Cat toy that looks like yarn but is safe?

misty8723

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I'm trying to get back into knitting, but Austin really wants the yarn. I have to be super vigilant when he is around because he will act like he's not paying attention then lunge for it. If I yell he backs off. But I'm just worried I'm going to slip up and he's going to get some. I was looking for something that looks a bit like yarn but is safe for him to play with, but haven't been able to come up with anything. Anybody have any ideas?
 

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The only thing I can think of is to try something that my mother used to do, where she put each skein or ball of yarn into a ziplock bag that she'd leave open just enough to allow the yarn to come out of the bag as she was using it. When she was done at the end of the day the entire project went into a plastic storage bin with a snap-on lid.

For more temporary breaks during the day she used a big bag, sort of like this
Knitting Bag Knitting Project Bag Project Bag Zipper | Etsy This one appears to be a good one because it stands up instead of flopping over (I think), plus it has a zipper closure.

You might consider a wand type toy of any type, or even homemade. Austin may want your attention more than the actual yarn, possibly...:)
 
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FeebysOwner

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Not sure it would work, but there are toys out there with cloth ribbons on them. Feeby hasn't bitten off/chewed a cloth ribbon so far, but she certainly will most any other kind of material. Actually, you can buy a strand of cloth ribbon, use the edge of one of the blades on a pair of scissors to curl it (for interest) and see if that would work. Of course, to start with, you would have to observe him to make sure he can't chew through it.
 
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misty8723

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Not sure it would work, but there are toys out there with cloth ribbons on them. Feeby hasn't bitten off/chewed a cloth ribbon so far, but she certainly will most any other kind of material. Actually, you can buy a strand of cloth ribbon, use the edge of one of the blades on a pair of scissors to curl it (for interest) and see if that would work. Of course, to start with, you would have to observe him to make sure he can't chew through it.
Interesting idea, I may try that. I think I would need to get enough of it that I could sit there and wind it our pull it up, because that seems to be what fascinates him.
 
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misty8723

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The only thing I can think of is to try something that my mother used to do, where she put each skein or ball of yarn into a ziplock bag that she'd leave open just enough to allow the yarn to come out of the bag as she was using it. When she was done at the end of the day the entire project went into a plastic storage bin with a snap-on lid.

For more temporary breaks during the day she used a big bag, sort of like this
Knitting Bag Knitting Project Bag Project Bag Zipper | Etsy This one appears to be a good one because it stands up instead of flopping over (I think), plus it has a zipper closure.

You might consider a wand type toy of any type, or even homemade. Austin may want your attention more than the actual yarn, possibly...:)
I got this bag, but can't zip when I'm using it. I thought it would work if I just had the yarn coming out of the hole, but it fascinates him. Sometimes if it gets a little slack he'll make a dive for it. Why I have to be alert when he's around. I don't have any balls out anywhere, any extra are in a paper box on the top shelf of the closet where he can't reach it. It's fine until he decides he's going on attack mode, then I have to maneuver quickly to keep it way from him and sometimes that causes me to mess up the pattern and I have to redo it. Not a big deal, as long as he never gets hold of any pieces.

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He has a feather bird toy he likes to play with, we usually do for a bit several times during the day. The feather bird lives in the same closet where I keep the knitting bag, so when I open the door he comes. I get the bird out and we play for awhile, then sometimes that will help settle him down. Trust me, he gets a lot of attention and he's not shy about asking for it. It's the yarn he wants. :)

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Roll up some leftover yarn in a ball and tuck the end string deep into the ball. Let them play with that. It will eventually fall apart, but they can have some fun with it.
 

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Casper is a yarn freak, too! ;)

He'll sit on the sofa, beside his Girl-Human, and watch her crochet, all day long with his eyes dancing back and forth, watching the yarn dangle, occasionally attacking.

I think that kind of movement is virtually irresistible to cats. ;)

We don't let Casper play with yarn, unsupervised but, occasionally, we dangle a piece for him to attack. We always make sure we have one end of the strand in the hand. However, we do have some yarn toys for Casper to play with that he can't accidentally swallow.

