How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. B. Your Own Question
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20909
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
Type Your Cat Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. B. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Our 2 yr old (indoor outdoor) cat vomited yesterday morning

Customer Question

Our 2 yr old (indoor outdoor) cat vomited yesterday morning about 3 times all over the house. I was able to determine she had chewed and swallowed pretty thick string ties from a pillow cushion. Now she tries to eat and drink water and eventually vomits that. She is totally to herself and just sits or lays and stares straight ahead when she is usually very friendly and loving. Is there anything we should do or not do until we can get her to a vet tomorrow? Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Can Kitty keep any water down?

Are her gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?

If you press on her belly, does she have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?

Has she had any diarrhea?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She is outside right now just laying quietly watching birds. I will check those things when I get her in. Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

If you can do so, I would be grateful since it would give us an idea of where we stand with this situation.

Speak to you soon,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, I just went out and took her a small bowl of water which she ignored. I checked her gums; they are pink. I was able to feel around on her tummy and it did feel like a section of bowel was swollen. She has not had diarrhea that I know of.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

Now as I am sure you can appreciate, Kitty having ingested string is a worry and we do need to tread with care. The problem with strings and other linear foreign bodies is that they often leave the stomach but one end lodges at the exit valve while the rest keeps going. And as I am sure you can appreciate, if this happens, we eventually end up with a taut string pulling the gut into pleats (like an accordion). This can cause obstruction (since the clear path through the gut is compromised, as well as because feces can form around the string and lead to a mechanical obstruction as well) and it can also cause damage to the gut itself. If you imagine a taut string in the delicate material that is the gut can act like a ‘cheese-wire’ and just saw right through the gut. If this happens, then we can see bacteria leaking out of the GI into the abdomen leading to a serious abdominal infection (peritonitis).

Signs that the string is causing trouble for her would include lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, or becomes restless or has abdominal discomfort. As well, a lack of feces is also a serious concern in these cases (since it can be a hint of obstruction). So, since she is showing some of these, we do really need to tread with care and think about having her seen by her vet as soon as we can.

In the meantime, as long as that belly stays comfortable, we can try a bit of supportive care. To start, since she has shown nausea signs and we do need her eating and drinking; you can consider treating her with an antacid. Common pet safe OTC ones we can use include Pepcid (More Info/Dose @, or Tagamet (More Info/Dose Here @ Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. Of course, do check with her vet before use if she has any known health issues or is on any medications you didn’t mention. As well, if you try this and find her nausea too severe to keep it down, then that is usually a red flag that we need her vet to bypass her mouth with injectable anti-vomiting medication

If she can keep that down, we can then try to get the string passing for her. To do so, we can offer a light diet (ie boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs, or meat baby food (as long as its garlic/onion free)). If we can get her to eat, then we can add a dose of hairball medication (ie. Catalax, Laxatone) to her food to try to slide this string through. And if we can really getting her eating for us, we could also try adding a spoonful of canned pumpkin to her food since the fiber would help push this through.

Overall, we need to be very careful in this situation with Kitty. Since she isn't sore with this, we can try the above just now to soothe her stomach and try to get her eating so we can help this pass. If she just won't or shows any of those more worrying signs; then we' d need her seen as soon as possible in case this is causing a blockage that needs to be addressed surgically.

Just in case you need a local emergency vet, you can check @ or via

Please 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 the only way I receive credit for helping you today. Thank you! :

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much! Wow, what a wonderful assessment. We will digest this information and do our best to help her until we can get her to her vet tomorrow. Thanks again!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just looked out and she must have drank some of the water because she vomited up quite a bit of liquid that looks like water mostly.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome,

I am glad that I could give you a plan of action and hopefully we can at least soothe her stomach. And just since she struggled with that water, I would take the above steps but if she cannot keep food down over today, we may just want to plan to withhold it overnight. That way she has an empty stomach for her vet visit, just in case they need to sedate her xrays or if she did need surgery (since that would avoid any delay).

Take care,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. *Please make sure to rate my service once you have all the information you need, as this is the only way I receive credit for helping you today. Thank you! :)

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.


**Please do make sure to rate my answer when you are satisfied as this is the only way I am credited for helping you (there is no further charge for this). IF you have any lingering questions or concerns, please stop and reply to me via the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button with the issue you have. I will be happy to continue further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek. Thank you. :)