Cats are playful animals, and if you don’t provide them with toys, they’re masters at improvising their own playthings. Let’s be honest; even if they have all the toys in the world, some cats would still rather play with random objects they find around the house instead. One of the most common household items that cats steal are hair ties, but have you ever wondered why they like them so much?
Generally, cats probably like hair ties because the texture, smell, and movement appeal to their natural hunting instincts. We’ll go into more detail about that later in this article. You’ll also learn why it’s a good idea to break your cat’s heart and remove those hair tie toys they love for their safety.
Cats and Hair Ties: What’s the Attraction?
Domestic cats may not physically resemble their wild counterparts like lions very closely, but their predatory instincts are similar. Certain items, like hair ties, trigger those instincts, which might be why cats like them so much. Let’s look more closely at what it is about hair ties that cats find irresistible.
Cats may enjoy playing with hair ties because of their springy, unpredictable movement. Stalking and pouncing on fast-moving objects allows cats to exercise natural hunting behaviors. Hair ties are small and light enough to be easily batted, tossed, and carried in the cat’s mouth, just like they treat live prey they catch.
Dogs are more commonly thought of as chewers, but many cats also enjoy gnawing on objects. They are often drawn to specific textures and materials, such as cardboard. Some cats may like hair bands simply because they enjoy the feel of their texture as they chew on them.
Cats have a strong sense of smell. Because of that, some kitties may play with hair bands because the scent appeals to them. They may enjoy the odor of the materials that make up the hair band, or, more commonly, they may like it because it smells like you.
The Problem with Hair Ties
Your cat may love to play with hair ties, but you shouldn’t encourage the habit. Simply playing with it isn’t usually a problem, but cats that take their obsession even further could put themselves at risk.
Cats that chew hair bands can easily choke on small pieces when they destroy them. Even if they don’t, swallowing hair bands may cause even more problems.
Last December, a cat in South Carolina made headlines when she had surgery to remove almost 40 hair bands from her stomach. Cats may eat hair bands simply because they’re treating them as prey. Some cats can suffer from pica, where they obsessively eat non-food objects, including hair ties.
The hair bands can get stuck in your cat’s stomach or intestines, causing a blockage. Like the cat in South Carolina, your kitty may be unable to eat or digest their food if the swallowed hair ties build up. Vomiting and decreased appetite are common signs that your cat could have a blockage.
If you’re concerned your cat may be eating hair ties, see your veterinarian, especially if your kitty starts vomiting or stops eating.
If your cat likes hair ties, keep them in a drawer or cabinet to avoid any concerns with choking or swallowing them. Provide your cat with safer toys that allow them to use a similar play style, whether chewing or chasing. Remember, even cat toys can still pose a choking or swallowing hazard if your kitty is determined and destructive. It’s best to replace toys when they get worn out and keep an eye on your kitty while they’re playing.
Featured Image Credit: M W, Pixabay