Cats can be quite cunning sometimes, getting into places that we thought were impossible for them to enter, and even locating foods we’ve wrapped up and hidden away. So, what should you do if your cat ate aluminum foil?
The good news is that in most cases, your cat should be able to safely pass small amounts of foil through their stools. You’ll want to check their breathing first and determine what was in the foil, and after that you’ll need to watch your cat for the next 72 hours to make sure there’s no intestinal blockage.
In today’s article we’ll go into a little more detail about what you’ll need to know if your cat has ingested foil. Don’t panic – your cat might be okay – but there are definitely things to check and to do which we will outline for you today. Let’s take a look at how to help a cat that’s eaten aluminum foil!
Table of Contents
Check your cat’s breathing
The first thing that you need to do when your cat has ingested some aluminum foil is to check their breathing. Aluminum foil can become lodged in the throat and so any deviation in normal breathing is something that needs to be noted and dealt with.
For a quick tutorial so that you’ll know what you can do to help, you can find a video from veterinarian Nichole Buch here.
If your cat will let you, then check their teeth for any foil that you can remove and if they are definitely choking, there is even a kitty version of the Heimlich maneuver that can be performed. Once you’ve established that your cat is breathing okay, then you’ll need to watch for changes in their behavior that may indicate obstruction.
You’ll need to watch your cat carefully
In most cases, your cat is going to be fine, as small pieces of foil should be able to pass through a healthy adult cat’s system.
If your cat is older or a kitten, then a vet visit is a good idea to ensure their safety. With older kittens, the foil could exasperate existing conditions, while kittens are smaller and more vulnerable.
The process of passing the foil out through their stool can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, so you’ll need to keep your cat inside if they normally tend to spend their time outdoors. During this time, keep your kitty well-fed and watered and you might want to use wet cat food so that it is processed more efficiently.
Once the 72 hours has passed then you and your kitty should be ‘in the clear’, but if your cat is behaving oddly at this time then it’s a good idea to get the vet involved, as some foil may still be stuck inside your cat’s system.
Symptoms of intestinal blockage from foil
The biggest danger is that the foil could clump together or that larger portions ingested might become lodged in the intestines. Below you will find some symptoms to watch for that might indicate that this is happening with your kitty:
- Slow movement/lack of energy
- Repeated vomiting in attempts to remove the foil
- Diarrhea instead of solid stools
- Abdominal swelling
- Refusal to lie down
- Lowered body temperature
- Crying out at random or when touched
If you see one or more of these symptoms, it’s best to get your vet involved right away so that the blockage may be dealt with. While dogs have an easier time with foil, cats are much smaller and the aluminum foil has a higher change of painfully lodging into place.
Getting vet help now can get to your cat some relief before the problem worsens, so if you see these symptoms or are simply worried, getting the vet involved is always going to be the best bet.
Can aluminum foil poison my kitty?
One ‘bright side’ about aluminum foil ingestion is that it is a product designed for use with food. As such, you won’t have to worry that the metal is leaching out toxins that could get into your cat’s bloodstream.
Simply put, aluminum foil is NOT going to poison your cat, so while you are stressed right now this is one scenario that you can rule out.
Consider what was in the foil
The last thing that you need to consider is also a very important one – what was in the foil in the first place? If your cat has gotten into chocolates, for instance, then you need to get them to the vet right away and if you can’t do that, call the ASPCA Poison control line at (888)426-4435.
Examples of other foods that are dangerous to cats include allium plants (which include onions, garlic, leeks, and chives), grapes in all their forms (jellies, jam, raisins, currants), and small, sharp chicken bones.
If you see any remaining foil, giving it a sniff should give you a good idea of what your cat has gotten into, though if you didn’t wrap the item yourself then you may need to determine who did and find out what was inside.
If there is no quick way to do this, just get your cat to the vet asap – they’ll figure it out and get your cat the help that they need, so don’t waste a lot of time with this unless it’s something you can quickly determine in advance for the vet.
If your cat ate aluminum foil, the first thing to do is not to panic, but to calmly check to make sure that they are breathing okay and don’t have foil in their teeth. After that, watch for symptoms of intestinal blockage for the next 72 hours and if you see any symptoms, then it’s time to get your vet involved.
There is no danger of the aluminum foil poisoning your cat, but you do need to know what was in the foil just in case it happened to be toxic for felines. Above all, keep your cool – in most cases, this will just be a waiting game, but now you’ll be prepared just in case you need to get your cat to the vet!