WARNING - the dangers of string
Cats love to "hunt and catch prey", even if they never set foot outside. String, yarn, and "fishing pole" type of cat toys are popular ways to interact with and exercise your cat, but if left unsupervised, your cat may ingest the string and cause potentially serious damage to the intestinal tract.
Cats and string do not mix, despite the popular image of cats playing happily with string! Same goes for other "string-like" items -- rubber bands, tinsel, Easter grass decorations, needle and thread, and window blind pulls. The "fishing pole" type of toys are also very popular and may be tempting for cats to consume the feathers or the enticing "bait" part of the toy.
Why do cats eat odd things? (A condition called pica.) Reasons vary, but can be related to stress, boredom, attention seeking behavior, play behavior, or to the simple fact that the item tastes/smells good to the cat.
If an animal eats a string or similar object, it is termed a "linear foreign body". What happens if a cat ingests a linear foreign body? The intestines can become blocked or stressed/pulled/torn as the string bunches up and binds during intestinal peristalsis (wavelike muscular contractions).
Clinical signs may include any of the following:
vomiting or dry heaves
anorexia or decreased appetite
straining to defecate or diarrhea
dehydration (due to vomiting)
Caution:Never attempt to pull string out of a cat's throat. You can cause severe damage by doing so. Swallowed string is an emergency and indicates an immediate trip to a veterinary clinic.
PLease call your vet as soon as you notice your cat ate the string to find out the best course of action for your pet and the circumstances.
Store All String things Away Safely
Wand toys and fishing pole type toys are great for interactive play with cats. Cats go wild for toys , so much so that they will seek them out even when "put away." Unfortunately, the cord or nylon string on these toys is purposely made strong, so that cats can't break it during play. This built-in strength can lead to a cat's demise if the cord becomes wrapped around his neck during unsupervised play.
Always use these toys under supervision only.
Here's a way to safely store these interactive toys, so that you and your cat can safely enjoy many more happy hours of play:
Measure the diameter of the largest part of the toy (the reel in a fishing pole type).
Buy a heavy cardboard mailing tube in a diameter to fit, that has caps for sealing each end.
Slide as many wand toys as will fit inside (string-attached end first), and secure the caps to each end.
Store upright in a closet for added safety.
If you knit or crochet, curb the impulse to leave your yarn and uncompleted projects in a wicker basket. Yarn is irresistable to cats, and they can easily become tangled up in it and strangle, or swallow lengths of it. By the same token, put away your sewing supplies, including needles and pins, after sewing.