I never believed it could happen until my cat ate a rubber band. That was one terrifying experience I’ll never forget. Just a small distraction and bam! Next thing I remember I was hysterically crying at the vet station.
We don’t necessarily have control over what’s happening behind our back and these little creatures can get a bit devilish. They are naturally curious and they’ll explore everything they can. Sometimes they’ll enjoy and other times, they may put their life at risk.
The most important thing in those horrific moments is to stay calm and act in the best way possible. Your cat ate a rubber band and that’s why you’ve googled it? I know this can be extremely scary, so congrats on checking up online for solutions and advice.
Maybe, some of the things that I’ll mention are pretty obvious, but when we’re panicking, we don’t think straight and we simply forget those basic things we could do to fix the situation. So, we’ll start learning about the topic together.
Is it safe for cats to play with rubber bands?
A big, categorical no. Don’t even think about it.
I know that cats love anything that is jumpy and they can pretend they are hunting. But, rubber bands, hair ties, and ribbon-like thingies are not welcome at all. You should keep them away from her reach if possible.
However, if you notice that she just started playing with it and is about to swallow a rubber band, use your index finger to take the rubber band out of her mouth. Don’t hesitate to scold her a bit, because that’s the only way for her to learn what’s good and what’s not.
My cat ate a rubber band: What am I supposed to do?
I know this is easier said than done, but don’t panic. When we’re stressed we don’t think clearly about the consequences of our actions and we may end up hurting our furbaby. Of course, if your cat ate a rubber band, it’s normal that you’re worried.
Before you do anything on your own, wait a bit because she may cough it out. If that doesn’t happen, do some of the things mentioned below.
1. Don’t pull it out!
Whatever you do, don’t pull the rubber band out on your own unless it comes out easily. If you try to help your kitty without at least consulting the vet, you may only make things worse. I know that your first instinct will be to save her, but this may not be a solution.
The rubber band may be wrapped around the base of her tongue, or teeth, and trying to detach it can lead to serious problems. Also, don’t let her drink or eat anything before you consult your vet.
2. Call the vet
Perhaps he’ll be able to give you some instructions on how to solve the problem, or he’ll tell you to immediately come to the vet station. There are a couple of things a vet will do while examining your kitty and he’ll make sure she gets out in good condition.
Of course, don’t expect that he’ll magically make it disappear, but he’ll definitely solve the problem. He may even give her anesthesia or sedatives in order to safely take out the rubber band.
3. Keep an eye on her
Maybe you didn’t do it before, but now you really have to. Make sure that she’s behaving normally and that she doesn’t have any visible or severe changes.
If she ingested a rubber band the only thing you can do now is to keep an eye on her. Especially if she’s still not showing any signs of illness or that she’s not feeling well. In case you notice anything different, like changes in her appetite or behavior, contact the vet right away.
4. Check her poop
What comes in must come out, right? Be patient and wait for your kitty to poop. If your cat ate a rubber band she’ll poop it within 24-48h, so the only thing left to do is for her to get it out of her system. You don’t have to go around the house following your little fella; that’s not what I’m saying.
She may have serious problems if the rubber bands stay in her intestine and that’s why you need to know if she got it out of her digestive system.
Why are cats attracted to rubber bands?
Does she really need a reason? Cats are by nature very curious beings and your little feline will try to chew on everything that comes under her nose. That’s one of the reasons why she’ll try eating a rubber band as well.
The other one is because of its unique smell that some cats are attracted to. You know that a cat’s nose can sense more fragrant than ours, therefore she may find the smell of a rubber band pretty intriguing.
Cats generally like bouncy objects that they can chase around like hair ties and ribbons that are very interesting for her. I guess it stayed from their ancestors and her predatory nature takes the best of her when she sees something small and easy to hunt.
Toys help your cat develop her chasing skills in the safety of your home. She’s going to need a lot of them if you want to keep her from finding alternative playthings around the house that may be extremely dangerous for her.
What are the signs that my cat ate a rubber band?
When you’re not completely sure that your feline ingested a rubber band, there are a couple of things you can pay attention to. If you spot some of these, consult with your vet over the phone or in person.
1. Throwing up
Your cat may almost instantly start vomiting if she ate a rubber band. It’s not the greatest scene to watch, but you’ll at least know that she’s fighting to get the foreign thing out of her system.
Be really careful when this happens because she may dehydrate easily. So, as soon as you notice she threw up for the first time, pick up that phone and take her to emergency care.
2. Digestion problems
If she ate a rubber band your cat may have digestion problems. They will appear in different forms including diarrhea and constipation – two opposites of the same spectrum. As soon as you notice that something is off and she’s not pooping like she normally does, you know who to call.
The diarrhea part is not that scary, considering the fact that she’ll eventually poop out whatever bothers her stomach, but constipation can be dangerous if not treated in time.
3. Stomach aches
Is discomfort clearly visible on your feline’s face and she’s walking strangely? If this is the truth, your cat probably ate a rubber band and is experiencing abdominal pain right now. You can try to massage her stomach a bit, but don’t apply too much pressure.
She probably won’t like it, since a lot of cats don’t allow their owners to touch their stomachs, but maybe you’ll ease her pain a bit.
