when they quiet down and need a quick nap. Luckily, this toy is so soft and snuggly, that your cat will want to have it around whether they’re running around, or just napping on the couch. Making it one of the most versatile toys on this list.

Specially sized

The size of this toy was no accident, but a meticulously measured design choice for this toy. This toy is specifically sized in a way that promotes realistic wrestling and hind paw kicking from your cat. After all, it’s hard to train a cat the way you train other animals. The best way to do it is to make it think it was their idea.

Cost and Value

For a cat toy, this one is very evenly priced. Not as cheap as the previous two entries, but even the pricier cat toys like this one are nothing of note when it comes to price.

6. SmartyKat

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
SmartyKat
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
90
Effectiveness
89
Durability
88
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$8.81
Pros:

Pure potent catnip

Realistically designed

Catnip gives a burst of energy followed by mellow period

Cons:

Tails come off easy

For #6, we’re looking at the SmartyKat Cat Toys. Once more, we have a set of ten adorable little felt mice for your cat to play with, with a dash of catnip added in for good measure. But what do these have to offer that the last set of these toys we looked at don’t? Well, let’s take a look and find out.

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Pure potent catnip

One problem with a lot of catnip is that a lot of it is made with or in the dangerous vicinity or toxic chemicals and other such materials, that in too much abundance, can end up hurting your cat if they have too much exposure to it. Which is why SmartyKat made sure to make their catnip with nothing but the purest, most potent catnip they could make.

Realistically designed

The problem with the previous entry of mice is that they were so vibrantly colored that some smarter cats wouldn’t play with them because they knew what a mouse looked like. Luckily, these mice do not have that problem, being properly colored, complete with little dots for the eyes.

Cost and Value

Though this pack of mice has the same exact number of mice toys as the previous one, that doesn’t stop it from being much more expensive. Not too expensive, mind, but pricey enough to be notable. This most likely has to do with the larger size of the mice and the more realistic details.

7. Easyology Interactive Pizza

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Easyology Interactive Pizza
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
88
Effectiveness
87
Durability
86
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Included pizza box

Very durable

Makes a great cat bed

Cons:

Pricey for a cat toy

At #7 is the Easyology Cat Toys Interactive Pizza. This is exactly what the name implies, it is a big felt pizza cushion with topping shaped pillows, with a box to match. All well and good, but you probably want to know what this toy actually has to offer, huh? Well, read on, and we’ll show you.

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Included pizza box

If you’ve been on the internet for more than approximately 4.006 seconds, then you have been made aware of a universal truth: cat LOVE boxes. Playing with them, sitting in them, sleeping in them, cat is connoisseurs of all box-kind. Which is why this pizza comes with a box that the cat is sure to love, arguably more than even the pizza that comes in it.

Very durable

If we haven’t made this clear already, let’s set the record straight; cat claws are sharp and deadly things that will make quick work of most of what you throw at it. However, this toy can more than take the heat, being made of highly durable fabrics that will hold up against your kitty’s claws.

Cost and Value

This is one of the pricier entries on this list, but don’t let that trick you into thinking it isn’t still very affordable, because it very much is.

8. SmartyKat Fish Friends

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.3
SmartyKat Fish Friends
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
85
Effectiveness
84
Durability
84
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$3.97
Pros:

Realistic fish design

Natural feather

Cheap

Cons:

Not as much crackle as some cats would like

Kicking off our final three entries, we have the SmartyKat Fish Friends cat toys. Every cat is a hunter at heart, and if you’ve ever seen a catfish, you know that even the most domesticated breeds of feline know how to catch their own fish practically by instinct. That’s just one of the many reasons that SmartyKat chose to model their brand new cat toy after fish. Let’s look at the other reasons.

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Realistic fish design

When it comes to felt cat toys, you can only make something so realistic before you lose the ability. But for what they are, these three fish toys look just enough like the real thing to entice any cat. And the catnip doesn’t hurt either. For good measure, the toys make a realistic crunch sound when bitten into.

