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I was about to buy a balance ball to do some workouts in my living room. Has anyone kept a ball like this inflated where their cats had access to it? I'm worried that they may be able to pop it (startling them, perhaps damaging their hearing, and leaving shards of rubber that they may chew/eat until I discover it).

I normally keep my cats claws trimmed, but our ex-hoarder cat is skittish and doesn't get trimmed as often as she should.

large green rubber ball with textured nubs and "GAIAM" printed on it, a pump to inflate it, and a workout DVD

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I had one, while also having two cats who aren't declawed. They were mostly scared of the giant ball, so I never had a problem with it. In fact, from some research, it seems the most common reaction to a ball like this is fear and avoidance.

However, I have read that for a number of people, the balance balls have been attacked by cats and deflated. They don't pop (I know this from accidentally puncturing one with a push pin), they just kind of deflate. You can theoretically repair it with a tire repair kit like you would use for bicycle tires, but like most home repair solutions, you are doing that at your own risk.

As far as a risk for your cat, the most I can see really happening is they cause it to deflate, and they get hit with the air hissing out, but I can't see that really being harmful, other than perhaps being a deterrent from ever interacting with the ball again.

Also, for what it is worth, when I did some brief searching, the brand of ball in your picture comes the most recommended by people on the internet who have cats and also have an exercise ball. There have been claims it is cat proof, but lacking any real evidence from the manufacturer, or hard science to back it up, I would assume any ball can be at risk of deflation from a cat attack.

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  • their claws could get stuck in the material and get pulled out – ratchet freak Jan 29 '14 at 9:19
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    @ratchetfreak I think that would be highly unlikely, considering the material - my cat has gotten his claws stuck in all sorts of material (rubber, fabric, etc, etc) and never been stuck to the point where that would be a problem. – Ash Jan 29 '14 at 21:12
  • if it twists around then the claws might get stuck, my get gets his claws stuck in a blanket all the time – ratchet freak Jan 29 '14 at 22:04
  • I have the Gaiam ball shown and it is not cat-proof. My cat put a sizable hole in it during a climb, leading a slow deflation. Claw did not stuck. – Mark Stosberg Jan 7 '15 at 13:00
  • Mine immediately failed when my cat touched it. Deflated in 1/10 of 1 second. – John Moser Feb 2 at 19:40
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Good quality exercise balls are made of relatively thick material with PVC plastic (vinyl) the most important, if not the only ingredient, in the mix. The material is designed not to burst even when punctured.

A cat's claws are like needles. A puncture, if they ever manage to reach fully through the ball material, will just deflate the ball slowly without a loud hiss, not a loud "bang" and certainly no shreds lying around.

Exercise ball (or Swiss ball, balance ball, fitness ball, pilates ball) manufacturers do not recommend repairing a punctured ball for safety reasons. A broken ball should be replaced with new. The ball is designed to let you do all your exercises safely and without fear of the ball bursting out under you, and will be quite safe for your cats too.

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  • Ah, I didn't know it wasn't recommended - everyone I talked to when mine broke suggested it as an alternative to a new ball, but I can see how it might not be the best idea. – Ash Jan 29 '14 at 6:28
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    The people selling the balls are biased against repair. The article you linked to describes a risk of a "blow out", but even a large-ish hole from a cat claw slowly deflates... from experience. – Mark Stosberg Jan 7 '15 at 13:03
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I have had 3 balls punctured by cats stretching out and unwittingly flexing claws while I was sitting on them! The last ball even had a "heavy-duty" skin. The leaks are slow, but unrepairable. I finally got smart and now drape a blanket over the ball even while in use.

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My ball is kept in a space between furniture to keep it still and my kitten was obsessed with trying to climb on it. I went to use it recently and noticed it looked a bit low on air. On sitting on it I could hear a hissing noise and have found where the kitten's claw has punctured the ball. It only seems to be deflating very slowly so I don't think a puncture would startle your cat however it may be worth storing the ball out of your cats way to avoid damage to it

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Yes. Your cat can and probably will destroy your balance ball. I have a gaiam ball for a yoga ball chair. My cat has made it unusable. Repair is somewhat futile.

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