Why Do Cats Like To Play With String, And Is String A Good Toy?

Most cats go crazy for string toys. In fact, they don’t even need a string toy – they’ll make their own from a plain thread or a ball of yarn and spend their entire afternoon goofing around with it.

It’s pretty safe to say that regardless of how whimsical felines are, two of their all-time favorite things are string and naps. And while sleeping comes naturally to all living creatures, playing with threads doesn’t. Things get even more puzzling when you see your lazy, apathetic furball acting like a hyperactive kitten each time it sees a string, twine, ribbon, or yarn.

So, Why Do Cats Like String So Much?

There are a plethora of theories about the correct answer. There isn’t one universal reason for your pet to enjoy string more than its other cat toys. Here’s why most cats like string.

Cats Love String. Depicts cats Hunting, Joyful, Liking the texture, and Playing with the string

Hunting Instincts

Feline furballs are outstanding hunters by default. The movement of strings and threads mimics the movement of prey like snakes and excites your fluffy friend’s inborn hunting instincts. As a result, it can’t resist the urge to engage in a play session, even though it knows the string isn’t real prey.


Unlike laser toys, birds, or other interactive toys, your cat doesn’t need to chase the string. The string is stagnant, and the cat can easily catch it. The satisfaction of snatching the prey finally is just as exciting as any erratic or flickering movement for cats of all breeds and ages.


Cats are fond of your upholstery and carpets because they can scratch them with claws. Balls of yarn also greatly appeal to your pet for the same reasons. Unlike sticky or smooth surfaces, strings and wool offer something pleasant for the cat to hold.

Unending Source Of Fun

An extremely long string or an entire ball of yarn is a dream come true for most cats. They may enjoy playing with them even more than with a small, dangling string toy because the source of fun is bigger, longer, and offers more entertainment.

Are String Toys Good Toys For Cats?

Even though your pet will stop at nothing once the string catches its attention, this entertainment poses some health risks.

As the guys over at Animal Planet point out, feathers, mice toys, stuffed toys, cat posts, yarn, and most cat toys can harm your fluffy pal. Strings aren’t an exception. Moreover, they can pose more health risks than other toys.

Why Are Strings Bad?

Yarn, ribbon, threads, and string are dangerous when they’re too long. Your kitty can easily roll around in them and get its limbs stuck. This can result in some serious injuries on a physical level. Worst case scenario – the cat can even suffocate!

On the other hand, your pet can also ingest parts of the string.

Regardless of its texture, if the string gets stuck in your pet’s digestive tract, it will cause intestinal blockage and other similar issues. This can lead to an emergency trip to the vet’s office that won’t come cheap. In severe cases, the kitty will need surgery to remove the string thoroughly.

Last but not least, string toys can also harm your pet mentally. Getting overexcited, hyperactive, or even aggressive over string is common. And it’s also dangerous for households with children, as well as for cats suffering from heart or joint problems.

Should You Stay Away From String Toys?

Not necessarily! They provide great entertainment for felines of all breeds and ages. And cats do need entertainment. Otherwise, destructive behavior, obesity, and even depression are bound to occur.

Engaging in a play session with string toys must always be monitored.

Watch out for any accidents, such as ingestion or suffocation. If you’re careful, your kitty will be safe.

Investing in a high-quality, secure, durable string toy is a great option. Just don’t leave your pet alone without supervision while it’s playing with the toy.

And if it still manages to ingest some part of the toy, don’t attempt to pull out the string! Instead, take your pet to the vet’s office immediately.

Carefully monitor your kitty when playing with string toys, and don’t get the cheap ones from your local pet store. There’s no need to deprive your beloved furball of the pleasure of these toys as long as you remember these tips and the fact that strings do pose dangers.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!