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Pet Doc
Pet Doc, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7952
Experience:  Veterinarian - BVSc (DVM equivalent). Special interest in canine and feline medicine and surgery.
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My 8 year old cat has just eaten a long piece of curling ribbon.

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my 8 year old cat has just eaten a long piece of curling ribbon. he seems fine but what should i do please?
Hi there,

Thank you for your question regarding your 8 year old boy that has just eaten a pice of curling ribbon. Before I put an answer together for you, I am going to need a little more info about your boy:

- How is your boy in himself now? Has there been any issue since he ate the ribbon?
- How long was the ribbon approximately?

Once you get back to me, I will start typing up my response. Thanks for this and I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Dr E
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

good morning. he won't eat his breakfast but other than that he seems fine, responding well to cuddles and attention.i think the ribbon was about 50cm but it was all curled up so i'm not sure. with thanks

Hi Sue,

Thanks for the prompt reply. This ingestion is definitely a big concern for your boy, and you are going to have to keep a very close eye on him over the next 24 - 48 hours. As you may already know, string and ribbon are common culprits for foreign bodies in cats. They can cause all sorts of issues if ingested, particularly long pieces like the one your boy has ingested. In some cases, the string or ribbon will pass in it's entirety, while in others it can become lodged causing a partial obstruction, or worse - cause a telescoping of the gut (termed an intussusception).

The frustrating thing here is that there isn't a lot you can do at the moment. It is unsafe to make him vomit the ribbon, and there isn't much else we can do or give to lessen the likelihood of the ribbon causing issues on it's way through. The good thing in this case is that you know your boy has ingested the ribbon, and so you also know to keep a close eye out for symptoms including vomiting, lethargy, inappetance or difficulty toileting. If your boy develops any of these symptoms over the next day or two, please get him seen by your local vet asap. Likewise, if you see the ribbon coming out of his butt, please don't be tempted to pull it, but get him (and the attached ribbon) down to your local vet.

If your boy does develop symptoms, then the first step will be for your vet to carry out a full physical exam followed by an xray and ultrasound of his abdomen. If it is deemed that the ribbon is causing an issue, then your boy will need a full exploratory surgery to remove the string.

The main thing to remember here is 1) keep a close eye out for symptoms, 2) get your boy seen as soon as any symptoms appear (early treatment means the best success and less damage done by the ribbon) and 3) don't attempt to pull the ribbon out if it appears out of his anus.

For now - you could try feeding your boy some of his regular food. Sometimes this can mix with the ribbon to help wrap it up into a bundle. This can potentially help to limit the chances of the ribbon causing an issue on it's way through.

I hope all of the above makes sense? Please let me know if you have any other questions. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business and I hope to work with you again soon!

Kind Regards,

Dr E

Bonuses & positive feedback are always welcomed and very much appreciated

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