Toy safety


Q: My cat, Penny, has a wand toy with a small bell and some feathers at the end of a barely visible string. I worry that she will be able to tear off the bell and swallow it. Are there any groups that review pet toys for safety, exploring design and materials?

Joanne Solet
Cambridge, Massachusetts


Dear Ms. Solet,

A: Before we answer your question, please don’t let your cat play with that toy anymore. Any toy small enough for your pet to swallow is a toy she shouldn’t have. Other things that shouldn’t be used as toys for your cat:

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  • string, yarn, ribbon, or dental floss
  • paper clips
  • rubber bands
  • plastic bags
  • toys with small parts inside

All of these could end up as dangerous intestinal obstructions, choking hazards, or instruments of suffocation or strangulation. Some of them could “stab” your cat from the inside.

As far as organizations that review pet toys for safety, there’s the Center for Pet Safety (, an independent testing group outside of Washington, DC. But so far they have focused only on certain toys for dogs, along with crates and harnesses for keeping dogs safe during car rides. 

We will expand upon cat toy safety in a future issue.


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