cat q tip

Why Does My Cat Like Q Tips? Is It Safe?

Last Updated on January 31, 2023 by admin

It’s the curse of every cat parent. Instead of the expensive cat toy with rave reviews that your cat won’t even look at, your cat will not stop bothering you the second you grab a fresh Q-tip until you throw it on the floor. The second you give it a Q-tip the cat will juggle, chase, and catch it until they’re exhausted. It’s amazing what a cat can do with their tiny paws and a Q-tip.

It’s a bittersweet feeling to see your cat worked up into a frenzy of excitement, meowing at your and pawing your leg with pupils dilated. All for a cotton swab on a tiny stick of dubious safety.

We’ve all been there.



Cats Like Weird Things

I can’t count the number of times I got a new cat toy only for it to collect dust. But my cat loves Q-tips. She also loves the plastic wrappers that seal supplement bottles. I can peel one off in the distance and my cat will instantly be at my feet looking up in excitement. She also loves wire twists that come with the random USB cables included with most gadgets. She also plays fetch with roasted coffee beans. Most toys, nope, except a cat wand with a fuzzy bug attached to a wire string. It would be a great way to save money but none of these things are truly pet safe and require supervision.

Why Do Cats Like Q-tips In Particular?

In general cats seem to like small objects that have some unexpected movement when they paw it. Q-tips are hard to grasp and move around when cats touch it. It adds a bit of randomness that cats love. Q-tips also catch in weird places and cats love fishing them out and juggling them into another weird spot. It’s a never-ending cycle and cats can keep going until they finally get exhausted or bored.

Ear Wax, the Secret Ingredient

Nowadays most people know that you shouldn’t clean your ears with Q-tips because it can cause earwax compaction by pushing the earwax deeper into your ear canal. But a lot of people still use them to clean their ears anyway. Q-tips and earwax are a potent combo for cats because cats also love earwax. It’s not just human earwax either. Cats are known to eat their own earwax whenever they clean their own ears. They might even eat another cat’s earwax while helping another cat clean their ears. It’s something about the smell and proteins (dead skin cells, fatty secretions, etc. — yuck) in the earwax that is enticing to the cat.

Many cat owners struggle with this once their cat gets a taste of earwax covered Q-tips. Many have to get a lid for their bathroom garbage bin and keep their Q-tips stashed in a cabinet because if they leave them on the counter near the sink they might never see those Q-tips again. Some owners even stumble across their cat’s stash of dirty and used Q-tips while cleaning the house.

So Are Q-tips Safe for Your Cat?

This is the big question. In general no. Because there’s still a freak chance your cat can swallow a whole Q-tip. If you have cats stay away from the Q-tips with plastic stems because those are the worst. Try to get ones that are organic and made with biodegradable material if you can. Although there are some safety risks, for most cats you can probably let them have their Q-tip with light supervision, especially if they’re not big on chewing the Q-tips. But if you want to be safe, don’t leave Q-tips lying around the house. If your cat nags you for a Q-tip just give them one and throw it away in a secure trash can once they’ve had their fun. As much as your cat loves these things they are not designed for cats and not made of cat safe materials. If your cat swallows a Q-tip you could end up with a medical emergency on your hands so it’s always better to be safe and limit their access.

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