Cat carrying soft toy in mouth

Do Cats Like Stuffed Animals?

Yes, the majority of cats love stuffed animals.

Cats love to snuggle – and they love to play. Have you ever seen your feline curling up next to their teddy bear or another plush toy? They do this to satisfy their need for warmth and safety. And sometimes, they do it because they’re missing you or another cat companion.

While cats are less playful than dogs when it comes to toys, they do take to certain toys and household objects like cardboard boxes, string, and stuffed animals.

Not all cats like stuffed animals. Every cat is different, after all. However, there’s something about plushies that fulfill certain needs and desires in a cat.

Here are all the reasons cats like stuffed animals, as well as tips for making them like them more, and the stuffed animals to buy and avoid.

Why Cats Like Stuffed Animals

Here are a few reasons why cats like stuffed animals.


Soft toys provide an outlet for your cat to knead. If you give him a teddy bear or plushy, you may notice your cat kneading the soft toy. It’s important to note cats never kneed in times of stress or discomfort. Your cat is feeling pleasure every time they need their soft toy.

Ever noticed when you’re stroking your cat and it’s on your nap it starts to knead. It feels good to stretch his claws and feel the textures beneath..

Kneading is an instinctual trait that comes about from birth, when kittens knead their mothers belly to get milk.

It’s a joyous activity for a kitten that carries through to adulthood. Your cat is enjoying playing with the soft toy and it possibly brings up past experiences of being a kitten.

A kitten receiving their mothers milk is associated with pleasurable feelings and protection.

Comfiness and warmth

Cats are notorious pleasure seekers. Look how they seek out the warmest and coziest of places. How they love to sleep and lounge about.

Cats love soft toys because they are simply warm and comfy to rest on. Imagine a cold winter’s day and two identical cat beds. One with a warm fuzzy teddy bear and the other with nothing. Your cat will most likely go for the one with the warm fuzzy bear. It’s a no brainer!


Cats might be independent creatures, but they still cherish companionship. Soft and cuddly, a stuffed animal fulfills those instinctual needs of a cat: warmth, contact, and companionship with another mammal.

When your kitty snuggles up to their cuddly toy, it’s because they’re craving contact with another feline. It goes back to the kitten days, when the litter would snuggle up all together for warmth and safety.

Just like humans, cats need physical touch from time to time and they get that when they cozy up next to their stuffed animal.

Territory Markers

Cats are naturally territorial animals. They have scent glands in various places on their body like the chin, cheeks, back, and lower ears among others.

You may find your cat rubbing its head, chin or body into their soft toy.

A soft toy is a natural way for a cat to mark its territory and claim its home. You are helping your cat feel safe in its surroundings as well as provide fulfillment from marking territory.


You might think your cat is pretty tough, but they still need a sense of security to help them sleep. One of the great things about stuffed animals is that they hold on to scent.

Over time, the more your cat cuddles up to their new cozy friend, the toy will take on their scent – ultimately becoming your cat’s security object.

A stuffed animal provides a sense of protection to your feline so that he instantly feels more at ease.

Stress Relief

Do cats really get stressed? Yep! Like us, cats can be sensitive creatures and can experience stress and anxiety. Usually it’s caused by people or the things happening around them. A great way to alleviate that stress for your cat is by giving them a cuddly toy to snuggle up to.

Between the familiar scent and its softness, a stuffed animal gives felines a sense of comfort, relieving them from stressful situations. Remember clutching your teddy bear as a kid when things got scary? Your cat does it for the same reason! Some cats love their plushies so much, they’ll take them practically everywhere!

Hunting Instincts

Some cats prefer to carry their plush toy around in their mouth as if it is the prize of a successful hunt. It’s better than him bringing the real thing into your backyard, right? Especially if you have a home cat that doesn’t go outside much (or at all!), a stuffed toy can fulfill those hunting instincts in a cat. Wanna boost his self-esteem even more? Get him a toy with a tail and legs similar to the rodents he’d attack in the wild.


