Why string is not a good toy for a cat

by Michael

Cat and string - potential danger - Photo by John Leach

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Cat and string - potential danger - Photo by John Leach

String is not a good toy for a cat because it can cause injury in much the same way that playing fetch with a stick can cause injury to a dog.

I am not really referring to us playing with our cat with string as under those circumstances we are holding the string and have control over it.

If, however, the string is left lying around or if inadvertently we leave some thread around on the floor, this could be a serious health hazard to our cat and cause a dent in our wallet.

Cats are attracted to various sorts of string, cotton threads and ribbon etc. They like to chew on them and play with them. Unfortunately cats also tend to swallow thread.

Sometimes this can have the effect of one end of the thread twisting around the base of the tongue while the other end can be deep inside the cat, sometimes as far as the intestine.

The tongue might be damaged due to the blood supply being cut off. The cat might vomit but the cause might not be clear is it is a length of fine thread that is around the tongue.

You can see how this simply scenario could cause quite a serious and unfortunate cat health problem that might go undetected.

In the most serious of cases a veterinarian will have to operate under full anesthetic to remove the thread.

Anesthetic carries a risk of injury in itself. This is not a good situation for the cat to be in and neither is it good for us, with worry and expense.

I guess the answer is for us all to take simple but sensible precautions particularly if you are the type who likes sewing.

I don't think there is a serious risk. In fact there is probably a fairly low risk but there is a risk nonetheless that can be avoided easily.


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Why string is not a good toy for a cat

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Feb 25, 2012 Thanks
by: Michael

Thanks, Amber, for your useful advice based on first hand experience. First hand experience is always the best.

Feb 21, 2012 First-Hand Experience With Ingested String
by: Amber

As a brand new cat owner, I bought a new toy for my 6 month old kittens, Jack and Jill to play with. It had stretchy elastic-type string and a fuzzy ball attached to a wand. Within 2 minutes of putting the new toy away in the toy basket, Jack dragged it out, chewed through the elastic string, and SWALLOWED about 6 inches of string. Being a new cat owner, I didn’t realize how dangerous this was.

LUCKILY, I ran into my vet at the grocery store later that day and told him about the string incident. He got a panicked look on his face. "That's not good,” he said. “String is very dangerous if swallowed and can be fatal for cats because it can become stuck, tangled, or wrapped around their intestines.” He told me to keep a close eye on Jack to make sure he was still eating and drinking normally. If he stopped eating or drinking, I was instructed to take Jack to his office right away.

HERE'S THE REMEDY I WANT TO SHARE IF STRING IS INGESTED: My vet told me to immediately begin giving Jack Vaseline to eat 2-3 times a day because it would act as a lubricant in his body and would help the string move through more quickly and easily. He said the best way to get Jack to eat the Vaseline was to gently smear it on his front paws and he would lick it off in an effort to clean his paws. Lastly, he told me to inspect Jack's droppings every day to see if the string moved through.

I rushed home (now in full panic mode!) and smeared Vaseline on Jack’s little paws, as I was instructed. Just as my vet said, he (reluctantly) licked it off. I continued to “feed” Jack Vaseline for the next 2 days.

Long story short, on the night of the third day, I discovered that the string had passed through my little guy - all 6 inches of it!

Needless to say, my house is now a string-free zone!

Feb 21, 2012 Think cat
by: Ruth

You are right Michael, leaving string lying around can be very dangerous to a cat as can rubber bands too.
Sometimes cat playstations have string dangling, a neighbour's cat got her leg caught up in the string and panicked and took some untangling !
When I worked with vets we sometimes had cats brought in with a sewing needle and thread stuck in their mouth or throat, they had played with the thread and swallowed the needle on the end of it. They had to have an anaesthetic to remove it.
It's best to 'think cat' and leave nothing potentially dangerous lying around in a home with cats in it.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

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