My Cat Ate A Quarter: Should I Worry? (Solved & Explained!)

With cats being such naturally curious creatures, they tend to enjoy smelling and tasting things that are new to them. But what do you do when they accidentally eat something potentially dangerous, such as if your cat ate a quarter?

There is a potential that the quarter could cause an obstruction or get stuck inside your cat’s digestive tract. Since cats aren’t able to chew through metal, the quarter would be swallowed whole. It’s highly recommended that on the rare occasion your cat swallows a quarter or any other coin, you call your vet right away to see what’s recommended. 

Unfortunately, this can be an expensive and dangerous problem to take care of, but knowing your cat can be okay after swallowing something silly like a quarter is what’s most important. 

cat playing with quarters, pennies, and coins

What Can Happen If My Cat Ate A Quarter?

It’s going to be quite rare that cats are attracted to eating coins like a quarter. Most cats would either not care about seeing one, while others would likely just bat it around like a toy. If your kitty does manage to consume a quarter, there is a chance that they’ll just simply pass it in the next 12 to 24 hours. 

While it’s not very fun, you should pay attention to their litter box activity for the next couple of days. There’s a chance that passing the quarter will be painful for your kitty, so you might notice them crying as they are going. You will also likely be able to see the quarter in their waste if they have been able to just pass it naturally. 

If your cat is not able to pass the quarter naturally, there are ways to encourage natural passage. However, this needs to be done while consulting with a vet to ensure that your cat doesn’t become dehydrated or become more sick and distressed in the process. 

Without veterinary intervention, it is more likely that your cat could experience fatal reactions to swallowing a quarter that causes an obstruction in their digestive system. A vet will be able to locate where the quarter is, see if there’s the potential that the quarter will move through their system, and will be able to safely remove it should surgery be needed. 

quarter and penny

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Is Swallowing A Quarter Dangerous For My Cat?

Your cat swallowing anything that isn’t food or can’t be broken down by their digestive tract does have the potential to be dangerous. Prevention is key when it comes to cats swallowing strange things like quarters, but we all know that cats are tricksters and can find their ways to do things they aren’t supposed to. 

Sometimes, foreign objects will stay in a cat’s digestive tract for a while. It can be really difficult to know if this is the case with your cat, as some cats won’t have any reactions or symptoms to indicate that there’s something stuck in their digestive system. 

Some cats will exhibit worrying symptoms of an obstruction, which will be a clear indicator that they need to get to the vet as soon as possible to determine where the object is stuck and what needs to be done about it. 

Is It Common For Cats To Swallow Coins?

Cats are attracted to shiny things, especially if they make noise. This could include any kind of coin including a quarter. Cats may want to sniff coins and play with them, but it’s not common for them to want to eat coins. Coins don’t smell great and aren’t tasty. However, as we know, cats can do strange things that defy norms, including trying to eat a coin. 

Other types of coins, such as pennies, can be much more dangerous than swallowing a quarter. Quarters generally don’t contain zinc, but coins like pennies contain high amounts of zinc that can be especially toxic for cats. 

How Cats Act When Something Is Stuck In Their System

As mentioned, monitoring your cat and their activity is going to be paramount once you’ve discovered they ate a quarter. Not only are you wanting to pay attention to what they do in their litter box, but you want to see if their behavior or their habits change. 

If swallowing a quarter results in an obstruction, your cat may exhibit some of the following behavioral changes and symptoms: 

  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • A swollen and tender abdomen
  • Painful reactions when you touch your cat’s abdomen
  • Difficulty going to the bathroom 
  • Strong reactions to being picked up or handled 

What To Do If Your Cat Ate A Quarter 

There’s a likely chance that your cat isn’t going to show signs of swallowing a quarter right away. You should call your vet as soon as you become aware that they’ve swallowed a quarter so they can determine whether or not they should be brought into the vet right away. 

It’s going to be crucial that you monitor your cat’s behavior, eating habits, and bathroom habits over the next few days until your vet is able to establish the location of the quarter through X-rays and other tools. Some vets will recommend solutions to encourage your cat to go to the bathroom to pass the quarter naturally. 

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It might also be recommended that blood work and urine samples are taken to determine whether or not your cat is experiencing any other health issues related to consuming a quarter. While quarters aren’t necessarily toxic for cats in terms of mineral composition, overconsumption of those minerals present, such as copper, could make your cat very sick. 

If the quarter is in a dangerous area or is causing your cat significant distress, it’s possible that your vet will recommend that the quarter is surgically removed. 

Final Thoughts 

It can be distressing when your cat manages to swallow something inedible such as a quarter. We can only do so much to prevent our cats from trying to eat things that they aren’t supposed to. It’s important to have a trusted vet in your corner to help you in these situations so that you don’t panic and neglect your cat’s health needs.