What Happens if a Cat Ate a Rubber Band or a Hair Tie?
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Cat Ate Rubber Band: The Hidden Dangers of Rubber Bands and Hair Ties for Cats

Cat Ate Rubber Band: The Hidden Dangers of Rubber Bands and Hair Ties for Cats

Ever wondered what would happen if a cat ate something like a rubber band or an elastic string?

Cats should not eat rubber bands or hair ties. If your cat eats one and does not poop it out, contact the vet immediately.

This blog post will be helpful for anyone who has ever had an inquisitive feline friend in their home who loves to explore and play with stretchy materials!

Key Take Away:
. Cats shouldn't eat rubber bands.

. Do not pull out stuck rubber bands.

. Always go to the vet if the rubber band does not come out in 12 hours or less.
Table of Contents

My Cat Likes Playing With Rubber Bands – Is That Ok?

While it may seem as if your feline bestie playing with rubber bands is ok, it’s actually not. If while they’re playing your cat by mistake swallows that stretchy hair tie/rubber band, then you will be in for a rough time.

What Are the Risks of Playing With Rubber Bands:

While playing with rubber bands is generally safe, there are a few risks to be aware of. Rubber bands can break and become lodged in your cat’s mouth or throat, which could cause choking or other serious injuries.

Additionally, ingesting small pieces of rubber can also cause gastrointestinal blockages. Not forgetting that once they pull that rubber band and release it, the band may end up hurting them.

If you’re concerned about your cat playing with stretchy bands, you can try providing them with alternative toys that are specifically designed for cats.

Why Do Cats Try to Eat Rubber Bands?

There are a few different reasons that cats can ingest rubber bands:

  1. They might chew on them out of curiosity or boredom, or they could accidentally swallow one while playing with it.
  2. The texture is also interesting to them, as it’s different from most of the other things in their environment

If you have rubber bands around your home, be sure to keep them out of reach of your cat to prevent this from happening.

How Common Is Cats Eating Rubber Bands?

Cats chowing on rubber bands and hair ties are actually very common. In almost all cat communities I’m in, be it Facebook, Quora, or Reddit, there’s always someone concerned about cats playing, stealing or eating rubber bands.

How Common Is Cats Eating Rubber Bands?
Screenshot of furr parent from a Cat Community on Facebook

It’s most likely to happen when a cat is either very young or very old. Young cats are curious and like to explore new things, while older cats may be experiencing dementia and become confused about what they’re supposed to eat.

My Cat Ate a Rubber Band – What Should I Do?

If your cat ate a rubber band/hair tie or a stretchy string, monitor their poop. You may notice pieces of rubber in their stool, an indication that the rubber is safely out of their system.

If the rubber band is not passed within two days, or if your cat starts showing signs of distress, take them to the vet.

What Will Happen If a Cat Eats a Rubber Band or Tie?

If your furry bestie has eaten a hair tie/rubber band, there are two possibilities that may happen.

The first possibility is that your cat will just poop out the stretchy band and life continues as normal. This is the best thing that could happen in this situation..

The second possibility is a rather daunting one. Your cat may get sick from ingesting the rubber band since it’s not part of their normal diet. You may also notice your furball vomiting or having diarrhea.

If by chance you notice your cat having these symptoms, then it’s time to make that visit to the vet.

What Are the Dangers of a Cat Eating a Rubber Band or Tie?

If a cat ingests a rubber band or hair tie, there is a risk of it becoming lodged in their intestines. If this happens, the cat may need surgery to remove the foreign object. In some cases, the rubber band or tie may cause an intestinal blockage, which can be life-threatening.

Symptoms to Look Out for When Your Cat Eats a Rubber Band

1. Vomiting

Symptoms to look out for when your cat eats a rubber band.
sick cat vomiting the food

If your cat ingests a rubber band, they may start to vomit. This is because the rubber band can become lodged in their stomach or intestines, causing an obstruction.

This will cause them to lose fluids and electrolytes, which can lead to dehydration and other health problems.

