Cats have strong sniffers that allow them to locate food, even those wrapped in tin foils. If your pet managed to ransack your foil-wrapped food, it’s possible that your cat ate aluminum foil.
This may be surprising since cats are known to hate the sound and texture of crinkling tin foils. But since they are curious creatures, ingestion of aluminum foil is possible.
In most cases, cats can pass the aluminum they eat naturally. However, there are instances when the kitty may experience complications.
In this article, I discuss the possible risks of aluminum foil ingestion in cats and what you can do about it.
Why do cats eat aluminum foil?
While cats hate the sound of aluminum foil, it’s a different story once it’s wrapped around food. Since the foil sheet is slathered with flavor, it’s not surprising that your kitty may swallow it.
Also, some cats may bite through the packaging as they try to take a bite of what’s inside. This happens, especially if the wrapped food has a strong scent and flavor.
It’s also possible that your cat swallowed aluminum foil during playtime. Cats often mouth their toys, and if you give a tin foil as a plaything, don’t be shocked if your kitty tries to eat it.
If your cat seems to be obsessed with eating tin foil, you should get it checked for pica. This is a condition wherein a person or animal consumes inedible items excessively.
Experts are not sure what causes pica, but diet and lifestyle are said to be contributing factors. Take note that this condition can be life-threatening as the ingested items can be toxic or obstructive.
What to do if your cat eats aluminum
Swallowing a small bit of aluminum is usually harmless for cats. Still, it doesn’t hurt to do the following steps:
Observe your cat
Ingestion of aluminum foil isn’t always an emergency for cats. Nevertheless, observing your pet first after it consumes the foil material is essential.
If your cat starts to drool, vomit, have diarrhea, and breathe heavily, you must rush it to the vet. These are signs of intestinal blockage, which could happen if the aluminum foil is ingested in large amounts.
Aside from that, the aluminum foil’s edges can scratch your cat’s throat or digestive tract. This can lead to internal bleeding and punctures requiring immediate veterinary care.
But if your kitty only nipped a tiny bit of foil, it’s usually not a cause for concern. Most cats will pass little bits of aluminum through their stool without medical intervention.
Check what comes with the foil.
It’s not just the foil you have to think about. You also have to consider what’s inside the foil that your pet also consumed.
For example, I use tin foils to wrap garlic and onion for grilling. If my cat eats through the foil and the garlic inside, I will not waste time.
Regardless if my cat didn’t eat any aluminum foil, the ingestion of garlic is enough reason for an emergency vet call. It’s because garlic and onion are highly toxic to pets like cats and dogs.
Another example is chocolates, which also come wrapped in tin foil. Even if your cat only ate a small bite, you should phone the vet immediately.
On the bright side, aluminum foil is not toxic to felines. After all, it’s designed for food preparation purposes.
But while tin foils won’t poison your cat, you still have to be mindful of the potential risks it may bring, as I discussed earlier.
Don’t force your cat to vomit.
Some pet owners make the mistake of inducing vomiting in their cats. They believe that doing so can help flush out the substance or object faster.
While this may work in some cases, it can become life-threatening under specific circumstances.
For example, if your cat eats large amounts of aluminum foil, the material will form a lump inside its tummy. In this situation, forcing your cat to vomit can lead to choking, breathing obstruction, and even death.
It’s always best to call a veterinarian if your cat consumes a substantial amount of tin foil wraps.
Does aluminum foil bother cats?
Aluminum is often used as a cat deterrent because felines dislike its texture and sound. Tin foils make a high-pitched crinkling noise, which annoys a cat’s strong sense of hearing.
Aside from that, aluminum foil bends and folds easily when stepped on. This change in shape easily alarms a cat.
Some experts believe that tin foils also resemble water in cats. This is due to the reflective surface; as we know, cats and water don’t mix.
As much as aluminum foils are effective deterrents, cat owners should be careful when using them. There’s a risk of cats ingesting the foil and experiencing intestinal blockages.
What happens if my cat eats metal?
Metals have sharp edges, which can cause an intestinal puncture. And since metals are stiff and can form a lump inside the cat’s tummy, it can also become a blockage.
The upside is that metal objects show up clearly on X-rays. This allows veterinarians to see the location of the foreign object and how it can be extracted safely.
In terms of risks, most cats can pass tiny metal items like a little piece of tin foil or a tiny toy screw. But if your kitty starts exhibiting unusual symptoms after the ingestion, you should contact a veterinarian quickly.
Why do cats freak out on aluminum foil?
Cats freak out when stepping on aluminum foil because of three things: texture, sound, and appearance. For cats, tin foils are shape-shifting, reflective, crinkly monsters.
Also, a 2015 study suggested that high-pitched sounds like those of tin foils can cause seizures in felines. The syndrome is called feline audiogenic reflex seizures (FARS).
The study indicated that the crinkling sound of aluminum foil is the most common trigger for FARS. This is followed by a metal spoon clanging in a feeding bowl and glass clinking.
Overall, FARS is more reported on older cats, but it can manifest in any domesticated feline. Avoiding the trigger sounds is the best solution here.
Aluminum foil is not toxic to cats, but you shouldn’t let your cat ingest it. The tin foil material can still cause injuries even though it’s softer than other metal objects.
If your cat suffers from adverse reactions after eating tin foils, you must contact the vet immediately. Your pet needs urgent veterinary attention to prevent life-threatening consequences.
Overall, the best remedy here is to stash aluminum foil away from your pets. If you’re wrapping food with it, make sure that your curious kitty won’t have a paw on it.