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Watch What Your Cats Eat

There have been several blogs about sick pets, so I’ll add my family’s experience to the list. Our cat, Valerie, a perky Calico, started throwing up. Cats are notorious for throwing up, so at first, there wasn’t a real concern. When she continued to throw up, started losing weight, and stopped acting normal, we grew concerned and took her to the vet’s office. Valerie wasn’t running a fever, but the vet guessed she could possibly have a urinary tract infection. They gave her a shot and sent her home with antibiotics.

That seemed to help for a few weeks, but then it began again. She threw up every time she ate. Valerie became very aggressive at the food dish and even tried stealing food from our plates. With a noticeable weight loss, we once again toted her to the vet’s office. The vet started her examination and noticed right away that something was wrapped around her tongue. Valerie had eaten a thread! It wrapped around her tongue with both ends going down her throat.

There was only one option – surgery. They prepped Valerie for surgery and started within a couple hours. What they found was astonishing. The thread was wrapped around her tongue and went through her stomach, large intestines, small intestines, and into her colon. Every time she tried to use the litter box, she was basically choking herself with that thread. In my simple mind, they should just be able to yank on the thread and it would come out. That’s not the case because it would have sliced all of her internal organs. Instead, they had to shave her belly then make small cuts into her intestines to remove the thread. Six punctures and $1200 later, our Valerie was back to normal! Two days after the surgery, she was racing down the hallway like nothing ever happened. The vet even saved the thread for us as a souvenir.

The lesson learned is we need to be very careful about what strings and threads are around that our cats may think are tasty treats. We think the thread Valerie ate came from a pair of pants hanging in our closet. This was a very expensive lesson learned and hopefully, one experience that will not be repeated.

Anne Schneider, AIT, AIS
Project Management Office Manager
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