My 3 year old neutered female cat has gone mental on playing with silicone earplugs. They are small, chewy, yellow things you put in your ears to block out noise.

My cat thinks they are THE BEST THING EVER.

If I have one in my hand, she meows, jumps and slaps it out of my hand. When I give her one, she plays for hours and hours until collapsing of exhaust. There are probably a thousand of them under the bed and various places she slaps them into then attempting to grab them, pushes them deeper. Cats, go figure.

The problem is that she won't play with any of her other toys. She ignores catnip and catnip toys. I got her one of those ball in tunnel with holes to poke around, but in vain - she is absolutely not interested.

If she doesn't get an earplug, she will meow, act depressed and sometimes get anxious and be aggressive.

I don't want my little darling to get depressed, but I fear she may swallow and choke or eat and get an intestinal blockage or something of the sorts.

  • I have a cat that goes bonkers when I open the drawer beside my bed that contains earplugs. Maybe I'm a bad mom, but she has played with foam earplugs for 3 years and never eats them. I guess don't get them started on these things if you can help it, but I tend to think that they aren't interested in eating their toys.
    – user6439
    Jan 7, 2016 at 5:55

5 Answers 5


James Jenkins' answer is very near what I would have suggested, but I see from your comment that you've tried alternative toys with little success.

Before I go on, I want to repeat what James said about the existing headphones: get rid of them. All of them. Keeping your cat entertained isn't worth the risk of an intestinal blockage.

Since new toys haven't worked for you, try creating safer versions of the preferred toy. Find something made out of safer material that is of a size and shape similar to the earplug. In fact, a cat treat or piece of dry cat food tied to a string may work, and could conceivably be even more attractive to the cat than the earplug.

If food doesn't work, try other small objects of a safe material. If you can entice your cat to play with something different, even briefly, you will eventually be able to get your cat to forget the earplugs altogether.

Just be sure to not leave the string itself unattended where the cat could possibly get to it; an ingested string can be very dangerous if it becomes tangled in the intestines (we had a cat that the vet suspected of doing that, and we wound up having extensive surgery to address the concern).

  • 1
    Yeah I will try making a safer toy using those things. Thank you both for the suggestion.
    – Discipol
    Jan 29, 2014 at 18:23

As a general rule, not giving your pet objects to play with that may be harmful to them is a good practice. So "the fix" is to clean up all the earplugs that are in the house, and stop bringing in more. Throw them out at the job site, or leave them in your vehicle in the future.

Given your current conditions, doing the clean up on Friday night would be best, this will allow you the weekend to address (or redirect) any behavior that develops. A new safe toy, should be purchased beforehand. A soft ball or toy mouse possibly with catnip in it might make a good replacement. You may want to purchase several possible replacement toys, before the clean up.

I am assuming that for the most part she is getting the ear plugs after you have worn them. There may be some connection to your scent and the 'toy'. If so you many want to take one of the replacement toys to work, with you and keep it close to your body, so that it will be exposed similarly to your scent.

  • I have tried new toys, odd toys, even the faithful laser has let me down :( She is in 7 day dry spell with those so far, still meowing and attacking my feet at night which is messing with my sleep. She used to clank at pigeons at the window for hours but since its winter, there are none to be found.
    – Discipol
    Jan 29, 2014 at 15:44
  • 1
    @Discipol is the scent relationship possible? if so have you tried getting your scent on the toy? Alternatively you might be able to try putting the ear plug in a rubber kong toy so she can not actually get to it, but can chase it to hearts content. Jan 29, 2014 at 17:06

I used to have the same problem with my cat playing with earplugs. I did a search on Amazon for silicone toys to replace it with, since it seemed that he liked that shape and texture.

I came across this, it originally was not made to be used as a cat toy (as you'll read) but it is body safe and cute looking so I decided to buy it. He actually won't put it down. The texture is similar to that of skin and it is flexible so I think he thinks it's a mouse and carries it around, stalking, as if he has just caught his prey.

I know this option might seem weird to people but it's the only (safe) option that's gotten my cat away from non-safe items to play with in the house.

NSFW http://www.amazon.com/Eden-Beginner-Smooth-Silicone-Purple/dp/B00M75RMZ2 NSFW


My 1-year-old kitten is obsessed with earplugs. She plays fetch with them, and cries and cries if she can't have one. She freaks out when I throw them for her and brings them back to mewling until I throw it again. But I worry about intestinal blockage too.

Thinking that it was the foam material that she liked, I took the earplugs away and replaced them with these cat toys. She doesn't like the toys as much as the earplugs, but they are the closest replacement I have found. She will play fetch with them and bring them to me out of nowhere if she is ready to play.

I feel so guilty for taking her greatest joy away, but replacing them with toys did help some. Good luck!


I know this is an old thread, but for anyone reading: PLEASE do not allow your car to play with ear plugs!!! Mine did for a couple of weeks. I usually watched her when she did. One day, while I was at work, my other cat opened the bedroom door. They went in my room, found ear plugs next to my bed, and long story short... this created an intestinal blockage that cost $3500 to repair and almost cost me the life of my cat.

  • 3
    I did throw them away and never bought any since then. She is healthy and playful after 7 years since this thread :D
    – Discipol
    Dec 2, 2020 at 12:03
  • 1
    @Discipol It is extremely rare for people to still be responsive after 7 years and write an update response to get us informed what happened, thanks, it is definitely appreciated.
    – lila
    Dec 2, 2020 at 18:42
  • 2
    @lila No problem :D
    – Discipol
    Dec 2, 2020 at 22:21

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