My cat ate there anything I can do besides wait?

Some background: my Siamese cat has a proclivity for eating all manner of stringlike objects. About 4 years ago (when she was 1 year old), she found some string somewhere and ate it, and it got stuck in her intestines. She required surgery to remove it, which cost me close to $1000 in surgery and follow-up care.

After that event, I’ve been obsessive about keeping stringy things that she can swallow out of her reach. I’m diligent about putting things directly in the trash, not leaving out rubber bands (which she also eats if given the opportunity, but usually barfs back up), etc.

Fast forward to today. I’ve been working on a crocheting project and I’ve been careful about wrapping up the project each night when I’m done, so that she can’t find a loose end of yarn and start snacking. Earlier this afternoon, I put the project aside to take a break, leaving it with no loose ends, but with an exposed loop of yarn between the skein and the project. When I came back to it, she had chewed the loop of yarn in half and had obviously eaten some (the yarn is variegated in color, and the two remaining ends don’t match, hence she’s eaten the intervening color shift).

I gave her some malt laxative (hairball treatment), but I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do to prevent a $1000 recurrence in the meantime besides wait. I already called my vet’s office and they’re closed until Wednesday. My only other option is to take her to an animal hospital, which will cost me inordinate amounts of money for what I’m fairly certain will amount to them advising me to wait it out and bring her back if the yarn doesn’t make an appearance on its own in a few days.

So…is there anything I can do right now?

(guest written by my wife, the Vet)

90% of the time strings such as this pass uneventfully. They are only a problem if one end catches somewhere. The two most likely places an end catches are 1) around the tongue and 2) in the pylorus (bottom) of the stomach. You can open your cat’s mouth and push with your thumb under the chin between the jaw bones (the soft part of the chin directly under the tongue). Pushing this way lifts up the base of the tongue so you can see if your thread is looped around it. If it isn’t looped around the tongue and hanging down the throat then you have ruled out 50% of the areas that the string might hang up. If you DO see the string there, don’t try to pull it out; see your vet.

If the string catches in the stomach, you won’t know until your cat gets sick. I would recommend a poop watch for the string for the next 48 hours. It ought to just pass through. In big dogs some foreign bodies can sit in the stomach for weeks and not pass but cats have such small stomachs and usually either try to pass foreign bodies or vomit them within a 2 day period.

If it has been less than an hour since the cat ate the string, you may want to have your vet induce vomiting as another option.

I usually yawn after I eat.

I would swear the thread title said “My cat ate Yam” not yarn.

What EVER you do-when Kitty starts pooping it out, do NOT pull it out of her bum if you see any strings. Instead, get scissors and try to snip it off very close to the skin.

Our vet told my mother that if you pull on it, you could hurt the cat (something about it getting caught inside the rectum or something)

Of course, only the SDMB would have already tackled this subject! :slight_smile:

Of course every year around Christmas time my cat could be seen with five to six inches of silver tinsel hanging from her bum. Usually, I’d just snip it with scissors. But a couple of times, my wife would say, “what the hell are you doing with that cat, take that tinsel out of her ass…”
She never got it that the cat ingested it, passed it, and couldn’t get rid of it from her bum with out a little help… It’s not a fetish dear, our cat just likes to eat tinsel…

That was 5 years ago…we’ve since switched to more lights, and no tinsel…


Cats don’t like eating this stuff - they are just incapable of spitting it out. They don’t have a gag reflex or something - I forgot all the particulars of cat anatomy. So while a cat may look like it is enjoying the string, it is actually struggling fruitlessly to get the darned thing out of its mouth.

The longer the string ingested, the more dangerous it is to your cat. Seems like it may become entangled (as mentioned above) or maybe just impacted with fecal matter.