Why Yarn Is Not a Safe Toy for Cats

cat playing with string

Yarn is a favorite toy of cats because it is tiny enough for them to throw about with their paws. Any cat can pick it up with ease because it is lightweight, changes form, and is lightweight. However, yarn may also lead to some significant issues in cats, so it's vital to be aware of the dangers and find your cat some alternate toys.

Concerns With Yarn

  • Choking - Chewing on yarn can be appealing to some cats. This is worrisome, because items like yarn can cause your cat to choke if a piece gets lodged in the back of its mouth or is inhaled. If a cat is choking on yarn, the piece needs to be dislodged or removed immediately.
  • Foreign body - If a cat swallows yarn, it will end up in the gastrointestinal tract. Yarn and other items that shouldn't be eaten are referred to as foreign bodies when they are inside your cat. Some foreign bodies will be vomited up or pass throughand exit the body when a cat defecates, but other items get stuck and cause an obstruction or other problems, just like in a dog.
  • Obstruction - Obstructions are very serious, and surgery is often necessary to remove the object. Yarn can be especially problematic since long pieces can get attached (looped around the tongue, for example) and stretched out through the gastrointestinal tract where it is called a linear foreign body. As the stomach and intestines attempt to move food through peristalsis (rhythmic contractions), yarn can cut through intestinal walls resulting in potentially fatal abdominal infections.
  • Entanglement and constriction - Yarn can be fun to play with, but it can also get twisted and tangled around a cat's leg, foot or tail. If your cat gets tangled up in yarn, the blood supply could get cut off from that part of the body. This causes pain and swelling initially, but if the yarn isn't removed, constriction can also result in tissues dying. This means toes, feet and tails can die and fall off just because yarn gets wrapped around them too tightly.

Other Stringed Dangers

Strings other than yarn can also be harmful to your cat. Window blind and curtain strings, sewing thread, shoe laces, hair ties, rubber bands, dental floss, ribbons, tinsel, rope, and twine are some more frequent household strung hazards. All of these items provide the same risks of choking, blockage, foreign objects, entanglement, or constriction that yarn does.

How to Keep Your Cat Safe From Stringed Dangers

If you have a cat, the simple solution would be to simply store stringed objects outside of your home, but this isn't totally realistic. You should be cautious with how you store and utilize these goods, in addition to choosing not to use anything in your house that might harm your cat (such as tinsel on your Christmas tree). When a cat is around, children should be made aware of the risks associated with keeping ribbons, hair ties, and other stringed things out, and adults should keep an eye out for any stringed items that have been left laying in a cat's reach. Kitchen twine shouldn't be left out on the counter unattended, and curtain or window blind strings should be tied up so a cat can't get tangled in them. Sewing, knitting, and crocheting tools should also be maintained carefully. Although playful kittens are more likely to get into trouble with strings than adult cats, older cats are nonetheless at risk of string-related injuries.

What To Do If Your Cat Ate String or Yarn

Call your veterinarian for guidance if your cat ate anything stringy. You should at the very least keep an eye out for symptoms like vomiting, low appetite, altered feces patterns, or lethargy in your cat. Take your cat to the doctor right away if you see any of these or other sickness signs.

Alternatives to Yarn

While cats may like playing with yarn and other strung objects, you may give your feline companion instead. Cats love to play with little plush animals, imitation mice, tiny balls, and other toys that can be carried and batted about. When playing with toys with strings, such as kitty wands or fishing poles, cats should be closely watched.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.