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Did Your Cat Swallow String? Here’s What You Should Do

The image of an adorable kitten playing with a ball of yarn is one that most of us are familiar with. However, this seemingly harmless ‘toy’ could turn deadly much quicker than many people realize.

It is common knowledge that most cats love chasing string as it is being dragged across the floor by their loving owner, resulting in entertainment for both feline and human. While there is nothing wrong with this game of cat and mouse, so to speak, it is important that all cat owners know what to do if a cat swallows string. If the string happens to be left out after playtime is over, many kittens and even adult cats will start chewing on the string.

Unfortunately, if things go too far and they start to swallow the string, it could mean danger. The makeup of a cat’s tongue allows them to groom, eat and hunt well, but their uniquely-designed tongues also make it virtually impossible for them to stop swallowing the string once they’ve started. The more string they swallow, the more serious the situation becomes.

Why Is Swallowing String Dangerous to Your Kitty?

Linear items, such as string, yarn and thread, can wreak havoc on your cat if one of the ends becomes snagged on something within your lovable feline’s body. While this commonly happens under the tongue, it is not the only place a piece of string can become snagged.

In the event your cat swallows string, it can lead to the string becoming wrapped around the cat’s intestines. In some lucky instances, the string is able to pass through the cat’s digestive tract without causing any harm or injury, but this isn’t always the case. If the string does become lodged, there will need to be emergency surgery to save the life of the cat. However, if the sting was caught on the intestines, it may actually cut them, which can result in fecal matter contaminating the abdominal cavity, which can cause a life-threatening condition referred to as peritonitis (not to be confused with Feline Infectious Peritonitis, or FIP).

What to Do if Your Cat Swallows String

If your cat has been playing with a piece of string or yarn and things go too far, please call our vet clinic right away. It is absolutely imperative that you do not try and pull the string out on your own, as it could cause much more serious damage if the string does happen to be lodged on something within the body. If we are able to remove the string before it enters the intestines, your cat has a much greater chance of recovering and surviving the ordeal.

It is always best to err on the side of caution, so we encourage you to contact us if you believe your cat may have swallowed a piece of string. If you have any questions about this sort of emergency, please do not hesitate to ask!

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