January 27, 2019

Cats are not as well known for eating things they should not, unlike their canine counterparts. We often see dogs who have swallowed foreign bodies, including items such as tennis balls, socks, toys and even stones. However some cats will swallow plastic toys, wrappers and string among other things. Sometimes these objects will get vomited up or pass through without causing a problem. However they may cause irritation of the stomach, blockages and sometimes even perforation of the intestinal wall. When this happens they start to feel ill and often come into us off their food, vomiting and lethargic. This was certainly the case with Mika a rather handsome Birman cat. Mika visited us after, rather impressively, eating half of a plastic matt. His owners had come back from holiday to find half a pink plastic matt and a rather subdued cat who was not interested in his normal food and was vomiting up bits of the matt.

They brought him down to us and an x-ray later it was revealed that his stomach was full of foreign material. Mika had already managed to pass a few pieces of the matt and luckily none of it was stuck in his intestines. However the main bulk of the matt was stuck in Mika’s stomach and was not passing through. This was causing a partial obstruction and inflammation of his stomach making him feel ill.

Where the material was in Mika’s stomach and had not passed into his small intestine there was the option of removing the matt by endoscopy at a referral centre. The matt could also be removed by surgery however this is a riskier procedure as it requires cutting through the stomach wall.

The owners decided to go ahead with endoscopy and Mika was sent to Anderson Moore’s veterinary referral centre where a large amount of pink plastic matt was removed from his stomach. It took a while for the inflammation of Mika’s stomach to calm down after this but he has since recovered well and is up to his usual adorable mischief.

If at any point your cat is unwell and you think they may have eaten something please phone your vet as soon as possible. There can also be an element of underlying stress, making a cat more likely to eat something strange. If you are concerned at all we are always happy to chat about minimising stress for your feline friends.

Claire Turner is a Veterinary Surgeon at St. Vincents Veterinary Surgery, a family-owned practice providing personal care for all your pets in and around Wokingham. Please contact the practice on 0118 9793200 should you have any concerns about your pet’s health.