Understanding the Most Unusual Things Cats Will Eat!
Some cats will eat just about anything…literally! What are the most unusual things cats eat? We will tell you!
The odd nibble of a non-food item isn’t always dangerous, but it becomes a problem when cats ingest things which are not digestible. This causes a gastrointestinal foreign body, meaning that whatever “thing” the cat ate got stuck somewhere in the intestinal tract and caused a blockage or other problem. These gastrointestinal foreign bodies often require surgery to remove the blockage before damage occurs.
And do you think these cats learn from their mistakes? Most don’t. Cats that tend to eat “bad” things will go on and keep getting into things they shouldn’t. I’ve personally seen cats that have had five different surgeries to remove a long piece of yarn.
Here are some of the strangest objects we’ve seen cats eat. Some of these are really shocking!
List of Unusual Items Cats Will Ingest
- Ribbon, Yarn, Dental Floss, & String – These are amongst the most common causes for foreign body surgeries in cats. Individually they send a lot of cats to the hospital but one little cat named Boomer decided that he would eat all of the above one day. The next day he started vomiting; throughout the next few days he had over 20 yards of material removed from his intestines.
- Baby Underwear and Socks – These are especially appealing to pets when they are worn and stinky. Their small size makes them ideal for ingesting.
- Used Condoms – This especially gross item was ingested by a 3-year-old cat that had never eaten anything unusual before. Even worse, she threw it up in front of company-how shocking!
- Stethoscope Ear Pieces – The waxy smell and taste of these protective coverings, as well as their rubbery texture, make these attractive to cats and easy to swallow.
- Baby Bottle Nipples – Another common item on the surgeon’s table, the milky taste and chewy texture of bottle nipples are the frequent cause of blockages.
- Canned Food (Cans and All) – “Little Miss Perfect” Hazel Mahan once (okay, twice) ate 2 cans of tuna-flavored cat food. When I say “cans,” I mean it…she ate everything including the metal. Chewing the cans made her teeth all silver, and she spewed tuna juice all over the living room carpet when her owner noticed that there was a SERIOUS problem.
- Hair Scrunches and hair ties – Cats will play with these and sometimes eat them. Recently a cat named Willow presented for not wanting to eat and surgery later revealed 18 hair ties were found in her stomach!
As you can see, cats do eat objects that can’t be digested and can require lifesaving surgery to remove them. This behavior is most common in kittens and cats under the age of 2 years but can happen with any cat.
Some older cats get bored and will get into trouble as a result. Please read our article Do Cats Get Cabin Fever? for more information.
Don’t assume that your cat won’t chew on or ingest something just because they’re an adult or are typically well-behaved. Open trashcans are common targets-especially those containing meat wrappers, table scraps or spoiled foods. Craft supplies, underwear, and socks are also very common “snacks,” as are bathroom trashcans with tampons or maxi pads.
Keep your cat safe by making sure that trashcans stay covered and children’s toys and clothes are picked up around the house. Doing so can help prevent your cat from eating indigestible items.
Symptoms of problems may include vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea and/or abdominal pain. Please see your vet if spot any of these signs or if you have any health concerns about your cat.