Best Puzzle Games for Cats 2024

Written by Emily Bayne

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 04/17/2024, edited: 04/17/2024

Best Puzzle Games for Cats 2024 image

The Wag! team conducts independent research and consults pet experts to curate our recommendations. This content is supported by our affiliate pet partners and we may receive a commission on the links provided.


If your cat is constantly getting into trouble or playing with things they shouldn't be, you may have considered buying some new toys to entertain them. Cats are incredibly intelligent, and this can cause them to get in trouble if they don't have enough mental stimulation. 

Unfortunately, cats tend to get tired of playthings quite quickly. That's where cat puzzle games come in! These brain-teaser toys can help your kitty pass the time without getting into your belongings and make them work for their treats too!

We've found some of the best cat puzzle games around, including some favorites of our own babies, to help you narrow the selection! Let's get into it!




Overview

Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Melon Madness Puzzle & Play Cat Toy

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Nina Ottoson Puzzles are top-tier. Not only are they durable and will stand the test of time (ask my lab/pit mix!), but they are also super interactive and challenging. 

This particular puzzle has 6 treat compartments that your kitty will have to paw at and slide just right to get to the treats inside. This puzzle is intermediate in difficulty and is a great introductory toy for cats just getting into brain teasers. Plus, the melon-theme is absolutely adorable!

Nina Ottoson Melon Madness Cat Toy

Nina Ottoson Melon Madness Cat Toy

Why Wag! loves this puzzle

  • Encourages swatting, scratching, and hunting skills
  • Can double as a slow feeder since it can hold up to a quarter-cup of kibble.
  • Made of super durable plastic
  • Food-grade (and¬†¬†BPA-free!)
  • Nina Ottoson Puzzles are available through many different retailers

Considerations & concerns 

  • May be too challenging for some kitties
  • Some pet parents wish the treat compartments would be able to hold larger treats

What pet parents say about this puzzle

"It took Minibelle, my 10 year old cat, a little bit to figure this out but she already loves it! She is a little nervous around new people, so I plan to use this in the future when we have guests visiting to maybe help calm her down and give her something to do. It's great quality and I was happy to catch it on sale. :) Enrichment for cats is important!"

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Image sourced from Chewy.




Whisker City¬ģ Whackamouse Corrugate Scratcher Cat Toy

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The Whisker City¬ģ Whackamouse Corrugate Scratcher Cat Toy is my cat's all-time favorite toy. This puzzle has two sections: a scratching pad and a rectangle with cutouts and levers attached to little mice. When cats press down on the lever, the little mice pop up like a game of wack-a-mole.¬†

My boys love playing with this toy together‚ÄĒ one will press down the levers while the other swats at the mice. They also enjoy sharpening their claws on the attached scratching pad.¬†

Most cat toys I've bought seem to lose their appeal for my cats after a few days, but this toy has been a mainstay for months. I'm actually thinking of repurchasing it since the corrugated cardboard has seen better days and the boys can't live without it!

Whisker City Whackamouse Cat Toy

Whisker City Whackamouse Cat Toy

Why Wag! loves this puzzle 

  • Great for solo cats or multiple cats to play with simultaneously
  • Gives cats a place to sharpen their claws (besides the carpet!)
  • Allows cats to express natural behaviors like pouncing and stalking.

Considerations & concerns 

  • It's made of cardboard, so it isn't going to last forever
  • The corrugated scratching pad gets messy and leaves tiny pieces of cardboard all over the house
  • This is a Petsmart-exclusive toy, so if you don't have a Petsmart in your area, you'll have to order it online.

What pet parents say about this puzzle

"My cat is not one that's easily amused. She doesn't typically play with toys, but this one changed the game. She has been kept busy for hours at a time with it and never seems to get bored. It's also given her something to scratch other than my furniture which is a huge plus. "

"This is adorable and I hoped the kitten would love it. It was actually ended up our older cat was the one who love it's! He stars at it, tries to eat the mice and grab them. They haven't used the scraper part yet, but we do enjoy the mouse part of the scratcher toy."

Read more reviews on Petsmart.

Image sourced from Petsmart.




TRIXIE Brain Mover Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy

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If your cat enjoys novel puzzles, the Trixie Brain Mover Activity Strategy Game is sure to please. This is a puzzle within a puzzle with 4 different components to put your baby's smarts to the test.

