Categories: foreign object

WARNING: disposable plastic gloves are a potential hazard to domestic cats

This story from Philadelphia about a cat called Foxxy is a lesson to all cat guardians to make sure that disposable plastic gloves, which are used much more at present due to the coronavirus pandemic, need to be disposed of quickly after use because they appear to pose a hazard to some domestic cats. They can be powdered with corn starch to lubricate them. It may have made the glove attractive to Foxxy as a food if he was hungry enough. Dr Debra Primovic DVM says that some cats have ‘an affinity’ for corn starch i.e. they are attracted to it. I am speculating.

Disposable gloves a potential hazard to domestic cats. Image: PoC.

We want to take this somber moment to remind everyone out there, please dispose of your gloves, facemasks etc properly. Pets like Foxxy or wildlife may swallow them thinking that they are toys or food, and the very items meant to keep us safe, can be fatal to them if eaten…ACCT Philly on Facebook

Foxxy sadly died of eating a disposable plastic glove which remained in his gut for several weeks. It caused him to lose weight and become dehydrated. A veterinarian attached to ACCT Philly located the glove which formed a major obstruction.

Although it is not clear how or why Foxxy ingested the glove it is hard to see it happening other than by eating. I have suggested that it may have been the lubrication. The glove may have been inside out after it was removed from the hand which exposed the corn starch.

The only alternative would be cat cruelty but it is hard to imagine that. Perhaps Foxxy was neglected and the glove had something on it such as a fatty substance, which made it seem digestible. Perhaps Foxxy has Pica.

Or the glove may have been used as a toy or Foxxy treated it as a toy and ended up eating it. Perhaps these plastic gloves contain some chemicals which sterilises them making them interesting to cats. Bleach smells nice to cats for instance. I am guessing wildly but it looks like he ate it and it killed him very slowly. A warning to all during these difficult times.

The use of disposable gloves may become routine and far more prevalent than in the past as it seems likely that the coronavirus is here to stay for the medium term future. We have another cat hazard to watch out for.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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