Fergie ate a knot of yarn, can she pass it? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-22-2008, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Fergie ate a knot of yarn, can she pass it?

Since my two girls shred single strings of yarn, I braided three strands together to make one very long piece to tie a toy onto and throw. Fergie loves it, and we've been very careful not to leave it out. Unfortunately Saturday night my husband and I each thought the other one put the toy and string away, and Sunday morning we found it laying in the family room. The knot on the end without the toy is missing. The girls were fine during the day yesterday, but Fergie started throwing up last night and didn't seem to have much energy. We weren't sure if there was anything we could do, so went to bed as normal, and when we got up this morning found six more throw-up spots on the carpet, and some pink yarn fibers in a couple of them. There's no food in the vomit, and since we got up she's thrown up once more, just water. (It was kind of foamy too) She has played just a little, but half-heartedly, and she hasn't eaten anything.

I know if she's got inches of yarn in her it could be very serious, but if it's just the knot can she pass it? The knot is only 3/16 of an inch wide, same size or smaller than her pieces of food. There was about an inch of yarn beyond the knot, so we think the most she has in her is the knot plus the inch-long ends beyond it. The end of the string that's left looks like she only ripped the knot off, because it's a pretty clean tear, not shredded as I would expect it to be if she had chomped a lot of it. I'm envisioning her yanking and biting at the knot until it comes off and she swallows it, then her abandoning the rest of the string as she realizes she wasn't supposed to eat that. When she eats something she's not supposed to she seems to realize it right away and leave whatever's left alone.

Not sure if it's relevant, but she's a year and a half old, with no health problems and normally plenty of energy. Once I'm not freaked out about this I'll figure out how to share some pictures of the two of them.

Any thoughts? Can we wait, or will it be worse for her if we wait and that little bit is tangled in her intestines?

~Diana, happy mom to Fern and Fergie
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-22-2008, 01:40 PM
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Re: Fergie ate a knot of yarn, can she pass it?

I would call your veterinarian.
That amount of vomit spots after you know she injested something is not normal at all. If the knot and trailing yarns went into her intestines and somehow got the trailing yarns ahead of the knot and they are now balling-up in front of the knot...it is making that foreign body too large for her body to move-it-along and the numerous piles of vomit and her lethargy are screaming to me that something is not right inside her.

At the very least, call your vet and tell them what has happened, the results and how she has been behaving since. They may tell you to wait/see or they may need you to bring her in for an exploratory surgery to find/remove the offending ball of yarn. Their intestines are really pretty small and it doesn't take much to block them up. Even if the knot is the size of a 'kibble', kibble doesn't stay in that shape for the entire path of the intestines.

Let us know how she does...
Heidi



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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-22-2008, 06:43 PM
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Re: Fergie ate a knot of yarn, can she pass it?

The vomitting is not a good sign. I concur with the advice above. Call your vet ASAP.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-22-2008, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Fergie ate a knot of yarn, can she pass it?

Update as of 6:15 p.m......

We took Fergie to the vet around lunchtime, and they did some X-Rays that showed there's a blockage in her intestine. They kept her there to do a barium series to try to get a better idea of how big the blockage is and decide what the next step is. It's not a complete blockage, but the barium was just getting by, so it looks like she will need surgery. They're going to keep her there overnight with an IV and do another X-Ray in the morning to see if anything has changed.

We've only had Fergie and her sister Fern for two months, and this is devastating! Fern has been pacing and crying, looking for her sister, and will hardly touch her food. She keeps coming up to us, crying, and looking at the door as if she's saying "Okay, I'm done playing hide and seek, bring my sister back!"

~Diana, happy mom to Fern and Fergie
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-22-2008, 07:51 PM
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Re: Fergie ate a knot of yarn, can she pass it?

Oh! How sad! You're doing the right thing and hopefully Fergie will be home soon. I will send wishes that the IV hydration allows this ball of yarn to come out in the usual way and not require surgery. Please let us know how it goes...
Heidi



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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-22-2008, 07:58 PM
 
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Re: Fergie ate a knot of yarn, can she pass it?

White - I'm very sorry for your difficulties;
some of this recent thread may be useful;
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=55191

just out of curiosity;
exactly what was the yarn made of?
did the cat swallow a toy you tied to it,
or just the yarn fiber alone?
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-22-2008, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Fergie ate a knot of yarn, can she pass it?

This has now turned into a nightmare for us. After my last update, we spoke to Fergie's shelter mom, who raised her from a week old to a year and a half, which is when we adopted her two months ago. The vet we had taken Fergie to was the one my brother takes his cats to, not the one Fergie's shelter mom takes the shelter's cats to. She was distraught to hear that they were waiting until the morning for surgery and wanted to take Fergie to her vet because hers would do emergency surgery tonight. We told her we were very comfortable with the clinic that Fergie was at, but then later on she called us back, said she was near the clinic and she wanted to pick up Fergie and take her to the other clinic. So we're on the phone with the first place asking them for more details, and the doctor is getting defensive because he thinks we're questioning his judgement, and our shelter mom is insisting on taking Fergie, and we're totally at a loss because we've never dealt with this before.....

Long story short, we're comfortable with either clinic, so we told the first place to let our shelter mom take Fergie to her vet, and we met her at that place so we could meet the new vet. She looked at Fergie, then did another X-Ray, and didn't see the same thing that the first vet saw. She's not sure Fergie definitely needs surgery. So we're in limbo again, not sure what's going to happen. They're going to do another X-Ray in the morning and then decide what to do with Fergie.

Poor kitty, we just want her back at home! Her sister is crying for her!

~Diana, happy mom to Fern and Fergie
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-22-2008, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Fergie ate a knot of yarn, can she pass it?

Petspy, it was just normal yarn that you would buy at a craft or fabric store. She didn't swallow the toy on the end, just the yarn part. I had braided three strands of yarn together to make a stronger throwing string, and she ate the knot at the non-toy end, along with the inch-long ends beyond the knot.

~Diana, happy mom to Fern and Fergie
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-23-2008, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Fergie ate a knot of yarn, can she pass it?

Well she had surgery this afternoon, and I'm glad she did. We thought she just got the knot off the end of the string, but she actually had six inches of braided yarn in her intestine! They cut into her intestine, obviously, and a little bit of her stomach to make sure there was nothing left in there. Now we're hoping for a speedy recovery, since she needs to be up and moving around, eating and using the litter box before she can come home. It will be at least another day, but I hope it works out for her to come home tomorrow. Her sister really misses her and continues to look for her, cry for her, and sleep in the places that smell like her!

Not sure how things will be at home when she's back - do cats usually readjust pretty quickly? Will we have to keep the two of them separated when we're not home so Fern doesn't try to bite/claw/lick Fergie's stitches?

~Diana, happy mom to Fern and Fergie
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-23-2008, 07:43 PM
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Re: Fergie ate a knot of yarn, can she pass it?

I hope she recovers quickly, too.
I don't think you have to worry about other cats licking a different cat's stitches, they aren't like dogs in that respect. You may need to keep them from playing too vigorously, but that should be all. Be aware that you may have a problem with the kitty at home recognizing the kitty coming back from the vet because she will smell VERY different. You can help them get past that by rubbing towels over both of them, back and forth, to exchange each other's scents and get them both smelling 'similar' to each other.
Keep us posted, sending good thoughts and healing wishes,
heidi



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