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Cat Ate Balloon String (Now What? Is This Serious?)

If your cat has eaten a balloon string you might be concerned or wondering what the best thing to do is…

Why did your cat eat a balloon string?

It is no secret that cats love anything that dangles down within reach of their little paws. Cats simply can’t help themselves when they see a string, and more often than not they will start batting at it and playing with it.

So, now you know why. But, what can this string do to your cat? What should you do now? What is this type of obstruction called? Keep reading for these answers, and so much more…

Is it just balloon strings that attract cats?

Cat ate balloon string.


Whether it is a balloon string, headphone cord, or ball of yarn, your cat will not be able to withstand the urge to play with what they perceive to be a toy for them.

Sometimes this impromptu playtime will result in your cat swallowing either bit of the string or the entire thing. Don’t worry, your cat didn’t attempt to eat the string because you aren’t feeding them enough. This just simply happens sometimes when they are playing with a long string.

What can a balloon string do to a cat?

A balloon string, or any significantly large string that could get stuck inside your cat, can potentially be fatal for your cat if they happen to swallow it. With a large and long foreign object like a balloon string, there is the chance that it will get stuck in your cat’s intestinal tract.

This obstruction can also potentially cause some damage to your cat’s stomach and intestines as the string disrupts the normal flow and function of these organs.

Often an obstruction like this can cause lacerations inside your cat’s intestines. This can cause bacteria to spill out of the intestines and into the rest of the body. From there infections and sepsis can occur, which often results in death.

What should you do once your cat swallows the string?

If your cat happens to swallow a large piece of balloon string or any similar type of object, the first thing you should do is call your vet or an emergency pet hospital right away.

They will advise you on your next steps, and often will get your cat booked for the soonest possible appointment to take care of the foreign body that is wreaking havoc on your cat’s intestines.

Once you have spoken to the vet and set up an appointment, the next thing you need to do is continue to observe your cat for any changes in symptoms or behavior. If the balloon string gets stuck then time is of the essence. At that point, failure to get your cat to the vet in a timely manner can result in your cat’s death.

What symptoms do cats show if they swallow balloon strings?

If the balloon string has gotten stuck, it is likely that your cat will vomit, have diarrhea, unable to have normal bowel movements, and will have a lack of appetite. Swelling around the abdomen is also a possible side effect when your cat has a balloon string stuck in their intestines.

More severe side effects include shaking and seizures. If either of these is occurring, get your cat emergency care as fast as you can.

Often it can take several days for symptoms to occur in your cat, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.

How can you prevent your cat from eating balloon strings?

The best way to avoid this nightmare scenario is to not give your cat toys that have long strings on them (Click here to see one of my best examples, on Amazon #Ad). If you still want to give them these kinds of toys, be sure to closely monitor your cat’s playtime and then put away the toy when they are done.

Finally, the best thing to prevent your cat from eating balloon strings is to keep it and any other kind of string not intended for cats as far away from your feline companion as possible.

How long does it take for a cat to poop out a balloon string?

If you and your cat are very lucky, there is a chance that the ballon string will pass through without getting stuck to anything. If this should happen, then your cat will successfully push the balloon string out of their body within 10 to 24 hours.

Unfortunately, this may not be a clear indicator that your cat is in the clear. There is the possibility that your cat may have small bits of string still somewhere inside their body.

If you have any doubt about whether or not your cat managed to pass the entire string, it is strongly advised that you call your vet and figure out what your next steps should be.

What happens if you see a piece of the string dangling from its bum?

If you see a long piece of string dangling from your cat’s anus, you do have the option of trimming it. Whatever you do, unless you are a veterinarian by profession, do not attempt to pull the string out of your cat’s anus.

You don’t know how far back it goes or what it is caught on. If you pull it out, you could cause serious harm to your cat. In the worst-case scenario, the damage this causes could potentially be fatal for your cat.

In this scenario, if you have to trim the string to try and keep the cat from trying to pull it out itself then trim it as carefully as you can without pulling or tugging on it. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, then let the vet take care of it.

How can you tell your cat has eaten the balloon string?

Unless the balloon string is caught on something inside your cat’s intestines there is no way to tell if your cat has eaten a balloon string. However, if the string is stuck then there will be some telltale symptoms. First and foremost you can expect to see your cat vomiting and might be having bloody diarrhea.

A more obvious indication of a stuck balloon string is if your cat has abdominal pain or reacts with an unusual amount of aggression when you attempt to pick them up. If either of these happens, then get your cat some medical attention right away.

What is this type of obstruction called?

When a cat swallows a balloon string and it gets stuck, this is referred to as gastrointestinal obstruction. The term for a foreign object like a balloon string being inside your cat is a linear foreign body. There are several ways this can occur. Sometimes the string can get tied up on part cat’s tongue.

Regardless of how or where it gets stuck, the string then causes the GI obstruction that will make you and your cat’s lives miserable.

Why is it so difficult for vets to get rid of?

While this kind of GI obstruction is unfortunately common in cats, it is a very difficult problem for a vet to fully solve. Removing the string requires very delicate and precise work. The slightest mistake can result in perforations which can cause even more harm for your cat.

If your cat gets these kinds of GI obstructions frequently, dehydration and malnourishment will also be other issues that will make it much more difficult to treat.

On top of that, it is always risky to perform surgery on any animal, let alone your cat. Frequent surgeries for GI obstructions involving a linear foreign body will increase the chances of something going wrong during your cat’s surgery.

Lindsey Browlingdon