New hazard to domestic cats: Nerf darts

There is a new domestic cat hazard on the block and it is Nerf darts. Anybody interested in providing high quality cat caregiving needs to be aware of this problem. If you live with a domestic cat companion and have children this is a genuine hazard to your cat.

There are some horrendous stories from cat caregivers on the Internet at the moment on Nerf darts. You can find them very quickly. Nerf darts are made for a Nerf gun; a kid’s toy. They are basically plastic darts designed to be safe for human use. NERF is an acronym standing for “Non-Expanding Recreational Foam”. It’s believed to be non-toxic in a chemical sense.

The problem is that cats are inquisitive creatures and they like to put things in their mouths. We all know that. And the size of these Nerf darts is about right for a cat to play around with as a toy and then put it in their mouth. They might chew on it and swallow it. It appears that this has happened on numerous occasions.

They can form a blockage in the gut of the cat. Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service have a Facebook post on the topic which I reproduce below. They say that they have not been involved in removing a Nerf dart from the intestines of a cat but they say that the Veterinary Poisons Information Service has reported a cat dying after ingesting a Nerf dart this year.


Many people remember having great fun with NERF guns at some point in their childhood. Invented…

Posted by Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service on Friday, September 18, 2015

Note: This is an embedded FB post. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

On the website, a user has written a distressing post in which she writes that her beautiful cat, Inanna, ate a Nerf dart a few days ago. Her cat threw up most of it but after a couple of days of vomiting she took her cat to the emergency veterinarian. The x-ray was inconclusive because the foam dart doesn’t show up on x-rays. They gave her an enema in the hope and expectation that her cat would pass the remains of the Nerf dart in her faeces as she couldn’t afford the surgery.

After several days her cat was still very weak. She was crying for two days about it. She believed that her cat was going to die. She warns people to please be aware of Nerf darts. Her children are upset to because they think they are partly responsible.

The shape and size of NERF darts make them particularly attractive to cats like Champers

The shape and size of NERF darts make them particularly attractive to cats like Champers. Photo: Telegraph newspaper.

In an update she says that her cat might be on the mend. She’s started to eat again. For the first time in several days her cat has started to meow. Thank God for that. I can feel for her and her distress. It’s a classic example of a family in which there are children and a cat and in which the cat is in danger if the kids like to play with their Nerf guns.


Domestic cats face many potential hazards in the family home. I have written about them all, pretty well. I would recommend that you click on the link ABOVE to brush up on these innocuous hazards. A lot of people are not really fully aware of them. They are just there silently waiting to cause what might be a very serious health problem in their cat companion.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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