Why Do Cats Like String?

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Ever found yourself wondering why do cats like string so much?

Our cats have a lot of strange behaviors and preferences that we might have trouble understanding, including an infatuation with a seemingly simple object. So if you’ve got a cat obsessed with string, here’s what to know about where that infatuation comes from and what’s so endlessly entertaining about it!

Reason #1: Cats and Strings Go Together Like Predator and Prey

Cats are much less far removed from their wild ancestors than you might assume. They have an innate predatory instinct that informs many of their everyday behaviors. Aside from putting any small rodents that cross their path in danger, this instinct also drives their appreciation for string.

A piece of string is lightweight, airy, and has a lot of unpredictable movement as your cat swats it around. This mimics what prey might do if your cat caught it in the wild, which triggers that instinct to hunt and makes string a fun distraction at playtime.

Reason #2: Cats Playing with String Get Mental and Physical Stimulation

Speaking of playtime, the more your cat engages in play, the more mental and physical stimulation they get. That’s good news for both of you and essential for a happy and healthy pet.

Playing with string is just one of the ways that cats achieve this level of stimulation, making it a much-loved pastime and a great way to get out energy and boredom during the day. So if your cat seems disillusioned by their current toy selection, dangle a piece of string and see if that entices them to pounce around and have some fun.

Reason #3: String Naturally Catches Their Eye

Cats are keen to catch sight of even the slightest movements in their field of vision. But, again, this circles back to their predatory instincts since cats in the wild need to be able to identify an opportunity for food when it arises.

When you wave a piece of string around, that motion will almost certainly grab their attention. Then, depending on whether your cat is in the mood for some entertainment, they might decide to act on what they see and attack before the string can “get away.”

Reason #4: They Love the Texture of String

Us humans might not think there’s much going on with a piece of string, but to our cats, a long, thin, and smooth string is a textural oddity worth exploring. Cats enjoy swatting at the string and pulling at it with their claws, and they also like the texture as they chew it. And so long as you don’t let your cat actually eat the string, it’s fine to let them touch, chomp, and discover what string is all about.

Reason #5: String is Reminiscent of a Tail

It might be a bit morbid, but tails play a unique role in a cat’s hunting experience. They’re the last part of a prey animal to disappear when they get away and the easiest part to grab. So a string, with all its tail-like qualities, is a particularly intriguing plaything, especially as it disappears around a corner.

What Do Cats Like to Play With?

Play is crucial for cats, and string is one of many ways to get them going. Other household items that you can use to get your cat’s attention and inspire them to engage in play include:

  • Feathers
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Paper and canvas bags
  • Milk rings
  • Ponytail holders
  • Plastic and silicone straws
  • Cotton balls
  • Ping pong balls
  • Shower curtain rings
  • Leaves

Monitor your cat during playtime with an object until you know they won’t try to eat it. Some items, including string and string-like ribbon and yarn, can be hazardous if swallowed. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and to keep your cat away from a play item if you can’t trust them not to eat it.

Could your cat use even more stimulation? We’re here to help.

Learn about us and our pet care services, including cat sitting and care. Our team of cat lovers is always available to come and play with your feline friend, and are happy to do our part to keep them loved and cared for.