We have a basket and rotate various toys in and out of it for everyone. Now that we have a kitten, the rotation has sped up!
We usually have one Major Toy out; his Trackball (which is out of rotation while we get a new scratchpad for the middle) his Puzzle Box (big wooden box with holes in it, we drop treats and toys in for him to suss out) and now his Cheese Chase, which is like a combo trackball/puzzle box, only smaller, and clear tinted plastic, so he can kind of see the toys inside.
He also loves his Cat Attack, which is a big cat head with a wand coming out of it. It uses chaos theory to make the wand move the way a human would do it. It also has tank treads underneath it, with a remote that lets you chase or be chased by the cats. Dear Husband's favorite toy!
When you get a new toy, put away the old ones. In a week, they will seem like new!
We also use:
- Empty tissue boxes, with the plastic window. Put a toy inside, shake it, and let them get their "prey."
- Those plastic rings we peel off milk bottles to free the cap. Some cats love them above all others. I have a friend who only buys milk and juice in these kinds of containers, so she will have a constant supply.
- Empty plastic bottles. Put a marble or rock inside, and secure the lid.
- Put some nip in an old sock.
- Cut holes in a cardboard box for them to play hide & seek. They will even be interested in the hole cutting process, so be careful.
I've found the Cat Dancer is very cheap, basically a long thick wire with some round sticks on the end, but the wire makes it very lifelike. I make the business end "hide" behind chair legs and under tables, and this will usually wear out RJ in short order.