Don't Eat That!

August 9, 2018

Cat Bite

We all know that dogs will eat anything, while cats are notoriously finicky eaters. However, cats seemingly have the ability to turn any object into a toy. Straws, bits of foil, dental floss, paper bags whatever they can get their paws on can be turned into a toy. While it can be cute to see a cat batting at a ribbon hanging from a gift, it's important to always keep a close eye on what your cat has access to.

Cats like to experience their environment through taste and may swallow objects that they are playing with, sometimes resulting in a life-threatening situation requiring surgery. Foreign bodies can pierce or block intestines. Objects may also become embedded in the tongue, palate, or nasal cavity. Our doctors have surgically removed a whole host of items including hair bands, kids toys, dress straps, sewing needles, fish hooks with and without the line, earplugs, $0.21 in change, buttons, a marble, an action figurehead, a baby bottle nipple, erasers, cellophane candy wrappers, twist ties and clips from bread wrappers, ribbon on a balloon (once even with the Happy Birthday balloon still inflated and attached!), needles, thread, and small cat toys.

There are many ways that you can protect your cat from these situations. It is important to scrutinize cat toys before you buy them, beware of pieces that could be bitten off and swallowed. Toys with strings longer than three inches or small bells that could be ingested are not a good idea.

  • Wand toys with long strings are great fun for a cat but should only be played with under supervision and out of your cat's reach when you're not around.
  • Ribbon, string, yarn, rubber bands, or other such items should be kept away from curious cats.
  • Make sure dental floss is never left lying around as it is particularly risky for a cat.
  • Keep craft and hobby items (scrapbooking, fishing lines, hooks, etc.) in drawers or cupboards where your cats can't get to them.
  • Plastic bags can also be an issue for some cats, so keep those tucked away too.
  • Covering or concealing your wastebaskets is always a good idea.

Mostly, it is important to know the risks and the signs to look for.

A cat that has swallowed a foreign body might have vomiting, lethargy, hiding, inappetence, or licking its lips (a sign of nausea). If you suspect that your cat may have ingested a non-food item, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.