Tomette is a sweet kitty that had a bit of a mischief problem! We all know of a kitten’s interest in strings of all sorts (how many pictures/drawings of kittens have them by a ball of yarn?)! But, do you really know what sort of danger that can pose for a cat? A string foreign body can be a serious and sometimes fatal problem for cats. Though it looks cute for them to play with strings (yarn, floss, string toys, shoelaces, hair, sewing supplies, etc.), you shouldn’t let them!
Tomette’s owners knew that she liked to try to get into things, and already were proactive in keeping things picked up and away from her grasp. Or so they thought. She was just shy of a year old when she came into AHS for vomiting multiple times. Although they felt it was unlikely she got into anything, they could not say for sure. Her exam was basically normal except for being a little sensitive in her stomach palpation. However, it wasn’t obvious is she was disinterested in the exam itself or her belly was a little sensitive. One of the most common causes of vomiting in kittens under a year old is ingestion of something inappropriate, so we were on high alert as we started her treatments.
She got an injection to stop vomiting and some fluids under the skin. Not too long afterward, she was acting strangely, trying to hide, and the owner saw something hanging out of her back end about 6 inches! Tomette’s owner rushed her back in, but the object was “gone” when she got here. We discovered a shoestring right at the inside of her rectum and gave a VERY gentle “tug” before determining it was not safe to pull any further. It is very important that you not just pull on a string if you see it sticking out of a dog or cat’s anus. If that string is long enough (many of them are), you can accidentally “saw” through intestine higher up if you pull on it and it is stuck. This can cause a cutting effect that could even go straight through the intestine and could be fatal! The x-ray obtained from Tomette further showed this concern with strings because even without our help, there was a very straight, tight string traveling through her colon, but still stuck higher up.
Thankfully, the string did not cut through the intestines. In some cases, surgery would be the immediate next step after our discovery, but surgery was not possible that night so her owner watched her very closely overnight. Thankfully, she was ultimately able to pass this string by herself and made a full recovery. That is often not the case, and many of these cats end up in surgery or with worse complications. We are so happy she did well and is back to her normal antics! Given the impressive x-rays and the fact that a string foreign body is not unusual in cats, Tomette landed herself as our October Feline Pet of the Month!