10 min read

We Found A Cat Toy That Even Our Pickiest Cats Actually Loved

And it's only $5!

SmartyKat Chitter Critter

Why We Love It:

It actually got our super toy-critical cats to play! They love that it’s great for biting, chasing, swatting and even cuddling. And we love that it’s a total bargain.

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Getting your picky cat to try out a new toy is hard enough. But getting him to actually like it seems almost impossible.

You just want your cat to get excited about playtime and spice things up with a new goody.

But you might be a little hesitant to pull the trigger, since you can’t guarantee that he’ll even like what you get him.

So we decided to try the SmartyKat Chitter Critter, which makes lifelike squirrel sounds, to see if it could actually entertain our super picky Dodo cats.

What Is The SmartyKat Chitter Critter?

The SmartyKat Chitter Critter is an electronic plush toy that makes realistic squirrel sounds to capture your cat’s attention and tap into his hunting instincts.

It’s 18 inches long and has ribbons and feathers, so it’s perfect if your cat loves batting at his toys.

This SmartyKat cat toy is super soft but also has a burlap face — so there are a bunch of different textures for your BFF to explore.

It’s also stuffing-free, so you don’t have to worry about your cat making a huge mess if he manages to rip it open. (But you should always be supervising him during playtime regardless.)

The Judges

We picked three of our pickiest office cats to make the testing extra tough.

Hazel
Hazel
Hazel likes to play but can get bored quickly. Hazel has generally only played with the same types of products (small balls, little mice).” — her mom, Bridgette Faupel
Mowgli
Mowgli
Mowgli is very picky when it comes to toys. When it comes to interactive toys, he'll like them initially but gets disinterested pretty quickly. Mowgli is a lazy boy.” — his mom, Julia Velarde
Smokey
Smokey
“Smokey is very hard to impress. He's only interested in sleeping or occasionally batting around a small turquoise ball that he likes. When he plays, though, he gets the zoomies and runs around the whole house.” — his mom, Katie McMahon

So … Did They Actually Play With It?

All three of our judges are exceptionally picky when it comes to toys, which is why we were so pleasantly surprised that most of them were immediately obsessed with the SmartyKat Chitter Critter.

“This is Hazel's favorite item to play with. She likes me to throw this and her to ‘chase’ it. She also loves to snuggle with this when she naps.” — Bridgette F.

Mowgli loved the Chitter Critter so much! It's his new favorite toy. Mowgli is also a big fan of giving it baths.” — Julia V.

cat with the SmartyKat Chitter Critter toy
Mowgli loves snuggling his Chitter Critter cat toy. | Julia Velarde

What Pets Loved: So Many Ways To Play!

Our cats are so picky that it was really incredible that they loved this SmartyKat cat toy in the first place.

But it’s even more impressive that they found so many different ways to play with it, like chasing and hunting.

Hazel really liked the design of this toy, especially the tail. She loved to chase it around and have me throw it for her to chase.” — Bridgette F.

“The long body was great for playing fetch and pulling around the bed for Mowgli to chase.”  — Julia V.

There are also so many things to bite.

“The design has ribbons/feathers/fur and plush parts, so there are a lot of things for Mowgli to alternate biting. Mowgli is a big fan of pulling the ribbons with his teeth and then going back to the feathers.” — Julia V.

And when our cats needed a little break from all that excitement, the Chitter Critter was the perfect nap buddy.

“Hazel likes to snuggle with this toy when napping, so I think it gives her a sense of calm!” — Bridgette F.

“Since it's soft, Mowgli also cuddles it when he sleeps.” — Julia V.

They also felt the realistic squirrel sounds were an interesting element.

“Since the sounds were a bit different compared to the bird toys, they excited Hazel in a different way.” — Bridgette F.

“The sound box is a nice, low murmur, so Mowgli reacts well to it.” — Julia V.

cat lying with the SmartyKat Chitter Critter toy
Hazel and her new BFF are inseparable. | Bridgette Faupel

What Parents Loved: It’s Cheap And Cute!

Our pet parents definitely enjoyed the way this SmartyKat cat toy is designed. It’s cute to look at, but also super captivating to their cats.

I really liked the design of the product. Sometimes ‘critter’ toys can be a bit too realistic-looking, so I liked that it had the realistic tail but with a cute face!” — Bridgette F.

“I especially love the Chitter Critter. It's super cute, the noise is quiet and not annoying. It has so many little details for Mowgli to obsess over. It's a super quality chase toy.” — Julia V.

"I thought the toy was very cute and well made! I loved how unique it was, and I thought the packaging was nicely presented as well." — Katie M.

They also really liked how affordable this SmartyKat cat toy was, since it only costs $5.39. Seems like a pretty sweet deal for a toy that can get even our toughest critics to fall in love.

Any toy that makes Mowgli play is a good toy.” — Julia V.

black cat sitting with the SmartyKat Chitter Critter toy
Smokey and his SmartyKat cat toy. | Katie McMahon

Any Downsides?

The only issue we came across was the fact that our most particular cat seemed a bit confused by the noise.

Smokey seemed confused more than interested.” — Katie M.

But even though he was a bit skeptical of the Chitter Critter, all three of our human testers would continue using it, and even recommend it to other pet parents.

Our Takeaway: Affordable And Entertaining!


We put this SmartyKat electronic sound cat toy through some pretty rigorous testing with these picky judges, and it became an instant favorite.

There are so many different ways your cat can play with the Chitter Critter — like hunting, chasing, kicking and batting. And the best part? When he’s all worn out from all that playing, he’ll snuggle right up to his new BFF.

Anytime a finicky cat falls in love with a new toy, you should definitely check it out (especially when it’s so affordable).

The Dodo may receive complimentary samples to test in our Paw of Approval program, but all our opinions are 100 percent our own. We only publish endorsements of products we (and our dogs and cats) absolutely love! You can find out more about our testing process here.

If you have a product you love that you want to share with other pet parents, send a tip to dodopaw@thedodo.com.

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