Moderncat Faves: Must-have Cat Toys

Wed, Mar 11, 2009


Of course I love all the wonderful handmade cat toys being featured this week, and I’m a huge fan of found/recycled object cat toys, but there are a handful of tried-and-true store-bought cat toys that are real Moderncat must-haves and I think every cat owner should know about them.

Da Bird

Right now, our #1 favorite toy is Da Bird Pole Cat Toy. It took me a really long time to finally purchase this one. I kept thinking “Oh, it’s just another stick with a feather on a string.” Let me tell you, it is NOT just another stick with a feather on a string! This bad boy is ENGINEERED like no other pole cat toy I’ve ever seen. The feathers connect to the string with a swivel attachment like a fishing lure. This causes the feathers to rotate when you sweep the toy through the air, mimicking a real bird in flight. It even makes a sound like flapping wings. There is also something absolutely perfect about the length and weight of both the pole and the string. I whisk the feathers through the air and then drag them across the floor and everyone goes nuts. This is definitely one of the best interactive toys out there.

Cat Dancer

Our second favorite is the Cat Dancer. The simplicity of this cat toy is what makes it so brilliant. Made of spring steel wire with tiny bits of cardboard rolled up and attached to the ends, when held just right, the Cat Dancer behaves exactly like a bug flying through the air. Drag it along the floor and it looks like a scampering mouse. This toy elicits stalking, pouncing, chasing, and lots of leaping, especially from Ando who can reach heights of four feet or more when he’s really wound up.

Yeowww Catnip Stinkies Sardines

If your cat is a catnip freak, then these little toys will send him over the top. Yeowww Catnip Stinkies Sardines are stuffed full of 100% organic catnip leaves, but I think they are also treated with some kind of super potent catnip spray or something because they are really stinky. The pet store usually keeps them in a sealed container to keep them extra fresh. They are just the right size for kitty to get a good grip, sink his teeth in, and give a nice strong bunny kick to send them flying across the floor. I buy these on a regular basis because they get so trashed from the constant rubbing and drooling.

Laser Toy (A.K.A. Red Dot)

Laser cat toys provide great entertainment and excellent exercise for cats of all shapes and sizes. I like to shine the light back and forth along the floor then up the wall and across the ceiling. It’s hysterical to watch them track it around the room. “Red Dot” is definitely Simba’s favorite activity. Everyone else enjoys it, too, although if we play several nights in a row, it gets boring, so I sometimes put the laser toy away for a few days until it’s new and interesting again. There are many different styles of laser toys to choose from, but you have to be careful with all of them, never to shine the light directly into your cats eyes.


And last, but not least, we have the Fling-ama-String. I finally broke down and bought one of these today so I could see if the cats really would like it as much as I thought they would, and WOW!! It’s a huge hit! They have been playing for hours! Everyone is fascinated by it. The boys mostly lie down in front of it and lazilly try to catch the string as it zips around on the elastic band. Simba stands in front of it and is surprised every time the string flips around and hits her on the head. Flora has been watching it from afar because the boys are hogging it. It’s definitely a unique invention created by people who truly understand what cats like.

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28 Responses to “Moderncat Faves: Must-have Cat Toys”

  1. 1
    a f r

    This is a great post! I’m always on the lookout for good toys, especially since my divacat cycles through what she prefers and does not prefer and any given time.

    Tried and true: The Cat Charmer, Dr. Noy’s Swizzle Cat Toy, yarn if I am supervising, light fluffy balls of small size, Yeowww sardines–plus any other catnip and toys they make. The Yeowww stuff is FANTASTIC!

    Been there, done that, even if it was fun then: curled pipecleaners, grapes, grape tomatoes, Motor Mouse, Cat Dancer.

    Sad failure: laser toy, Peek-A-Prize cat toy box, fur mice, crinkly shiny balls, feather toys (except for Dr. Noy’s), rubber balls, plastic balls, golf balls, ping pong balls, foil balls.

    I am going to have to buy a Fling m a String!

  2. 2

    Been thinking about one of those fling-ama-strings myself… my girls tend to like stuff that strikes me as strange so I wonder if they’d pay it any attention…

  3. 3

    My cats would be so fat if it wasn’t for Da Bird!! The pole with feathers sticking out of the end does nothing for them but they LIVE for Da Bird. One of my cats makes a routine out of meowing non-stop for only 2 things: food and Da Bird. She in the closet, directly underneath where she knows I hide it and looks at me, meows, looks at Da Bird, meows, looks at me, meows….you get the point….

  4. 4

    Thanks for the great suggestions. I think I buy a new toy every time I go for kitty food. My cat children are so spoiled. :)

  5. 5

    I bought a Fling ama String after seeing it here and my cats do really love it.

  6. 6

    FlingamaString is a house favorite. Tico has managed to actually destroy it. She’s killed the motor and managed to mostly work the string loose. She goes and sits next to it and chirps for me to move it for her.

    First time I’ve had an expensive cat toy live up to the billing on it.

  7. 7

    My parents have the flingamastring for their cat (she loves it) and I am thinking about getting it for mine. Yeowww! catnip is a big favorite in my house. My siamese kitties look like little monkeys when they carry the bananas around. They love the fish, too. I’ve gone through several Da Bird toys… the boys have a tendancy to play hard. My Pippin also does the crying at the closet thing for Da Bird. I think the only thing which didn’t go over well was the laser pointer. They just weren’t that interested.

  8. 8

    my kitties (no shocker here) have…well…chewed the string off fling-ama-string. several times. they catch and chew, and then i suddenly notice the string is half the size it was…then half again, etc. now when they want to play (i take notice when they start whacking at the fling-ama-string incessantly), i simply tie more string onto it and let them have at it. we were lucky and were able to purchase it with a rewards program at our local pet shop. must try da bird! we’ve gone through 2 cat dancers in about 2 months…must buy our 3rd.

