Why we don't use cotton rope!

Posted on March 17, 2014

I’m often asked why I don’t use cotton rope on any of my animal toys, people will often comment ‘but it’s cheaper’ and ‘everyone else uses it’ but the basic fact is cotton rope is not safe! Being a 'business' that prides itself on providing only safe feed, toys, and habitat items it made no sense to me to use such a dangerous product.

‘Why is cotton rope so dangerous’ you may be asking… There are many answers to this question but they all relate to how fine, soft, and flexible the fibres are. Cotton rope separates out into dozens of long, fine cotton threads, these threads can get wrapped around claws, toes, legs, feet, wings, tails, bodies, and necks which can result in cuts, broken bones, loss of limb, or even loss of life.

In addition to external injuries cotton rope can cause serious, even fatal internal injury also, in birds cotton rope is one of the most common sudden killers; on necropsy of a much loved pet that has died suddenly it is not unusual for vets to find large wads of cotton fibres blocking up the crop. In small mammals, like your average bouncy bunny, it is not unheard of for pets to choke on the fibres which can lead to death by asphyxiation as the airway cannot open while the oesophagus is blocked and small mammals cannot vomit to clear their oesophagus.

Another common side effect of cotton fibre ingestion is bowel blockages or bowel prolapse. Cotton fibres can ball up and create a stopping point in the bowel which stops digestion and leads to stasis and bloat. Fibres can wind their way through the gut and pull the intestine out of its normal shape, or can fold the bowel into itself, this is a prolapse. Blockages and prolapses are usually fatal as they are difficult to identify, vets will often try other methods of getting your pets bowel moving before performing surgery to search for a blockage or prolapse which can mean it is too late by the time the problem is found, and fixed, to save your pet.

I understand my stance on not using cotton rope may put people off buying from me in favour of cheaper toys that are made from cotton rope but that is an individual’s choice, however, I could not in good concience sleep at night if I sold products that were in anyway harmful or, in the case of cotton rope, known to be fatal.