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Your cat's toys could be made of this 'poison plastic' material — here's how to find out and what to replace them with

Plastic makes up a shocking amount of cat toys available online and in stores.

poison plastic Cat toys

Photo Credit: iStock

Play and mental stimulation are vital to the well-being of your cat (and it saves your furniture from getting destroyed). The problem is the toys most accessible to cat owners may be doing more harm than good, especially when it comes to your kitty's nine lives.

What makes cat toys harmful?

Besides the more obvious choking or strangulation hazards of small, bite-sized, and stringy toys, another dangerous culprit is hiding within the material of your cat's toys. The same plastic choking the planet can also threaten your kitty's health.

Unlike most children's products in the U.S., there isn't a regulatory body that ensures pet toys are free from toxins and safe for our furry friends. 

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) got the nickname "poison plastic" because it tends to leach its toxic ingredients, and it's unfortunately common in pet toys. Pet toy makers often add phthalates to soften and bisphenol-A (BPA) to harden pet products. 

The dangers these ubiquitous chemicals pose to our pets are still not fully understood, though some evidence suggests a connection between BPA and thyroid disease in cats. 

Human and other mammal studies can also reveal the potential dangers of these chemicals. Findings conclude that BPA is also neurotoxic and carcinogenic, and several health problems are linked to phthalates. 

There is still so much we don't know about plastic ingredients BPA and phthalates. So we, as pet parents, should be super selective about the products we use for our beloved feline friends.

Why choose non-plastic cat toys?

Plastic makes up a shocking amount of cat toys available online and in stores — from hard plastic bell balls to soft catnip toys made of polyester. And each poses a potential threat to your pet's health and safety.

Rigid plastic toys can wear down or even break your cat's teeth, especially if they like to chew on their toys.

As for softer toys, kitties can accidentally swallow them. Your cat's barbed tongue that helps them groom can also velcro to the synthetic fibers of soft, stuffed toys and cause them to ingest these particles.

"Once swallowed, the toy can then cause serious problems if not recognized and treated quickly," explained Dr. Katarina Luther, DVM and owner of the Cat Care Clinic. This often leads to expensive surgery that can put your kitty at risk.

Are there any substitutes?

When looking for cat toys that are safer for your feline friend and the planet, look for products made from natural ingredients like hemp, cotton, and wool. You can also make toys for your kitty, from simple felted wool toys to a cat playground from recycled materials.

The best thing you can do for your kitty's safety is to supervise them during playtime.

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