A Letter from a Cat who Eats String

Lancy tries to decide between string and cat food.

Dear Baker,

I just can’t help it; I love eating string! All kinds of string: shoelaces, hood pull strings, ornament strings, even Christmas ribbon. Every time I do, my humans always freak out and stuff me in my carrier and next thing I know, I’m at the vet!

Is eating string really so bad?

Signed,

Tastes-like-grass

Baker ate some string and now he has to go to the vet.

Baker ate some string and now he has to go to the vet.

Dear Tastes-like-grass,

Your human’s right; eating string is very dangerous and you should check into rehab until you can shake the habit.

Sure, string seems like a good source of fiber and you might think it will help you with your digestion. Best case scenario, you barf it up or poop it out.

But string doesn’t always come out like we expect. Some bad effects of string use include:

-The end of the string can get caught in your mouth, perhaps wrapped around you tongue. Then it will get anchored and not pass through your system. Anchored string can cause blockage or rupture your intestines. Bad news!

-The string can bunch up in your intestine and cause a blockage.

Christmas ribbon -- it looks delicious, but it is very dangerous and should never be eaten.

Christmas ribbon — it looks delicious, but it is very dangerous and should never be eaten.

-The string can pass through your intestine lengthwise instead of bunching up. In this case, it can pull at your intestine, causing it to, as our vet put it, ‘accordion.’ That does NOT sound pleasant!

-Christmas ribbon is especially bad for you. It is inflexible and has sharp edges, so it can cut up your insides from the inside.

-A blockage, accordion, or cut in your intestines can get infected and lead to septicemia (blood poisoning) and death.

Baker learned his lesson. Now he resists the temptation to eat delicious string and sticks to cat food.

Baker learned his lesson. Now he resists the temptation to eat delicious string and sticks to cat food.

Some cats think they’re lucky because their humans let them go outside and eat grass. This is actually not the best solution to your string problem; believe it or not, ‘outside’ is teeming with dangers, such as fast shiny metal objects that can squish you, predators, and evil humans who might unjustly punish you for marking your territory in what they consider their territory. Although there is very little danger of encountering string, outside does have worse dangers. Perhaps your humans could consider providing some cat grass in the house, or building a nice cat run outside so you can enjoy eating grass and insects but avoid the other dangers ‘outside’ cats face.

If you do eat string, your humans should take you to the vet. The vet will check you for symptoms of blockage and infection, and probably do an X-ray. Some cats poop out part of the string and then their humans are tempted to pull it out the rest of the way. WARNING: DO NOT LET YOUR HUMANS PULL ANYTHING OUT OF YOUR BUTT! If it is even a few inches up your intestines, pulling it will do serious damage. The best thing your humans can do in this situation is carefully cut off the hanging string as close to your butthole as possible and wait for the rest of the string to pass naturally. If you don’t barf up the string or poop it out, your vet might decide to do surgery to remove the string.

More info on string eating and its dangers here.

So you see, eating string is a terrible idea. If, like me, you are unable to resist this admittedly tasty treat, your humans should make sure to keep all stringy objects put away where you can’t get at them. At this time of year, your humans need to be extra vigilant about holiday ornaments and ribbon on presents. If you ruin their holiday by getting surgery or worse, dying, they will not be happy.

Your pal,

Baker

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *