Yarn is NOT a Cat Toy

Yarn is Not a Cat Toy 1

Today I have learned a very valuable lesson that I would like to share with all my friends in the crochet world: Yarn is NOT a cat toy. Allow me to explain.

Yarn is Not a Cat Toy 2

There I was, keeping The Animator’s Wife company as I usually do while she was working on a crochet baby blanket. The stitch pattern she was using was repetitive and soothing, and I quickly found myself mesmerized by the yarn as it flowed through her skilled fingers. I simply had to feel it flow through my own paws, and before I knew it, I had become quite literally wrapped up in her work. My back feet were caught up in the yarn and tied together--I couldn’t move my hind legs! With the help of The Animator’s Wife, I attempted to detangle myself, but the yarn grew tighter and tighter until finally, in a panic, I fled.

Depending on my free front legs to save me from the tangled yarn, I tore past The Dog We Don’t Like to Mention...
Yarn is Not a Cat Toy 4

...dove through the legs of the dining room table...

Yarn is Not a Cat Toy 5

...and zipped through the hallway past Osiris and into the bedroom.

Yarn is Not a Cat Toy 6

I dragged both the yarn and the baby blanket behind me the whole way, until my hind feet finally came free as I lunged beneath the bed.

Did I overreact? Perhaps. Could The Animator’s Wife have freed me if I had remained calm? Most likely. But the thought of losing my hind feet to strangulation was so terrifying I couldn’t think of anything but getting away.

After hiding myself safely under the bed, I realized the situation could have been much worse. The yarn could have tightened around my chest or throat and choked me. I was actually fairly lucky. And that is not the only way yarn can harm an innocent kitty. The Dog We Don’t Like to Mention, who goes with The Animator’s Wife every day to her day job at an emergency veterinary hospital, tells me horror stories of kitties that have eaten yarn. Either it doesn’t pass through their digestive system or it becomes entangled in their intestines, and has to be surgically removed!

So I think it’s important for all crocheters to know how to keep their kitties safe around their craft. Here are my tips on how to do so:

- Never let Kitty play with yarn unsupervised, and especially don’t let her eat it.

- Never leave yarn lying around where Kitty can get into it while home alone.

- If you like to crochet toys or other things for your kitty, make sure all loose ends are woven in and well secured.

- If you know your kitty has an affinity for eating yarn and string, crocheted gifts may not be the best things for her.

- If your kitty starts vomiting or stops eating and you suspect she has eaten some yarn, get her to the vet right away!

- If you notice yarn protruding from your kitty’s rectum, don’t pull it! You can cause internal damage. Again, get her to the vet right away.

Please crochet responsibly.


  1. Ooh OOH Not a nice experience for a cat - definitely NOT a nice experience.

    Yep, our Dot Kitten loves yarn, any yarn, all yarn, yarn in any shape, size, colour and texture and Yes I do have to keep it hidden away.

    My knitting is in a bag with a zipped top (ah HA!) thus foiling many a bright kitten idea.....

    Well done, brave Cat!!

  2. I'm glad Selena is ok. Both Kitty and Mommy deserve a little extra lovin's for the trauma.
    Thank goodness it wasn't worse.

  3. Poor kitty. Kitty needs a clear coffee pot so kitty can watch the yarn spin in the pot.

  4. I'm making a cat toy out of fleece. Sewing up the fleece with some polyester fill and 3/8" diameter jingle bells and catnip inside. It will be very well sewn. I want to attach some sort of string for pulling or hanging so the cats can bat it. Can I safely use 1/4" wide satin ribbon sewn tightly into the seam of the toy so that it hangs out for about 3 feet? If not, what would be best to use? Also, can I use natural, non-dyed and non-chemically treated feathers by sewing them tightly into the seam of the toy? Thanks for your help!! 7/27/08

  5. AnonymousJuly 28, 2008

    Hello Lea! Honestly, any type of string, be it ribbon, yarn, or whatever, can be potentially hazardous if a kitty were to ingest it. But I'm not saying that you can't allow your kitty to play with string (cause we all know how much we LOVE string!). Just make sure to watch your kitty closely while she's playing with any toy with strings attached, and put it away when you're not around.

    As to your question, yes, I would make sure the ribbon is sewn in as tightly as possible to prevent it from becoming detached and swallowed. And actually, a slightly wider ribbon (like 1/2") might hold better.

    The same goes for the feathers. Sew them is as tightly as possible, going through the stem to make it the most secure. Feathers pose less of a hazard than the string if swallowed, but again, if you have a cat that is a zealous feather-eater, she should be supervised when when playing with these types of toys.

    I hope that helps! And I'm not trying to scare anyone away from cat toys. We just all need to be informed about how and what we let our kitties play with. ;)

  6. Thanks for all of your help Selena. I really appreciate.