  9. 9

    You know, I’ve tried laser pointers with my cats, and they do like it, but I’ve stopped using it for the most part. I can’t help but wonder if it is frustrating or confusing to them to be chasing something they can never catch. When they’re stalking and chasing a toy on a string, they get to a point where they’ve caught it and can either relax with it, or bring it somewhere else for more playing. They never get that reward with a laser dot…

  10. 10

    I’ve been wondering about the string thingy, so thanks for all the comments about it.

    and I ditto Julie re: laser pointer

  11. 11
    Robyns Online World

    Our cats LOVE our laser pointer and our friends and family love playing with the cats with it when they come over. Always a hit. Going to have to get one of the string fling toys too – that looks like something they would really enjoy!

  12. 12
    Rhonda K.

    Thank you SO much for putting together this post! I’ve been contemplating whether I should get ‘da bird’ or not, for the exact same reasons. I will definitely purchase it now that I know it truly IS different!

  13. 13

    If you have a string eater in your house, don’t buy the Fling-a-ma-string. It’s a great toy, except the string can be bitten off with one chew and go down a kitties gullet. We didn’t know we even had a string eater until we bought this toy. Kuma had never tried to eat a ribbon/string before. We only used it under supervision, I had turned it on and then walked 5 feet away to change out of my work clothes. I look over at Kuma, because he is oddly quiet, and he is making these odd jaw movements and there is no string. I dart over there and open his mouth, but he has already swallowed the entire string. We got to spend 12 days searching his poo with rubber gloves to see when it passed and watching him very carefully for signs of any stomach trouble. He turned out fine, but it was a stressful and stinky two weeks.

    So, the lesson is: great toy, but not for string eaters. Always use under really close supervision. I checked the string… he had severed it in one bite, it looked like. The string was in good shape beforehand. I wish I hadn’t walked away but I never imagined he could get the string off and eaten so quickly.

  14. 14
    a f r

    Does anyone know an online store where I can purchase both Da Bird and Fling-ama-String?

  15. 15
    Brandy (PaintandSoul

    The only thing I would add is the starchaser I think it’s called. It’s my cats go to toy for when he’s frustrated or I haven’t spent enough time with him. My other more sedentary kitty likes to just lounge and scratch on it – but any toy that is a hit with both of them is usually pretty popular with other kitties! It’s also called a turbo chaser – whatever it is THEY LOVE IT!

    I also have the fling a mah string and for mine the novelty wears off after a bit. I think if I were to put it away then bring it back out every couple of weeks it would be more of a hit than it is just always sitting there on the door.

  16. 16

    Hm, I may have to get da bird for Tai. His last dangly thing was a Christmas toy with Santa’s head on it, but that died quickly. Now we’ve tied a ribbon to the string. I bet he’d love ‘bird’ chasing, though!

  17. 17

    @ a f r Click the links in the post to purchase these toys at Amazon.

  18. 18
    a f r

    (Thanks, I know, but at Amazon they have to be purchased from different sellers, so there are extra shipping costs! No good!)

    I did some research, and both of these can be purchased from Drs. Foster and Smith: and

  19. 19

    1. I want all these toys for my kitties…but I think my boyfriend would kill me if I bought anything else for my spoiled babies : )

    2. We have a laser pointer – possibly the best toy ever! My cats know the sound of the “click” when it gets turned on and come running from all over the house to play!

  20. 20

    Just have to say I love the picture of the cat playing with the Fling-ama-string.
    So goofy and cute!

  21. 21

    Something like Da Bird was one of the best toys I ever got for my kitten (now grown). She loved the whirring noise like a bird. If this one does that, we’ll be very happy! She shredded it and now she still carries around the little plastic stick part that was between the pole and the feathers. She really misses that toy!

  22. 22
    Satya Peterson

    My friend just got one of the bird on a stick toys, and it drives her cat absolutely nuts running after it and chasing it around. If your cats like chasing things that move a lot, it is a great motivator, even if your cat is somewhat sedentary.

  23. 23
    Mark Keller

    We got the FlingAmaString for our cats and they did love it. But it was only 2 days old when they totally chewed it apart. We’ve got one hard core chewer and she wrecked it.

  24. 24

    @ 6 & 23

    One of my cats totally loves the fling am a string as well, but managed to destroy it only a week or so! At first I thought she just wore the batteries down as she wanted it on CONSTANTLY (seriously, she’d bang on it in the middle of the night until I’d get up and turn it on.), but after a battery change it only lasted another day or two. I think there’s still some life in it, but the bottom line is they need to give this great product a reworking to improve its durability!

  25. 25
    Lizzi K.

    I kept thinking “Oh, it’s just another stick with a feather on a string.”

    That was EXACTLY what I thought as well! People kept telling me how great Da Bird was but I just kept thinking, well I already have a toy that has a feather on a pole so why do I need it? Then I bought the “Da Bird” toy and I was shocked at the difference! My cats leap twice as high and play twice as long with Da Bird compared to other feather-on-a-string toys. It’s great!
    This was BEFORE I got Da Bird so you can imagine the fun we have now:

  26. 26

    Yup. Da Bird. #1 cat toy – I concur.

  27. 27
    Rosalind C

    I just got Da Bird because of this post (a little late, I know). My cat can’t get enough of it. He still keeps trying, even when he’s totally pooped. By the end, he just flops down and feebly motions his paws in the direction of the “bird” but his eyes are still crazily looking out for it.

  28. 28
    Beatrice Van Goethem

    i have 13 cats and every morning they are waiting till the game with the Da Bird startet. A lot of cats came from the asiel and haved never playd, ‘but’ they all love playing Da Bird.
    I have orderd some reserves

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