Cat Health

Understanding Why Cats Love Playing with Hair Ties

Explaining cats' fascination with hair elastics

Cats Love Playing with Hair Ties: You may have noticed that your cat likes to play with hair ties, just as they like to play with pipe cleaners. It can be very unpredictable when it comes to deciding what your cat wants. You could spend some cash; expecting your cat will be pleased, but in the end—they’re not interested.

I have had so many complaints about people getting cat trees with exercise wheels, and yet—their cats never use the wheels. The same goes for my cat, since it’s an indoor pet, I tried to get some mouse-like stuffed toys, but he’ll prefer to play with pipe cleaners or my wife’s hair ties.

why do cats like hair ties? Cats love hair ties because they’re made of materials that are similar to prey, such as mice or birds. The sight and spring-like feel of hair ties can be incredibly stimulating for cats, which is why they often get so excited when they see them.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to stop your cat from being attracted to hair ties. But you can take some steps to reduce the risk of them getting into some serious problems that could lead to their death. In this article, you’ll learn everything regarding cats and hair ties, including safety measures.

Do All Cats Like Hair Ties?

Most cats like hair ties—cats like weird objects and decisions. Like your cat likes hair ties, they don’t want the same food every day.

Hair ties are dream come true for cats. They will enjoy playing with them over a dangling string toy; the hair tie offers more entertainment and fun for your fur buddy.

Since cats have different personalities, the only thing they have in common is that they like unexpected things, like when I got my cat a pod and he chose to sleep in its cardboard box.

Why Do Cats Like Hair Ties?

Like the saying “curiosity kills the cat”—not literally, but cats are curious. Your cat will hop into drawers and tables to sort things out using rubber bands and hair ties. Reasons your cat loves hair ties:


If there are stressors present, be it social or environmental, it could impact your cat’s behavior. Your cat will show some level of aggression, chewing on household objects and hunting. When your cat begins to chew excessively on hair ties, rubber bands, or similar objects; this is an indication that your cat is stressed and is trying to relax. explains that ” Cat owner’s negligence in detecting and resolving stress in their furry friends can lead to emotional and physical illness, which could lead to problematic behaviors.” If you’re unsure what to do, and how to get your pet back on track, contact your veterinarian or a feline behaviorist to facilitate the discovery of your cat’s stressors, and resolve it.


Because clawing carpets and upholstery feels wonderful, cats like them. Since yarn is comfortable to claw on, your pet will like a ball or yarn toys. Wool and rubber bands are more enjoyable than flat surfaces.

Hunting Instincts

A closer observation during cats’ play time, suggests that; they engage in predator-like activities, this is paramount to their wellbeing.

Outdoor and wild cats will always go after rodents and birds; asides from the fact that your kitty is not big enough to go for bigger prey—they just have a love for rodents—who they eat their heads and bring the body home, or just consume whole at the spot; this is why most of their toys are designed to mimic the fur of rodents

The Material has A Strong Appeal

Your Cat will love to play with hair ties because of the materials used in making them. My experience with my cat and wooly objects makes me understand; that beyond the feel, they like hair ties because of how it smells. According to VCACanada, “cats have 45 – 80 scent receptors that they rely on to pick scents we humans can’t pick up with our 5 million scent receptors”.

Your cat’s behavior towards rubber bands and hair ties can be explained by Catbehaviourassociates “Although your feline friends would be attracted to plastics for numerous reasons; they love plastic as a result of chemicals inherent in them, such as stearic acid or cornstarch, which attracts them”.

Also, your cat may like hair ties because of your scent deposit, which makes it seem more relaxing. Scents go a long way when it comes to feline behavior, which is why a resident cat will fight a cat who went to visit the vet upon its return—because he/she smells different—in cases like this, you can use the vanilla extract method to stop your feline friends from fightingin a multi-cat home.

Why do Cats Eat Hair Ties?

Why do cats eat hair ties?

