Cats and Strings

In Health Tips on April 8, 2013 at 10:50 am

As a cat owner you are very well aware how much your feline friend LOVES to play with strings, hair ties, dental floss, yarn, basically anything that is long and moves in the wind! Many cat toys consist of a thin piece of wood or plastic with a toy attached to the end by some sort of string material. Cats love these. But, have you ever thought about what happens when your cat accidentally eats that string?

photo (3) copyWhy String is Bad:

When a cat ingests a string-like material it causes what’s called a linear foreign body. Usually what tends to happen is one end of the string is in the small intestines while the other end is still in the mouth. The string is taking over a good portion of the gastrointestinal system.

When you notice this is a problem is when you see the string in your cat’s mouth or coming out the other end. The first instinct for many cat owners is to pull it. DON’T! This is where it gets tricky. If you pull the string out, it could saw away at parts of the GI system and possibly rupture the intestines. This could lead to a very sick cat.

What to do:

Take your cat to the vet, as soon as you can. Try and determine exactly what your cat ate. Was it part of a toy? Yarn? Whatever the material is, bring what you can with to the vet so they can determine how long the material might be. Your vet may want to scope the esophagus and stomach prior to any surgery to get a good feeling of how far the string goes.

Your vet will have to surgically remove the string if it extends past the stomach into the intestines. If the string only extends through the esophagus your vet may feel comfortable scoping out the material—a non-surgical procedure.

Whichever way it goes, something needs to be done. String is a material that does not just pass because cats tend to eat more than a few inches.


If you have toys containing string-like material, remember to put those toys out of reach when you’re not around. If you keep yarn, sewing material, or anything else in the ‘string’ category make sure your cat does not have access to it. Cats are curious animals. If it looks fun and they can play with it, they might chew on it. When this happens cats sometimes ingest it.

Just keep sting away from your pet. What are things your cat enjoys to play with? Ever see them chew on it? Be careful and remember to never pull a string from your cat!

Comment, post, question, and learn. Lets connect!



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