Best Feather Toys for Cats

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio

When you shop for toys for cats, you’ll come across a variety of products that can encourage your pet to stay active through play. Feather toys are easy to find, and they can be a fun way to interact with your pet and give her the attention that she craves.

Below, we take a look at some of the benefits of buying various toys that are designed for cats, and we also dive into some of the top feather toys that are worth considering.

The Benefits of Giving Your Cat a Variety of Toys to Play With

Cats enjoy playing, but they might become bored with the same toys all the time. That’s why providing variety is a great idea. You can switch between different types of toys to keep your cat engaged, mentally stimulated, and ready for action. And this is important because play is a form of exercise for your pet.

In addition to helping to prevent boredom, having an array of toys may also be a good way to help your kitty feel happier and less stressed. She’ll be able to let out her energy in a positive way, and she can take down “prey,” so she can also satisfy her instinct to hunt.

Plus, with a good amount of toys to choose from, you can use multiple play sessions with your furry friend throughout the day to help keep her active and content. And you can select a different type of toy for each session, too, so you can surprise your pet and get her excited.

Why Do Cats Like Feather Toys So Much?

From balls and stuffed toys filled with catnip, to a range of toys with feathers on them, you have a lot of choices when shopping for your feline friend. Products with feathers, in particular, can be exciting because they remind cats of a common target of their hunts: birds.

One of the most popular toys for cats is a wand with a large feather at the end. That’s because you can easily move it around just like a prey animal in the wild would move. This can help grab your kitty’s attention. Before you know it, she’ll be ready to stalk, pounce on, and grab the toy. But when she does try to catch it, you can move the feathers away, once again to mimic the way that an animal would try to get away to survive. Let your kitty chase the toy for a bit, but always let her have the satisfaction of winning in the end.

Another nice thing about feather toys is that they give your cat something to grab and bite, which is what she wants to do when she takes down prey. Compared to a laser toy, which is impossible for your feline friend to grab with her claws and hold while kicking and biting it, a feather can give her the sense of accomplishment when she finally catches it out of the air or chases it down on the ground.

Be Sure to Use These Toys Safely

When it comes to feather toys, there are some things to keep in mind to help ensure your pet’s safety.

For example, if your kitty bites down on the feathers and they have any sharp points, there can be a risk of her scratching her mouth. And you also don’t want your kitty swallowing any of the feathers either. Keep in mind that the feathers can be a choking hazard, so always keep an eye on your cat while she’s playing with these types of toys.

If you’re using a wand toy, it will likely have a long string with feathers on the end, so there’s also a risk that your pet might start chewing on the string and swallowing it, or she might even get tangled in it. For this reason, it’s best to only use a wand toy while you are interacting with your cat, and then put the wand away in a secure place that your pet can’t reach when playtime is over.

The bottom line is this: it is always wise to supervise your kitty while she plays, regardless of what types of toys she likes best. You want to be sure she’s staying safe, that she isn’t swallowing any part of the toy, and that the toy is in good shape and not falling apart.

Best Feather Toys for Cats That You Can Buy for Your Companion

There are a variety of feather toys available, so you can always keep your cat interested and ready to exercise through play. As discussed above, there are feathers that are attached to wands, but there are also catnip toys that feature feathers, combining two of your kitty’s favorite things. Plus, there are various stuffed toys, from mice to balls, that have attention-grabbing feathers too.

Below, we take a look at some of the feather toys that you can consider adding your feline friend’s toy collection. These are designed to encourage your kitty to let her inner hunter come out, so don’t be surprised if you see her batting at them, pouncing on them, and grabbing them with her paws—and you’re sure to laugh at her adorable playtime antics!

1. Editor’s Pick: Pet Fit For Life 2 Feather Wand Cat Toy

This feather wand toy claims to be an upgraded version of the average wand toy for cats. In addition to the wand, you also get two feather attachments, so you can switch between them by unhooking one and hooking the other on.

The long string and the extra-long wand, which measures around 30”, are attractive features that make it easy to play with your cat. Also, this toy comes in two pieces that you can slide together for playtime and then take apart for storage, so that’s convenient. And it’s designed to be durable, easy to hold, and flexible, with a soft foam handle that makes it comfortable to grip. Plus, the wand is lightweight, so that’s another nice feature for you as well. And the detachable bell that this toy comes with can be used to grab your kitty’s attention and get her ready to play.