It is unusual to see cats eating non-edible things, this act could be accidental; “a teething cat who is trying to soothe its gum may chew and swallow none edible things” according to Purina. Some cats will purposely chew and swallow hair ties and rubber bands as a result of PICA and other absurd causes as listed below:


Pica is a compulsive behavior where your cat sucks and consumes inedible things. This can explain why your feline friend always tries to get access to your rubber bands and hair ties.

There is no definite reason why PICA may occur in your house cats,” but pica is mostly found in cats that are not fed as they should be, cats that were weaned early, suffering from boredom, anemia, and malnutrition” According to studies.

Siamese, Burmese, and Tonkinese are the most susceptible to Pica. If you notice such behaviors in your cat,  it’s best to reach out to your veterinarian to determine if it’s a mental or physical issue.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder can prompt your cat to get obsessed with a hair tie, lick them, excessively chew on them and chase them around. “OCD in animals could happen without any underlying neurological and other medical conditions” according to studies.

Stress is usually the trigger of this condition; determining your pet’s stressors is paramount to eliminating traces of OCD. Since cats love routine, any change to how things are done or a change in environment could cause stress.

As a cat owner, punishing your pet only reinforces the behavior. Instead of dishing out punishments, why not pay attention and gather as many cues as possible, to aid your veterinarian to determine how to solve your pest problem? Signs of OCD in cats include pacing, repetitive and exaggerated behaviors, vocalization without a purpose, also, digesting their fur, and eating things made of wool.

Should You Be Concerned if Your Cat Plays With Hair Ties?

No! The good news is that there’s no need to worry— a hair tie could be harmless if it’s not swallowed. There’s a good reason why cats love hair ties—they’re made of materials that are similar to the ones found in cat toys.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take some precautions. If your cat is playing with a hair tie, make sure they’re not eating it. Hair ties aren’t poisonous, but they can cause intestinal blockage or cause your cat to choke if swallowed—leading to death or a surgical intervention

And if your cat is chewing on a hair tie, replace it with a toy that’s made specifically for cats. That way, your cat can continue to enjoy playing with their favorite toy—without worrying about the dangers incurred when playing with hair ties.

To provide adequate mental stimulation, toys are important for your cats—aid them to hone their hunting skills while indoors. It’s an awesome way to get get your cat to exercise, and entertain themselves while you’re away or asleep.

How Can You Keep Your Cat From Playing With Hair Ties?

how to keep cats from playing with hair ties

You might be wondering how to keep your cat from playing with hair ties. Well, I’m glad you asked.

Provide a safe hair tie alternative

If you notice your cat is picking so much interest in unhealthy objects like plastic, hair ties, and rubber bands, make sure you’re keeping your hair ties out of reach. If they’re well kept, your cat can’t get to them, and that’s the first step in prevention. Provide a safe alternative such as turkey necks, this will help your cat keep its mouth clean without brushing.

If you are busy and don’t have much time to engage your cat’s mind and body in necessary exercise and game; you should provide a companion cat who will help keep your cat busy; they’ll snuggle together and hone their hunting skills together.

Provide safe toys

If you have eliminated the possible risk of your cat choking or dying from ingesting materials like hair ties, and rubber bands and by keeping them out of reach, the next thing will be to provide other safe toys your cat will enjoy playing with.

Toys that were made specifically for cats can still pose a threat especially toys made with feathers; when they begin to wear and tear, your cat could purposely or mistakenly eat them apart. When buying toys, make sure they don’t have small detachable parts that can be easily removed and swallowed by your cat.

Your feline friend will love toys made of spring, but they can be harmful to your cat’s health. Toys made of strong material fabrics are the best options. In case your cat likes hair ties and wouldn’t play with any new toy, you can let it play with a pipe cleaner, but keep an eye on them always.

Discovering what your cat likes can be difficult at times, but it’s worth it in the long run. The priority is to provide stimulating and versatile toys for your pet. Invest in some toys that stimulate the hunting part of your cat, and invest in playtime also. In case of a cat’s toy is stuck in its throat, get to the vet as soon as you can.

Eliminate stress

Eliminating your cat’s stress is a no-brainer, if your pet loves to play with hair ties as a result of stress, you should take proactive steps in ensuring they are relieved.

Stress leads to unwanted abnormal behaviors in cats, if you’re spending some time with your kitty, you’ll be able to notice some behavioral changes, and act as early as possible or inform your vet if you can’t handle it

How Do I Know My Cat has Eaten Hair Tie?

Your cat may ignore hair tie chewing. Stool issues may affect your cat due to intestinal obstruction.

Your cat may be vomiting, constipated, irritable, or lethargic while playing with hair ties and not eating anything weird. Inform your vet.

What to Do if Your Cat Ingest a Hair Tie

Check cat waste until the hair tie is passed. Your cat will pass the hair knot if it is eating, drinking, and acting normally in a week.

The hair knot will appear in the cat’s waste after a few days, possibly shattered. Continue checking until the hair tie has passed and your cat is healthy.

Is It Bad For Cats To Play With Hair Ties?

Hair ties can cause intestinal obstruction, necessitating surgery to save your cat.

Under continual supervision, cats without PiCA or OCD can play with wool-like objects like hair ties. Avoid giving your cat hair ties, but wool-like rodents or wands work, right? Preventing toys and objects your cat could swallow is crucial.

Can Cats Poop Out Hair Ties?

Cats could pass hair ties sometimes, however, you may not get that much time, and symptoms could develop much earlier. But if your cat is in luck, there will be no issues passing the hair ties with its poop—minor irritation may occur. Constipation, lethargy, and depression are pointers to getting your veterinarian involved immediately so your cat’s health won’t deteriorate completely.

Can cats die from eating a hair tie?

Yes, hair tie could obstruct the gut, impacting the gut walls — leading to leakage of fecal matter from the abdomen—which can cause peritonitis. Even if treatments are provided, peritonitis could cause your cat’s life. The earlier the hair tie is discovered, the better for your pet.

Other Things that Could be Dangerous to Your Cat

Knowing what additional risky things your cat consumes will help you control odd eating habits. This collection shows cats’ non-edible passion.

Electric cords

Although stupid, cats love electric lines because they bounce like rubber bands.

Cats can be electrocuted by chewing thin, uninsulated cables.

Cut unnecessary wires. Use wireless keyboards, mouse, and chargers. Cover wire with split loom tubing or cat-unpleasing spices or citrus (unrecommended).


Cats love ribbons
Credit @istockphotos

I let my new kitten play with ribbons, which might block its stomach and intestines if consumed.

Vets warn this linear foreign object can cause infection and intestine tears, leaking gut into the abdomen.

Holiday gifts may make your cat eat ribbons. If you suspect this, take him to the clinic.

Plastic bags

Cats and plastic bags
Credit @istockphoto

Cats are known to love plastic bags. They scratch, hide, and consume them. Plastic bag texture, sound, and chemicals delight your cat.

Cats love plastic bags’ texture, so playing with them is safe. To prevent bowel obstructions, don’t let your cat eat or swallow a plastic bag.


Several theories exist. Cats hunt hair ties. They may view the elastic as a snake or other small animal and be drawn in. Another possibility is that cats enjoy eating hair ties. Crinkly sounds relax them.

There are several ways to stop your cat from eating hair ties. Keep hair ties away or give your cat pet-safe chew toys.

Your adorable home cat may like playing with you or his favorite rubber or hair tie. If you can’t watch, don’t let him play with one. Your cat ate string, wool, rubber, or toys in that range? See a vet.


I am Joshua kaynard, an avid cat lover. Our pets provide an excellent way of connecting with nature; I am committed to helping you understand all the aspects of your feline friend's life. Enjoy!

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