Watching a cat entertain itself by playing with yarn is great fun, but it can pose certain health risks to the feline. Choking is one of them
Cats need to be distracted. With the game they fight boredom, enhance their hunting instinct and exercise their body and mind. A simple ball of yarn can provide hours of fun, but it may not be the most appropriate toy. It can break and end up in the stomach of the animal, which will force to go through the vet. But not only balls of wool have their risks for felines. Other objects that we have around the house are also potentially dangerous for the pussycat. We tell you what they are and why you should avoid them.
Cats need little to have fun. A piece of wool, a strand of thread or a small rope provides hours and hours of distraction. However, these toys, so simple and apparently optimal for feline development, can be dangerous. Choking and jamming in the stomach or intestine from accidentally ingesting a fragment of these textile fibers are quite common and can end in a good scare and an urgent visit to the vet.
But controlling a cat on a day-to-day basis is complicated. With little distraction, any small object can be “stolen” by the animal for entertainment. If we supervise the cat’s play, we can let them experiment with what it finds at home. Otherwise, and to avoid theft and moments of tension, the least thing is to buy safe toys adapted to the needs of cats in specialized stores.
Balls of wool, what do they have that cats like so much?
Felines have a strong hunting instinct. Although they no longer need to stalk, chase and capture their prey to survive, they still manifest this innate behaviour at the time of the game, but also in their moments of rest. In fact, it can be assumed that if while sleeping they flap or move their paws fast, cats dream of chasing a mouse or a toy.
Balls of wool are one of those everyday objects perfect for felines to express the natural tendencies of their species. They are soft, light and move easily, ideal for catching. They roll, sway, unwind and fray, hook onto claws, and can be thrown into the air. For a pussycat, whatever age they are, they are extremely entertaining. They also have different textures, which makes them very attractive.
Playing with a skein of wool, cats stimulate and enhance their hunting instincts. At the same time they exercise their body, they acquire adequate muscle tone and gain elasticity. Routine and boredom also overcome, something that, if not alleviated, can trigger episodes of anxiety and less positive activities, such as chewing on furniture or scratching at sofas. In short, with the game they maintain and improve their mental and physical health. But be careful! If we leave them to their free will and unattended, the tangles can be very dangerous.
Why are they a dangerous toy for them?
It is clear that tangles are extraordinarily joyful for cats, but they do carry a risk. If during the game the animal nibbles the wool and ingests fibers, it can choke, which can be seen instantly because it will try to vomit to get rid of the threads that have been trapped in its windpipe. In these cases, contacting the veterinarian immediately is essential to know how to act since, due to the characteristics of the feline’s tongue, it will be impossible for it to spit the wool itself.
The most common thing when a cat accidentally eats a piece of wool is that it swallows it, staying in some part of its digestive tract: esophagus, stomach or intestine. Often one end of the thread is stuck at the exit of the stomach, while the other extends through the intestine, which begins to coil. In these cases the action of the doctor is essential to save the life of the animal.
In addition to choking and stomach problems, the ball when reeling can wrap around the cat’s neck causing it to choke or roll between the legs , causing it to stumble and fall.
Other dangerous toys for felines
- Scraps of thread, small strings or hair ties. As with wool, they can be swallowed by the cat during play and get stuck in the animal’s stomach or intestine.
- Bird feathers. Some toys sold in specialty stores incorporate bird feathers to stimulate the cat’s hunting instinct. You can use these objects but always checking that the kitten does not bite or eat the feathers.
- Ear plugs. They are small, soft, squishy, and easily hook onto claws – earplugs that humans use to minimize outside noise are wonderful for cat play. Keep an eye on the pussy as it will chase them during gameplay to catch them and may accidentally swallow them.
- Stuffed animals. If they have buttons, textile pieces or different textures the cat will experiment until exhaustion. However, they are also dangerous because they can break, ending the fragments in the animal’s stomach.
- Plastic bags. The game that he gives to a cat! They get inside, hide, throw them in the air and nibble on them… You can let them experiment, but make sure they don’t swallow any pieces of plastic.
- Laser pointers. Chasing a steady light around the house is super fun for some cats. The laser pointers can entertain the feline for a long time, but be careful with pointing it at the fur or the eyes of the animal, you could damage it.