Getting a soft toy provides amusement for your cat. Believe it or not despite all their lounging around and sleeping cats actually can get bored.

The best way to combat this is to make for a stimulating environment. This includes having cat scratchers around, cat posts, and having plenty of cat toys to play with!

So every time your cat starts playing with its plushie, understand they’re having fun!

Tips for Getting Your Cat to Love their Stuffed Animal

Is your kitty not really into their stuffed animals? Don’t worry, not all cats are. However, there are ways you can introduce a cuddle toy into their life and increase the chances of them liking it. Here’s how…

Mark it With Your Scent

By mark it, I don’t mean peeing on it. That’s just gross. No, I mean giving the toy a scent, like that of yourself or your cat.

Try rubbing the toy on the back of your neck or rolling it in your cat’s bed or blanket so it can absorb the scent of either you or your cat. Scent marking will instantly make the toy feel familiar. Just make sure you wash it first – then mark it.

Cat Nip It

Cats love catnip. Apparently, catnip triggers the happy sensors of a cat’s brain.

It stimulates all the senses of a cat in a very pleasurable way that can bring a feeling of euphoria.

What better way than to associate euphoria with a soft toy than to spray it with catnip.

So you can be sure your cat is happy when you see them attack, jump, and cuddle their catnip covered soft toy.

Get the Right Size

If you have an adult cat, make sure you get a toy that’s either the same size or smaller than they are. It needs to be something they can easily carry around in their mouth.

If you have a kitten, you can choose something a little larger to mimic a mom instead of prey. It really depends on the age of your cat and what its intentions are.

If it just wants to hunt, stick to something small. But if it’s looking for companionship, opt for something a little bigger.

Try and avoid big plushies that can look like predators. For example big soft toys that look like tigers, bears, or lions. Although they may eventually realize they are no threat, initially, they may feel threatened or scared.

Place it in their Bed

If the plan is to make it a cuddle buddy, try tucking it into your cat’s bed while they’re sleeping so they can wake up in comfort. While it’s important to present it to them in a positive way, you shouldn’t force your cat into liking their new cuddly toy. Give them time to accept it, love it, and play with it. Some cats like stuffed animals, but not all do. Accept your cat’s likes and dislikes.

Play with it

Simply use the soft toy to play with your cat. Cats love toys that simulate prey so attach the soft toy to a string and make it look like it’s moving. Drag your soft toy across the room and watch your cat get all excited chasing it.

You can also try rubbing the soft toy into your cat’s belly gently or peeking its head around a corner. All these things are fun activities for a cat that can stimulate a hunt. Not only that, using a soft toy to play with your cat is good exercise and prevents boredom.

Types of Stuffed Animals Cats Like

Cats that like to hunt will favor stuffed animals that mimic the rodents or birds they catch outside. Look for something small with legs and a tail or wings, and your kitty will feel like he’s just had a successful hunt. Plus, you won’t have to deal with a mess in your backyard. Win-win!

For cats that want something to snuggle up to when they snooze, choose an animal that’s as soft and snuggly as possible – and not too large. Make sure it would fit in their bed so that they can snuggle up together.

You might want to choose something more durable if your cat likes to carry it around in their mouth a lot.

Stuffed Animals to Avoid

Since cats like to bite and chew, avoid choosing a stuffed animal with removable parts that your cat could choke on. This could include beanie babies that could break open. The beanies (plastic pellets) might be a choking hazard if eaten accidentally by your cat.

You should also avoid anything with batteries, as these can also be a serious choking hazard for your feline. For the welfare of your cat, avoid stuffed animals that have been exposed to dyes, pesticides, and fertilizers.

As I mentioned earlier, try not to choose anything that’s overly large. If the toy is too big to carry around in their mouth or snuggle up to in their bed, it’ll probably end up getting neglected.

Also some cats can be scared of certain stuffed animals that mimic themselves or predators. There are a number of hilarious videos on youtube of cats being scared of tiger soft toys.

The goal is not to scare your cat but to make them feel like they are the predator and the toy the hunted.