Ask Dr Claire

My 15 week old kitten ate some cotton thread. Will he be ok? Not vomiting and ate dinner.

Cotton thread, wool, ribbon, string, fishing line, tinsel all have the potential to be dangerous when they are eaten by cats.

These can catch in the intestines, and then cause the intestines to bunch together around it, causing an obstruction, which is life threatening.

If the cotton thread was 1 or 2cm it will likely pass through, a long piece though can be trouble, especially if it was attached to a needle. When something causes an obstruction of the gut, they get very sick and if left untreated it is sadly, life threatening.

In general, symptoms which may indicate an obstruction are:

  • Vomiting,
  • Reduced or no appetite,
  • Weakness,
  • Diarrhoea, and
  • Weight loss.

I would recommend a hands-on examination from your local vet for a hands on check starting with checking for any thread anchored around the tongue. Imaging (such as radiography) is often used in these cases to assess for where the object is and whether it’s passing through.

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Chat soon,

Dr Claire