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Why Do Cats Love String? 5 Interesting Reasons


Mar 28, 2023
Munchkin Cat Playing


Munchkin Cat Playing

Cardboard boxes aren’t the only thing on a cat’s list of favorites. String is also up there at the top of the list. Cats are often associated with balls of yarn because their love for string goes way back. While each cat is unique and has their own preferences, rarely do you come across a cat that will turn down some string.

If you’ve spent plenty of money on various cat toys only to find your beloved kitty would rather ditch the toys for various types of string throughout the house, you’re not alone. But why is it that cats love string so much? Keep reading to find out.


The 5 Reasons Why Cats Love String

1. Encourages Natural Hunting Behaviors

Cats are natural-born hunters that use their keen senses and stealth to stalk and take down prey. While our house cats have had many years of domestication behind them, they still have many behaviors passed down from their wild ancestry.

String mimics the look and movement of certain prey animals, such as snakes and the long tails of rodents such as mice, so it’s no wonder why moving string triggers those instincts and puts them in full-blown hunting mode. Expressing these natural behaviors is very important to cats, which is why a lot of cat toys are designed to help them do just that.

Red Cat playing with a bow on a string
Image Credit: Alexander Sobol, Shutterstock

2. Provides Mental and Physical Stimulation

String provides both physical and mental stimulation, both of which are incredibly important for your cat’s health. Cats may spend a lot of their time sleeping, but when they are ready for action, they seek out whatever they can find to keep them occupied.

The movement of string stimulates those hunting instincts and as they are batting it around and chasing it. They are not only keeping their minds busy but their bodies too.

3. Sparks Their Curiosity

You’ve heard the phrase “curiosity killed the cat.” This was coined because cats are well known for their inquisitive nature, which can get them into trouble occasionally. String is just one of many inanimate objects that will capture your cat’s attention, which is why you may find your toilet paper or paper towels unraveled all over the floor.

Anything that looks appealing to cats is bound to be explored. Sometimes, curiosity is completely harmless, but it’s always a good idea to make sure your home is cat-proof, so they don’t get into anything that could potentially cause them harm, including string.

cat playing with paper towel
Image Credit: Pixel Cat Photo, Shutterstock

4. Enjoyable Texture

Cats love digging their claws into cardboard, carpets, furniture, curtains, and anything else that allows them to latch onto or chew. String also has a texture that is perfect for sinking those claws in, especially when it’s in a ball or made of a thicker material.

Cats sink their claws and teeth into their prey, so it makes sense they will be big fans of anything that allows them to mimic this behavior and express the natural urge to claw and chew.

5. They Like to Play

Cats are active little creatures that not only like to hunt but also love a good play session. Of course, each cat is an individual and their style of play may vary, but you can often get any cat engaged when a string is involved since its movement is exciting and appealing.

It’s a good idea for cat owners to keep various stimulating toys on hand and take time out each day to play and bond with their kitty. This is not only good exercise for them, but it’s also great for their mental and emotional well-being.

cat playing with owner
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock


Are Strings Safe for Cats?

We have some bad news for the kitties. Unfortunately for them, string, yarn, ribbon, and all those exciting things do pose a significant danger to our feline pals when unsupervised. These risks aren’t something to take lightly either, as they are incredibly dangerous and potentially fatal.

Risks That String Poses


Chewing on a string is going to be very appealing to cats, but it’s considered a choking hazard since it can easily become lodged in the throat if it were to be inhaled or swallowed. This is especially dangerous as it cuts off oxygen and could potentially be fatal if the string is not dislodged from the throat.

Yawning or Choking Cat
Image Credit: Suzanne Tucker, Shutterstock

Foreign Body Ingestion

If a cat were to swallow string, it’s going right into the digestive system. Foreign body ingestion can have a few different end results including vomiting, passing through the digestive system via the feces, or causing an obstruction. It’s very risky when a foreign body like string is ingested, so it’s best to keep it far out of reach to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Ingesting a non-food item or foreign body can be very dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Intestinal obstruction or blockage is a very common emergency seen in veterinary clinics and happens when there is either a partial or complete blockage of the intestines, preventing stool from passing through the digestive system.

String can be especially problematic since it is often long and can stretch throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Not only can the obstruction itself be deadly, but it can also lead to infection or perforate the intestines. Surgery is often required to remove the string from your cat’s digestive system, and in extreme cases, some of the intestines may have to be removed.


String can be very entertaining, but it’s also very easy for cats to become entangled when they are going wild with it. String can tangle around various body parts and could potentially cut off blood supply from that part of the body if it constricts and becomes tight. This can be very problematic, especially if a cat remains entangled for long periods without human supervision.

bobtailed cat playing with the string from the window blinds
Image Credit: Cowen Duggar, Shutterstock

Common Household Strings That Can Be Dangerous

There are plenty of common household items that are a cause for concern if cats were to get ahold of them. All of the following items pose a potential risk:

  • Shoelaces
  • Hair ties
  • Rubber bands
  • Blind or curtain strings
  • Ribbon
  • Twine
  • Rope
  • Tinsel
  • Dental floss
  • Sewing thread

Tips for Keeping Your Cat Safe

Prevention is the best way to ensure your cat remains safe, healthy, and free from all problems that can occur from playing with string. Here are some tips to follow that can help you keep your precious feline friend safe from the string they so adore.

  • Always supervise your cat when playing with string or string toys.
  • Keep various crafts such as ribbons, piper cleaners, sewing threads, and more in a secure location that your cat cannot get into. Keep a close eye on these items while they are in use or keep your cat out of your craft room entirely. Perform a thorough cleanup when you’re done using these items.
  • During the holiday season, your house will likely be full of tinsel, ribbon, and more. Make sure to decorate with your cat’s safety in mind and don’t allow any risky decorations to be put up in areas where they have access. Wrap all your gifts in a separate area that is off limits from your kitty and put away all supplies once you’re done.
  • Provide plenty of interactive toys for your cat that will keep them stimulated and encourage their natural behaviors. Try to avoid toys that include string and ribbon, supervise carefully, and always put them away promptly if you decide to use toys that could pose a risk.
  • Check clothes, bedding, and any other fabrics for loose threads that may get your cat’s attention, and cut off any unraveled string that could get them into trouble.
  • Always make sure your dental floss has a secure lid and is put away properly after use.
  • Keep your blind and curtain strings out of your cat’s reach or take security measures from preventing them from being able to grab them.



Not only do cats have natural hunting instincts that are triggered by string, but they are also incredibly playful, curious, and intelligent creatures that enjoy the mental and physical stimulation they get from string. Not to mention, the texture is great for clawing and chewing. Just because cats have an incredible love for string, doesn’t mean it’s safe though. Unfortunately for your kitty, string can be very dangerous, and owners must take precautions to keep them safe from all the risks string can pose, including making sure that your cat is always supervised when playing with string.

Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

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