It has hidden drawers, levers, and balls that have to be moved to reveal the treats inside. Your catto will have a blast pushing, pulling, and swatting their way to the loot!

This puzzle is a fun challenge for any cat but may be too advanced for beginners due to the number of tasks cats have to complete to solve it.

TRIXIE Brain Mover cat Toy

TRIXIE Brain Mover cat Toy

Why Wag! loves this puzzle

  • Several different modules to keep things fresh and entertaining
  • Made with durability in mind, and will last for years to come
  • Dishwasher-safe means no scrubbing is required
  • The bottom features antiskid pieces to make sure it stays put during playtime

Considerations & concerns 

  • May be too complex for puzzle newbies

What pet parents say about this puzzle 

"Was pleasantly surprised that our cat was intrigued by this puzzle. We used Temptations treats the first time (high reward at home) and this puzzle had her working for about ten minutes. A must for cats needing mental stimulation and a challenge!"

"My cat is a kitty genius, and he was growing a little bored with his old puzzle board. I was looking for a tougher one, and this one delivered. The first couple of days I had to sit with him and help him figure it out, but after about a week he can get almost everything on his own. He loves it!!"

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Image sourced from Chewy.




SmartCat Peek-A-Prize Toy Box

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If your cat takes destroying their toys as a personal challenge, this toy is for you. The SmartCat Peek-A-Prize Toy box is made to last with its solid wood construction that can take all the clawing and chewing your cat has to give.

The design is very simple, it's just a wood box with holes drilled in the top and sides and it comes with two toys that you can slip inside for your cat to fish out. The puzzle is compatible with most small cat toys and treats, so the paw-sibilities are endless. This puzzle is definitely the simplest on the list, but it will last Fluffy for years to come.

SmartCat Peek-A-Prize Cat Toy

SmartCat Peek-A-Prize Cat Toy

Why Wag! loves this puzzle 

  • Allows cats to express their instincts to hunt, swat & pounce
  • Solid wood construction
  • Works with a variety of toys and treats
  • Super simple puzzle for kittens and beginners

Considerations & concerns

  • May not be challenging enough for some kitties
  • Only comes with two toys

What pet parents say about this puzzle 

"My cat loves the toy. I've placed a variety of objects or treats in there. He will play with the balls and then put them back in the box."

"This is GREAT. I had previously made several iterations of this out of boxes, but this one is great because a) it has a lot of holes, b) it's really sturdy and well made and my cat can sit on top of it, or lay on the side and stick his paws in and it doesn't move around as lightly as boxes do, and c) he never gets tired of these games. I'll throw treats, toys, whatever in there, and he'll just randomly go start playing with it at different times of the day and night. Definitely recommend!"

Read more reviews on Petco.

Image sourced from Chewy.




TRIXIE Activity Fun Board 5-in-1 Activity Strategy Game Cat Toy

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This slow-feeder-style puzzle has 5 challenges that will engage and entertain your furbabies. Your cat will enjoy fishing kibble from the mini fishbowls, digging for treats in the textured tunnel, and pawing at the small compartments to get their loot.

Since this one is super durable, it can withstand biting and scratching (and bonus points since it is BPA-free!)

TRIXIE Activity Board Cat Toy

TRIXIE Activity Board Cat Toy

Why Wag! loves this puzzle

  • It can withstand biting and scratching
  • Several different challenges in one toy
  • Free of BPA
  • Relatively easy to solve, making it great for beginners

Considerations & concerns

  • The pegs and tiny can be difficult to clean, so we suggest using this for dry food only.
  • May not be challenging for experienced puzzle solvers

What pet parents say about this puzzle

"At were slow to to using it at first but now I catch them playing with it as they learned the 4 different puzzles on this board. My favorite to watch is when they fish a cat treat out of the fish bowls! I use cat treats only. Can wash in dishwasher as well."

"I bought this for my single cat who needed a bit more entertainment during the work day. She's had a habit of learning how to open her treat containers when left unsupervised, so I thought she would enjoy a similar puzzle where I can limit how many treats she eats. She loves it! So much more than I thought she would. It seems like she really enjoys trying to figure out the fastest way to solve each unique part. Also -- this is much easier to clean than it seems (if you plan to use it with dry treats/food)."

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Image sourced from Chewy.

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