How to pick safe(r) kitten toys

November 22, 2023 - 4 min read
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s care, treatment, or medical conditions.
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When you have an indoor kitten, you know toys aren't just for fun. They're 100% necessary for both your kitten's development and the safety of your couch cushions.

But how can you ensure that your reckless little furball doesn't find a way to turn that mouse toy into a choking hazard? And how can you find a toy that's both safe for your teething kitten and as enticing as the cord on your lamp? They're out there, I promise.

Here's what to look for.

Opt for non-toxic materials

Researchers have found that particles of plastic (microplastics) have negative impacts on our health. So can PVC and other chemicals that have been found in pet toys.

Don't get me wrong, I still own toys made of plastic. But if I'm in the market for new toys, I love that there are toys out there (and other eco-friendly pet supplies) made with less toxic materials. We'll get into some of those below.

Avoid toys with small or detachable parts

Even toys made from non-toxic materials can be unsafe!

First, you'll need to make sure the toy you're buying is developmentally appropriate for your kitten. Notice I didn't say age-appropriate, as not all kittens develop at the same rate.

Secondly, you'll need to keep an eye out for potential choking hazards. Even if a toy looks or claims to be totally safe for your kitten's age and stage, you know your kitten best.

Generally, you'll want to keep an eye on your kitten whenever you give them a new toy. (Some kittens are scarily adept at turning harmless toys into deadly weapons.)

DIY kitten toys? Proceed with caution

Your kitten's probably already DIYing toys around your house on their own. Some of these could be relatively safe under the right circumstances and supervision:

  • Cardboard boxes (thank you, consistent online orders)

  • Large balls of compacted foil

  • Plain paper (so crinkly!)

  • Wool dryer balls

Here are some potentially dangerous things your kitten probably loves playing with:

  • Hair ties (why do they love these so much?)

  • Electrical cords (lamps, decor, hair dryers, etc.)

  • House plants (sooo many toxic plants)

  • Fragile decor items (hide your heirlooms)

I won't make recommendations about the DIY toys to use because, honestly, it's just too risky to say. Kitten-proofing your home is a whole other topic and well worth researching before you get your kitten.

And as always, consult with your vet if you have any questions about whether your kitten's toys are safe, especially if you make them yourself.

A kitten chewing on a mouse toy

5 great kitten toys

The best toys for kittens stimulate natural behaviors like chasing and pouncing. The very best kitten toys also look cute in your home.

Whether you've got a pouncer, a tunnel-lover, or a catnip afficionado, these toys are awesome picks, and your kitten would probably add them to their wish list if they had one.

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Note: These are just toys that are cute, fun, and appear to be comparatively safe options. We don't get anything if you click on the links, and we can't vouch for the actual safety or construction of these kitten toys. Talk to your vet before you buy, and use your best judgment. Every kitten is different!

Yeowww! Catnip Banana

Yeowww! Catnip Banana

Who hasn't seen this classic banana toy? It's in every store for good reason. Made in the USA with organic catnip and durable cotton twill.

Blue Q's Catnip Cat Toys

Blue Q's Catnip Cat Toys

Hilarious messages. Perfect sizes. Filled with organic catnip Check, check, check.

I would buy all of these if I currently owned a cat (and I might buy them anyway, in case a cat visits).

Dharma Dog Karma Cat's Wool Teaser Cat Toy

Dharma Dog Karma Cat's Wool Teaser Cat Toy

These fishies are made from a blend of New Zealand and Himalayan wool, and they're super fun for an engaging playtime.

This is one of those toys that you'll want to put away when your kitten's not being supervised. (12-inch string doesn't mix well with crazy kittens.)

Dezi and Roo's Hide and Sneak Unique Cat Toy Tunnel

Dezi and Roo's Hide and Sneak Unique Cat Toy Tunnel

I've yet to meet a kitten that doesn't enjoy hide-and-seek. Or just plain hiding.

This crinkly tunnel's designed and handmade by US veterinarians, which kind of automatically makes me feel like it's safer than other toys.

But keep an eye on your kitten with this toy anyway, especially if they like to shred and eat paper.

Max and Lilly's Wooden Turntable with Balls

Max and Lilly's Wooden Turntable with Balls

It's so exciting to find a wooden ball track toy for cats that's not entirely made of super-bright, primary-colored plastic! This toy would look chic in any home, as it's made of a nice neutral wood. Your kitten will (hopefully) spend more than a few minutes with this toy.

One final point: the best kitten toys are fun, developmentally appropriate, and aren't likely to land your kitten in the emergency room.

But sometimes, despite your best efforts, your kitten gets into an accident or develops an illness.

In those cases, it's great to have solid kitten insurance in place. Get your price today and learn if it's right for your kitten!

Leanna Zeibak
Content Manager

Leanna Zeibak is a Content Manager at ManyPets. In her spare time, she paints pet portraits and bakes far too many chocolate chip cookies.