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What If My Cat Ate a Rubber Band? Will She Become Sick?

What if my cat ate a rubber band

Vet Approved

Dr. Hassan, DVM, RVMP
Dr. Hassan, DVM, RVMP


The information contained in this article is for educational purpose and should not be taken as a substitute for your vet’s opinion, as much depends on circumstances and history peculiar to each pet.

The information contained in this article is for educational purpose and should not be taken as a substitute for your vet’s opinion, as much depends on circumstances and history peculiar to each pet.

Cats are inherently curious folks. They are inquisitive and like to explore their surroundings. This habit makes them vulnerable to unknowingly harming themselves. People who own cats need to be vigilant and keep a close eye on their feline fellow to protect them from harming themselves.

As cats are kept inside a house where they roam freely around, it can sometimes be difficult to watch out for them. Thus, they may end up putting themselves in trouble, and a cat may consume something that she cannot digest. Playing with and swallowing non-food items such as plastics, fabric, soil, or rubber is common for cats.

Along with other concerns, one common query among cat owners is, what if my cat ate a rubber band? Would it harm her digestive system? How do we treat a cat that has swallowed something harmful?

In our article, we will delve a little deeper into finding an answer to this question. So, let’s find out.

What Problems Can Arise When a Cat Swallows a Rubber Band?

Cats like to play with bouncy things that move and resemble live prey. This makes a rubber band an ideal thing to play with. But swallowing a rubber band can pose certain health risks that can be serious, even deadly for a cat. As a concerned pet parent, it is only natural to be worried and wonder what if my cat ate a rubber band? What would happen if my cat swallows something like this? Some of the health hazards resulting from a cat swallowing a rubber band are following.

  • A rubber band can block the gut or gastrointestinal tract of a cat.
  • It can cause choking in a cat which can prove life-threatening.
  • A rubber band can tangle around a cat’s tongue.
  • Swallowing a rubber band may damage sensitive tissues in a cat’s mouth, food pipe, stomach, or intestines.
  • It can lead to Intussusception—a condition where the intestine folds in itself. When an intestine folds, it creates a blockage which further leads to tears and openings of wounds inside a cat’s body. These openings let toxins from the intestines mix into the bloodstream resulting in serious infections. 
  • Swallowing a rubber can also cause Necrosis—a blockage that prevents blood from flowing to a specific organ, resulting in organ damage.
  • It can also cause digestive issues for a cat as the rubber band mostly gets entangled inside a cat’s food pipe and creates a blockage. Thus, a cat may face difficulty swallowing or digesting food.

My Cat Ate a Rubber Band—What Needs to be Done?

Although it might seem a scary thing to experience, a cat can pass the rubber band without being hurt or affected. If you find a rubber band inside your cat’s mouth, or even if she has swallowed it, there is no need to panic. Instead, monitor your cat’s condition and look out for any signs and symptoms. If you find one or more of the below-mentioned symptoms in your cat, then you should take her to a vet.

  • Vomiting
  • Refusing to eat or being aversive to food.
  • Changes in the color of poop
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Being lethargic and sleeping more than usual
  • Having a sore tummy
  • Drinking more water than usual or not drinking any at all.

As discussed earlier, if your cat exhibits any of the above symptoms, you should seek medical help and take your cat to get it checked by a vet.

Even though rubber bands pose a danger to your cat’s health, you shouldn’t panic or hurry to protect your feline friend. Firstly, open your cat’s mouth and see whether the rubber band is swallowed or is still inside its mouth. If the rubber band is still inside your cat’s mouth and you can see it is moving freely, then remove it straight away.

But if you can see the rubber band is cut in half or it is partially swallowed, do not attempt to pull it out. You need to be extra careful because it may have got tangled inside the cat’s mouth or esophagus. Pulling it out manually with force may damage the delicate parts of a cat’s digestive tract, such as the oesophageal lining, base of the tongue, or gastrointestinal tract. 

The same rule applies if you find a rubber band partially hanging out from a cat’s rectum. You shouldn’t attempt to pull it out manually. Instead, seek medical help and take her to a vet’s clinic.

How Long It Takes for a Cat to Pass a Rubber Band out of Its System?

So, you found your cat has swallowed a rubber band. Now, how long will it take for her to take it out of her system? In other words, how long should you observe your cat to rule out the possibility of her becoming sick?

It approximately takes 24 to 48 hours for a cat’s body to get rid of a rubber band. Every time your cat passes stool, you should check out her litterbox to see if the rubber band has come out. If you don’t find any rubber band being passed in her stool for more than 48 hours, it is highly possible that it has got entangled inside her gastrointestinal tract.

In such a case, it is advised to consult a vet and get your cat checked and treated. Early intervention can definitely save your feline from becoming too sick.

Can My Cat Die from Swallowing a Rubber Band?

Unfortunately, yes. A cat can die from swallowing a rubber band. An entangled rubber band can create a blockage inside a cat’s esophagus or in the intestines, which can result in other life-threatening complications. As the symptoms a cat exhibits after she swallows a rubber band are very similar to other health risks, you can hardly notice how seriously ill she may be. Thus, taking her to a vet’s clinic is always the wisest thing to do.

How to Stop Your Cat from Playing with a Rubber Band?

One way to protect your cat from accidentally eating a rubber band is to ensure no hair ties or rubber are bands lying or are scattered around the house.

If your cat loves to play with stringy or bouncy things, try cat toys that provide the same level of stimulation but in a safer way. One such type of toy can be a toy wand that consists of a long stick with a string that has an object such as a feather attached to it.

Frisco Bird Teaser with Feathers

Disney Micky Mouse’s Cat Toy

Frisco Basic Plush Mice Cat Toy

Final Thoughts

So we hope our article has elaborately answered your query “what if my cat ate a rubber band?” Although it seems a frightening experience to find out your pet has consumed something harmful, there is no need to panic. You can calmly monitor your cat for 24 hours and look out for any sign or symptom that may signal something serious. Most of the time, your cat would be unhurt after swallowing a rubber band and would pass it out on its own through her poop.

But if you notice your feline fellow has swallowed a harmful substance and is acting differently, seems lethargic, or is avoiding food, you should promptly seek medical help and get her examined to rule out any possibility of becoming sick.


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