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Why do cats like strings? Is it an instinct?

Have you ever spent a lot of time and money trying to find the perfect toy for your cat, and when you finally think you’ve found it, your cat ignores it? It’s happened to me several times, and it’s frustrating to see my fantastic gift lying in the toy box while my cat chooses to play with a bottle cap, a box, or worse, a string she found who knows where. As cliché as the image of a cat playing with a ball of yarn is, it’s true; cats love playing with strings! They can spend hours chasing a little piece of yarn, but why do cats like strings? What’s the fun in that?

Why do cats like strings? 5 strong reasons

If you want to know the answers, I suggest you read on to find out what motivates your cat to play. Maybe this will give you a better idea of what toys your cat prefers.

1. Strong hunting instincts

If there is one thing all cats have in common, it is that they are natural hunters, and they enjoy it. While it’s true that domestic cats don’t need to hunt for food or even defend themselves from predators, these little guys have a wild heritage they can’t ignore. Even if it’s a catnip mouse or a piece of yarn, they’ll go hunting for it the same way they sometimes try to bury their food to hide from predators.

why do cats like strings - hunting instincts

With some imagination, a piece of yarn can perfectly simulate a giant snake for your cat to catch or perhaps the rodent’s tail. Besides the fact that they like to play with a string because of its shape, it is also stimulating that it is an ultra-light object they can pick up with their paws and even throw and then chase after it. This helps to encourage the idea that it is prey trying to escape, which makes the hunt even more fun.

2. It’s the ideal toy

Cats love to play, and anything can be a toy for them. We already knew that, but your cat loves to play with yarn precisely because it has the characteristics that every connoisseur looks for in a toy.

Think of it this way, it is an object that poses no threat to him because it’s light, and your cat can carry it everywhere, he can even keep it under his bed or sleep on it, and he doesn’t need someone to help him throw it because he can move it himself without any problem. My cat loves to stand on two legs, pass the string from one paw to the other, and push it while running.

3. Keeps your cat active

Unlike dogs, cats can’t just lie around all day doing nothing much while waiting for you to come home. Cats get lonely and bored and need to somehow release all the pent-up energy. Otherwise, they release it negatively, for example, in violent attacks on your furniture, other pets, or even you, not to mention that constant boredom makes them anxious and frustrated. That’s why cats tend to look for activities. If they are not climbing, they are scratching something or creating a toy out of a string.

why do cats like strings - stay active

Cats like to play with pieces of rope because it helps keep them busy and stimulates their mind. Plus, running after an unstoppable string is a great exercise that helps them stay in shape.

4. A texture perfect for claws

Have you ever noticed that your cat prefers certain fabrics and textures? They generally love to lie on very soft materials, knead on blankets, and play with toys that aren’t soft and are easy to bite. That’s why the balls of yarn attract them a lot, they are rough, but they can still bite, scratch, and even break them.

A ball of yarn is excellent for helping your cat satisfy his need to hunt prey and dig his powerful claws in (without hurting other animals, of course).

5. It looks like a tail

Considering that cats are hunters and can turn any object into a toy, it isn’t strange to think that they love strings because they resemble the tail of an animal that they can chase and hunt. When cats are young, they begin to practice their hunting skills by chasing their siblings’ tails, so it is thought that they might well play as if the string is another cat’s tail, but it could also be a mouse, depending on your cat’s creativity!

Is it safe for my cat to play with strings?

By itself, a ball of yarn will not harm your cat. Even if you eat a piece of string, it will not be toxic to the feline. However, there are several dangers in playing with strings or ribbons in general. For example, the cat could get the strings tangled around its neck or between its paws and, when trying to escape, pull on it and choke or hurt itself.

Another danger could be swallowing too much yarn and causing gastrointestinal obstruction. If you want to let your cat play with strings and ribbons, you should supervise him at all times to avoid accidents and help him if he becomes entangled.

why do cats like strings - is it safe

Why do cats like strings? Final thoughts

Cats love playing with strings because it’s perfect for playing at being the world’s mightiest hunter and because it satisfies their need to dig their claws into something. However, letting your kitty alone play with a ball of yarn is not a good idea, as he could hurt himself. You should supervise his string play sessions.

Now you know why cats like strings! Have fun playing with your furry friend, and make sure you enjoy quality time together. Please don’t forget to share videos or pictures of your cat playing with strings in the comments. We would love to see them!

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