Should You Let Cats Play With Hair Ties?

As a cat owner, you may have noticed that your furry companion has an affinity for hair ties. These small, stretchy accessories can provide endless entertainment for your cat, but is it safe to let them play with them? As an expert in feline behavior and health, I’m here to answer the question: Should you let cats play with hair ties?

While hair ties may seem like harmless toys, they pose potential risks that should not be overlooked. If your cat chews or swallows a hair tie, it could cause a blockage in their digestive system, which can be life-threatening. Additionally, these tiny accessories can easily become tangled around a cat’s neck or limbs, leading to serious injury or even death.

However, there are ways to safely indulge your cat’s love for hair ties. By supervising playtime and only providing larger-sized hair ties that cannot be swallowed, you can minimize the risks. You can also offer alternative toys specifically designed for feline play such as laser pointers or catnip toys.

In this blog post, we will delve into the pros and cons of letting your cat play with hair ties while providing tips on how to do so safely. Whether you’re a seasoned cat owner or considering adopting one soon, read on to learn more about this common feline behavior and how to keep your kitty happy and healthy.

What Are Hair Ties?

Hair ties are small, stretchy bands made of elastic material that have become a staple accessory for people of all ages and genders. They come in various sizes, colors, and styles and are commonly used to hold hair in place and prevent it from falling into the face or eyes.

Hair ties can be made from different types of materials such as rubber, silicone, fabric, or even metal. Some hair ties are coated with a thin layer of fabric or silicone to prevent them from damaging the hair or causing breakage. However, while hair ties are designed for human use, they can pose a danger to our furry friends.

Cats, in particular, may be attracted to hair ties due to their size and texture. But allowing cats to play with hair ties can pose a danger to their health. Cats may accidentally ingest hair ties while playing with them, which can lead to serious health issues such as gastrointestinal blockages or intestinal damage. Similarly, if a hair tie gets caught around a cat’s neck, it can cause strangulation.

As responsible pet owners, it is important to keep our furry friends safe and healthy by providing them with appropriate toys and keeping hazardous objects out of their reach. While there are certain types of hair ties that are safer for cats to play with, such as those made of fabric or silicone, it is still essential to monitor your cat’s playtime with hair ties and ensure they are not putting themselves in danger.

Choking Hazards and Health Risks

Hair ties may seem like innocent toys, but they can actually be quite dangerous for our feline companions.

One of the most significant concerns when it comes to letting your cats play with hair ties is the risk of choking. Cats have an innate instinct to play with small objects, and hair ties are no exception. However, hair ties are small enough for cats to swallow or get stuck in their throat, leading to choking or even death. This is especially true for kittens or cats who like to chew on things.

In addition to the risk of choking, hair ties can also cause intestinal blockages. If your cat swallows a hair tie, it can get lodged in their digestive tract and cause a blockage. This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and even require costly surgical intervention to remove the blockage. This is not only painful for your cat but also very expensive for you.

Moreover, hair ties can contain harmful chemicals such as latex or other materials that can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in cats. This discomfort can lead to excessive scratching and potentially open wounds.

So what should you do to keep your cat safe? The best solution is to avoid letting them play with hair ties altogether. Instead, provide them with safe and appropriate toys designed specifically for felines. There are plenty of options available that are both entertaining and safe for your cat to play with.

Material Considerations

While hair ties may seem like harmless toys, they can actually be dangerous and even lethal.

The first material consideration is the elastic material of the hair tie. When a cat plays with a hair tie, they may chew on it or bat it around, causing the elastic to fray and break. This can lead to the cat accidentally ingesting small pieces of the hair tie, which can be hazardous and potentially deadly.

Another significant concern is the potential for the hair tie to get caught on your cat’s claws or teeth. If this happens, it can cause discomfort and pain for your furry friend. In severe cases, it may require a visit to the veterinarian to remove the hair tie.

It’s also crucial to consider the size of the hair tie in relation to your cat’s size. If the hair tie is too small, there is a risk of choking or blockages in their digestive system if your cat swallows it whole. Conversely, if the hair tie is too big, it may not be enjoyable for your cat to play with.

To ensure your cat’s safety while still providing them with entertainment, it’s essential to choose materials that are safe and durable. Some pet stores sell hair ties specifically designed for cats that are made from non-toxic materials and are less likely to break or fray. Additionally, providing your cat with other safe toys and activities can help prevent them from being tempted by hair ties.

Safer Alternatives for Cat Playtime

Interactive toys are designed to mimic prey, making them perfect for satisfying your cat’s natural hunting instincts. From laser pointers to feather wands, these toys come in various shapes and sizes and provide endless entertainment for your feline friend. These toys not only keep your cat engaged but also promote physical activity, which is essential for maintaining good health.

Puzzle toys are another excellent option for cat playtime. These toys challenge your cat’s intelligence and promote mental stimulation by hiding treats or toys inside a device that requires your cat to figure out how to retrieve them. Puzzle toys are an excellent way to keep your cat entertained while promoting cognitive development. These toys are perfect for cats of all ages and can help prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Catnip toys are yet another safe alternative to hair ties. Infused with dried catnip, these toys provide your cat with an enjoyable experience without the risk of choking or ingesting foreign objects. The chemical called nepetalactone, which is produced by the catnip plant, induces a euphoric response in cats that they can’t resist. Catnip toys are perfect for relaxing your cat and reducing anxiety levels.

Supervision is Key

Before you do, it’s important to consider the potential risks and benefits. One crucial factor that shouldn’t be overlooked is supervision.

As an expert, I can tell you that supervision is absolutely essential when it comes to allowing cats to play with hair ties. While they might seem like harmless toys, these elastic bands can pose serious health hazards if left unsupervised. Curious cats can easily become tangled in the elastic band or accidentally swallow it, leading to intestinal blockages or choking.

But don’t worry – by supervising your cat’s playtime with hair ties, you can prevent these potential dangers. Keep a watchful eye on your furry friend and intervene if they start chewing on or trying to swallow the hair tie. It’s also a good idea to keep hair ties out of reach when you’re not around to supervise.

Not only does supervision ensure your cat’s safety, but it can also help prevent destructive behavior. If left unsupervised for too long, cats may become fixated on playing with hair ties and start chewing on other household items.


In conclusion, it’s important to be mindful of the potential risks associated with letting cats play with hair ties. As a feline behavior and health expert, I strongly advise against it. However, if you do decide to give in to your cat’s love for these elastic accessories, please make sure you supervise playtime closely and only provide larger-sized hair ties that cannot be swallowed.

When selecting hair ties for your feline friend, opt for non-toxic options that are less likely to break or fray. It’s also essential to consider safer alternatives such as interactive toys, puzzle toys, and catnip toys that offer endless entertainment while promoting physical activity and mental stimulation.

Remember, supervision is key when it comes to allowing cats to play with any toy. As responsible pet owners, we must prioritize our furry friends’ safety by providing them with appropriate toys and keeping hazardous objects out of their reach.

By following these tips, you can ensure your cat stays happy and healthy while still enjoying playtime with their favorite toys.