If you notice your cat vomiting, make sure they drink plenty of water and give them food that contains fluid and electrolytes (like Pedialyte). If your cat starts behaving abnormally, please contact a veterinarian immediately.

If your cat is showing any of these symptoms, it’s important to take them to the vet right away as they may need surgery to remove the rubber band.

2. Abdominal Pain

Your cat may experience abdominal pain a few hours after swallowing a rubber band or a hair tie. This is because the stretchy bands may have gotten stuck in the intestines causing some form of discomfort and in some instances, pain.

3. Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a common symptom in cats who have eaten rubber bands, hair ties, or stretchy strings. It is an uncomfortable condition in which the bowels become clogged and soft. Additionally, it can make a cat feel sick and weak and can be hard to treat.

If the cat only has mild diarrhea, they may be able to be treated with fluids and rest. However, if the cat is showing more severe symptoms, they may need surgery to remove the rubber band from their intestines.

To be on the safe side, it’s better if you just pay the vet a visit to ascertain that everything is okay.

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4. Constipation

If your cat has eaten a rubber band, one of the symptoms you may notice is constipation. Your furry bestie may have trouble defecating, and their stool may be hard and dry.

They may also strain to defecate or cry out in pain when doing so.

In severe cases, constipation can lead to an impaction, where the rubber band blockage prevents your cat from passing any stool at all.

5. Loss of Appetite

When a cat consumes a rubber band, it can cause them to feel sick and lose their appetite. This will in turn make them become weak.

6. Lethargy

When cats eat rubber bands, the bands can get stuck in their intestines and cause them to become lethargic. They may not want to move around or play as much as usual, and may even sleep more than normal.

If you notice your cat becoming lethargic and exhibiting any of the following symptoms, take her to the veterinarian as soon as possible: decreased appetite, lack of energy, weak or rapid breathing, foam at the mouth or excessive drooling.

7. Unusual Behavior

Unusual behavior can mean anything from your cat eating something they shouldn’t to being unusually active or vocal.

If you notice any changes in your cat’s behavior that you don’t understand, it’s important to bring it up with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

8. Aggressive Pawing

Cats tend to excessively paw at things whenever they are feeling sick, in pain, or stressed.

If you notice your cat becoming aggressive and pawing at things, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet will be able to determine if there is anything wrong with their intestines and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

How Long Should You Observe Your Cat to Rule Out the Possibility of Her Becoming Sick After Swallowing a Rubber Band?

If your cat has recently eaten a rubber band or tie, you should observe her for signs of illness for at least 24 hours. This time period will allow you to rule out the possibility of your cat becoming sick after swallowing the rubber band.

In the meantime, you should observe your cat closely for any signs of illness. If she starts vomiting, has diarrhea, or seems lethargic, these could be signs that the rubber band is causing an obstruction in her digestive system. Contact your vet right away if you notice any of these symptoms.

Can Cats Digest Rubber Bands?

No, cats are not able to digest rubber bands. Cats have a small intestinal tract that can easily get blocked by the rubber and end up getting intussusception. This is a condition where the intestines loop telescopes in on itself.

Why Is Swallowing a Rubber Band Dangerous for My Cat?

When a cat swallows a rubber band, it often becomes trapped in their intestines and causes digestive problems or even death. The stuck band can be very hard to remove without surgery.

If left untreated, these blocking episodes could eventually lead to perforated intestines which would be fatal for your pet.

According to PubMed, cats have a lower chance of surviving if their blockage is caused by a linear object. These include rubber bands and hair ties.

The study also proved that the level of blockage in cats does not influence whether the cat will survive or not. However, the longer the blockage the higher the chance of the pet passing on.

Will my cat be OK after swallowing a rubber band?

Most cats will be fine after swallowing a rubber band. The key is to monitor them closely and contact a veterinarian if there are any signs of trouble.

The vet will likely want to see your cat right away and may recommend x-rays to check for gastrointestinal obstruction.

If the rubber band is not causing any problems, your vet may just recommend monitoring your cat closely at home.

