Review: Bergan Turbo Scratcher vs Hagen Senses Play Circuit

By Elisa Black-Taylor

With a house full of cats, I like to do a lot of research before investing in a few choice toys for them. Most look too flimsy to hold together or just plain uninteresting. Or they’re simply too expensive. It’s hard to know what to choose with so many options on today’s market. My cats have both the Bergan Turbo Scratcher and the Hagen Catit Design Senses Play Circuit, so I’m writing from their experience with these two toys. I also like the design of the Bergan Turbo Track Cat Toy, and it will likely be next on my list of toys to purchase.

Cat Toy Review. Collage by Elisa

Cat Toy Review. Collage by Elisa.


I purchased the Bergan Turbo Scratcher back in 2009 as Furby’s first toy. He played with it several hours that first day. The easily visible ball on a round track, as well as the scratching pad in the center are what drew me to the toy. Plus it was under $20.

All of the cats have absolutely loved this toy. They’ll play with it in group sessions or alone. Whenever we put it out, we can hear the ball going in circles during the night and know someone is still up playing.

Here are the pros of this product:

  • Easy access to the ball
  • Circular track keeps the ball in motion longer
  • My cats are smart enough to figure this toy out
  • Under $20
  • Replacement cardboard pads sold separately and the cats really use them to groom their claws
  • Here are the cons of this product
  • Ball can be gotten off track and lost
  • Caution: should ball be removed from track, it poses a serious choking hazard for medium to large dogs

That’s really the only flaw in the design I’ve found. So either have the toy where the ball can be found later, or invest in a few spare balls. Please monitor this toy if you have a dog, because the ball is a choking hazard.

There’s also a lighted version of this toy available called the Bergan Turbo Star Chaser. It has a lighted ball.


I purchased this toy for the cats for Christmas this year. I caught it on sale for under $15 from After reading the reviews on how the ball can’t be removed by the cats, plus the versatility of being able to arrange the track into different shapes, I decided to take a chance on it.

The cats seem to enjoy this new toy. Someone is always playing on it. Our cat Mandy, who plays more than the others, runs over every time she sees the ball move. She can’t figure out why she can’t get her paws down into the track holes and remove the ball.

The ball included with this track is similar to the ball in the Bergan Turbo Scratcher. A lot of the reviews on the Amazon site suggested to use those small plastic balls that have a bell inside so the cat is more likely to be enticed to play.

Here are the pros to this product:

  • So far the ball has stayed on the inside track
  • Our cats are more enthusiastic about getting their little paws on the ball
  • Material-wise, overall construction is good
  • Additional play circuits can be purchased and linked together to make a larger play area. Each end of the cat toy is capped off to keep the ball on the track
  • This toy has survived our roughest player Mandy

Here are the cons on this product:

  • Cats lose interest when ball quits rolling
  • Ball is not as visible as with the Bergan Turbo Scratcher, so cats walking by may not “tap” the ball to begin a play session. I’ve had to sit in the floor and search the tube for the ball to encourage play
  • Product has some type of rubber tip to prevent sliding. It slides all across the floor anyway. At least it doesn’t come apart with all the rough play
  • Available for under $20 if you can catch it on sale


If I had to choose between the two toys, I’d go with the Bergan Turbo Scratcher. It serves a double purpose as it offers a scratching post for our cats. Our cats have gone through several packs of replacement pads in the three years since I purchased it. It also appears to be a tougher product. The plastic used to construct the circle is thick. While the circular track does move around a bit during hard play, it does it much less than with the Hagen Senses Play Circuit.

Do any of you have any favorite toys a cat can use without my help? Something to keep them entertained while I’m at work?


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Review: Bergan Turbo Scratcher vs Hagen Senses Play Circuit — 9 Comments

  1. Cats just love cardboard scratchers that’s what I know. Here in Europe we can’t get any of the big sized ones so they just move around when your cat scratches on them. Having said that to have one in the middle of a trackball might be great – I can imagine it would be. I have a similar round trackball but in the middle is a mouse on an elastic. The circal trackball part is very similar. The only problem with it is that it moves around too easily but then I don’t have carpets so that must really add to the issue. If it stayed still I’m sure it would be more of a hit. From what I understand you don’t have the same problem of it sliding around? Trackballs are great and I want to get the green figure of eight one but they don’t yet have it here where I live. We only just got nip nanners and cigars. Just like with hollywood movies we are behind. With cat toys and products I’d say by about a year or more. I still wish we could get those huge cardboard scratcher throne/bed/lounges for them to scratch and sleep on. Cats just seem to love those things but alas they aren’t available out here yet. If there is something I would suggest getting it would be one of those from what I have understood about them. And I have seen for myself how much they love to claw on honeycomb cardboard from the tiny scratchers we get here. Well, I can dream can’t I… 🙂

    • The turbo scratcher does slide but not too bad. And the cats don’t seem to mind the sliding. We have tile throughout the house. Sometimes I get the urge to put velcro on things to keep them in place. I have more of a problem with the new toy having a ball that’s not easy to spot.

      Lola loves the scratching pad in the middle of the turbo scratcher. Plus the cats like to sit on the pad and hop in circles as they attack the ball.

    • Happy New Year! I want the Star Chaser Turbo Scratcher with the lighted ball. The regular scratcher has been played with by almost every cat to come thru here.

  2. Elisa, do you find that your cats go back to these games after using them for the first time? What I mean is are these toys useable for years or do they get put away somewhere never to be seen or used again after a few weeks use?

    • They’ve never tired of the turbo scratcher. The ones who don’t play still like to sit in the middle and groom their claws. I have a video on MySpace showing 4 kittens sitting around it playing together.

      I’d like the new toy if the tubes were clear so the ball could be more visible.

      There’s also a new toy out that shoots a laser beam either on the floor or up a wall. I had debated on whether to get it until I read of cats getting curious and going right up to the laser and staring at it. That could really harm the eyes so I decided against that one.

  3. Hi Elisa,

    Good choice of cat toys to review and compare.

    We’ve had a few similar products over the years and they have all been above average hits with our cats.

    I like that you included videos in each and I agree with your assessment of the Bergan.

    The Hagen looks good and it’s possible the I might get it for the cats some day.

    But I can tell you from personal experience that nothing similar has been as good as the Bergan Turbo Scratcher.

    The Bergan is one of the all time best cat toys to ever hit the market and certainly the best toy of that type.

    A sure telltale sign is that it gets daily use by them all.

    They use it as a scratch pad, a toy, and to lounge on every day. It’s a three things in one combo.

    Michael – our cats never get tired of it. It gets daily use. You definitely want to get one.

    =^..^= Hairless Cat Girl =^..^=

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