Vets Save a Cat Who Ate 43 Hair Bands

Nevena Nacic
by Nevena Nacic

A much-loved family cat who ate 43 hair bands made a full recovery after being rushed into emergency surgery.

Owners believe that the eight-year-old tortoiseshell cat named Tiger has been secretly eating elastic hair bands for some time at her home in Malton, New Yorkshire. For several months, Tiger covertly stole elastic bands belonging to owner Rebbeca Gordon and her two daughters, Chloe and Charlotte. 

Although Ms. Gordon noticed that some hair bands had gone missing, she assumed that her daughters lost them. It never occurred to her that the missing hair ties had ended up in the cat’s stomach.

After Tiger started to vomit regularly, Ms. Gordon took her to the Malton branch of Minster Vets, where she was administered an anti-sickness injection. Soon after, Tiger passed two hair ties in her poop and started being sick again, so the family returned to the vet.

The following day vets at Minister Vets' main hospital in York performed additional tests and an X-ray that showed a mass of mysterious material in Tiger’s stomach, which required an emergency surgery to remove it. 

Sara Ford, Minister Vets' clinical director, who operated Tiger, confessed that she was shocked when she removed the ball from the kitty’s stomach and realized the ball was made of 43 elastic hair ties. 

“I once had a case of a cat eating 10 hair ties but I couldn’t believe it when we counted 43. They were all tangled and knotted together, so had created a big clump, and her stomach was so full there was hardly room for anything else,” said Dr Ford, according to The Northern Echo. 

“Tiger is a lovely cat and is fortunate that her family really care and brought her to us when they suspected something was wrong. She had been incredibly lucky as the danger would have been if they had passed into her intestine and caused a blockage which would have been extremely serious.”

Ford also urged owners to keep hair bands, ties, ribbons, and other hair accessories away from their cats’ reach to prevent intestinal blockages. “Our advice to owners is to keep hair bobbles, hair ties, and ribbons well away from cats, preferably in a drawer, as they are clearly very tempting to play with, chew, and swallow.”

Ms. Gordon, who never could have imagined that their cat was to blame for all the missing hair bands, joined the Minister Vets’ appeal for owners to be extremely careful about leaving hair accessories where their cats' can find them. 

“It was such a shock when we found out how many she had eaten, and the girls were distraught while she was in the hospital. She is a very special part of the family and we are now obsessed with tidying hair bands away and making sure they are well out of her reach,” said Mr. Gordon. 

The family returned to the Malton branch of Minster Vets for Tiger’s final post-surgery checkup and to thank the veterinary team there for everything they did for the feline. 

The team at Minster Vets were brilliant and we couldn’t have asked for more as they rang me at every stage before or after surgery. Having pet insurance is very important when something like this goes wrong as Tiger needed surgery and the cost was covered,” Mr. Gordon shared. 

If you’re using hair bands, now is the purfect time to store them away somewhere where they’ll be safe from your cat’s stealthy paws. And if by any chance you’ve been losing hair ties for several weeks or months, you might want to call your vet and have your kitty checked out, just in case. 

Nevena Nacic
Nevena Nacic

Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!

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