Marlowe’s adventure eating string

String has long been one of Marlowe’s favorite things to chase. When Harriet came into our lives, we introduced her to string as well, which she thought was the best thing ever.  Now, Harriet has this funny habit of picking her toys up and walking around the apartment with them.  With the string, she’d trail this long end of it, which Marlowe would chase.

Hillarious and adorable.  Sometimes they would play tug-of-war.

But because I know the dangers of cats eating string, I always put it away when they weren’t supervised.  Until last night.

The cats were happily playing. I was helping Rob in the kitchen with dishes and Harriet walked in to complain, without her string.  So far, this has mean, “The string is inanimate again! Make it move!”

So I went into the living room. No string.  Marlowe was curled up on the couch looking innocent.  I wandered through the rest of the apartment. No string. I said, “You’d better not have eaten that.”

But I wasn’t really worried because neither cat had shown any interest in gnoshing on it and they lose toys all the time. I mean I was worried enough that I repeated to Rob, “I hope one of the cats didn’t eat it.”

So this morning, we got up, fed the kitties and about fifteen minutes later Marlowe vomited explosively. Oh look. There’s the string. Or… about half of it.  So I called the vet and we trotted off to the SE Portland Animal Hospital, which saw us right way.  The whole time, I was thinking of Cherie Priest’s cat, Spain, who had an episode with a hair tie and wound up needing surgery.  Much, much cursing was going on inside my head, because I know better than to let a cat have string. I know what it can do to their insides.

They’ve done x-rays of him, which I get to show you, and everything looks fine.

They’ve hydrated him and we’ve got him on a stool softener, hoping that he’ll pass the rest of the string with no problems. Apparently inducing vomiting in cats is not as safe as it is for dogs. We had the choice of hospitalizing him or bringing him home and since he seems fine at the moment, we’ve brought him home.

The really amazing thing? When we got Harriet, she came with pet health insurance. After her first vet visit, in which she had a couple of minor issues, I decided to extend the insurance and to add Marlowe. So this whole vet trip? Covered under “ingested foreign object.”

Ironic, eh? The cats have insurance, but the people don’t. Of course, we don’t eat string.

Edited to add: The vet just called and after the radiologist reviewed the x-rays they think there might be an obstruction in the small intestine. We are taking Marlowe back in for a review at 4:00.

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9 Responses

  1. RFLong

    I’m a huge fan of pet insurance thanks to our cat Atlantis. He’s 3 years old and we almost lost him this year. The vet later told me he had maybe an hour left. 2k euros or so later (of insurance) he is right as rain. Having the insurance meant they could do whatever was necessary to save his life and we didn’t have to hesitate or go checking our savings. We could just say “Yes”.

    The ironic thing is I took it out because he got a bite which infected and I had to take him to the emergency clinic. It cost just under 100 and I went “That’s a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a cat!”

    Little did I know…

    I’ll keep you all in my thoughts this evening and send healing vibes to Marlowe. Best of luck.

  2. Livia Llewellyn

    All my past pets were enthusiastic ingesters of Items Which Must Be Surgically Removed, so I well know what you’re going through. Crossing my fingers for both Marlowe & you.

  3. Amy Sisson

    Oh dear. Please keep us posted!

    The things are cats will ingest…. we have one who will eat rubber bands and string. He has chewed through all of our blind cords. We have one who will try to eat plastic bags, and another who eats Q-tips, preferably used ones.