Seeing your cat chewing on something they shouldn’t is always a bit frightening as an owner, but some things are definitely worse for them than others. If your cat ate tape, how bad is it and what should you do?
Eating tape is not as uncommon for cats as you might think, and it can be dangerous. Depending on the amount that they have consumed, it might pass through without issue, but it can also cause intestinal blockages and obstructions that can be life-threatening. You need to monitor your cat’s wellbeing and take them to the vet if you spot any warning signs.
Read this article to fully understand what you should do if your cate eats some tape, why they might do it in the first place, and how to avoid it happening again in the future.
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Is It Dangerous If My Cat Ate Tape?
We’ve all had that moment of panic when we notice that our pet has something in their mouth that they really shouldn’t be eating. Pulling some tape from your cat’s teeth is certainly not a pleasant experience, but what do you actually do next?
Unfortunately, tape can be very dangerous if it is consumed by a cat. Most kinds of tape cannot be broken down in any way, and the adhesive can cause it to form into a clump and become trapped in your cat’s digestive tract.
It is possible for your cat to pass the tape naturally without any complications, but even a small amount can cause an obstruction.
What Should I Do If My Cat Ate Tape?
Although it can be a relatively serious problem, you don’t need to panic. Remain calm and keep an eye on your cat’s behavior to see if there are any signs that they are struggling. Symptoms of a blockage include:
- Abdominal Tenderness
- Loss of Appetite
- Weight Loss
If you notice that your cat is in any kind of immediate distress, then you should contact an emergency vet straight away. Otherwise, you should observe your cat very closely over the next 24 hours, which is about the time it would take for the object to pass through their digestive system if it can.
If your cat shows any of the above symptoms within a week or so of eating the tape, you should take them to a vet to be examined.
Different kinds of tape, or different amounts, might be more or less of an issue for your cat, so you can always call your vet for advice no matter how well your cat might seem. Even after hours, your vet should provide additional numbers for you to use.
What Harm Can Eating Tape Cause For My Cat?
Obstruction is the most immediate and direct cause of harm for your cat, but it is unfortunately not the only problem that might occur.
Some kinds of tape can contain toxic materials that could cause your cat to become sick. If these ingredients are absorbed into the body, your cat could suffer from some form of illness even if the tape does not form a blockage.
How Do Vets Remove Foreign Objects?
In the unfortunate situation where the tape has caused an obstruction, your cat will likely need some kind of intervention from a vet. This doesn’t always mean that they will have to have a dramatic surgery or procedure, but it can be very serious.
If the tape has formed a small enough blockage, and it is still in the esophagus or stomach, then it might be possible to remove it with nonsurgical endoscopy. This essentially means that a scope can be sent down through your cat’s mouth to safely dislodge the tape.
However, if the obstruction is too large, or too far into your cat’s system, then they might need to undergo surgery on their stomach or intestines. In particularly difficult cases, some of the intestinal tract might even need to be removed.
Why Do Cats Eat Tape?
So, if eating tape is so bad for cats, why do they do it? Well, it’s a slightly strange behavior but it’s not entirely uncommon. It might be that the smell of the adhesive or the taste of the glue is attracting your cat, or it might be the texture that they like.
Additionally, cats can suffer from a condition known as “pica” which makes them want to eat inedible objects. If your cat is regularly trying to consume things that aren’t food, then you should discuss this behavior with your vet.
The causes of pica are relatively unclear. It might be a result of genetics, boredom, lack of nutrition, other illnesses, or anxiety.
How Do I Stop My Cat From Eating Tape?
The best thing that you can do is change your cat’s environment. First and foremost, you should keep any tape that your cat might eat out of their reach. If there is a certain type of tape that attracted them, try buying a different brand that might not appeal in the same way.
Telling your cat off or punishing them is rarely effective as it tends to just make them anxious.
You can also talk with your vet about potential environmental and dietary changes that could reduce their desire to eat inedible objects in general. The more nutritious and fulfilling their diet is, and the less boredom they feel throughout the day, the less likely they will be to eat things that they find lying around.
Summary: My Cat Ate Tape
So, should you be worried if your cat just ate some tape? Well, it can be quite dangerous, so you do need to keep an eye on them and be ready to call the vet.
It is possible that your cat will simply pass a small amount of tape without any issues, but it can cause an obstruction or introduce toxic ingredients to their system.
If you notice any signs that your cat has developed a blockage from the tape that they ate, then you should get them to a vet straight away. It may be possible to remove the obstruction without surgery, but they might also need a more invasive procedure to get it out.