My Cat Ate A Ribbon And Is Now Vomiting

When a cat ingests a ribbon, it can lead to a potentially dangerous condition known as a foreign body obstruction. This occurs when the ribbon fails to pass through the digestive tract and instead causes a blockage. If a cat is vomiting after eating a ribbon, it is a sign that the foreign material may be causing irritation or obstruction in the stomach or intestines, which can be a medical emergency.

Imagine the panic that sets in when you discover your beloved feline companion has swallowed something they shouldn’t have. The phrase “Cat Ate A Ribbon And Is Now Vomiting” strikes fear into any pet owner’s heart. It’s a scenario that requires immediate attention, as the consequences can be severe if not addressed promptly.

The ingestion of a ribbon by a cat and subsequent vomiting is not an uncommon occurrence in households with pets. Cats are naturally curious creatures and often play with objects that can be harmful if swallowed. Vomiting is a clear indicator that the cat’s body is attempting to expel the foreign object. However, if the ribbon does not come out, it can lead to more serious complications such as gastrointestinal blockage, which necessitates urgent veterinary care.

Why Did My Cat Eat The Ribbon?

Cats, especially kittens and younger cats, are very curious and like to explore things with their mouth. Ribbons move in an intriguing way to cats which resembles the movement of snakes or insect larvae, triggering their natural hunting instincts. So eating ribbons or strings is actually quite common behavior in cats. The action mimics do cats sleep more on rainy days the natural ingestion of a prey’s entrails which may appeal to their carnivorous nature.

Is The Cat Food Lacking Nutrients?

It’s unlikely that a cat eating ribbons is due to a nutritional deficiency from its normal diet. There’s no evidence that states ribbon eating behavior arises from the cat food lacking certain nutrients. Most commercial cat foods provide balanced nutrition for cats. However, it doesn’t hurt to discuss your cat’s diet with your veterinarian to see if any changes should be made, especially if your cat is showing other signs of nutritional deficiencies.

Was The Cat Bored Or Stressed?

Boredom and stress are possible reasons for abnormal behaviors like ribbon eating in cats. Cats that lack mental stimulation or that feel anxious may turn to inappropriate chewing and eating behaviors. 

Make sure your cat has plenty of toys, play time with owners, access to windows/outdoor views, and hiding spots. Also be aware of any major changes in household routine. Providing a stimulating, comfortable environment can prevent problematic behaviors stemming from boredom or stress.

Does The Cat Have Pica Disorder?

Pica is a condition characterized by eating non-food items. Some cats seem to have a compulsion for eating odd things like ribbons, wool, plastic, or rubber bands. Certain breeds like Siamese and Burmese cats show higher tendencies for these behaviors which suggests it may be hereditary.

 If your cat persistently eats inappropriate items like ribbons, discuss with your vet whether it could be feline pica. Pica can be managed by restricting access, behavioral modification, and medication if necessary under veterinary guidance.

Should I Change The Cat’s Diet?

There’s no evidence that eating ribbons is connected to nutritional deficiencies in cat food. Unless your vet advises otherwise, you likely don’t need to change your cat’s normal diet due to this behavior. What’s more important is restricting access to ribbons and similar items by cat-proofing your home. 

Make sure ribbons, strings, rubber bands, tinsel etc. are kept out of reach. Provide mental stimulation through interactive play sessions and puzzles. And if the behavior persists, talk to your vet about whether your cat needs additional behavioral or medical intervention.

What Are Signs Of Intestinal Blockage In Cats?

Common signs of intestinal blockage in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, straining to defecate with no stool produced, and abdominal pain or distension. Cats may also show uncharacteristic aggression or other behavioral changes. Vomiting is one of the most common and earliest signs.

 If a linear foreign body is present, the cat may drool or have a string visibly hanging from its mouth. Any of these signs warrant an immediate trip to the veterinarian, as intestinal blockages can quickly become life-threatening if left untreated. Getting prompt veterinary attention is key to a good outcome. 

Is My Cat Vomiting Cat Food Or Fluid?

It is important to note what your cat is vomiting up. Vomiting food, liquid, or bile could all indicate an intestinal blockage. Cats with partial obstructions may vomit intermittently at first. Over time as the blockage worsens, vomiting usually becomes more frequent. 

Vomiting undigested food several hours after eating points to an obstruction. Any vomiting warrants a veterinary visit to diagnose the cause. Be prepared to describe the timing, frequency, volume, and contents of the vomit to your veterinarian. Details like this help them determine next steps. 

Does My Cat Seem Lethargic After Eating Cat Food?

Lethargy or decreased activity levels can definitely indicate an intestinal blockage. When a cat eats, food builds up behind the obstruction. This leads to intestinal distension that causes discomfort, pain, and lethargy. The larger the mass of undigested food sitting in the stomach and intestines, the more pronounced the lethargy becomes. 

Cats may also lose interest in food and seem generally unwell despite eating. If your cat seems persistently tired and uncomfortable after meals, an intestinal blockage could be the reason. Consulting a vet is important to identify and address the problem. 

