A woman who goes by the username Ramphasto on Imgur recently posted a scary story about her cat's near-brush with death to keep other pet owners from making the same mistake she did.
Below is a picture of Ollie. He was Ramphasto's first pet, and as she explains in her post, "He was a healthy and happy cat until one day he began throwing up everywhere and eventually just stopped moving." It was at this point that Ramphasto realized she needed to get Ollie to an emergency vet, ASAP.
Once there, the vets found something lodged in Ollie's stomach and intestines, "some sort of hard mass." They advised her that Ollie would die unless he had surgery and that there was even a chance that he could die during the surgery.
The surgery would cost around $4,000, which, as a "broke college student," Ramphasto definitely didn't have. She asked her family, but they weren't able to help. The vet told Ramphasto about CareCredit, and she was approved. Ollie would be able to have his surgery, but there was still no guarantee he'd live. It was every pet owner's worst nightmare.
But thankfully, Ollie did make it through the surgery. And afterwards, the vets gave her a plastic bag containing the hard mass they'd felt inside him. It was hair ties. The cat had eaten so many of them that they blocked up his intestines; the vets had to cut the dead parts of his intestines and sew the ends together.
Ramphasto was devastated that the emergency was one she could have averted, had she just known better. On Imgur, she wrote,
When they showed me this bag of hair ties I wanted to hit myself. I felt so horrible for my ignorance. I would see him chewing up my hair ties and I would try to stop him, but I did not see or know he was actually swallowing them. I did not know the severity of the situation. The vet told me it's common for kittens and young cats to swallow weird things like hair ties or string. They said they once did surgery on a cat who swallowed an entire balls worth of yarn. I did not know cats did this and my cat paid dearly for my ignorance. I wanted to tell this story because I'm not sure if other people know this about cats. Ollie almost died. I don't want this to happen to other cats and cat owners. NEVER LET YOUR CAT CHEW ON ANYTHING FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. THEY LOVE TO SWALLOW WEIRD SHIT
It's crucial that pet owners know this information. Cats love to play with and chew on all sorts of things that seem harmless, but aren't. According to CatHealth, hair ties, ribbons, rubber bands, yarn, string, and Christmas tree tinsel (just to name a few) are very dangerous for cats and kittens—they all have the potential to get trapped in your cats' intestines (or tangled around them) and possibly kill them.
The Humane Society website has information about what your cat should and shouldn't play with—a quick read might one day save your pet's life.
According to Ramphasto, Ollie is doing fine now. He's started sleeping in her arms every night, and even acting like a "big brother" to their little foster kitten, Finn. Ramphasto and Ollie were lucky, but so many cases don't end as happily.
Ramphasto wrote, "I hope this story was informative to some and helpful to others. I learned the hard way, but now I try to tell all cat owners I know so it doesn't happen to others."