How many times have you bought an expensive toy for your cat, and after you took it home, you noticed that your cat is not even a little interested, but on the contrary, it prefers to play with a paper ball or a bottle cap? Cats usually like to play with a bunch of (inexpensive) stuff.
It’s like when you buy a comfy bed from the pet shop, and at home, you see that your cat likes to sleep in the box in which the product was. Who understands cats?!
Cats are natural predators that hunt small animals and this is the reason why they like to chase tiny and light objects around, such as bottle caps – these make noise and go pretty far when playing with them, especially on tiles or linoleum. Bottle caps with rounded flat edges could make the perfect toy for cats. Do not use caps with sharp or serrated margins, such as beer caps, as the cat may injure itself if it tries to bite or chew on it (lip or gingival cuts). Besides playing with them, some cats also like to hoard bottle caps. Although this behavior is still unknown for specialists, they have two hypotheses: cats stash bottle caps because they see them as prey or as their own babies.
Why does my cat like to play with bottle caps?
Some cats just like to play with bottle caps, while others are on a different level and even hoard them. Besides the fact that these objects are small and light, they can be easily carried around in their mouth. Cats play with bottle caps because they are round and make noise, keeping them busy for minutes – this being the main advantage.
Is it safe to let my cat play with bottle caps?
Plastic bottle caps that come from soda, milk, or other products, are excellent and safe if you want to give them to your cat to play. Even if they bite or chew on them, they are quite resistant and rigid, and the plastic is not brittle to break into small pieces that the cat can swallow and eventually choke with them.
On the other hand, metal bottle caps, such as those from beer bottles, are not safe for your cat because they have the potential for injury – if the cat wants to bite it, the sharp and serrated edges of the lid can cut off its lip, gums, or tongue. Also, if the cat is older or has dental problems, it risks breaking or losing a tooth in an attempt to chew on them – this also applies to plastic bottle caps.
Why do cats steal and hoard (stash) bottle caps?
Bottle caps, as well as other objects such as toys, lipsticks, hairbands, hairpins, aluminum foil balls, tree ornaments, pencils, etc., are amongst the favorite things that cats like to collect, hoard, or stash.
The reason for this “occupation” is still unknown to feline behavior specialists. However, they have issued two hypotheses that try to explain why cats hoard bottle caps or other small objects. In the first hypothesis, it is said that cats collect bottle caps because they see them as prey. This hypothesis is based on the fact that cats that live in the wild hunt all kinds of small animals such as mammals (rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice), birds, and reptiles, and sometimes even insects.The second hypothesis refers to the fact that cats that stash bottle caps see them as their kittens. There are probably some female cats that have a more developed maternal sense (even if they never had kittens) and express it by collecting bottle caps.
My cat swallowed a bottle cap! What should I do?
No one guarantees that this will never happen to any cat. Although it is very rare, there are cases when cats have choked with a bottle cap. It is harder to swallow it because the cat’s mouth and esophagus are not as big as a normal-size bottle.
If you see a cat with a bottle cap in its mouth, try to remove it immediately to prevent it from blocking its airway or swallow it.
If you are sure that your cat has swallowed a bottle cap, go to a veterinary clinic right away. In there, they will do x-rays to your cat’s abdomen (with contrast substance too) to see where its digestive tract is blocked, and then they will perform surgery to remove it.
To prevent this from happening, when you give your cat a bottle cap to play with, supervise it a few times until you see how your fluffy pet is playing and assess whether it poses a potential danger to your cat or not.
Which bottle caps are the Safest for my cat to play with?
In general, round bottle caps are the safest to give your cat because they have a smooth edge and do not present a potential danger to cut their lip, gum, or tongue, such as beer caps, which have a serrated and sharp edge.
Milk rings are suitable for cats who do not like to chew on things. Cats have a strong bite (they can break bones!) and can easily chew on a milk ring and then eventually swallow it. Therefore, milk rings can be considered unsafe for some cats. To be sure, you can avoid giving them to your cat!
How to pick a safe cat toy?
In order to choose a safe toy for your cat, you need to know your cat pretty well. For example, my cat is the type who likes to chew everything, and that’s why I have to choose her toys carefully – not to be the kind of fishing poles because she will chew the string, not to have feathers because she loves to gnaw on those too, not to contain rubber bands or to be made of a soft and thin rubber because it can chew them too, etc. If she would stop at chewing, it wouldn’t be a problem, but my cat likes to swallow what she gnaws. So, I personally limit myself to textile mice with valerian in them, plastic balls, etc.
