Categories: foreign object

New York Cat is Lucky to be Alive after Swallowing a Wishbone

We’ve all heard the dangers of giving cats cooked bones. There are so many things that can go wrong, should a cat get into something he shouldn’t. Such is the case of Tommy, a 10-pound Queens, New York cat who is lucky to be alive after swallowing a wishbone.

Daniel and Tommy

Although wishbones are legendary for bringing good luck, this wasn’t the case with Tommy. Back in April, his dad David brought home a take-out meal of rotisserie chicken to his Queens apartment. He made sure to dispose of the bones in the trash so Tommy wouldn’t be tempted. Unfortunately, Tommy, being a cat and cats snoop, got into the trash overnight. Monday morning David found Tommy bleeding from the neck as he sat crouched in a kitchen corner.

At first David thought Tommy had injured himself in a fall. Then he discovered Tommy had broken into the trash, devouring the leftover chicken-wishbone and all. The injured kitty was rushed by David and his mother Darlene to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery after Dr. Yvonne Kline noticed a bone in Tommy’s throat. The wishbone was removed by reaching down the curious kitty’s throat (under sedation, of course) and his wound treated and closed with 12 stitches.

Since Tommy hadn’t been neutered, Dr. Kline cut off his kitten making parts while he was sedated. Tommy didn’t have to stay long at the vet and was sent home with antibiotics the next on Tuesday. Tommy had to keep his stitches in for two weeks and no permanent damage was done. David was working the day Tommy was to return to the vet to have the stitches removed, so David’s brother Daniel, along with Darlene volunteered to make the return visit.

Tommy after the operation

David describes Tommy as his soul mate. His adoption tale reads that David was working as a shop supervisor for a mechanic. One day a driver came in complaining about a noisy motor. When the car was inspected, Tommy was found hiding behind the gas and brake pedals. David describes the relationship between himself and his much-loved cat as

“We relate to each other, and he trusts me. He even has a sense of humor, like me. “He means so much to me. We were destined to be together”

Cat lovers do their best to protect their cats, but accidents do happen. I believe it my duty as a writer to report on as many mishaps as I come across, especially when it could save a life. I’ve written several articles on the dangers cats get into, none of which were intentional. Those links can be found following this article. We all know how much danger a cat can be in when living outside. It’s important we realize the great indoors can be just as dangerous, if not deadly.

Please note that cats on a raw diet are given bones, but there’s a big difference between a raw bone (which is natural) and a cooked bone that is brittle and can splinter anywhere in a cats digestive system.

Source article on ASPCA website. Photo credits: ASPCA.

Associated: Killing cats accidentallyHarming your cat accidentallycream poisons catsforeign object almost lethal.


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Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

View Comments

  • Another good article and links. I just watch a court TV episode (Judge Judy) where a neighbor saved their neighbors' puppy after she noticed it outside having lost weight and clearly had a chicken bone stuck in it's throat. The pup's owner wasn't home so she took it to emergency where they surgically removed it immediately. The good neighbor paid the bill but the pup's owner refused to reimburse her! Obviously she took them to court where the Judge ruled that because it was a dire emergency: her trespassing and taking their dog to the vet was legally permissible if not obligatory, as was reimbursing her regardless of getting their permission. I actually used kinder words than the judge here. I also saw a PSA that informed that it's also legal to, as a last resort (can't find owner or police), break into a car to rescue an animal in danger of heat stroke, and you are not liable to pay for the broken window... just as if it were a child in danger.

  • I don't know how many times that cat caretakers need to be told not to toss their cats any chicken or turkey bones. Those bones splinter and can puncture any portion of the alimentary system from the esophagus to the bowels. That "treat" can cost you about $1000.00 for surgery, etc. or the life of your cat if you don't care enough to get medical attention.

    • So absolutely true Dee!! We are crazy careful about any bones that are cooked. They go into the compactor right away- not even in the garbage pail since cats will get into them when they catch a whiff of a poultry or steak bone.

      I just don't understand why some folks aren't careful about such things. It's not only the cost of the surgery to save a life- it is the pain and suffering that these cats must endure.

    • It is interesting that I have page on a domestic cat eating bones as it is good for the cat's teeth. I guess the point is this: a cat can eat a chicken leg with plenty of flesh on it but not a small bone with a bit of meat on it. Is that it? Or should cats never eat off the bone?

      I don't think all bones are bad. My cat eats mice and there is no harm for him in that. A1 Savannahs fed their cats chicken legs from time to time and Bruce Fogle the well-known vet/author recommends bones as a teeth cleaner.

      https://pictures-of-cats.org/most-cat-tooth-and-gum-disease-could-be-avoided-if-cats-learnt-to-eat-bones.html

      I agree with you but I don't think there needs to be a blanket ban on all bones for cats.

      • We used to give our cats raw chicken leg bones or neck bones but stopped because feeding raw is very complicated. I wouldn't give raw or cooked anything that looked like it could get stuck in a cats digestive system.

      • My understanding is that only poultry bones are dangerous, whether raw or cooked.
        If someone keeps or breeds Savannahs, I feel certain that they could have the means to toss their cats beef instead of poultry. How do we or Dr. Fogle feel about feeding raw, or even cooked, fish with bones?
        It's a negative in my book even though I've read about big cats catching fish.
        I don't really care whether I'm wrong. My policy is to always err on the side of safety. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I harmed a cat by giving something that I felt was questionable.
        As an aside, I know that pork bones are very hard and unlikely to splinter. But, have we ever seen a packaged cat food containing pork? I don't think I have.

    • I always thought bowel and never even considered the throat. The pillow fringe cost Susan Schreck THOUSANDS!

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