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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16259
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My cat ate some ribbon. And he's now very lethargic and not

Customer Question

My cat ate some ribbon. And he's now very lethargic and not eating (which has NEVER happened in his 9 years.) He's done this before and always just thrown it up. But he's never acted weird.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 6 months ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today. How long ago did he eat the ribbon? How long was it?Does he have any belly discomfort when you press on his belly?Is he passing stool normally or straining at all? Normal urine?Is he drinking?Are his gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
He ate the ribbon while we were sleeping. He's a black cat, so his gums are black. He was really fighting, so I coudln't touch them to tell if moist. When I pressed on his belly, he didn't act like he was in discomfort but he doesn't really show pain. I don't know about his urine, haven't seen him use the litter box.He did eat a little food and did drink water.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Also, he's thrown up a few times, but it's been clear liquid.He has done this many times. We try to throw away all ribbon but with a 5year old girl, it finds a way in. But he's always just thrown it up.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you,I have received your replies and will review them and post mine in full shortly.Dr. B.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 6 months ago.
Hi again,First, I would just note that if he isn't keen to let you look and he is a darkly pigmented kitty, we can still check his perfusion (and ensure we don't have internal bleeding) by flipping down his lower eyelid. This tissue should be pink even if he is a black cat. So, that is worth a check now as at least a base line and then to just monitor. As well, I would monitor his urination, since blockage (a feline emergency) can cause the vague signs we are seeing even if its not directly related to the ribbon.Now otherwise, the ribbon is a worry here. This is because despite his bringing them up in the past, eating ribbons is a bit like Russian roulette. This is because even if he has managed to bring them up in the past, if they are left to linger in the stomach too long, we can see some of it passing into his intestines. Which is where ribbon tends to cause problems, since they can act as blockages but more often we see them causing issue where we have the gut caught on itself or the ribbon even ends up cheesewiring right through the GI. So, we need to tread with great care here. In this case, it would be ideal to have him seen at this stage. His vet can xray to see where the ribbon is (if it is pulling the guts out of position) and use their scope to remove it from the stomach or surgery to remove it from the intestines. Otherwise, if you feel that he isn't uncomfortable and he has managed to eat you can choose to use supportive care. If you choose to do so, we'd want to feed a bland diet (ie boiled chicken, white fish, scrambled egg, or garlic/onion-free meat baby food). These should be offered in small meals and whichever you choose you an add a spoonful of tinned pumpkin mixed in. The fiber in the pumpkin will help push the ribbon through. As well, you can start treating him a few times daily with cat hair ball medication +/- add GI lubricants (ie lactulose, miralax, etc) to his food to lubricate the gut and aid passage of this.Of course, while doing so we need to keep a close eye. Any restlessness, lethargy, vomiting with blood or coffee ground type material, inability to keep any food or water down, belly pain, anorexia, pale gums, straining to pass feces or passage of black feces (digested blood); then we'd need him to your vet urgently for examination +/- an xray to see where it is all is with a view to possible surgery.Overall, ribbons can be a real nightmare for our cats if they don't bring them up while they are in the stomach. Therefore, despite his history of bringing these up, we need to be very careful here. So, a check-up would be ideal but otherwise we do need to monitor him closely while using the above. If all settles and passes the ribbon out either end, we are happy. But any hint of those above signs and we’d want to have him checked by his vet to see if there is more ribbon in his gut, what it is doing, and whether it will pass without causing him harm.Just in case he does develop signs and your vet isn’t open, you can find your local ER veterinary clinic @ http://www.vetlocator.com/ or viahttp://www.veccs.org/index.php?option=com_hospitals&nationid=1&Itemid=193Please take care,Dr. B.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is how I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Excellent! Thank you so much. Pumpkin is actually his favorite food in the whole world. And he's cheering up with my husband. Purring and not acting in pain when his belly is pressed. So we are going to wait and see for now. We'll take him to the emergency vet if he doesn't pass it soon. Or vomit it up.And establish a strict no ribbon rule.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 6 months ago.
You are very welcome, my dear.I think that is an excellent rule and hopefully Roscoe will follow it.As well, I am glad to hear that he is feeling better and not showing any pain here. So, do use the pumpkin (grand that he likes it :)) to keep any ribbon present moving through his gut. Hopefully with our GI supports, we will see it out the other end (though don't pull if you do, since that could hurt the gut) and see it slip out without causing bother.Best wishes,Dr. B.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is how I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )