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My Cat Ate String! What to Do Now

“Don’t eat that!” How many times a day is that question directed at your cat?

There’s no doubt cats love string and yarn (and anything that looks remotely like string or yarn). As fun as it can be for them to play with, string and material like it can be quite dangerous to their health. Here’s what you need to know if your cat swallows it!

How to Tell If Your Cat Ate String

If you didn’t witness your cat chomping on string during playtime, you might not know right away that she swallowed something she wasn’t supposed to. In some cases, you may never know it occurred because your cat can pass it on her own.

When it doesn’t pass on its own, there can be serious consequences, but you will see signs of an obstruction (bunching up in the intestines). Look out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Problems going to the bathroom
  • Not eating
  • Not wanting you to touch her stomach

What If You See the String?

You may be able to see the string in your cat’s mouth or later, coming out of your cat’s anus when she attempts to pass it. Never try to take the string out of your cat’s mouth. It could cause serious damage to her digestive tract, as you don’t know how long it is and whether it’s wrapped around something internally.

If you see string hanging out of your cat’s back end, don’t pull on it. The best solution is to carefully trim it and contact your veterinarian. Even trying to gently pull it out could cause damage to your cat’s intestines.

Your Cat Ate String: What to Do Now

If you notice any of the symptoms above, whether you know your cat ate string or just suspect it, go to the vet. Their care will ensure the string doesn’t cause more serious issues.

What Can the Vet Do?

If the string is wrapped around your cat’s tongue, it can be removed by your veterinarian.

If the string was swallowed completely, your veterinarian may order X-rays, blood tests, extra fluids, medication, or an endoscopy. They may also induce your cat to vomit, but this only works if the string has not passed further into your kitty’s digestive tract.

In more serious cases, your cat may require surgery.

You should never attempt any of these solutions at home.

cat ate string

Be Watchful!

Cats, just like dogs, can sometimes get into things they’re not supposed to. Just like string, these are items you’ll want to keep out of their reach:

  • Yarn
  • Ribbon
  • Tinsel
  • Rubber bands
  • Dangling toys (With supervision, these are generally fine!)
  • Feathers
  • Paper clips
  • Dental floss

It’s important to use judgment when giving your cats new toys. If you’re not sure about a toy’s safety, check the reviews and ask your veterinarian. It’s a good idea to avoid toys:

  • That have dangling strings or other items
  • That have eyes that can be easily removed
  • That are extremely small and can be easily swallowed

Sometimes food and plants looks like fun to a cat! Here are some things that definitely aren’t cat food:

  • Caffeine
  • Medications
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Aloe
  • Mistletoe
  • Poinsettia
  • Antifreeze
  • Detergents
  • Insect bait
  • Chicken bones

This is a short list of the things that can have negative consequences for your cat. If you suspect she ate a poisonous or dangerous item, contact your vet immediately. You can also call Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435.

Safe Toys for Your Cat

While there are items that are not safe for your cat, there are plenty of great playthings! And they don’t always have to be labeled as “cat toys!” Here are some great toys, homemade or store bought, your kitty can enjoy.

String—and material like it—is never a good idea for cats, dogs, or any other pet, but if your cat ate something she wasn’t supposed to—or you suspect she did—it’s time to visit your veterinarian. The sooner the item is discovered, the easier it may be to get out.

If your cat swallows string or eats another foreign object, please give us a call at 281-693-7397, or bring your pet to our hospital located at 2519 Cinco Park Place in Katy, especially if your cat is already displaying symptoms. If it’s an emergency, we can assist over the phone and at the office, even if you don’t have an appointment.

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The Team @ Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital

Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital serves Katy, TX and the surrounding areas with a dedication and passion for our animal friends that is unmatched. Our veterinarians are highly trained, experienced, and compassionate when it comes to giving your pet the care they deserve. If your companion is in need of emergency care, a dental cleaning, grooming, or just a check-up, we would love to see them! Call 281-693-7387 to make an appointment quickly and easily.

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