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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20878
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My 3-year-old male Siamese cat just swallowed the pull-strip

Customer Question

My 3-year-old male Siamese cat just swallowed the pull-strip from a plastic shipping bag. About 12" x 0.5", this lightweight plastic strip with perforations along each side is what allows you to open the bag. After I tore it off I set it aside for a moment, expecting Mischka to play with it before I threw it away; instead I saw two inches of plastic hanging from his mouth. Realizing the rest had already gone inside him I tried to grab this end but he was too fast for me. He had all of it down his throat in seconds.
He will be due for breakfast at 6. So far he is acting normally--getting on my lap, moving around, etc. What should I do? (Aside from freaking out.) Thank you, Doctor.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years 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 this?
Are his gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?
If you press on his belly, does he have any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hi again,
Since time is ticking in this situation and you do now appear offline, I do want to leave my thoughts for your return.
Now this is a situation where we need to tread with care. The reason is because this plastic strip is what we call a linear foreign body. So like thread and string, there is a risk that instead of direct stomach damage as we'd see with sharp items or bones, we can see a different kind of problem for the gut. Specifically, we often see one part of the plastic pass through the stomach, while the rest stays caught in the valve outlet. This leads to tension in the plastic. If its too thick to break of its own accord, we get the guts pulled tight together, causing obstruction of the gut and this can even lead to the plastic 'cheese wiring' through the gut and perforate it causing serious complications. So, plastic bits like this are a real concern.
In regards ***** ***** if he has just had this, then we have 2 options. First, you can induce vomiting to try to get this back up and out of his gut. To induce vomiting at home, you can administer 3% hydrogen peroxide orally at a dose of 1ml per pound. (2 teaspoons per 10 pounds of body weight). You can give it via dropper, syringe, turkey baster -- just we want to give it orally and get it in. After giving this orally, move the abdomen around or get him to walk about to get things mixing. This should usually lead to vomiting. If it is unsuccessful after 10 minutes then it can be repeated twice more. And if we still have no vomiting, then you'd need to consider seeing his ER vet so that the vet can administer apomorphine (a very strong injectable emetic) to make him bring this up and/or use an endoscope to fish it out of his stomach before it can pass any further.
Otherwise, if these are not options, then we would have to closely monitor and encourage the material to pass the other way without causing harm. Therefore, the first step is to closely monitor him for the next 24-48 hours, we'd want to make sure that their gut stays comfortable (which you can check by pressing on the belly to see if they has any tensing, discomfort, or pain). Furthermore, we want to monitor for restlessness, lethargy, vomiting with blood or coffee ground type material, inability to keep any food or water down, anorexia, pale gums, straining to pass feces or passage of black feces (digested blood). If we see any of these signs, then we'd have to assume its stuck and would want to have their vet feel their stomachs +/- xray to make sure there is no risk of any form of obstruction.
Otherwise, while monitoring, we would want to put him an easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be boiled chicken, boiled white fish, or scrambled egg, meat baby food (as long as its free from garlic or onion powder). Whichever you choose, we want to offer this as small frequent meals to keep their stomach settled. Furthermore, you can add a spoon of canned pumpkin (a good fiber source) to push the plastic through the gut. And on top of this, you can also use cat hair ball medication or add a dose of a GI lubricant (ie lactulose, food grade mineral oil, or Miralax) over the next few days to encourage this to slip through the GI and keep moving along. Of course, do note that if you use the GI lubricants, we can a bit more loose feces while they are being used (so don't be alarmed). With these supports we will hopefully keep it from getting caught and get them out via their feces.
Overall, linear items are always dangerous for cats. Therefore, if he has just eaten this, we can act fast to avoid harm. Otherwise, we need to use monitoring and the above supportive care. And if he were to develop any of those warning signs, then we'd need to have him seen so that obstruction could be addressed and avoid those addition gut damaging complications.
In this situation, just in case you do wish to see an emergency vet, you can check @
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best, *****
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