My Cat Ate A Feather, Do I Need To Call The Vet?
Feather toys are cat owner staples. But what if my cat ate a feather? Should I ring the veterinarian immediately?
Cats are notorious for their dietary indiscretion. They will try to swallow anything that interests them, whether a piece of a feather, a toy, or a random object they got outdoors.
Since cats are hunters, it’s normal for them in the wild to swallow feathers. But if you’re worried, keep reading, and I’ll share my insights on what you should do and what could happen in this scenario.
Why does my cat like to eat feathers?
Cats in the wild eat feathers when they are consuming their prey. As felines become domesticated, they retain this hunting instinct.
Almost every cat will have a predatory response to feathers. After all, it’s associated with a prey or food source, making them chomp on it, regardless if it’s just a synthetic toy.
If it’s not their toy, domesticated cats will chase after birds in your yard. Here, they may consume real feathers, which can pose more problems due to possible infections.
Aside from that, feathers are light objects that make fast movements in the air. This attracts a cat’s attention, making them chase, chew, and unintentionally consume it.
On a more serious note, some cats may intentionally consume feathers due to a condition called Pica. This is somewhat idiopathic and involves ingestion of inedible items.
The biggest problem with Pica is that it can cause intestinal blockage, choking, internal bleeding, and many other health issues.
If you suspect your cat has this condition, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. The vet can provide various treatment options to manage the problem.
What happens if my cat swallows a feather?
Most cats will be fine after swallowing a single feather. My cat Watson has swallowed countless feather toys before, and he ended up passing all of them during potty.
However, there can be different scenarios here. You have to answer the following questions:
What’s the size of the feather?
A small feather is unlikely to hurt your cat. It should pass naturally, the same way a dog will pass a squeaker toy it swallowed.
However, if your cat consumed a large feather, you must be concerned. Large feathers have thick shafts that can puncture your cat’s digestive tract.
Also, a large feather can ball up and cause a blockage. It will prevent your cat from pooping or even vomiting, which is life-threatening if not addressed immediately.
You should also check how many feathers your cat consumed. A large amount should cause concern and a call to the vet.
What’s the size of your cat?
Large cats tend to have less trouble passing feathers, even large ones. However, if you have a kitten snacked on a large piece, you should consider involving the veterinarian.
Overall, this part isn’t absolute. It depends on the circumstances, as big cats can still suffer from blockages and intestinal punctures after eating feathers.
Is it artificial or real?
Both synthetic and real feathers can pose the same risk for cats. These two are indigestible and can irritate the cat’s tummy just the same.
However, artificial ones are often treated with chemicals that can be potentially toxic to animals. The dye used for the synthetic feather can trigger stomach upset.
Meanwhile, real feathers can be a host to parasites, viruses, and bacteria. And even if it’s treated, you must watch out for its toxicity.
Did your cat get the feather from a wild animal?
If your cat acquired the feather from a feral animal, you must observe for symptoms of a potential infection. As mentioned, real feathers can carry transmissible diseases, especially if eaten.
You must call the vet if your cat suffers from diarrhea and vomiting for more than 12 hours. This can lead to dehydration if not treated immediately.
Is your cat exhibiting unusual behavior?
After eating a feather, a cat that becomes lethargic, weak, withdrawn, and unsettled must be taken to the vet. These can be signs of an emergency that could worsen by the hour.
Are feathers safe for cats?
Animal feathers don’t always cause trouble to cats. However, it doesn’t mean you should let your kitty eat them all the time.
If your cat likes eating feathers, avoid toys that have this material. Also, keep the kitty indoors so it won’t go after birds and stray animals.
Take note that a single feather is enough to cause a blockage and put your pet’s life at risk. It’s best to be proactive instead of waiting for accidents to happen.
Should I call the vet if my cat ate a feather?
If you want to be on the safe side, there’s nothing to lose if you call the vet. This way, you’ll receive proper guidance on what to do in case your cat exhibits adverse symptoms.
But if your cat looks and acts fine hours after eating a feather, it may not require a consultation with the vet. Just keep the kitty hydrated and active to help it pass the feather faster.
What to do if a cat swallows something?
If your cat swallowed an object, whether it’s a feather or something else, never induce vomiting unless the vet told you so. Making your pet vomit without veterinary advice can do more harm than help.
Also, it’s best to assess how big the object is. A tiny item similar to the size of a kibble usually passes naturally.
However, if your cat ate a large or substantial amount of an inedible object, you must call the vet. This can cause blockage, intestinal problems, or breathing issues in your pet.
Take note that some cats may not show symptoms right away. The vet is still the best person to talk to for the right solution.
Can cats digest fabric?
No, cats can’t digest fabric, so you should be cautious if your pet eats it. It could be a ripped piece of your sock, shirt, rug, or carpet – whatever it is, your cat can’t digest it.
Aside from that, tiny pieces of fabric can ball up inside the digestive tract and cause a blockage. This requires immediate surgery to prevent life-threatening consequences.
Nevertheless, some cats can pass small bits of fabric without complications. Still, it’s not the same for other pets.
If your kitty has a habit of nibbling on clothing, you must monitor closely. It’s best to keep any fabric away from your cat’s reach.
Feathers are indigestible, so you should be observant and alert if your cat ingests them. You can call your pet’s veterinarian for advice, so you’ll know what to do when adverse situations arise.
Overall, prevention is always the best solution. Stir clear of any feather toys and keep your cat indoors so it won’t chase after birds.