Capser's Girl-Human came up with this idea...

Get a long piece of yarn, about six or eight feet long, double it over and match up the ends then twirl it until it's wound up tight.
Tie one end to a doorknob or a stationary object that won't fall or break. Put a pencil or chopstick through the looped end and turn it like an airplane propeller, fifty times or more, until it just starts to knot up. (You can also use an electric screw gun.)
Take the end that you just twirled, keep the yarn taught and match it up with the end tied to the doorknob. When you let the tension off, the whole thing will twist and braid up into one strand like a piece of rope. You'll end up with a four-stranded rope of yarn.
Tie knots in both ends and snip off the extra so that there's a little pompom on each end.

It makes a great cat toy that the cat can't accidentally swallow.

It's one of Casper's favorite toys! :D

I suppose you could braid several strands of yarn together to get the same effect but twisting is a whole lot faster and easier.
 

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I would not give a cat a ball of yarn to play with regardless of how tightly it was wound or the ends tied off. If they chew through it they can easily get enough in their mouth to start swallowing . It is very appealing to them when they see it move while you are using it but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they would like a yarn toy over other kinds of toys. I would give them some mousies with longish tails or other elongated toys like caterpillars and I am sure they will have a great time. And for interactive play, drag a thick shoelace for them to chase. You just need to put it away when you are done playing with them so they don’t choke or strangle themselves with it.
 
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misty8723

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Roll up some leftover yarn in a ball and tuck the end string deep into the ball. Let them play with that. It will eventually fall apart, but they can have some fun with it.
Sorry, but they aren't getting anywhere near yarn if I can help it, rolled or otherwise. Not safe.
 
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misty8723

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Casper is a yarn freak, too! ;)

He'll sit on the sofa, beside his Girl-Human, and watch her crochet, all day long with his eyes dancing back and forth, watching the yarn dangle, occasionally attacking.

I think that kind of movement is virtually irresistible to cats. ;)

We don't let Casper play with yarn, unsupervised but, occasionally, we dangle a piece for him to attack. We always make sure we have one end of the strand in the hand. However, we do have some yarn toys for Casper to play with that he can't accidentally swallow.

Capser's Girl-Human came up with this idea...

Get a long piece of yarn, about six or eight feet long, double it over and match up the ends then twirl it until it's wound up tight.
Tie one end to a doorknob or a stationary object that won't fall or break. Put a pencil or chopstick through the looped end and turn it like an airplane propeller, fifty times or more, until it just starts to knot up. (You can also use an electric screw gun.)
Take the end that you just twirled, keep the yarn taught and match it up with the end tied to the doorknob. When you let the tension off, the whole thing will twist and braid up into one strand like a piece of rope. You'll end up with a four-stranded rope of yarn.
Tie knots in both ends and snip off the extra so that there's a little pompom on each end.

It makes a great cat toy that the cat can't accidentally swallow.

It's one of Casper's favorite toys! :D

I suppose you could braid several strands of yarn together to get the same effect but twisting is a whole lot faster and easier.
I would just as soon keep yarn and cats separated :blush:
 

Caspers Human

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If they chew through it they can easily get enough in their mouth to start swallowing
The thing is that cats don't actually "swallow" yarn, per se...
The papillae on the cat's tongue (the tiny, hooklike protrusions that make the tongue feel like sandpaper) point backward, toward the back of the cat's throat. When a cat gets yarn in its mouth, the papillae hook onto the yarn and push it back, down the cat's throat. As the cat tries to spit the yarn out, the action of the papillae only serve to push the yarn farther down. Choking occurs, not because the cat swallowed yarn, but because the yarn piles up and clogs the cat's throat and windpipe.

Shortly after we adopted Casper, we saw him with a piece of yarn in his mouth and I thought he was trying to eat it. I ran over and tried to get him to spit it out but he wouldn't. Little did I know that he COULDN'T spit it out! I pulled the yarn out of his mouth and was surprised to find that there was a good, two FEET of yarn stuck down Casper's throat!

Since then, we do not let Casper play with yarn unless he's supervised with a human holding on to one end at all times.

