Cat Swallows a Mountain of Hair Ties, Undergoes Emergency Surgery

A seven-year-old Siamese cat named “Kitty” cashed several of his nine lives in after consuming 14 elastic hair ties, requiring emergency surgery at the MSPCA-Angell earlier this week, the organization announced today.

Kitty rests at the MSPCA-Angell after surgery to remove the hair ties from his belly (credit MSPCA-Angell)

Kitty rests at the MSPCA-Angell after surgery to remove the hair ties from his belly (credit MSPCA-Angell)

Kitty was admitted on Sunday, March 6 after his previous owner found the hair ties missing—and the feisty feline already showing signs of distress. Kitty’s owner had been trying to re-home the cat for quite some time and, upon confirmation that he had indeed swallowed the assembly of ties, opted to surrender him to the MSPCA.

Surgery at Angell Animal Medical Center

Dr. Emma-Leigh Pearson of Angell’s Emergency & Critical Care unit performed a delicate two-hour operation on March 7 to extract the hair bands from Kitty’s stomach—as well as several that had lodged in his intestines. According to Dr. Pearson, there was not a moment to lose.

“The foreign body [hair ties] had nearly perforated Kitty’s intestine and he could have died if the surgery had been delayed,” she said. Dr. Pearson also removed five centimeters of Kitty’s intestines, which had become badly damaged as a result of the hair ties moving through them.

Kitty’s Road Ahead

His surgery now behind him, Kitty will recover for several more days before he is placed for adoption. His prognosis is excellent and he is expected to live a full and healthy life. Prospective adopters are asked to contact adoption@mspca.org if they are interested in him.

Keeping Cats Safe

Kitty has a history of swallowing items that can make him sick and his new owners must take great care in keeping him away from any string-like material.

The MSPCA removes countless non-food material from the bellies of cats and dogs every year, and Kitty’s case underscores the danger of foreign body ingestion.

Other potentially dangerous items that must be kept out of reach of cats (and dogs) include sewing needs and thread, yarn, socks, plastic bags, tinsel and garland—and any other items small enough to be consumed by pets.

Kitty’s surgery was paid for through Spike’s Fund, which helps the MSPCA’s Boston adoption center provide emergency medical treatment for homeless animals in need.

The MSPCA-Angell’s three state-wide animal care and adoption centers take in and place into new homes thousands of homeless dogs, cats and other animals every year. Kitty represents just one of the many animals who arrive every day—and whose futures are brighter as a result of the care they receive.