Cats love string. Sometimes, they love it too much. If you discover that your cat has eaten yarn, dental floss, or thread, you will probably be worried about what could happen to your cat. There are few things you can and should do in response to your cat eating strings, as it could end up saving his or her life. 

Call your vet.

The first thing you should do after your cat eats string is to make a call to the vet. Sometimes, depending on the type and length of string, the vet will want to see you cat immediately or keep them for observation. They might also recommend a laxative to help your cat pass the string, or a care regimen for your cat to reduce the chances of medical emergency. You vet will give you the guidance you need to continue.

If your vet is not worried, keep an eye on your kitty.

You should still keep an eye on your cat even if the vet doesn't request that you bring them in right away because the floss may begin to cause digestive problems later on. A cat may behave normally for a few days, but then begin to show signs of distress. These distress signs will indicate the need for emergency care. If you cat is playing and eating like normal, you should not be very concerned. However, see your vet right away if

  • there is blood in the litter box. Some smaller strings, like thread, can actually cause cuts in the intestines. Blood in stools indicates that the thread is causing internal injury.
  • your cat suddenly becomes lethargic. Sometimes, strings can ball up and block the absorption of nutrients, reducing your cats energy level.
  • the abdomen becomes swollen. A blockage can cause a buildup that will be visible and painful for your cat.
  • your cat stops eating or drinking. Dehydration can set in and make the sting more difficult to pass.

Usually, if your cat shows the following symptoms, the vet will perform an x-ray to look for the string in the body. In some cases, the string can be wrapped around the intestines or keep the digestive system from working if it is stuck in the stomach or wrapped around your cat's throat. In these cases, your vet will need to perform surgery to remove the string and repair the intestine.

In some cases, you might notice some of the string coming out of your cat's rear. Don't pull on the string, but simply allow it to keep moving out on its own. If the string is bunched or wrapped around something, you could severely injure your cat by forcing the string out. Contact an emergency vet, like Animal Emergency Clinic, if you have any concerns.