If your cat is not like mine, then some safe toys would be fishing rods, textile mice toys, plastic balls, food puzzles, etc.
Toys that contain small pieces that can be easily detached and swallowed, very small ones, thosewith sharp or pointed edges, aluminum foil balls, etc., are not safe for your cat because they can harm it.
How to make cat toys out of household items?
Here are 5 simple cat toys that I’m sure your beloved pet will adore:
- Cardboard house with windows
- Handmade toys for cats from empty rolls of toilet or kitchen paper
- Cat toy out of egg boxes
- Digging box with wine bottle corks, nuts, or paper balls
- Fishing rod with corks
1. Cardboard house with windows
For this project you will need scissors or a cutter, a cardboard box in which you know your cat will fit, and a fishing pole toy.
Before starting your project, make sure that it is not stapled inside. Carefully remove them so that the cat is not injured. Also remove any remaining adhesive tape, in case your cat likes to eat plastic. Now, cut the windows for its dream home; their size should be big enough so its paw fits. Let your cat explore it. Gently rub the fishing rod when the cat is in the box. It will definitely have fun trying to catch it and pull it into the box. You can also push the toy through a “window” and wait for the cat to try to catch it.
2. Handmade toys for cats from empty rolls of toilet or kitchen paper
In an empty roll of toilet paper, you will put some treats or dry food, and then close both ends. Roll it on the carpet and let your cat find a way to get the goodies out of there.
3. Cat toy out of egg boxes
Simply put a few cat treats or kibbles in the egg box and let your cat fish them. Cats with thicker paws will have some troubles.
To increase the difficulty, fill the egg box with small paper balls. Or leave the lid half-closed.
4. Digging box with wine bottle corks, nuts, or paper balls
Simply fill a box or a plastic container in which your cat will fit with corks, nuts, or paper balls. Spread some treats or kibbles and let cat find them!
5. Fishing rod with corks
Make a hole in a cork (or two), pass a string through the hole, which you knot at one end so it won’t fall out, and tie the other end on a stick. Accessorize it with some feathers or some bells, and the toy for your cat is ready!
Other super simple toys with household items are paper balls, aluminum foils balls, bottle caps, plastic bags balls, just about anything that rolls on the floor.
Important: Make sure your cat won’t chew on the corks or string because it can choke on them and even kill your cat.
Why do cats like to play with paper balls?
Cats love to play with almost everything that rolls on the floor, and paper balls are no exception! They have an advantage – they are a little noisy and can make the cat even more curious.
Are aluminum foil balls bad for cats?
Like paper balls, aluminum foils balls are great because they just roll on the floor. But it is safer not to let them play with them because cats can easily break the ball, swallow tiny aluminum pieces, and then they will need surgery if they pierce the lining of the stomach.
Why do cats like to hide their toys under the furniture?
Cats are territorial animals, and your home represents its territory. They like to hide their prey and tracks on their hunting ground, and as we specified earlier in this article, cats can see toys as prey. The best places to hide toys are under carpets, sofa, bed, table, etc.
How do you get cats to play with you?
Making your cat play with you is one of the easiest things to do. Just move your hand under the blanket, and your cat will activate.
If you want to keep your cat entertained for longer periods, buy a laser toy. Cats also like toys that are the size of prey they would hunt in the wild. Also, fishing rods cat toys are very suitable to play with your pet for minutes on end.
Keep in mind that a cat needs to have at least 15 minutes of exercise a day (play) to remain in shape.
Here is an Overview
On the market, there are all kinds of toys for cats that are more and more complex, from a simple plastic ball with a bell inside to automated interactive toys.
If your budget does not allow you to spend money on sophisticated toys, you can make a toy at home yourself or, if you are not a crafty person, you can give the cat a bottle cap, and it will be the happiest, keeping it busy for minutes in a row.
In order for your cat not to injure itself, choose bottle caps that have a round edge and are not made of brittle plastic that can be easily chewed.
Avoid caps such as the ones from beer bottles, as they have serrated and sharp edges and your cat can get quite hurt in them.
If your cat has a bottle cap stuck in its mouth, remove it immediately, as it may suffocate.
Your fluffy pet has swallowed a bottle cap and don’t know what to do? Go to a veterinary clinic as soon as possible! Even if you are not sure that your cat has eaten a cap, still go to the vet because it is better to be safe than sorry!
Happy Cat Keeping!
Please Share Your Thoughts In the Comment Section Below: