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Old 06-11-2009, 10:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My cat swallowed a string

A couple days ago, we were wondering why there was a bit of poo on the bed. We figured it got stuck to one of their butts and fell off on the bed. Yesterday morning, I went to the basement to scoop the litter box. I was surprised to find a giant poo completely on the floor beside the litter box (they never do that on purpose), and there was a string embedded in it... we buy rice in 20lb bags that are made of this woven thin plastic strips, looks a bit like tinsel but is white. One of those was embedded in the poo. Also, there was puke nearby, and a poo streak across the floor... he had sat on the rug and dragged his butt across it. I figure the string was causing difficulties getting it cleanly off so it stuck to him and he dragged the poo to the floor, then still had more stuck and did the dragging thing. And then puked for some reason.

Nothing else has happened after that, and he seems OK. Should I be worried or am I all set now?

Actually I'm not 100% sure which cat it is... I think it is my fat black cat Snowball since he is most likely to jump on the bed. They both seem equally fine, except for the mess in the basement.
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: My cat swallowed a string

I bet the poo outside the litterbox and the butt-wiping streak were because they had poo'd with a string in it, and the other end of the string was stuck in a poo that was still inside the cat's rectum. The vomitting is either a sign of great effort to expell the stringed mess, or they are having a problem inside because of the strings.
Watch them carefully and make certain you make those strings and things unavailable to these curious kitties.
If either cat begins to show any strange signs, get them to the vet ASAP. If a string is inside and tying their intestines up in knots, or both ends are stuck in a wad of waste and the two wads are being moved along at different rates by the intestines...that piece of string between the two wads will act as a *saw* and cut through their intestines.
Best of luck this is just a warning-message to keep these things away from the cat's access and it doesn't turn into an emergency. Please let us know how it goes. I'll be hoping everything comes out okay in the end. Pun intended!
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: My cat swallowed a string

I second Heidi's thoughts.... Fergie needed to have eight inches of yarn surgically removed from her intestine last year, and when the vet got in there just two and a half days after she ate it the yarn was already starting to pull her intestines and she probably would have been dead in another day if we had not gotten her in ASAP. In her case, though, we KNEW something was very wrong because she would throw up even water, and her symptoms started less than 24 hours after she ate the yarn.

But definitely keep an eye on the cats and see if their behavior changes - avoiding food, problems pooping, constant meowing, lethargy - these can be symptoms of a lot of problems but since you know part of the story already you can be pretty sure of what the issue is in this case. Since it's been a couple of days you may be in the clear, but I wouldn't breathe easier for two or three more.

If you DO notice troubling signs and go to the vet, he/she can do a barium series, where they give barium to the cat and it will highlight anything in the stomach/intestines as it passes through. On Fergie's x-ray we could clearly see the barium pooling in her stomach, because the yarn was stuck in the beginning section of her intestine. Looking further down, chunks of poop were clearly defined in her colon, so if there had been a large glob of something in that area it would have shown up as well.

Let us know how things go!
~Diana, happy mom to Fern and Fergie
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