Charity Mews: Cat who got in a knot is saved by PDSA

Hi everyone,

Please find below a story with happy end from our friends over at the PDSA! 🙂

PDSA vets have saved the life of a mischievous Moggie who got himself in a terrible tangle after gobbling up shoelaces and hair bands.

Black-and-white cat Garry, from Hove, went along to Brighton PDSA Pet Hospital for his annual booster, where PDSA vets discovered an extremely worrying large mass in his stomach.

The two-year-old cat was admitted for further tests, and worried owner Ana Barbosa (32) was told to prepare for the worst, as a life-threatening tumour was suspected.

But during emergency exploratory surgery, PDSA vet Jess Maguire was stunned to discover shoe laces and hair bands, along with bits of plastic, in Garry’s stomach.


If left undetected, the items could have caused a potentially fatal blockage. The items had probably been eaten over a period of time, according to vets, and it was a miracle that the inquisitive feline wasn’t suffering any side-effects after his bizarre snacking habits.

Garry’s owner, Ana Barbosa, said: “Garry is a very cheeky little chap who has always preferred playing with human things instead of cat toys. But we had no idea he was actually eating them.

“I’d washed some laces from my trainers, which went missing. I never for one moment thought that Garry was the reason why! When I first heard it may be a tumour, I was devastated. My two boys and I adore him. So although I was absolutely shocked to find out what the mass was, we were relieved to hear the good news that it wasn’t a tumour.”


Commenting on this case of ‘curiosity nearly killed the cat’, PDSA vet Jess Maguire urged owners to be vigilant where peckish pets are concerned:

“We often see dogs who have eaten odd things, but it is quite unusual for a cat to eat so many different items,” she said.

PDSA advises owners to speak to their vet at once if they suspect their pets have eaten something they shouldn’t.

Ana added: “We’re so grateful to PDSA for saving Garry’s life – he’s a big part of our family and we’d be heartbroken if we’d have lost him so young. Now we know how mischievous he can be, we’ll definitely be keeping a closer eye on him in future.”

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37 thoughts on “Charity Mews: Cat who got in a knot is saved by PDSA

  1. niasunset says:

    I had an experience like that, it was so bad… One of our cats in the past ate, so I know now, I try to keep all kind of things away from my cat. Thank you dear Marc, love, nia

  2. cat9984 says:

    Makes me think of a previous cat who liked to chew plastic shopping bags. We usually caught her, but missed one that fortunately came out the other end intact. However, she was not happy that my husband had to pull the remainder of the bag from inside her. Didn’t cure her of eating bags (or ribbons).

  3. grannyK says:

    I also had a plastic bag eating cat! Also, we had a Saint Bernard that ate everything as a puppy. She swallowed an entire pack of Brillo cleaning pads and had emergency surgery. Silly pets!

  4. Create-A-Holic Writer says:

    Thanks for running this story. My cat Otis LOVES playing with long strings of yarn and we’ve wondered whether we should just leave it out all the time for him to play with. Now that I’ve read this, I’ll be vigilant in making sure there’s nothing like that lying around. I already make sure to hide any plastic bags, since he also loves to chew on that. Great story–good warning!

  5. pilch92 says:

    I am glad he survived. This is a warning to all of us to keep stuff away from our kitties that is too too tempting.

  6. Léa says:

    So glad to know that all is well now. He looks much like a cat my son had a number of years ago. However, Miss Peppers was very petite. My daughter already had a big black and grey tabby who was a cantankerous chap. He hissed, snarled and struck out his paw at her. By the third day she had him whipped. He must have had a hard life before coming to us and Miss Peppers became the mother he seemed to need. She was the sweetest cat I have ever know. We never knew her full story but something must have happened to her outdoors as when the door was opened, she would cling to him or me for dear life.

  7. lawjic says:

    I am so thrilled he survived. PICA is very unusual in cats. They are known to eat toxic house plants, but eating the stuff he ate really messed him up. Had he been a geriatric cat, he would have been terminal. This is a cautionary, but outstanding story. All cat owners should be aware that cats get into everything almost like children and, as such, they may attempt to eat things not intended to be eaten. Had the cat guardians not been smart and diligent, they may have lost their fur baby. Happy endings! I love it! Always watch your cat and make sure he or she is not eating things they cannot tolerate. Great and helpful post, Marc.

  8. sledpress says:

    I had a cat who ate big chunks off the kitchen broom — we thought she was just tearing at it. Also a good deal of a dried bouquet. It got all gummed together in her stomach, and when I saw she was in distress, a good vet I had just gotten to know examined her, operated and removed a wad about the size of two thumbs — all tied up in a red Christmas ribbon! A very scary three days or so for us until she was well enough to come home. She lived another eight years. We hid anything strawy or stringy in the house after that.

    My chiropractor kind of has that story beat though because his cat ate a red rubber band, which he saw sticking out under her tail after she’d been to the litter box. He ran after her and tried to take hold of it, she wriggled away and the rubber band stretched way out, then smacked him right on the nose. That must have stung the cat as much as it did him but she was none the worse, fortunately. You would have to know the guy, he was practically born to be hit in the nose by a rubber band shot out of a cat’s behind.

  9. Mali June says:

    Yikes! I better keep Freckles away from my camis and shoes in the future. He has a reputation for chewing… He once ate a hairband but passed it.

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