Is There Blood In My Cat’s Vomit Or Stool?

The presence of blood in your cat’s vomit or stool warrants an emergency trip to the vet. Bloody vomit or diarrhea can occur with intestinal blockages and indicates the condition is rapidly worsening. It often means the intestines are damaged or perforated, allowing intestinal contents to leak into the abdominal cavity. 

This can quickly lead to dangerous peritonitis and sepsis. Any amount of blood indicates a veterinary emergency requiring swift action to prevent dire consequences. Do not wait to see if symptoms improve on their own. 

Should I Take My Cat To The Vet Immediately?

Yes, you should take your cat to the vet immediately if you notice any signs of a potential intestinal blockage. Timely veterinary attention is crucial for the best outcome. Intestinal blockages quickly become life-threatening emergencies if left untreated. Even partial blockages can rapidly progress to complete obstructions. 

Bring your cat into the vet promptly at the first signs of vomiting, straining to defecate, lethargy after eating, bloody stool, decreased appetite, or abdominal pain or swelling. Describe all symptoms in detail to aid diagnosis and get your cat treated as soon as possible. 

How Do Vets Diagnose Ribbon Intestinal Blockages?

Vets will perform a physical exam looking for signs of obstruction like abdominal pain or bloating. They’ll ask about any exposure to ribbons or strings. Diagnostic imaging like x-rays or ultrasound allow vets to potentially see the ribbon lodged in the intestines. 

Contrast studies using barium may be done to see flow through the digestive tract. If imaging is unclear, exploratory surgery allows direct examination of the intestinal tract.

Will The Vet Take X-Rays Of My Cat’s Abdomen?

Yes, abdominal x-rays are commonly used to diagnose ribbon intestinal obstructions in cats. Radiographs can aid in visualizing foreign linear bodies like ribbon or string lodged in the intestines. 

The ribbon may show up directly on x-rays depending on location and material. If the obstruction can’t be clearly seen, the vet may use contrast material like barium sulfate to highlight blockages. So x-rays are an important diagnostic tool vets use to identify intestinal ribbon blockages in cats.

Will The Vet Analyze My Cat’s Vomit And Stool?

Vets may analyze a cat’s vomit and stool when intestinal obstruction is suspected. They will look for presence of ribbon that may have been vomited back up or passed in stool. Stool can also show signs of obstruction like being tarry or absent. So while vomit and stool analysis alone can’t definitively diagnose ribbon intestinal blockages, they provide additional evidence for vets to make a diagnosis.

Does My Cat Need Blood Work Done?

Blood work allows vets to identify issues like anemia or infection that can accompany intestinal obstructions. So while not necessarily specific for ribbon blockages alone, blood testing provides vets additional information on a cat’s overall health status. It establishes baseline organ function to inform surgical and anesthetic risk if obstruction surgery is needed. So blood work is commonly done even though it doesn’t directly test for ribbon intestinal blockages.

Should The Vet Keep My Cat Hospitalized?

Yes, vets often recommend hospitalizing cats with suspected ribbon intestinal obstructions. They need to be monitored for progression of clinical signs and response to initial treatment like fluid therapy. Hospitalization allows for quick response if the cat deteriorates.

 It is also needed post-surgery to manage infection risk and ensure the cat recovers eating normally before discharge. So hospitalization is very important for both diagnosis and management of ribbon intestinal obstructions in cats.

What Treatments Are Available For Ribbon Blockages?

If a cat has Swallowed a ribbon or string, it can cause a dangerous linear foreign body intestinal blockage. Treatment options include attempting to remove the item non-surgically if caught very early, but most cases require emergency surgery. During surgery, vets will remove the ribbon and any damaged sections of intestine. 

Other supportive treatments like IV fluids, antibiotics, and pain medications may be given. Prognosis depends on how quickly treatment begins and if complications like infection occur. Preventing access to ribbons and strings is key to avoiding this threat.

Can The Ribbon Be Removed Non-Surgically?

In some cases, a vet may attempt to remove a recently swallowed ribbon by inducing vomiting or using an endoscope passed into the stomach. However, once in the intestines, linear foreign bodies rarely pass on their own and become anchored in place by peristalsis. At that point, emergency surgery is necessary. 

Any delay significantly raises the risk of intestinal rupture, infection, and death. So while non-surgical removal may occasionally work if initiated very quickly, surgery to extract ribbon blockages is usually required.

Will My Cat Need Intravenous Cat Food And Fluids?

Cats undergoing surgery and recovery from intestinal ribbon blockages often need supportive care like intravenous (IV) fluids and nutritional support. Fluids help restore hydration, maintain blood pressure, and prevent kidney issues. 

As the cat is unable to eat normally after surgery, IV cat food solutions or a temporary feeding tube may supply essential nutrients. These supportive treatments help recovery by preventing malnutrition and optimizing the healing process until the cat can eat sufficient calories on its own.

Is Surgery An Option To Remove The Ribbon?

Yes, surgery is the standard and usually only option for treating an intestinal ribbon blockage once it has moved beyond the stomach. The goal of surgery is to remove the foreign linear object and any damaged sections of intestine. 

There are risks with any major surgery, but prompt surgical intervention is lifesaving in cases of a ribbon blockage. During surgery, vets will cut open the abdomen, locate the blockage, remove the ribbon, and reconnect healthy ends of intestine. In some cases, a section of dying intestine may also need removal.

What Aftercare Is Needed After Ribbon Removal?

After surgery to resolve a ribbon blockage, cats require extensive aftercare during recovery. This includes pain medication, antibiotics, possible IV or feeding tube nutrition, confinement and restricted activity to prevent bursting surgical stitches, and follow-up vet exams to check for infection and healing. 

Full recovery can take several weeks. Pet owners need to keep the cat comfortable but also restrict access to strings/ribbons to prevent reobstruction. With proper aftercare and barring complications, most cats are expected to make a full recovery after ribbon blockage surgery.

How Can I Prevent My Cat From Eating Ribbons Again?

The most effective way to prevent your cat from eating ribbons again is to keep all ribbons, strings, thread, tinsel, and other linear foreign objects safely out of reach. Store craft supplies in closed containers and do not leave any ribbons, bows, or wrapping strings lying around, even for a moment. 

Consider not using ribbons at all in your home decor. Also, inspect your cat’s toys regularly and replace any that are fraying or could come apart into strings your cat could swallow. Supervise playtime with string toys. Ultimately, preventing access is the only reliable way to stop the behavior.

Should I Keep Ribbons And Strings Out Of Reach?

Yes, you should store all ribbons, strings, thread, shoelaces, tinsel, dental floss, yarn, and anything else string-like up high or in closed containers. Any time these linear foreign objects are left within reach of a cat, they are likely to eat them, risking intestinal blockage or even choking. 

Cats are instinctively drawn to play with and ingest stringy things, so total prevention by keeping them completely out of reach is essential. This may mean changing some of your home decor or storage solutions to eliminate access. But it’s a small inconvenience to protect your cat’s health.

Can Puzzle Cat Food Bowls Deter Boredom?

Using interactive puzzle feeders and treat balls can provide mental stimulation to deter boredom in between play sessions. Giving your cat’s natural food-motivated scavenging instincts a positive outlet may reduce undesirable behaviors like chewing and eating non-food items. 

Offer puzzle toys with your cat’s meals, placing their regular kibble inside the toy so they have to manipulate, roll, or otherwise work to access the food. This encourages activity and problem solving. Rotate different puzzle toys to keep things interesting.

Will More Interactive Cat Toys Help?

Yes, providing a variety of interactive toys for swatting, chasing, and pouncing can give your cat appropriate and safe outlets for their normal prey drive. Use fishing pole toys, battery-operated mice, treat balls, play tunnels, and scratching posts to engage your cat’s interest and energy.

 Play with your cat for at least 10-15 minutes 2-3 times daily. Also, consider getting a second cat for companionship and play if possible. Having another cat in the home can help provide activity and entertainment.

Should I Discuss My Cat’s Diet With The Vet?

It’s a good idea to discuss your cat’s diet with your veterinarian, especially if your cat seems fixated on non-food items. Make sure your cat’s diet provides complete and balanced nutrition to reduce food-seeking behaviors. 

Also, rule out any underlying medical issues, like gastrointestinal disease, that could cause an urge to eat inappropriate things. Getting your vet’s input on an optimal diet and addressing any health problems can help reduce the behavior along with environmental prevention.

Frequently Asked Question

What Causes Cats To Eat Non-Food Items?

Cats, especially kittens, explore with their mouth and sometimes ingest dangerous things out of boredom or if their diet is lacking.

How Do I Know If My Cat Has An Intestinal Blockage?

Signs include repeated vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.

Why Does My Cat Keep Throwing Up After Eating The Ribbon?

The ribbon may be obstructing the intestinal tract, causing digested cat food to back up and be vomited.

What Is The Treatment For An Intestinal Blockage?

Treatment options include medication, liquid diet, and surgery to remove the obstruction if it does not pass on its own.

How Can I Prevent This From Happening Again?

Keep strings, thread, tinsel, and other string-like objects away from your cat to prevent accidental ingestion.


If your cat ate a ribbon and is now vomiting, it likely has a gastrointestinal obstruction. Ribbons and other string-like objects can get lodged in a cat’s digestive tract, blocking the passage of food and causing vomiting. This is a veterinary emergency requiring immediate attention.

Do not attempt to pull the ribbon from your cat’s mouth or rectum. Bring your cat to the vet right away. The vet will likely need to perform imaging tests like X-rays or an ultrasound to locate the ribbon. Then, surgery may be necessary to carefully remove the ribbon and check for intestinal damage. 

With prompt veterinary care, many cats recover fully after ribbon ingestion. Going forward, be sure to keep all ribbons, strings, thread, and tinsel safely out of your cat’s reach to prevent recurrence of this dangerous situation. The risk to your cat’s health is not worth the play value of these linear foreign objects.

Meta Description

Leave a Comment