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My Cat Is Unwell After Swallowing a Rubber Band, What Will the Vet Do?

Cat at the vet
Photo by Mk7 Bober on Pexels

If a cat swallows something like a rubber band the vet will confirm through x-rays or other tests that there is an obstruction in their throat or intestines. The vet will often recommend surgery to remove the object.

What Should You Do If Your Cat Ate a Rubber Band?

There are three (3) instances that can happen:

What to Do If Rubber Band Stuck in Your Cat’s Mouth

If you see that your cat has eaten but not yet swallowed a rubber band, the first thing you should do is try to calm them down. Eating a rubber band can be very dangerous for your cat and can cause them to choke.

Next, gently pull on the ends of the rubber band to see if you can remove it from their mouth. If you can’t remove it, then you will need to take your cat to the vet.

The vet will be able to safely remove the rubber band and will also be able to check for any other damage that may have been done.

Don’t try to force the rubber band out of your cat’s mouth as this could cause them to choke.

Additionally, avoid giving your cat anything else to eat or drink as this could make them vomit and make the situation worse.

What to do if Rubber Band Stuck in your cat's Mouth
Photo by Serena Koi on Pexels

What to Do When a Rubber Band Is Stuck in a Cat’s Stomach or Intestines

If a rubber band gets stuck in a cat’s stomach or intestines, they may experience pain and difficulty breathing. It is very important that you immediately take your cat to the vet.

Your vet will likely want to do x-rays to determine where the rubber band is located and whether or not surgery is necessary to remove it.

In some cases, the rubber band may be able to pass through the digestive system on its own and no treatment will be necessary beyond monitoring your cat closely for any signs of distress.

What to Do If the Swallowed Rubber Bands Pop Out in Your Cat’s Anus

If your cat has swallowed a rubber band and it pops out of their anus, do not panic. Immediately take them to the vet so they can be checked for any internal damage.

Do not try to remove the rubber band yourself as this could cause further damage.

What Not to Do If Your Cat Ate a Rubber Band

Do not try to make your cat vomit unless your vet tells you to. Avoid giving them any human food or over-the-counter medications unless directed by a veterinarian. And most importantly, do not panic!

How Can You Prevent Your Cat From Swallowing a Rubber Band or Hair Tie?

How can you prevent your cat from swallowing a rubber band or hair tie?
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

How to Stop Your Cat From Playing With a Rubber Band?

Keep rubber bands and hair ties out of reach of your cat. If you use rubber bands or hair ties, dispose of them properly so that your cat cannot get to them.

Additionally, make sure you provide your furry friend with enough toys. Keep in mind that some cats love to play and that pent-up energy may make them play with inappropriate items like hair ties and rubber bands.

How Long Can a Cat Live With a Blockage?

A cat can live with a blockage for a few days depending on the size of the band and the extent of the damage.

A blockage is when your cat’s intestines become blocked or twisted, preventing food or waste from passing through.

Blockages can be caused by a variety of things, including eating something they shouldn’t (like stretchy string/rubber band/hair tie).

Symptoms of a blockage include:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

If your cat is showing any of these symptoms, they should see a vet right away as a blockage can be life-threatening.

FAQ

How Long Does It Takes for a Cat to Pass a Rubber Band Out of Its System?

How Long Does It Takes for a Cat to Pass a Rubber Band out of Its System?
Photo by FOX on Pexels

Cats normally pass the rubber band out of their system in 12 to 24 hours. The exact timing depends on the individual cat’s system.

My Cat Is Pooing a Rubber Band, but It’s Stuck in Her Bottom – What Should I Do?

In most cases, the rubber band will come out on its own after a few days if left undisturbed. If you notice bleeding from the anus or rectum, call your veterinarian immediately.

Do not try to remove the rubber band with anything sharp, like scissors. This could cut your cat’s skin.

Can Kittens Eat Rubber Bands?

Yes, kittens can eat rubber bands and hair ties. Considering their playful nature and curiosity, they may go exploring and playing with rubber bands and in the process end up eating them.

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