My Cat Ate String! How Long Will It Take to Pass?

Cats are curious creatures that tend to get into everything around our homes. Sadly, cats do not have a filter for the things that may get them into trouble. Whether its chewing up one of your prized possessions or dragging your favorite pair of shoes off by the shoestring, cats are mysterious.

Although, sometimes your cat can have medical complications arise from some of the items they tend to play with the most like string or yarn. Even worse, what if your cat eats one of these things? What do you do?

Safe Play

You should always monitor the things your cats are playing with whenever you can. That being said, you may be surprised at the amount of things your pet can get into when you're not looking.

Some cats have been known to open cabinet doors or even drawers where you may keep some of your smaller items. While some of these items may look harmless for your cat to play with, if swallowed, they can cause serious harm which can sometimes lead to your cat needing medical attention. One of the most common things you think of when you see a cat is a ball of yarn or string, which can be one of the easiest things for a cat to swallow.

In order to avoid any unnecessary vet visits, make sure that your cat never plays with something small enough to eat. By giving a cat appropriate sized toys, you can save yourself from the headache of having an unwanted vet visit. Most cat toys sold in stores are designed to be chewed on and torn apart without any serious consequences. If you have small items a cat may play with, be sure to either throw them away or put them in a high places that you are sure your cat can't get into.

Help, They Ate String!

If you've already found yourself in a position and you are coming to this article for help. Then fear not, we are here to resolve some of your worries. If you've noticed your cat lately playing with a small bit of string and they seem to have swallowed it, don’t worry, it will pass normally.

A cat's digestion systems usually take about 20 hours to pass food and other items through, at which point the string will be expelled from their rectum. If you see a string exposed from there rectum, then try to pull it out gently. If it doesn't come out then leave it alone and try again later. Do not pull it if it does not give, as it can damage your cat's intestines.

Monitor your cat while this is happening to make sure the string naturally comes out. In most cases they will be fine and you just have to watch them a little bit closer. If you think your cat may have ingested a large amount of string then watch them for 24 hours. If they show no signs of eating, you may want to make a vet visit. In rare instances, you may have to have string surgically removed from their stomach. This will only occur when the cat has eaten so much string or a large piece of string that it can't properly go through the digestive system.

If you think your cat may have eaten a sewing needle on the end of the string, immediately contact a vet.

The animal will need emergency surgery and there's not much you can do in the way of home remedies. If you want to speed up the string being passed through the cat’s digestive system, there are some laxatives you can give them to help speed up the process. It’s best to check with your vet before using any new medication with your pet to make sure it's safe.

Final Thoughts

Accidents happen and pets will be pets even when they shouldn't be. In any case, if your cat ingests a foreign object that is not food, be sure to stay calm. The calmer you can handle a situation like unwanted ingestion, the better the situation will play out. Assess the situation to determine what the best course of action for your pet will be and take it. If you truly feel like your cat will just pass the string within a few hours, make sure to keep checking up on them just to make sure it is ok and everything should turn out fine. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking from “Cat Cat Cat” to Amazon (, or,,, or

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