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The One Cat Toy You Can't Live Without!

Updated on January 8, 2015



I know how important it is for indoor cats to get exercise. Therefore, over the years, I have purchased numerous cat toys for my cat Coco-Puff to play with including fuzzy ferrets, colorful mice, tantalizing objects with feathers and sisal rope and even holiday toys, like goofy yarn santas and tiny stockings bursting with catnip.

However, there is one toy that trumps them all. It's not pretty, cute, or colorful. In fact, it's not even a toy at all. Yet it has the power to transform my lazy fat ball of fluff into a stalking wild cat. And that thing is...taa-daa...a plain old thick brown string!

We discovered The Magic of the String one night as my husband was organizing his toolbox. Coco-Puff was dozing on the couch, lazing away the hours, as usual. However, as soon as my husband pulled the piece of brown string out of the toolbox, she immediately sprung to life.

And the rest, as they say, is history!

My husband slithered the string all around the living room; over chairs and over the couch. Coco-Puff went wild! She stalked; she pounced; she jumped two feet into the air. It was quite entertaining to watch.

"Look at her go!" I laughed.

After about fifteen minutes of action packed exercise, Coco-Puff was still going strong. My husband and I, however, were ready for bed. So he laid the string " to rest," and headed upstairs. .When I came downstairs for coffee the next morning, there was Coco-Puff, still waiting patiently by the piece of brown string. She was already addicted!

(Is there such a thing as Stringaholics Anonymous for cats)?

This made me wonder. Why does Coco-Puff like this particular item so much? Why does a plain old piece of string elicit such a strong prey instinct, whereas other toys - much prettier and cuter (and catnip infused) toys do not? Is it because the wiggly, sinuous action of the string resembles that of a snake? Do cats typically catch and eat snakes in the wild?

Well, maybe not our spoiled suburban dwelling kitties...but yes, their ancestors tangled with snakes quite a bit. After all, cats had to compete with snakes for nice juicy rodents. So attacking these competitors (and possible enemies) has been drummed into their genetic makeup.

It all comes down to movement. Cats, as predators, are just naturally attracted to movement.......especially movement that is not all "in one straight line" like say, an electronic toy, because that does not resemble natural prey.

However, a piece of string can indeed resemble real prey; the tempting way it twists and turns, and the fact that the movement involves the entire length of the string.

I have also discovered something else. A snake that does NOT move is not nearly as enticing as a snake that DOES move. For instance, if I just drape the string over a doorknob, it is not nearly as interesting to Coco-Puff.

In other words, Dead Snake Over the Doorknob is not nearly as fun as Live Wiggly Snake Over The Couch!


So I guess this String Obsession is just something I'll have to live with, from now on.

On the plus side, it's providing my formerly lazy cat with some much needed exercise. (And, I have to admit; it's providing ME with some much needed exercise, as well).

Also,I think Coco-Puff has even learned the word "string".

I just wish they would invent the ultimate cat toy - a piece of string that moves all by itself!

Try the string game with YOUR cat. It's a "free" toy that provides hours of fun and exercise for both you AND your cat.

But beware....your cat just might get addicted, too!


For some fun Stringy Games, place the string in a box, then slowly slither it out so it "oozes" over the sides of the box.

Hide part of the string under a blanket so the "tail end" is sticking out,then slowly, slowly, pull it out the other end, so it looks like the "snake" is gliding under the blanket. No cat can resist! Anything half-hidden is twice the fun!

Another fun game, is to get on one side of a closed door while your cat is on the other side. Slide just a bit of the string under the door first, so that when you go on the other side, you can sloooowly and tantalizingly pull the string towards you, underneath the door. Your cat will go wild!


Remember, never leave your cat alone with a small string. A small string can be a choking hazard or your cat might get tangled up in the string.

Always play string WITH your kitty to avoid any mishaps. And be sure to put kitty's "snake" away when he's finished playing (or I should say, when you're finished)!


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    • profile image

      Melyss 5 years ago

      Awesome post - made me laugh outloud - we just discovered the "straight up" string trick tonight. GENIUS! Who would of thought it was so simple. Anyone want a basket o' unused cat toys ?

    • PiaC profile image

      PiaC 6 years ago from Oakland, CA

      My cat is exactly the same. She's an older cat who rarely gets excited, but a piece of bright ribbon or string will have her playing for hours!

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 7 years ago from Chicago IL

      I used to spend so much money on toys for my cats, it dawned on me finally that they preferred the bags and boxes the toys came in. So now I just give them paper bags and shoe boxes...and yes string too. :)

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 7 years ago from The Zoo

      Sounds about right:)

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 7 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Fun story! All my cats love string too!

    • MAGICFIVE profile image

      MAGICFIVE 7 years ago from New York

      I love this hub! It is so funny! A piece of string that moves by itself, yes that would be great. Invent it, and you will be rich. Where would you hide the motor, though? I will definitely be trying out this snake game with my cat!