Q: I read an article that strings are dangerous for cats, but toys with string are all over the pet store. Are they safe or not?
A: Kittens and cats love playing with string, as well as ribbon and anything that twists and dances. They like to stalk, to pounce, to flip their slender prey into the air, and to start stalking again. That's all good, clean fun, but there's always a chance that your cat won't stop with play and will decide to eat his plaything. And that's where the fun stops, because any sort of string can wreak havoc in your cat's intestines, causing a problem that may need to be surgically treated.
That's why string toys, such as the popular "cat fishing poles" or other kitty lures, are meant for interactive use only. Once you're done playing the game with your cat or kitten, put the toy securely out of reach behind a cupboard or closet door.
Toys probably aren't even the biggest risk in most homes. If you knit or sew, put your supplies securely away after you're done with them, and if you're opening or wrapping packages, clean up after you're done. Packing material such as foam "peanuts" can be a health hazard for your pet, too.
Even if your pet's not really the playful type, she may find one kind of string irresistible: juice-soaked string from a roast or turkey. Dispose of these tempting dangers carefully, putting them in a container your cat can't get into.
— Dr. Marty Becker