Natural feather

One of the easiest cat toys to get your hands on out there are, well, feathers and keys and other dangly objects lying around the house. Cats are naturally drawn to things that flutter or skitter about, so dangling a feather, like the one attached to these toys, is a good way to get them jumping around.

Cost and Value

We’re back to the super low prices with this toy, which is thankfully very cheap for what it’s offering you.

9. KONG Cat Cozie Kickeroo

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
KONG Cat Cozie Kickeroo
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
82
Effectiveness
81
Durability
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$6.82
Pros:

Large size

Cuddly fabric

Affordable

Cons:

Not sized as well as another KONG Kickeroos

For our second to final entry, we have our last KONG offering with the KONG Cat Cozie Kickeroo. Like before, this kickeroo is perfect for your cat when you want something for them to play with as well as something to snuggle up with when the mellow sets in. So, let’s see if it has anything else to its name.

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Large size

Like before, this kickeroo is the perfect size for a cat to play with. While nowhere near as meticulous in its sizing, this plush is large enough for realistic playtime. Which is definitely a good thing for a growing cat whose reflexes you want to keep nice and sharp.

Cuddly Fabric

It wouldn’t be much of a cuddle toy if it wasn’t very cuddly, now would it? Which is why this kickeroo comes made from an incredibly cuddle felt fabric that will keep your cat nice and warm when they snuggle up to it.

Cost and Value

While not quite as cheap as the last KONG kickeroo we looked at, the margin of difference here is so slight that it’s barely even worth mentioning.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Effectiveness

Whatever else we use for criteria on this list, this one stands as the most important of all. If your cat despises playing with the toy, then they aren’t going to want to play with the toy, are they? There are a lot of different factors that can play into this, but chief among them is that the toy in question must be designed in such a way as to encourage the cat to either chase or pounce. Cats play and hunt essentially the same way, by chasing the object of their desire, pouncing on, and then wrestling with it until they feel it has been submitted. What makes it playtime or lunchtime is the factor of whether or not the object in question is in danger of being eaten. This is why a common household object they love playing with is a fully stocked keychain. It’s jittery and playing with it makes them make full use of their legs. When judging any kind of toy, whether it be for human or animal, fun is always the top priority.

Durability

If you know nothing about cats, know this. No matter how domesticated they become, they are, at heart, predatory animals. And they have the tools for the job. Even normal housecats have claws like razor blades and teeth like slightly wetter razor blades. So, if you’re going to give them a toy to play with, it had best be built in preparation for that kind of interaction. Durability for a cat toy is a tricky tightrope to walk. After all, they need to be durable, but not too hard. Cats like their toys to be soft, after all, so while it should withstand the onslaught of fangs and claws, it shouldn’t be too invincible. Otherwise, the cat could end up hurting itself. This is usually achieved by making the cat toy out of thicker and denser fabrics, that while still soft, can take a scratch or two from a playful pussycat.

Value

You will, on average, never ever have to worry about a catnip toy costing you a lot. They are generally incredibly cheap, costing well below the double digits price range. Even the really good ones, like the ones on this list, will rarely cost you any more than a candy bar at the grocery store. However, it is still a product, and thus the price can climb. This usually happens when the toy is larger, made of sturdier stuff, or has more features. However, again, you will never have to worry about being overcharged for a catnip toy. Not even when you got your sights set on a very high-quality one. Which is definitely a good thing, considering that you will inevitably have to replace it when the catnip runs out.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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expert tips icon
Mellow your cat

If you have an indoor cat, then you know how jittery, excitable, and just plain stir crazy they can be when they have nothing to do. And since a stir crazy cat usually equates to a cat that uses your couch for a whetstone, cat toys are, in general, a great way to bring their mood down to a more mellow tone. And catnip toys, in particular, are a great way to help your cat relax, while also getting them excited enough to get out and play to get the required exercise they need. Catnip is a funny thing, isn’t it? And cats are lucky little creatures for having it, as it does for them what most drugs do for us, without the disastrous side effects and risk of jail time.

How much Catnip is too much?

And now we come to the root of the issue. The criteria that had to be on this list, no matter what, the amount of catnip that’s actually in the toy itself. Now, granted, in the case of KONG’s Beaver toy, this criterion did not include it, seeing as how it had the ability to be refilled should the catnip ever run out. However, as you have seen throughout the list, a toy like that is very much the minority. In most cases, catnip toys have a set amount of catnip, and will thus run out eventually. Not to say that the toy is rendered useless (in most cases), but the cat may end up losing interest in the toy now that it isn’t getting the same fix.

The average lifespan of the catnip supply of a catnip toy depends on how often the cat plays with the toy. But on average, we’ve found that the ratio is about 5 days, give or take. It can easily last much longer than that, however. The thing about catnip is that it has a down period, a span of time in which the cat is rendered docile and relaxed. So, this can affect how many times a day they play with the catnip toy. Other factors affecting that include, well, you coming in and putting the toy away.

Other Factors to Consider

Product Purity

Catnip is a mostly man-made substance, developed in labs, where they can potentially be exposed to harmful chemicals. Even if the chemicals themselves are not put in the catnip (though many are), simply being around these chemicals can cause the fumes to release just a tiny bit of their substance into the formula, which can cause a whole lot of problems later on, especially after prolonged exposure. Granted manufacturers are very good at catching the really bad batches, but some manage to slip through the cracks here and there. As such, we took no chances and only made sure to have catnip toys that were free of any substance that was harmful to cats after long periods of exposure, as pure as it could possibly be.

Versatility

Variety is the spice of life, and so if you want to make sure that your cat gets the complete experience out of their cat toy and can find a use for it regardless of the mood they’re currently in. The criteria this needs to meet include the ability to be incredibly flexible, so it can be played with, fluffy and snuggly enough for the cat to want to sleep with it close by, and large enough to promote realistic play, among many other factors.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: So why is it that cats love catnip so much anyway? Is it potentially harmful to cats if they use it?

a:

Catnip contains the chemical nepetalactone. This chemical is basically unnoticeable by humans, but when exposed to cats, it triggers a response in the brains of those susceptible. Not every cat is susceptible to catnip, but there’s a 50-75% chance of the reaction resulting in a kind of euphoria that equates to humans being on hallucinogenic drugs.

Speaking of which, as to the second half of your question, no, it isn’t truly harmful. Though a cat can “overdose” in a way. But this only manifests in the cat getting sick and probably having to take a few medications to get better, but nothing life-threatening. Keep the cat’s playtime with the catnip toy for preset periods of time, and you should have absolutely no problems whatsoever.

q: If there’s a 50-75% chance of euphoria, is there a chance of, say, a different emotional reaction?

a:

Actually yes, and if you live in a household that has multiple different cats (or even cats of the same breed) then you should introduce a tiny bit of catnip to each of them individually and gauge their reactions. Most of the time you’ll either get them bouncing off the walls or walking away disinterested, but there’s a sliver of a chance that the catnip will actually promote aggression in the cat. Again, there isn’t a huge chance of this happening, but it can happen, and while the cat won’t be a danger to you, it won’t be pleasant either, so best play it safe rather than sorry on this one.

q: Can catnip be used for things other than making cats excited?

a:

Certainly. With cats specifically, they can be an invaluable training tool. You can use catnip to help your cat use that new scratching post or encourage an older kitty to keep moving more often.

But beyond that, catnip actually has many uses for humans. For one, the chemical nepetalactone has been recently discovered to be an incredibly effective pest repellant, keeping away everything from mosquitoes, to flies, to even cockroaches. In fact, unless you apply it to the skin (which ironically, makes it lose pretty much all of its effectiveness), it’s actually 10 times as effective as DEET.

Next, catnip can actually be ingested by humans (unless you’re pregnant, we want to stress) as an herbal tea. Once ingested it makes for an effective natural mild sedative, which can be used to help treat headaches, nausea, and even toothaches.

The stuff found in catnip is incredibly versatile and has many different uses. We’re still finding more every day, in fact.