The Small Threats Lurking in Your Home: Ensuring Your Cat’s Safety by Preventing Swallowing Hazards

Cats aren’t able to spit things up – the barbs on their tongue prevent it. So once something is in the throat, it’s being swallowed, which could lead to serious health issues. Here are some real-life examples of things to be careful of that cats have consumed to avoid the same happening to your kitty.

Hair Ties

Ragdoll Cat Dies from Hair Tie Hair Ties in Cats Stomachs Hair Tie Photo
Photo credit: Floppycats.

Hair ties are a surprisingly common problem for cats – possibly because owners like to use them for games of chase/fetch. The bright colors make them attractive, but they can get tangled up inside stomachs or intestines – and surgery may be required.

Used Dryer Sheets

Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Used dryer sheets may seem like an innocent item to leave in a low trash can. Still, owners have reported cats eating them – and because the sheets don’t break down easily, they can cause blockages.

Rubber Bands

Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Rubber bands are another item you need to make sure are kept well away from your cats. The elastic can be intriguing to play with, and the cat may chew on it to learn more – which can lead to accidentally swallowing them.


Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Balloons are a well-known issue around pets. Once they pop, the latex becomes an attractive item to snack on. Of course, it can get caught inside your pet’s digestive system and potentially stretch to create a blockage. Mylar balloons made from foil are also a risk.


Ragdoll Cat with Tongue Out.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

There’s a cliché about cats batting around a ball of yarn, but loose string can actually be dangerous. Cats won’t tend to eat it on purpose, but they may chew on the yarn, and loose strands can be swallowed and get balled up inside them.

Pom Poms

Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Small pom poms made from sponge that you would use in crafts are very attractive to cats, who often love small round objects. These balls can expand when wet, which makes them even more problematic if swallowed.

Small Toys

Cat playing with a ping-pong ball.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Any toys that are small enough to fit down your cat’s throat or that are wearing down and may break apart should be kept well away from your kitty. Old or small toys can easily scrape and cut your cat’s insides and block their organs.

Gift Wrap Ribbon

Baby Ragdoll Kittens in a box as a present.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Be careful when opening any gift with a ribbon tied around it – ensure you always dispose of it safely. Otherwise, your cat may pounce on loose strands and swallow it.

Signs To Look For

blue eyed white and grey cat laying on the floor
Photo credit: Floppycats.

Various symptoms could occur if your cat has swallowed something it shouldn’t have, including vomiting, lethargy, or a lack of appetite. If you notice any significant change in your cat’s behavior, it’s time to act.

What To Do

cat with vet
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

If you think your cat has swallowed something unsuitable, take them to an emergency vet. An x-ray will confirm whether there is a foreign body inside.

Surgery Costs

Cat at the vets.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

The cost of surgery to remove foreign objects from inside a cat can be very expensive. But often, it is necessary to avoid fatalities. Depending on the object, the vet may recommend waiting to see if your pet can pass it naturally, but usually, surgery will be needed.

Pet Insurance

fluffy little kitten hidding behind a scratching post
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Anyone worried about the high cost of pet surgery to remove accidentally swallowed items should look into pet insurance. Other options for spreading the cost of surgery may also be available.

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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