Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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08/20/2005: "String theory?"

I am really freaking out tonight. About a week ago I got a Gyro wrist exerciser as a gift from my dad. There's a little string you use to get the thing started. Because of my two cats, I always put the string in a little pencil sharpener case for safe keeping except this morning I forgot. I spent almost all day looking for the damn thing but I've come to the sickening conclusion that one of my two cats have eaten it.

This is my worst fear, I've heard horror stories about cats that swallow strings needing surgeries that cost thousands of dollars. I've looked everywhere for the damn thing, I mean *everywhere*...places where it couldn't possibly be, like the freezer, under my bed, and went through every piece of trash in the garbage can...

I have examed under and inside of every single object in my two story house AND my car. I'm so upset right now. I had a feeling that it was probably lemoni that ate the string so I did a little experiment. I got another piece of string the same length and set it on the floor in front of both cats. Lemoni instantly went to it, started batting it around, then started to try and eat it. I had to pull it out of her mouth...

Now what? Tomorrow is Sunday, the vet's will be closed. Can this wait until Monday? And Monday morning is my (mandatory) covocation at work and since I'm up for tenure this year it would be a bad idea to miss it. Still, I care about my cats more than my job (honestly) I don't know if this is an emergency and I should call the vets emergency off-hours line? I just don't know what to do.

Replies: 12 Comments

on Sunday, August 21st, Kasia said

I know that fera so well. If something happenes with my dog i feel like i'm losing my right hand! animals do eat differnt things. If the cat is o.k. so far, be patient and see what happens. Hopefully the string will go out and won't make any trouble! Can cats vomit? (Dogs can, so when something bothers their stomachs they just throw it up) Don't worry! I am sure it is gonna be all right! Let us know how this story ends. I sympathize with you!!!!

on Sunday, August 21st, Kasia said

Thank you for showing my link on your web- site! I am very very grateful!!!! :D

on Sunday, August 21st, holly said

The chances of the string getting wrapped around Lemoni's inner bits and causing a real problem are very small-- keep that in mind. Most cats who eat string or tinsel or the like end up pooping it out in a day or two. The string ends up wadded in the belly and comes out. Depending on the length, you should be able to see it in the...erm...end product. If you don't see it in a day or two (barring a noticeable change in Lemoni's health/behavior-- like if she stops pooping or acts like she's in pain), you can always go to the vet for an x-ray-- if it's in the belly, it'll show up.

I've had a couple pica cats (those weirdos who eat string and fabric rubber bands and gift wrap ribbon) in my life and have never had one of them need surgery or eat something stringy thing that doesn't come out naturally (of course, I don't want it back after that, but still...).

The worst case I've ever seen was a woman who goes to my vet whose cat had gotten progressively thinner and threw up constantly. The x-ray showed kitty's tum to have 23 elastic ponytail holders and half a dozen bobby pins in it, in addition to a large mass that couldn't be identified. When they operated, they found the mass was a SOCK!!! An entire trouser sock!!! A knee-high sock that cat had eaten!!! Kitty was fine, but the owner had to make some serious changes to the way she kept certain things around the house.

Hope every thing comes out alright!:crazy:

on Sunday, August 21st, Elise said

Thanks guys! Kasia, I don't know really anything about dogs so I don't know if they're the same or not...

but I know you have several cats Holly so I feel a little less stressed out over this.

Lemoni has been eating normally so far and hasn't vomited or anything. She already has problems with her, erm...end products. She doesn't go very often and when she does they seem much too big for a cat. I've been thinking of taking her if for an x-ray anyway, just to make sure that it's normal.

Hopefully I'm just being over-protective. I just feel so guilty for leaving that damn string out (it was about 10 inches long)...

As for the cat with bobby pins and a sock in her bowel, DAMN!

on Monday, August 22nd, RR said

How is Lemoni Holly? I had a cat once eat the wool I was knitting with - luckily I caught her at it and pulled the little bit out of her mouth - it was a bit of a shock when the little bit turned into about 12 inches or more of very soggy wool. Poor cat, she looked most undignified as I gently extricated the wool, inch by inch from her mouth but she was ok - I'm sure Lemoni will be too.

on Monday, August 22nd, subi said

oh, i hope you put it somewhere and just can't remember where!!!! but if the string does start to appear from her bum don't pull on it...cut it with scissors and let it come out on it's on...i hope all is well soon...good luck on Monday! (oooh that's today!)

on Monday, August 22nd, Elise said

Actually, Lemoni is my cat RR (Elise's) :P

And, so far so good. I haven't taken her into the vet yet. I'm watching both cats closely and both are eating normally and not vomitting or anything.

Thanks for letting me know cutting the string when it starts to come out Subi, I was wondering about that; if I pulled on it, it might damage something. Ack, this is so disturbing, I have terrible images in my head of the havoc it could be wrecking inside one of them.

I keep rubbing their bellies and sending my most intense positive healing thoughts towards them (I know that sounds freakish but it's more for me then them)...

on Monday, August 22nd,">Jackie said

E: I have had a cat with a bowel obstruction. She had eaten an entire (homemade) felt mouse, that was filled with catnip. But the same cat ate wool yarn from blankets, without any ill effects. We knew something was wrong when she started rolling around the floor in agony. I don't know how much time elapsed between her devouring the felt mouse and the painful obstruction, as I had just had a baby and come home from the hospital. The cat had surgery to remove the obstruction, including several inches of her intestines. There's probably not much your vet can do until/unless the string (if Lemoni ate it) causes an obstruction. WHy don't you just call the vet and tell her your concerns? Here's keeping our collective fingers crossed for Lemoni's good health...

on Monday, August 22nd, Elise said

Man, I guess there are lots of things I need to watch out for! How was your cat after the surgery Jackie? I hope she recovered nicely.

I did call the vet tonight. He told me that if I brought her in that the string probably wouldn't show up on the x-ray and that if she isn't visibly in distress, they probably wouldn't elect to go in surgically anyway. So, just wait and see what happens. It's been 2 days now since the last time she "did her business" but that's kind of normal for her. She ate her dinner just fine tonight. He also said if the string comes part way, but not all the way out, I should bring her right in. They said they have an easier time removing string if there is an end for them to work with but I shouldn't attempt to pull it out, as it could perferate her bowel.

I car pooled into work this morning and my ride wanted to go to this "welcome back to campus" bbq thing and so I was frantic with worry of what I'd come home to but so far so good.

on Tuesday, August 23rd, RR said

Sorry for typing the wrong name Elise - was obviously at the pc too late!!!

on Tuesday, August 23rd, Elise said

no worries!
I know what that's like.

on Wednesday, August 24th, holly said

I am secretly controlling RR's mind. Shhhh!