Chris Kouwenhoven

Unsafe toys for cats

When selecting appropriate toys for your cat or kitten, think in terms of what would be safe for a human infant or toddler. Unfortunately, there are no regulations or cautionary statements on toys for pets. It is up to the pet owner to determine if the toy is suitable. If it can be swallowed, it is dangerous. The backward-pointing barbs on a cat's tongue make it difficult for the feline to remove items from its mouth. String, yarn, floss, ribbon, twine, rubber bands, bells, etc. can be swallowed and may cause severe injury to your playful pet. Check toys for glued-on decorations or trim that could come off and be swallowed. The eyes on some playthings can be especially hazardous. For example, one very popular toy, the small mice made of real fur, have eyes that are tacks and should be removed before the toy is given to the cat.

Keep in mind that while some toys, such as the milk bottle rings, may be perfectly safe for some cats, others that may have a penchant for chewing, may get into trouble with them. Know your cat and if in doubt, supervise playtime with the new toy. Play with feathered toys should always be supervised as an exuberant cat will chew the feathers and the shafts can become lodged in the cat's throat.

Generally, if you use common sense and provide safe, acceptable toys for your cat, the resulting mental and physical stimulation will produce a happier, healthier, pet.

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