We who shower love, affection, adoration, and obedience on our cats like to create as rich an environment as we can for them. This usually means scratching posts, trees, ledges and toys. Lots and lots of toys. However, not all toys are good for our cats.
Many of us know by now that it's not a good idea to give our cats string to play with, particularly alone. Cats can swallow string, which can cause blockages in their digestive tracts. It can cause other serious problems also, like infections, ruptures, bunching of the intestines, and more. But what of other cat toys?
According to a recent study, plastic toys containing BPA and phthalates can be quite toxic to dogs. In fact, these things are toxic to people, too. They're known endocrine disruptors that imitate estrogen, or act like anti-androgens. So it's safe to conclude that plastic toys can be toxic to cats, also.
BPA and phthalates can also have an effect on a developing litter, and on newborns. The FDA banned the use of BPA in human baby bottles in 2013. It's better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your cats and kittens and try and keep them away from BPA.
So what's a loving cat person to do? Increasing numbers of toys labeled "BPA-free" are out there. You can also look for toys made out of natural rubber, instead of plastic. If you want to know what all can be toxic to your pets and your family, check out this website.
Or you can avoid both string and plastic toys altogether, and make your own. Some cats react to spearmint, peppermint and valerian root the same as they do catnip. If you make peppermint tea, for instance, you can dry out the used tea bag, place it in a brown paper lunch bag, and crumple that up. Some cats go crazy for that.
You can also do that with dried catnip if your cat doesn't go for any other spices. Also, empty wooden thread spools, boxes, or really big scrunchies (that your cat can't swallow) are all good toys as well.
The bottom line is, we all want to do the best we can for our cats. So try and avoid plastic toys for your cats that might contain BPA and phthalates. Your cat and his health may thank you for it later.