The execute command lets you parse and execute a string as a Vim command. For example, the two following statements will produce equivalent results:
echo animal . ' says hello'execute 'echo ' . animal . ' says hello'
You can use normal to execute keys just like the user would in normal mode. For instance, if you wanted to search for a word cat and delete it, you could do this:
Running normal like this will respect the user's mappings, so if you want to ignore custom mappings, you could use normal!: