Naughty cat needs emergency surgery after swallowing ‘linear foreign object’

A curious cat needed emergency surgery after eating more than THREE FEET of gift wrapping ribbon.

Owner Faith Orchard feared Hendrick was going to die, but the skill of our team at Vets Now in Reading managed to save her beloved pet’s life.

Faith and husband Tom had been away on a short break and three-year-old Hendrick was being looked after by a neighbour.

Image of Hendrick the cat for Vets Now article on dog ate ribbon
Hendrick's owners rushed him to Vets Now in Reading when they noticed a piece of ribbon hanging from his mouth. He had been sick and was foaming at the mouth.

“He has an annoying habit of trying to eat any kind of plastic, but he has never shown interest in anything else,” said 29-year-old university lecturer Faith.

“I had noticed this piece of ribbon, that had been on a present, lying around. I put it up in a bowl, but he had obviously managed to get hold of it.

“When we got back late at night the first thing we saw was a couple of inches of ribbon sticking out of his mouth. I thought that was all there was, but as I pulled gently about half a metre came out and then it wouldn’t move any further.

“He started foaming at the mouth and choking and bringing up blood. We panicked and realised it was a lot more serious than we first thought as we then saw he had already been sick.

“I cut off the ribbon we already freed and then we called Vets Now and they told us to bring him in as quickly as we could.

“The fact there was someone knowledgeable at the end of the line instantly was amazing and so reassuring.”

Image of Hendrick the cat for Vets Now article on dog ate ribbon
Vet Anita performed emergency surgery and removed 60cm of ribbon

Faith and Tom rushed Hendrick to Vets Now in Reading, one of a nationwide network of clinics and hospitals open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When vets examined him there was no visible sign of the ribbon in his mouth, but x-rays and ultrasound revealed abnormal and worrying changes consistent with a linear foreign body in his intestine.

Emergency vet Anita Notenboom carried out an exploratory laparotomy, which involves surgery to explore the abdomen and its organs, and found and removed another 60cm of ribbon.

Anita said: “While Hendrick was stable on arrival, he did have abdominal discomfort and I was very concerned about the consequences of the ribbon reaching his intestine.

“I examined him thoroughly, gave him intravenous fluids and took blood samples to assess his health status. After further discussion with his owners, we agreed to operate on him that night.”

Anita added: “After making a small incision in his stomach, I managed to remove 60cm of ribbon without too much resistance.

“This type of operation can be unpleasant though, so to help Hendrick recover as painlessly as possible he was given analgesics and antibiotics.”

Image of Hendrick the cat for Vets Now article on dog ate ribbon
Hendrick had to spend thee days recovering in the clinic before he could go home with Faith and Tom

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Faith and Tom spent a sleepless night waiting for the early morning call to tell them that all had gone well.

“We were told the ribbon could cause serious problems if it passed into his intestines, so we knew we’d made the right decision not to delay operating,” said Faith.

“If we’d waited another 12 hours, he probably wouldn’t have made it.”

However, Hendrick wasn’t out of the woods yet and Faith and Tom had an anxious three days as the Vets Now team looked after the still-poorly cat.

“He wasn’t eating or going to the toilet and he had a high temperature, so we were really worried,” said Faith.

“That could have been a sign of an infection and he also had signs of soreness and swelling around his tummy. When we visited him, he looked so bad we thought he wasn’t going to be coming home.

“It was an awful moment.”

Image of Hendrick the cat for Vets Now article on dog ate ribbon
Hendrick is now back to normal and his owners are grateful for the care he received

After three days, the couple were given the green light to collect Hendrick and continue his medication and care in a familiar home environment.

“The detailed information on what to do was brilliant and we felt really supported,” said Faith. “We’re glad he was kept in and cared for as long as he was and then the home care really worked.

“Now he’s fully back to normal and all he has to show for his ordeal is a bit of a shaved belly and a long and impressive scar.

“We’re just so grateful, the care he got and the skill that was shown meant the world to us.”

All of Vets Now’s out-of-hours pet emergency clinics have a vet and vet nurse on-site at all times.