4. Loss of appetite
Cats can eat almost anything, including human food like corn, spinach, peas, and other nutritive ingredients. There’s also super delicious cat food and dry treats that every feline adores. Therefore, if she’s denying food, something strange is happening.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that she ingested a foreign object, but this is usually the case. If your cat ate a rubber band it probably got stuck somewhere in her digestive system, causing her discomfort and she simply can’t eat even though she’d love to.
Pawing is when your kitty is rubbing some spots on her body in order to clean them. She also does this if she’s not feeling comfortable or she just needs a good scratch. However, if she’s doing this in a forceful way, check out what’s happening.
If your cat ate a rubber band and it got stuck somewhere in her mouth (usually around the base of her tongue), she’ll vigorously paw at her jaw or mouth.
6. Aggressive behavior
This is something only you will be able to notice since you know your furbaby the best. Every cat is different; some are hyperactive daily, others are calm and there’s no way for someone who’s not constantly with them to establish if something is unusual in her behavior.
When cats are stressed out and feeling discomfort, they may start growling, scratching, and even biting. This kind of behavior will escalate if you touch painful places or even somewhere near.
Pay attention to this, especially if she displays these during regular cuddles and something that usually wouldn’t bother her. This may be her way of saying that she has some internal problems that need to be taken care of.
Contrary to the previous one, if your cat suddenly feels lethargic and is not as active as it used to be, she probably ate a rubber band or some other foreign object that causes her pain. This is not going to be an easy symptom to spot since cats sleep a lot throughout the day.
You’ll mostly be able to figure out if your kitty’s energy levels dropped during playtime. She’s not going to be that jumpy mischievous furball you got used to. Rather, she’ll try to avoid toys and stay in the corner of the room or on her bed. Don’t ignore this, since lethargy may be masking serious problems.
What are the consequences if my cat ate a rubber band?
There are a couple of things that could happen if your cat ate a rubber band and some of them may even be lethal. Therefore, you have to be really careful and react as soon as you notice something’s wrong.
If your cat ate a rubber band, she may simply poop it out and act as if nothing happened. In some severe cases, your kitty may have the following problems that can get her on a way to the eternal dreamland (and that’s something we want to prevent, right?).
Choking may happen if the rubber band your cat ate is stuck somewhere in her throat. Maybe it got tied up around her teeth or her tongue and she swallowed one end. This is going to be a terrifying experience for your kitty, so if you can, try taking the rubber out.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, don’t pull the rubber out forcefully, because you may hurt your feline that way. Be gentle and if you can’t take it out easily, consult your vet urgently.
This is, in a way, a universal sign your cat ate something she shouldn’t, and it’s the same when it comes to a rubber band. Usually, the cat will poop out a foreign object in the next 24h, but if you notice that she’s struggling and that she has a stomach ache, don’t hesitate to take her to the vet.
He’ll be able to help her and prevent further health problems that may occur.
Weird word, I know. However, the meaning is not that complex. It just implies the regular movement of the intestine when one part of it telescopes under the other, becomes smaller, and causes blockage. The condition is also known as “telescoping”.
This happens because one part of the rubber is stuck in your feline’s stomach and the other passes into the intestine. It can also happen with other foreign bodies in your kitty’s digestive system, but we won’t go into details.
If your cat suffers from intussusception, she’ll be vomiting. You’ll also notice she feels lethargic and shows signs of depression and loss of appetite. Her poop, later on, may have some blood in it.
When your cat ingests a foreign object (including a rubber band), it will probably cause some sort of blockage. Necrosis implies lessened blood flow to a certain organ, and that organ consequently dies off. This means that the rubber band your cat ate, prevents her organ from getting enough of that vital fluid.
If this happens for a longer period of time, not even surgery will solve the problem. So, you have to be very careful and react on time if you notice (or even suspect) that your furbaby ate something she wasn’t supposed to.
Is this going to be a fatal experience for my feline?
Hopefully not. In some severe cases yes, eating a rubber band may take your purrfect little angel back to the cats’ heaven, but those are rare happenings. She’s going to hesitate to eat it in the first place, but if it happens, she’ll probably cough it out or digest it.
You just have to monitor her and in case you notice that something unusual is happening, take some action. Don’t let her just deal with problems on her own. If you suspect that your cat ate a rubber band, check her mouth first, since it may be possible that she didn’t swallow it yet.
This way you’ll prevent any other serious health problems that may occur and that we’ve mentioned earlier. However, if you’re too late and the rubber band she was playing with already went down her digestive system, wait for it in her poop.
Be patient in this case since it can take up to 48h until it’s completely out, but pay attention to some other alarming signs that your cat ate a rubber band.
In the end…
Buy your cat proper toys so she doesn’t have to play with alternatives that may be harmful to her, or even fatal. Also, you can give her some food like celery that will keep her busy while she’s munching on them and she’ll avoid eating foreign objects.
Some crunchy fruits and vegetables will entertain her long enough and they will provide her a lot of nutritive value beneficial for her health. So, if you don’t have cat toys, this may be an adequate (and healthy) substitute.
Also, don’t hesitate to call your vet if you notice anything weird. He can always give you advice and comfort you if you’re worried. You can update him about your kitty’s situation on your way to the station so he can proceed with the treatment as soon as you arrive.
Lastly, if your cat ate a rubber band, don’t lose it. Keep yourself together and think of the best possible solution. It’s important that your head is clear, so you can save your kitty from acute consequences and continue enjoying her company.