Why Do Cats Like Rubber Bands?

Cat chewing on rubber band

Cats have a mind of their own and even if you purchase plenty of expensive toys for your feline pal, you will be surprised to find them playing with unusual stuff from around your home such as empty boxes, paper bags, milk rings, dirty socks and even rubber bands and hair ties. So, if you’re curious to know why cats like rubber bands, read on.

Reasons Why Cats Like Rubber Bands

Cats love playing with rubber bands and chewing them and this could be because of several reasons, such as:

Hunting Instincts

In the wild, cats prey on smaller birds and animals like rodents, which they eat or bring home. And, even when they play, often cats engage in predatory behaviors.

Generally, cats like playing with tactile toys and they may view rubber bands as prey because of their springy, chewy, tendon-like texture and small size and are quite attracted to them.

Chemicals and Hormones

Cats have around 45-80 million olfactory receptors in the nose, which gives them a very keen sense of smell. Rubber and plastic contain several chemicals, some of which may mimic hormones that are extremely alluring to cats.

This is probably why cats like licking, chewing and playing with synthetic materials such as plastic hair ties and rubber bands. Not only does the smell interest your furry pet but they may love their chewy texture too.

Stress

Just as humans, cats are affected by stress too. And, if your pet is stressed, they may display certain excessive behaviors like hunting, chewing, sucking and licking different objects. And, they may indulge in these behaviors as a way to self-soothe.

You must try and identify any social or environmental factors that may be contributing to your cat’s stress, anxiety and excessive behavior and try to find ways to resolve them. You can consult a feline behaviorist or your vet, who can help you to identify the source of your pet’s anxiety and find a remedy for it.

Hoarding

By nature, cats are opportunistic predators that stalk and catch prey whenever they can, even when they are not hungry. They usually capture any prey they can find and save it up for later. So, this may explain why cats may hoard rubber bands and hair ties because they view them as prey.

So, if you’re running low on your hair ties or rubber bands, then it may be a good idea to check under your couch or any of the kitty hidey holes where you may find all your rubber bands and hair ties in your pet’s treasure trove.

Also Read: Do Cats Like Blankets?

Is It Okay for Your Cat to Play with Rubber Bands?

Cats like to play with stuff that you may find are really weird and this may not really be bad for your pet. Playing with toys and other objects like rubber bands is extremely important for your feline pet’s happiness and mental well-being.

Toys help in stimulating your pet’s mind and act out their hunting and preying instincts, as well as honing their chasing and pouncing skills right in the safety of your home. This is a great way for your cat to get the exercise they need while keeping themselves entertained and also allows them to blow off some steam.

However, not all toys and objects are safe for your cat. In fact, pet insurance companies claim that certain materials and items can be dangerous for your cats such as ribbons, elastic yarn, rubber bands and small toys that may be easy for your cat to swallow and can even be fatal for them.

And so, it is extremely important to keep items such as rubber bands, hair ties and other potentially hazardous toys away from your pet. If your pet does manage to get its paws on these items, then keep a close watch to ensure that your cat does not swallow them.

Why Do Cats like Eating Rubber Bands?

As we have discussed earlier, cats love playing and chewing on rubber bands for different reasons. While it is okay for your pet to play with these items, you must take care that your feline pal does not swallow the rubber band, as this can be a serious health risk.

Form of Pica

Your pet may be prone to abnormal behaviors such as licking, sucking or even eating inedible items and objects like hair ties, ribbons, rubber bands, wool, etc. because of a condition known as pica.

There is no specific reason why cats exhibit this behavior, which may be caused because the cat may be experiencing a high level of stress, anemia, malnutrition or even boredom.

You can help to improve your pet’s behavior by identifying the triggers causing pica, removing certain materials and items from your home and using positive reinforcement to control your pet’s impulses and behaviors. You can consult your vet or a professional cat behavioral specialist about how to deal with the issue.

Destructive Behavior

Cats find rubber bands quite entertaining because they are springy and bouncy. And often, they can get quite involved and even aggressive when indulging in this kind of play, licking, chewing and biting the rubber band excessively, causing them to ingest them partially or completely.

This extreme immersive and aggressive play can make your pet quite destructive and they could end up attacking your legs when you’re passing by, scratching the furniture, etc. Your pet may also indulge in this type of destructive behavior because they are stressed, anxious, jealous or feeling neglected.

You can put a stop to this kind of destructive behavior by spending time playing with your pet to keep them distracted and prevent boredom. Give your feline friend cat trees, safe toys and other things to do that keep them happy.

My Cat Swallowed a Rubber Band—What Should I Do?

Although watching your cat running around and playing with a rubber band can be quite fun, these can be quite hazardous for your pet, especially if they end up swallowing the rubber band. If you suspect that your pet has eaten a rubber band, don’t panic.

Open your cat’s mouth and check if the rubber band is still there and if you’re able to, then remove it. If it is too deep or is stuck, then take your cat to the vet immediately, who will be able to remove the rubber band without hurting the lining of your pet’s mouth or esophagus.

If you’re not able to find the rubber band in your pet’s mouth or anywhere around the room, then it is recommended to take your cat to the vet immediately. While often, objects that your cat swallows pass through the GI tract safely and come out in the poop, rubber bands are quite difficult to pass and may end up causing some serious damage.

It is better to get help immediately because the rubber band can literally tie up your cat’s insides and block your pet’s bowels. Your cat may start throwing up and if the poop looks pudding-like or has a bit of blood, then these could be bad signs, requiring immediate medical help.

Also Read: Why Is My Cat Not Eating Much, But Acting Normal?

How You Can Prevent Your Cat from Eating Rubber Bands

Cats can be quite sneaky and their stealthy behavior makes it quite difficult for cat owners to know what their feline friend is up to. While your pet’s fascination with rubber bands may be harmless; however, it is better to deal with it before it becomes a habit and hurts your pet. So, here are a few ways by which you can curb your cat from eating rubber bands.

Limit Opportunities

If you notice your furry feline taking an unhealthy interest in hair ties, rubber bands and other such harmful items, then it is a good idea to hide away such stuff. Limit opportunities and make sure that your pet does not get their furry paws on these items.

Provide them with safer toys and if your cat likes chewing things, then give them some dental treats or dry, fiber-rich foods. Spend time with your pet and find interactive forms of play that will stimulate them physically and mentally.

Choose Safer Toys

Pick interactive toys for your cat made of strong materials. Avoid small toys or toys with small parts, feathers that your pet can chew off and swallow. Try different types of toys and you’re sure to find cheap budget-friendly options that are safer for your cat and that your kitty will love.

Reduce Your Pet’s Stress

As discussed earlier, there may be several factors that may be causing your cat to get stressed and as a result, indulging in weird, obsessive behaviors such as eating rubber bands, hair ties, destroying things, etc. And, the best way to reduce these behaviors is to find the root cause of the problems and try to find a way to solve them.

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Smell My Eyes?

Wrapping Up

Cats love all things silly and rubber bands are one of their favorite things. However, if you notice that your supply of hair ties and rubber bands is dwindling, then it may be time to pay attention to what your kitty’s doing.

Right from simply loving to play with these springy, bouncy things to OCD, pica and stress, your cat’s love for rubber bands may be normal or a cause for concern.

So, whatever may be the reason, if you suspect your pet has an unreasonable love for rubber bands, then it is a good idea to put a stop to the habit immediately, lest the habit becomes a problem and can even cause serious harm to your precious pet.