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Albuquerque VetCo

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Ask Vet-Co: Uh Oh! My Cat Ate String

cat eats stringDear Vet-Co,

My cat swallowed some yarn and it is sticking out of her bum. Is this be a serious problem? What can I do to take care of it? Should I pull it out?

Thank you,



Dear Unraveled,

Cats love to play with string. They love to bat it around, chase it, bite it and often swallow it. The first three things are ok, it is the last action in that list that can be a problem. A cat swallowing a string can cause some serious gastrointestinal problems called gastrointestinal obstruction. Often times when a cat has swallowed string they have swallowed things attached to the string as well, like needles.

What to do if your cat has swallowed yarn or string:

  1. Is the yarn or string visible? Is it hanging out of their mouth or rectum?
  2. If the string is visible give it a gentle tug.  If there is no resistance, pull the string out. If you feel resistance, STOP PULLING IMMEDIATELY and proceed to step 3.
  3. Cut the string off as short as possible so the cat does not accidentally get it caught on something and pulls it out.
  4. Feed the cat white petroleum jelly. You can do this by rubbing it on their mouth or paws. They will lick it off. The jelly will help “lube” their system and assist the string in passing through.
  5. If your cat starts vomiting or stops eating, take them to the vet immediately. This can be a sign of a blockage or other gastrointestinal issue and may require surgical intervention.

If you think your cat has eaten string or yarn and you are not sure if it is an issue bring them to your vet. It is better to be safe than sorry.