Kitten Eats Cat Toy: Getty Images
Kitten care can take you in some strange places. Like most kittens, my sister’s three month old tortoiseshell, Misa, loves to play with strings and ties. They are her favorite cat toys, but her fondness for all things stringy almost ended in tragedy when she secretly ate a small cloth string.
Fortunately, she survived her experience without any problems, but Misa’s close call reminded me of the common symptoms that can appear when kittens may have eaten something other than food.
When Your Kitten Eats a Cat Toy: Symptoms
Misa’s symptoms started with an upset stomach, and at first we attributed her symptoms to a possible first hairball.
She kept gagging, huffing and spitting up small bits of foods – but a hairball never materialized. Instead, within two days her appetite waned and disappeared, and she became lethargic and depressed. A temperature check revealed a slight fever, and with that sign we took her to the vet.
Misa was x-rayed, and a foreign object could be seen in her intestines.
Later, we discovered the culprit was a cloth string she pulled out of the bottom of a pair of pants.
The veterinarian took a wait and see approach. He monitored her progress and examined additional x-rays to make sure her intestines were not binding up from the string. A day later, Misa successfully passed the string and she was soon back to her old self.
The symptoms that Misa displayed were classic symptoms that can appear if a kitten ingests a foreign object:
- Repeated Gagging, Retching and Vomiting
- Decreased Appetite
- Lethargy and Depression
- Refusal to Eat
- Refusal to Drink Water
- Wanting to be Alone
While kittens can often pass foreign objects without incidence, there is always a risk of damage to the delicate gastrointestinal tissues. When strings are eaten, the strings can bind or twist the intestines too – causing tissue death.
When Your Kitten East a Cat Toy: Treatment
If these symptoms appear, have your kitten checked by a veterinarian immediately. Foreign objects in the gastrointestinal tract can cause an emergency medical crisis within a matter of hours. While we took a wait and see approach, in some instances immediate surgery may be necessary to remove the object.
Likewise, if you actually see your kitten ingest a string call your veterinarian right away for recommendations on what to do next. And if you ever see a string protruding from your kitten’s rear, never pull on the string – pulling on strings or any other objects that your kitten is trying to pass can immediately bind up the intestines.
Instead, trim the pieces that are protruding so your kitten is not tempted to pull them out and bring your kitten in for an x-ray to monitor the progress of the string.
Last but not least, to avoid accidental ingestion of strings, ties – even rubber bands – regularly kitten proof your home.
Read more on how to kitten proof your home!