2. Runner Up: Retractable Interactive Feather Teaser Cat Toy

This wand toy from YOOGAO Pet includes a variety of brightly colored teaser toys, depending on your cat’s preferences. The strong telescopic carbon fiber wand adjusts to any space while the easy-to-use hook allows you to swap from one teaser toy to the next easily. When you’re finished, collapse the wand to store it in even the smallest space. On one end, the EVA handle will allow you to play for an extended time comfortably. On the other end of the wand, the ultra-strong fishing line is designed to hold up to even the roughest of playtime without snapping or tangling.

Teaser toy options include bird-like feather toys, light and fluffy plush caterpillars and a soft, furry tail that simulates the tail of prey (such as squirrels). Each of these toys will help to stimulate your cat’s mind and encourage them to tap into their natural hunting instincts. There are 3 styles to choose from to meet the needs of different cats and their playing modes, and it comes with 5 pieces of refills (in random colors) to make the fun even more long-lasting.

3. Customer Choice: OurPets Play-N-Squeak RealBirds Wand Interactive Cat Toy

The RealBirds Wand Interactive Cat Toy has quite a few features that help it stand out from other feather toys. Sure, this is another fun wand toy, but it has feathers at the top of the wand and a little stuffed bird, which also has some feathers too, at the bottom of the string. So this toy can certainly give you even more options when you’re encouraging your cat to play.

Also, when the bird is tapped, it makes a realistic chirping sound, so between the feathers and the little bird, your kitty can pretend to be on the hunt. Plus, the stuffed toy also boasts North American catnip that can get your pet extra excited to get some exercise.

4. Best Catnip: KONG Refillable Feather Top Carrot Catnip Cat Toy

When you want to let your cat play with a toy on her own (while you keep an eye on her, of course), there are options like the Refillable Feather Top Carrot Catnip Toy from KONG. The combination of catnip and feathers is sure to get your kitty interested in what it is, and before you know it, she might be grabbing, biting, and kicking it aggressively. For interactive play with your cat, you can toss this toy so she can grab it out of the air or chase after it.

This soft toy comes with the brand’s premium North American catnip in a vial. And it has a pouch that you can open and close easily whenever you want to add fresh catnip to keep your cat coming back for more. Plus, if this toy gets dirty, just remove the catnip from the inside before washing. It is machine washable, which is definitely convenient.

5. Best Ball: Bouncy Tails Interactive Bouncy Ball

If your pet likes chasing balls around the house, a sure fire way to get their attention – and fast – are these bouncy balls with feathers attached. These colorful rubber balls will bounce erratically around the floor, which is already enough to occupy your kitty’s senses, but an added bonus are the “tails” of the balls made from real natural feathers that will further entice your cat into play and stimulate their natural hunting instincts. These fun interactive balls for cats come in packs of 5 or 15 pieces, so you don’t have to worry about misplacing one or two during play – you’ll always have a spare. Also, this makes it a fantastic choice for multi-cat families as there’s plenty of feathery fun to go around!

6. Best Tossing Toy: SmartyKat Toss-a-Fox Feathered Cat Toy

No kitty can remain indifferent to bright colors and enticing plumage! Another plush toy that has a lot of feathers that can grab your feline’s attention is this cute Toss-a-Fox toy from SmartyKat. It features a plush fox head, which is vibrantly orange and boasts long fluffy lashes that can also be an attention grabber. But what will really get your kitty going are several long feathers attached to the toy’s head: they are real feathers and these can really awaken your cat’s instinct to hunt. Just watch those pupils dilate and that butt wiggle- as soon as your feline friend spots these feathers, she’ll want to attack.

Like other plush feather toys, you can let your kitty play with this one on her own while you keep an eye on her, or you can interact with her by tossing it so she can chase it down, pounce on it, or try to catch it. Possibilities are many and you can be sure your cat will try them all in effort to annihilate the toy! And because this Toss-a-Fox toy features a few different textures, it can keep her interested for a while. Rewarded as Amazon’s Choice on the Amazon website, this feathered cat toy is popular with good reason!

7. Best Award-Winning: Hartz Just For Cats Cat Toy

We’re including so many wand toys on this list because they are a great way to interact with your cat. And when you spend time playing with your pet, you show her how much you care, and it helps strengthen your bond. Another product that’s worth checking out is the PURRfect Crinkle Bouncer Wand Cat Toy, which is an award-winning product. It is made in the USA, with no chemicals or dangerous metal parts so it is completely safe for your pet to play with.

This particular wand has a design that’s a bit different from the others we’ve talked about so far. Rather than a long string, it has a flexible cable that is 6” long attached to a durable plastic wand that is 18” long. On the end of it, you will find natural, soft feathers and tear-resistant, crunchy plastic strips that are durable and strong. Between the sound of the plastic strips, the look of the feathers, and the bounce of the flex cable, your cat might find it hard to resist chasing this toy down.