Casper really likes to play with yarn so much! We feel like we have to let him play, once in a while, so we always make sure that he's supervised when he does. All of Girl-Human's yarn is cleaned up and put away whenever she's not actually using it.

I also get the feeling that Casper, sort of, learned his lesson about yarn and I think he knows that he shouldn't play with yarn unless a human is with him. He just doesn't seem to want to play with yarn or string or ropes unless there is a human on the other end to "make it go" for him.

Casper has had a braided yarn toy for years, now, and it's one of his faves. He's never had an incident with one but, still, whenever his yarn toy gets too frayed up, we throw it out an make a new one.

Casper's "best" yarn toy is made from mop yarn.

If you get a "looped end" yarn mop head from Home Depot, etc., and un-stitch the center part with a seam ripper, you can unwind the mop and get ten or more yards of heavy duty yarn, about a quarter inch thick. It's strong yet soft and pliable.

I made Casper's toy by starting with a piece about ten or fifteen feet long, doubling it over and twisting it then doubling and twisting it again so that it's eight strands thick. All together, it's probably half an inch thick yet it's still "squiggly" like regular yarn. It's strong enough to stand up to Casper's claws and teeth and it's heavy enough that it won't go down his throat.

He's had this particular yarn-rope toy for over a year and it's still going strong.

Casper will actually go to his play area, in the living room, and sit by his yarn-rope toy, looking at you, asking you to "make it go" for him to play with! :)

I understand the hazard of letting cats play with yarn, unsupervised, but I don't think it's a mortal danger if you understand how problems can happen and know what to watch out for.
 
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lorie d.

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misty8723

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I actually bought this toy for my RB cat Sweetie, and it is what I was going to suggest. It's probably your safest option.
I'm not sure it's the ball he's interested in anyway, but if this is real yarn, not giving it to him. I was actually looking for some kind of something that's not yarn but kind of acts like yarn. But that he can't swallow and maybe kill him, or at least take a trip to the e-vet, where I do NOT want to go, for various reasons.
 

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The danger depends on the type of play. If the cat steals the yarn, hides and plays in secret, all methods would be dangerous. Minish likes thin strings like yarn, but likes the catching part when it moves. she spits after biting. She has her own string, so when she demands mine, I offer games with hers. I had bought a macrame cord made of synthetic material, slick, not sticky (natural fibers like cotton may get stuck to their tongues). I cut a few feet of it, drag it around or tie it to a wand. when that one is killed, a few feet more. She can only swallow on purpose, not accident. she never plays alone. Just in case, if I want to leave it out, I tie the end securely to something like a chair leg.
 

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My cats love to "help" me crochet too.

I agree with minish the type of play determines dangerousness.

You can tightly lake a ball and knot the end of the string to an inner string leaving a few inches tail. They love the tail. If youre good at it it will hold for quite a while. But eventually will fall apart like another poster said. But you said you didn't want to do that.

You can also crochet a cat ball, there are patterns online. Mine like these especially marinated in cat nip.
big:
Cat Ball pattern by Emily Emmerling
Big Ball Cat Toy pattern by Melissa's Crochet Patterns
small:
Super Simple Crochet Cat Balls * My Workbasket
other ideas:
25 Crochet Cat Toys & Cat Beds Patterns Your Furry Friend will Love

I made an amigurimi fish and strawberry and my cats like those too.


You can also tie a string of yarn to a stick and use it as a wand toy. My cats LOVE playing with yarn this way and you just put it away when youre done.
 
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misty8723

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I think my problem is what fascinates him is when the yarn is moving. Like if I'm winding a ball, or even pulling it along as I knit. I have various other things like felt on a wand and that doesn't interest him nearly as much as my yarn. What he does is lunge quickly, grab, and run. Usually it's attached to something but once he got hold of a small loose piece and ran with it. Fortunately, he dropped it before he got too far. I've adjusted to being very careful with the yarn, I have the ball in a case with just the strand coming out a hole on the top and I"m very aware of when he's around. And we always play with the feather bird a while when I'm ready to start my knitting, so hopefully he'll settle down a bit and let me be.
 
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