As much as we love to spoil our cats and give them many toys and treats, some of the toys can be quite dangerous and should only be used while closely supervised.
Yarn is so much fun, but can be very dangerous. Cat’s have a rough tongue with small backward-facing hooks called papillae that help a cat when they are eating, hunting and grooming. But, those same helpers make it impossible for a cat to stop swallowing when they get string, yarn or ribbon in their mouth. Once swallowed, yarn or string can cause a blockage and possible, death. If you think your cat has swallowed yarn, call your vet immediately.
Wand toys with string or wire are so much fun and great exercise for your cat. But, they are a choking hazard if left unattended. You should never leave a string or wire toy with your cat without you in the room. They can get it wrapped around their neck and then might get hung up. This is especially important with kittens, who are not as wise as their elders and so much more fragile.
Many toys designed for cats are unsuitable for kittens, as are many household items that you would not imagine could be a danger. Keep anything that might be swallowed away from your tiny kittens. Small cat toys, cotton balls, cotton swabs, chicken bones, makeup sponges, puzzle pieces, marbles, tinsel and other common items can be deadly to a kitten. They can cause choking or, if ingested, an intestinal blockage.
Cats who regularly chew and swallow inappropriate items may have a disease called pica. If you believe your cat has unusual chewing habits, you should check with your vet. Such cats have been know to chew wool, fleece, shoelaces, plastic bags, shower curtains and even electrical cords.
Remember that even very old cats are like children in our homes. They need supervision and toys appropriate to their size and age.