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My cat has a string coming out his rectum – what should I do?

Our question this week was:

I was looking at my cat’s anus and he had a white “string” hanging out. It was moving around. I think it’s a worm but not sure. What else could it be? He is an indoor cat and eats regular cat food. Occasionally he will tear at the houseplants.

Maria Guevara


Hi Maria – thanks for your email. Your question was – that you think you see a white “string” coming out of your cat’s rectum. What should you do and what could it be?

Good question. The question is it a string (a real string or piece of tread/ribbon) or is it mucous or a worm.

Mucous can be stringy. Cats can get worms so that is a possibility. The biggest worry is that it is an actual string. Some cats will ingest string, ribbon, thread, or yarn and it can work its way through the gastrointestinal tract. Sometime it can even be caught under the tongue in the mouth and still be coming out the rectum.

This can be very dangerous. I’d recommend trying to look more closely – if you think it is mucous, it should break up and be obvious. If it is a worm, save the worm in a baggie and take her to your vet for treatment. IF it is a string, take her to your vet or local emergency clinic immediately. DO NOT PULL on the string! This can be very dangerous. It may be in the intestine and pulling on the string can tear the intestine.

An article that might be helpful to you is Gastrointestinal Foreign Bodies in Cats.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra