Saturday, December 31, 2022

Cat ate 38 hair ties and survived

NEWS AND COMMENT: As reported in The State, a cat was abandoned with other cats by their owner when they moved away. And this particular cat was very ill. She was brought to an animal shelter run by the Charleston Animal Society. It is located about 9 miles north-west of Charleston and is a No-kill shelter with a hospital which cares for around 20,000 animals annually.


Sick cat after operation to remove 38 hair ties from her stomach
Sick cat after operation to remove 38 hair ties from her stomach. Image: Charleston Animal Society from video (screenshot).

This cat was therefore fortunate to end up at this shelter where she stopped eating. They x-rayed her and found a massive blockage in her stomach. Her stomach was completely full of ties. A domestic cat's stomach is quite small at about the size of a ping pong ball I am told. How do you get 38 hair ties inside a stomach that size!? It must stretch a lot.

The blockage constituted 38 hair ties which she had obviously eaten as if they were edible foods when in the ownership of the people who abandoned her.

The veterinarian who did the operation was very surprised to see that number of hair ties in her stomach. The associate director of veterinary care at the Charleston Animal Society, Leigh Jamison, said: 

"I've never seen anything like that."
The animal hospital was so taken aback by the finding that they took time to photograph the ties and here they are below.

The 38 hair ties removed from the cat's stomach
The 38 hair ties removed from the cat's stomach. Photo: Charleston Animal Society Charleston Animal Society

Fortunately, her intestine is were not damaged but the obstruction to her digestive tract caused fat to build up in her liver which resulted in a major health issue. She is currently being fed through a feeding tube.

They are keeping up her electrolytes to ensure that they are in balance and she is improving but she is not out of the woods yet, they report.

Comment: one doesn't want to criticise but for a cat owner to allow their cat to eat 38 hair ties and then abandon them is beyond careless. It is callous and cruel. The woman (presumed woman but it might have been a man) must have noticed her hair ties going missing. She must have seen her cat playing with the ties and eating them but did nothing about it.

And of course, it does bring to mind the dangers of hair ties and objects like them. Cats like to play with small, elastic objects. They are an ideal size as a cat toy. And as cat play is play-hunting, the end result is going to be eating the object if possible. And it is possible for a domestic cat eat a hair tie but of course they remain undigested in the stomach.

The obvious moral to the story is that a cat owner who uses her ties should make sure that they are not left lying around the floor or in any other place which is accessible to their cat. Obvious stuff. Nothing extraordinary in that statement (and it has been said a million times before) but if - as this person was - the owner is careless and doesn't care about the health and welfare of a cat you can end up killing your cat.

It seems purely fortuitous that this cat ended up at a cat shelter where there was an animal hospital attached. The story might well have ended completely differently and tragically but for that simple fact.

Here is a video which might or might not run! It may stop working. But if not great.

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