Why Do Cats Like String?

Why Do Cats Like String?

If you currently own cats or have had them in the past for any particular length of time, you would agree that they go crazy for strings. All kinds of strings! Yarns, wires, ribbons, etc. And while they do not often come to harm playing with these materials, you, like most cat owners, may have wondered why they seem to have string as one of their favorite toys.

So, why do cats like strings? What is it about strings that keep our cats busy when they find them? 

Here, we will also discuss some of the common reasons our felines may be inclined to go after strings and what you can do about the behavior if it becomes excessive or you are worried about your fur baby coming into harm. You can leave other questions you may have about cats and strings in the comment section below.

The Reasons Cats Like String

Cats Are Natural Hunters

Our felines are carnivores and, as such, hunters by default. Despite years of domestication, the hunting instinct is one that both feral and house cats have not lost. For years in the wild, they encountered animals like snakes either as prey or predators, and strings lying around the house can resemble animals like snakes.

Even though they are aware that strings are lifeless, our felines cannot stop goofing around with it for as long as possible. Hence, the reason you may find your cat almost always in a fight with ropes.


The yarn, rope, or ribbon texture can sometimes be the lure for the feline. And as household items such as carpets and upholstery are made of yarns, your cat has easy and regular access to these items and is therefore inclined to pull out as much of it as they can with their claws. You may also notice your cat try to claw out some yarns from yarn balls; it is most likely because they find the texture comfortable.


Strings are not only similar to some of our feline's preys or their entrails; they share similarities with their tails. Cats enjoy chasing their tails! Some cat experts believe that our kitties chase tails because tails resemble some of their prey, and regularly pursuing them can help sharpen their hunting skills.

The satisfaction

Our felines may enjoy playing with strings simply for the satisfaction they derive from it. Unlike most other interactive toys or even preys, strings remain in one place. And this enables your cat to easily catch/snatch it up instead of having to chase. So, the satisfaction derived from quickly grabbing and playing with it as long as wanted can sometimes be the attraction of strings or string toys.

Should I Keep My Felines Away From Strings or String Toys?

Like many other cat owners, you may have wondered at some point if strings really are ideal as toys or if they should be kept away from your cat despite the entertainment and interaction they provide.

In our opinion, we do not think cats should stay away from string toys. For one, while cats do well by themselves, they can suffer from boredom, obesity, separation anxiety, destructive behavior, and depression if left to be by themselves without interaction from their humans or even from their favorite toys for long periods.

However, you still want to be cautious by regularly watching your cat with it at play with strings. Aside from that, you also want to only opt for string toys made with quality strings instead of cheap ones that can easily break and get ingested by your cat.

A lot can go wrong with something like that. However, accidents happen, and if your cat still finds a way to ingest some part of the string or string toy, you should not try to pull it out yourself. Instead, immediately take your feline to the vet for professional care.

Lastly, keep string-like materials such as plugged in cables/wires from the reach of your pet. While you should not deprive the animal of potentially fun and stimulating material, you want it safe from harm at all times.

Why Do Cats Like String? Final Words

Not many animals are as obsessed with strings as our feline friends are. And while this obsession may have been concerning to some cat owners, it is usually a harmless practice. This article discussed the common reasons our cats love their strings. They include reasons such as predatory instinct, the texture of strings, the satisfaction, and the resemblance to their tails, possibly resulting from the similarities between the tail and prey animals like snakes share.

So, if your cat likes strings, we hope you understand why it does now and are better prepared to handle the behavior and keep it safe at play at all times.

About the Author

Kirsten Heggarty
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Kirsten created The Pet Handbook with the aim of sharing her knowledge about pets, pet food, healthy habits, and more. All of her advice is based on years of her own experience with her pets, and feedback that she has received from grateful readers about her tips. If you want to know more please read the About Me page.