Sign Up for Cat Talk
Get the latest health and behavior news and
advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.


The Cat-Crinkle Connection

Excerpt from The Cat Behavior Answer Book from Arden Moore

Q My cat can be snoozing, but if I take a piece of paper or cellophane or foil and form it into a wad, she instantly wakes up and looks like she is ready for a hunt. She loves crinkly sounds and will run after a paper ball if I toss it down the hallway. If I rattle a paper grocery bag, she comes running. She will actually jump inside the bag if I leave it on the floor. What’s the big attraction of crinkly-sounding objects for cats?

A Even though these everyday household items are inanimate, the crinkling sounds they produce mimic the high-pitched chatter of birds, crickets, mice, and rats, thereby triggering a cat’s predatory response. Your cat’s imagination is fully engaged as she pretends these items are the real deal. You are giving her the chance to hone her hunting skills and show off a bit in front of you.

Some cats show the same interest in shiny objects. A few breeds, specifically Manx, Japanese Bobtails, and Munchkins, have a tendency to collect and hoard glittery objects, such as jewelry and silver coins, and stash them in strange places, such as inside a shoe or underneath a recliner.

To learn more about your cat’s behavior, purchase The Cat Behavior Answer Book from Catnip.

Comments (3)

watch out for foil balls, too. I found fragments of foil all over the house after a play session with my cats. Also, many cat toys have small bells and string attached to them. What are the manufacturers thinking? .

Posted by: Jan | June 11, 2018 9:37 AM    Report this comment

I want to add mylar to the list. I see a lot of wad toys with mylar streamers and we have had rescue kittens who ingested broken off bits and pieces. As the previous comment stated it only takes one time.and kittens are especially vulnerable.

Posted by: Mi Sun's Mom | December 25, 2016 9:13 AM    Report this comment

Beware of cellophane. My kitten swallowed a piece of cellophane and became very ill. Of course it doesn't show up on X-ray because it is transparent. After several days in the hospital she returned home and while feeding her broth, she vomited up the cellophane. We were just lucky that it came up because she was not eating and rapidly losing weight. The next step was going to be surgery because her gastrointestinal system was so irritated that she was at risk.
My dad had tossed cellophane to our cats for years with no problem but all you need is one time, especially if the packaging smells of food. Stay with toys too large to ingest.

Posted by: | December 19, 2016 9:28 AM    Report this comment

New to Tufts Catnip? Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In