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Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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My cat has swallowed some sellotape and has been heaving. Should

Customer Question

My cat has swallowed some sellotape and has been heaving. Should I take her to the vet?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!

I would like to help you and your cat with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

How many hours ago did she swallow the sellotape?

How long was the piece she swallowed?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
about an inch long. it was about an hour ago. she is not constantly heaving but every now and again she is. She's alert and fussy still but is obviously in some discomfort
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
And has she actually brought anything up?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I think the glue from it has come out and some liquid but that is it.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.

It is good that it was just a short piece of tape. There is a good chance that it will move through on its own with time.. though it is possible that it might not.

Let me tell you what to look for if this gets stuck in the intestines and creates a "gastrointestinal foreign body" which is what we call things stuck in the GI tract:

1. A foreign body.

This acts in much the same way as a hairball in that it can obstruct the pylorus and prevent food from moving through. I have taken some odd things out of cat's stomachs - ribbons and ear plugs among them. They do eat the strangest things sometimes.

An ear plug, string, sellotape or ribbon would not show up on plain x-rays.

Here is more about foreign bodies in cats:

2. Another possibility is that your cat could have gastritis from eating the indigestible sellotape.

This is an inflammation of the stomach that could be caused by having eaten something she should not have (sellotape, plant leaves, or anything rough or indigestible).

If you think of rubbing sandpaper across your wrist for a few hours, you can imagine how raw your skin would be. The same thing happens to the inside lining of the stomach when a cat eats something indigestible like a ribbon. The stomach will try hard to digest it, and get quite raw in the process. Treatment involves resting the stomach by giving only easy-to-digest foods and medication to act as a "band-aid" to raw ulcerated areas.

Here is more:

Gastroenteritis (vomiting and nausea) is something that can be treated with antacids like famotidine or ranitidine (also known as Pepcid and Zantac respectively).

I will give you links:

Legally I cannot prescribe drugs for a cat I have not examined. I can tell you, however, that I often suggest people purchase Pepcid AC for cats with this problem and give 1/4 of a 10mg tablet twice daily.

I would recommend you talk to your vet about whether this may be appropriate for your kitty.

I have some suggestions for what you can do at home to help in addition to the Pepcid.

For now, take away all food and water. Wait for 4 hours before offering first plain water to start - but only 1- 2 teaspoons every 15 min. That will be easier on her system than drinking a whole lot at once.

Then, if she keeps that down for 2 hours, you can try to get some calories into her in a liquid form - that way she is getting nutrition at the same time as fluids.

I suggest opening a can of tuna *in water* and offering her the liquid.

Also, you can pick up Clam Juice in most grocery stores (sold in with the V8 or with the canned tuna in my grocery store) and mix that with some water.

You could try Lactose Free milk (Lactaid is the Canadian brand).

Things you can do to encourage a cat to drink are:

- offer water from a very wide flat bowl as cats don't like their whiskers to touch the edges when they drink (which is why lots of cats like the toilet bowl).

- If she likes dripping water, leave a tap dripping for her.

- Offer bottled water and see if she prefers it.

- Offer onion free chicken broth, diluted 50:50.

- See if she likes water with an ice cube in it.

- See if she likes it out of a cup or martini glass.

- Offer Whiskas Cat Milk

- If she keeps fluids down, you could try getting some human baby food in meat flavours (check that there are no onions or garlic in the ingredients) and mix that with warm water and offer that, or syringe it in little bits into your cat's mouth. Beech Nut makes a line of baby food that has nothing but meat (beef, chicken, turkey or veal) in it.

If you cannot find this, you could find another meat baby food - just read the label carefully to be sure there are no onions, onion powder, garlic, or garlic powder in it.

Try to get her to drink small amounts frequently once she stops vomiting.

Given that it is Saturday, and your vet may be closed this afternoon and tomorrow, it would be best to have her seen. Your vet may want to give fluids under the skin to prevent dehyrdration, and can given an injection of anti-nausea medications.

It is too early yet to know if this is going to move through - but I think there is a good chance if it was only 1 inch long.

If you cannot get to a vet, then I hope my suggestions help you to help your cat!


If this has been helpful, please "Accept" my answer and provide feedback.

If you need more information, just click on reply and I will try to provide it!

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.