8. Best Crinkle: PURRfect Crinkle Bouncer Wand Cat Toy

We’re including so many wand toys on this list because they are a great way to interact with your cat. And when you spend time playing with your pet, you show her how much you care, and it helps strengthen your bond. Another product that’s worth checking out is the PURRfect Crinkle Bouncer Wand Cat Toy, which is an award-winning product.

This particular wand has a design that’s a bit different from the others we’ve talked about so far. Rather than a long string, it has a flexible cable that is 6” long attached to a durable plastic wand that is 18” long. On the end of it, you will find natural, soft feathers and tear-resistant, crunchy plastic strips that are durable and strong. Between the sound of the plastic strips, the look of the feathers, and the bounce of the flex cable, your cat might find it hard to resist chasing this toy down.

9. Best Interactive: Gigwi Interactive Cat Toy

Does your cat go bananas and start making weird noises when they spot a bird from a windowsill? That’s all because of their insitics for hunting that can be satisfied with the next best thing to the “real deal” – a plush bird that emits actual chirping sounds and has real natural feathers! As soon as your kitty puts a paw on the toy, it will chirp and fuel your pet’s desire to hunt its prey – e.g. that cute little plushie instead of an actual live bird. Made from soft and pet-safe flannelette material with natural feathers all over the wings and tail part of the bird’s body, this toy will feel soft and fun to play with, all the while making sure your pet gets the mental and physical stimulation they need to thrive.

10. Honorable Mention: Petlinks Zippy Zebra HyperNip Feather Cat Toy

Another cute choice in the world of feather toys for cats is the Petlinks Zippy Zebra HyperNip toy. This plush toy has extra long feathers under a soft zebra head with fluffy white hair. Toss it around to make it look like a little bird in flight. It’ll entice your kitty to chase after it, pounce on it, and catch it out of the air.

In addition to its faux fur and feathers, this toy is filled with a proprietary blend of catnip and silver vine, so it can be a good option if your companion doesn’t typically react to catnip, or if you just want to give your pet something different for a change. And another attractive feature is the fiberfill that is made from recycled plastic, which is a plus if you want to find products that contain materials that are eco-friendly.

So Many Fun Feather Toys to Choose From!

We put together this list to give you a better idea of the range of feather toys that you can add to your cat’s toy collection. You might discover that your feline likes certain types of toys a lot more than others, so that will help you make smarter buying choices in the future. Or, if you have more than one fur baby, you might realize that one prefers a certain type of feather toy while the other prefers another type, so having the variety on hand at all times will be helpful and keep everyone happy.

No matter what, look for high-quality toys designed for cats, whether they have feathers on them or not, and read the product labels to be sure you know how to use the toys safely. Once a toy starts getting worn out or it breaks, it’s time to replace it. Thankfully, there are so many brands making so many great toys for all of your kitties.

What to consider when choosing feather toys for cats?

The first thing to consider is the feathers itself – natural feathers are a much better choice for cats than artificial feathers. Other than that, you should consider your pet’s personal playing style – do they like to chase, is catnip a factor when choosing their toys, do they prefer balls or wands, and so on. This will help you pick a feather toy that will impress your finicky feline the most and make sure that they don’t get bored with it in a few days.

Are feather toys safe for cats?

Feather toys are safe for adult cats, but if you have a kitten, it’s best to wait a bit until they grow up to offer this type of toy. Of course, it is important to note the difference between feather cat toys with artificial feathers versus those that are made with genuine, natural feathers. The reason for this is the possibility of intestinal blockage if your pet happens to chew off the feathers and try to eat them: natural feathers can be digested and won’t normally cause a problem, whereas artificial feathers are harder to digest and can break off in sharp pieces, posing a real danger to cats of all ages and sizes.

What kind of feathers are used in cat toys?

Cat toys can be made with artificial feathers or natural feathers, which are a much safer choice. Natural feathers come in many different shades and colors, as they can be sourced from different types of birds. Goose, turkey, and pheasant feathers give the most realistic prey effect to a toy, but cats love all kinds of feathers, even those bright and vibrant, such as colored marabou feathers (just make sure that the dye used to color them is pet-safe).

What happens if my cat eats a feather?

In the wild, cats would eat parts of the bird after hunting it down, but leave the feathers, which means that their digestive system isn’t adapted to digest feathers. If it’s a small feather or piece of the feather your cat ingested, chances are that it will pass through their system safely, but monitor them just in case to be able to spot an intestinal blockage on time. With artificial feathers, there is a greater range of dangers – they could be dyed with toxic colors, they could break into sharp pieces and cause a rupture, and, of course, an intestinal blockage because they can’t be digested even in smaller amounts.

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Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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