Why Do Cats Like Rubber Bands?

Last updated on December 12th, 2021

Pet owners will scour the internet in search of the perfect items to buy for their furry friends and will be so excited when the day that their purchase finally arrives only to be confused and maybe even a little disappointed when their cat decides that the box their new goodies came in just might be more fun to play with. 

But cats don’t just have an attraction to the packaging that their things come in, oh no. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably noticed that your hair ties and rubber bands go missing more often than you can find them, and the culprit is always your cat.

I’ve even caught her climbing up onto my nightstand and the bathroom counter searching for any strays that I’ve left lying around.

Every time I see my cat running around with a rubber band or a hair tie, it brings up a ton of questions.

Why does she, and other cats, seem to like them so much? Is it something about the rubber band, or is there some part of cats’ instincts that draws them to play with the hair ties? And is it safe for my cat to play with rubber bands and hair ties? 

Cats like playing with rubber bands and hair ties because they’re attracted to small objects with jerky movements that doesn’t fight back since they can be easily smacked and flung around the house.

Cat playing with hair tie 01 08 2021

Are cats instinctually drawn to rubber bands and hair ties?

Cats, as a species, are pretty unique! One thing that makes them different from other animals is that they can be classified as both prey and predatory animals.

A predatory animal will hunt other species to feed off of, while a prey animal gets hunted by the predatory species.

Because cats are a predatory species, they have natural hunting instincts.

This is why you’ll see your cat jumping and climbing around the house at high altitudes- so they can survey the land they live in for things to hunt.

There are a few different things that can trigger a cat’s instinctual nature to hunt. Cats will be drawn to anything that is small and could easily be a meal if alive.

Things that squeak will instantly drive a cat to start a “pawly investigation”, however, quick and jerky movements will also get a cat ready to pounce, and that’s where rubber bands and hair ties come into play.

When a cat sees a rubber band or a hair tie, they don’t just see something simple with everyday use.

They see something elusive and jumpy, begging to be batted at and played with.

Rubber bands and hair ties are lightweight, too, so cats can easily toss them around in the air and chase after them.

Cats love the opportunity to flex their natural hunting skills, and playing with things like rubber bands will do just that.

Not only is it a great and enjoyable time for cats, but it’s also very mentally and physically stimulating for them!

Is there anything about rubber bands that are interesting to cats?

Knowing that cats can be instinctually drawn to rubber bands and hair ties is one thing, but they’ve got to be other reasons that cats love playing with these inanimate objects, right?

Well, yes! You see, cats have a very strong and keen sense of smell. They can smell and sense things that humans can’t.

That being said, some of the rubber bands and hair ties that you have around your house might be made of a material that has a scent that is intriguing to cats.

One sniff of these bands and your cat might be hooked!

Another reason that cats may be so drawn to playing with rubber bands and hair ties is something that many people might not suspect at first.

Cats, like people, can become stressed. I know, that may sound hard to believe at first, but it’s true.

Stress in cats can be caused by many things, and one way that cats will try to relieve their stress is by chewing on things.

The soft and rubbery material of rubber bands and hair ties make for the perfect stress reliever for your feline pets.

A third reason why cats find rubber bands and hair ties so attractive to play with is simply because they’re fun!

Rubber bands and everything like them can be flung around the house and are easy to chase.

They’re small and can be easily concealed, which means that cats can hoard them with no trouble. 

Are rubber bands and hair ties safe for cats to play with?

Even though cats need to play and hunt so that they remain physically and mentally stimulated, there’s always the question of whether or not the things that cats play with are safe for them to use as toys.

The best toy options for cats are going to be those that are created with cats in mind like mouses, balls, and tunnels that you can find at the local pet store. 

When it comes to rubber bands and hair ties, and other toys, it’s important to look at every aspect of the item to determine if it’s safe or not.

The first thing any cat owner is going to want to look at is what the rubber band or hair tie is made out of.

Some materials aren’t safe for cats to ingest or play around with within their mouth.

Another thing you’re going to need to look at to decide if it’s safe for your cat to play with her favorite rubber band or hair tie toy is the size.

Cats can be mischievous little creatures, and they can get themselves into trouble pretty quickly if they eat things like yarn, rubber bands, hair ties, and certain fabrics.

If your cat is playing with a smaller-sized rubber band or hair tie, it would be in her best interest for you to take it away and replace it with a safer toy option. 

If you notice that your cat’s behavior or normal mannerisms start to change after playing with a rubber band or hair tie, you should immediately consult your vet.

Some serious dangers can come from eating things like rubber bands and hair ties including backing up the intestines which can be fatal if not treated. 

Are there safer alternatives to rubber bands and hair ties for cats to play with?

If you’re like me, you’re devoted to protecting your cat from any danger and making sure that they’re as healthy as they can be.

Knowing that it can be dangerous and potentially deadly for cats to play with rubber bands and hair ties, you might be wondering if there are similar toys that would be better for your cat to have.

Nobody wants to take their cat’s favorite toy away, but the last thing anyone needs is for their cat to become ill due to their choice of toy.

Lucky for you and all cat owners, there are some safer alternatives to rubber bands and hair ties! 

The few items listed below are great toy alternatives for cats to play with.

  • Feather and string cat toy
  • Mouse toy
  • Prey wand teaser toy
  • Medium-sized bouncy balls
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