Why pets must be supervised with their toys

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Why pets must be supervised with their toys

Updated Dec 21, 2021

Dear Cathy,

I look forward to your weekly column in my paper, however, I’m afraid I must disagree with your mention of foam and aluminum foil as good toys for our cats to play with. Foam is easily bitten into and swallowed, as is aluminum foil, both of which can cause intestinal problems and blocked colon (where the object can’t be passed). Aluminum foil is also deadly. Ask any veterinarian and they will agree with the dangers. In fact, most cat toys out there are harmful to cats. Pom-pom balls and feathered toys should be used under close supervision. 

If the consumer reads the warning label on our cat toys, they would see that it says under warning, “product could cause harm if ingested.” The best toys are handmade crafted organic pet toys made in Chesterton, Indiana.  I’ve bought my cat toys from them for many years, and my “girls” are purrfectly happy and safe, giving their cat-mom peace-of-mind. This “helicopter mom” thanks you for letting me voice my opinion. 

— Bonnie, Demotte, Indiana

Dear Bonnie,

Thanks for your insights. I followed your suggestion that I ask “any veterinarian,” and reached out to the American Veterinary Medical Association. They basically said they have no official policy on cat toys or comments on aluminum foil, and that one should contact their local veterinarian for advice. That doesn’t help us, so I contacted a few veterinarians that I know, and while there are better toys for a cat, aluminum foil balls are not generally a big concern, they say. (They did say never to use foil that had been used with food, since the food smells could be tempting to dogs.)

I also called two national animal groups, but they couldn’t give me a definitive answer either. If I hear something in the next few weeks from these groups or from readers that contradict my comments here, I will follow up on this topic. 

In the meantime, almost every toy on the market has a tag on it that says the item could be harmful if ingested. Anything eaten in large amounts, including food, can cause an intestinal blockage.

Of course, if one has a cat that likes to bite or rip things apart, an aluminum foil ball is not a good choice for a toy. While cats are less likely than dogs to chew apart and swallow their toys, there are a few felines that are up to the task. All dogs and cats should be supervised when playing with their toys, and the toys should be taken away if they start to eat or destroy them.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to cathy@petpundit.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal

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Cathy Rosenthal (aka The Pet Pundit), CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 35 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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