This Popular Toy is Life-Threatening for Cats: We Show Why Through X-rays

Szénási Szimonetta

2024. June 11 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

You might think that a cat kept indoors is safe, but even within the home, there are problematic items that you should keep out of the cat’s reach. One such item, surprisingly, is a favorite among young children.


When I saw the post below and read the animal advocates’ comments, it immediately reminded me of a similar accident that happened in our home. At the time, I thought it was just our cat behaving oddly, but now it’s confirmed that plastic snakes and similar toys can pose a real danger to cats.

As you can see in the attached image, a piece of a rubber snake was removed from the cat shown in the photo by veterinarians. I assume the cat hunted down the toy and then either consumed it or at least ate part of it.

Not an Isolated Incident

Something similar happened to us with a smaller silicone worm. The green toy, which my children named Döme, went missing. I didn’t think much of it since many things get lost in little hands. However, when I saw Döme in two pieces in our cat Vilmos’s feces while cleaning the litter box the next morning, it became clear what had happened. Fortunately, the whole toy passed through his system, although it took several days, and he vomited during the process.

It’s not always the case that the object will pass naturally; veterinary intervention might be necessary. As the post mentions, if your indoor cat suddenly becomes lethargic, eats less or not at all, frequently visits the litter box, starts vomiting, or shows any suspicious and inexplicable symptoms, you should consider that they might have eaten something they shouldn’t have. In such cases, don’t hesitate to call the vet!

Cats imitate hunting while playing

Cats Imitate Hunting During Play

These plastic, especially silicone, toys (and even sponge toys) are dangerous because they feel like they move when touched. This can trigger the cat’s hunting instincts, leading them not only to hunt but also to consume the inedible prey. The poor cat doesn’t realize the danger! We advise keeping all such items out of your pet’s reach, or better yet, storing them in a box or not buying them at all. (In our home, due to Vilmos, these toys are on the prohibited list.)

As previously reported, another cat was endangered by hair ties. The poor animal swallowed not just one, but several dozen before the harmful habit was discovered. In this case, too, the knot of hair ties was surgically removed. Hair ties, like plastic worms, move in a way that entices cats to play with them. Always keep this in mind and only place hair accessories where the little hunter can’t reach them.

There have been examples of hair ties being swallowed

Likewise, keep the safety of your pet in mind with any similar items. It’s not just toys that can intrigue a cat, but also rubber bands, various ribbons and threads, and even plastic bags can attract their curiosity. We’re aware of an instance where a vet removed a sewing needle from the roof of a cat’s mouth. The circumstances of the accident pointing to play as the cause.

hunting instinct instincts plastic eating surgery

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