Weird Stuff Pets Eat

I have some pretty major issues surrounding the story “I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.”  It is worse than “Rock-a-Bye Baby!”  Saying that is a kids’ story is like saying The Grimms Brothers’ Fairy Tales are for kids.  Who screens these things??

Recently, two seemingly unrelated and pretty routine (as far as my life goes) events occurred.  One of my Very Favorite Kids asked me to read him a story in Sunday School.  Later in the week, I did a pretty cool surgery.

Anyways, after my very small friend jumped off of my lap and ran to play with his Hot Wheels in the Super Cool Preschool Sunday School Room Fort, with a good thirty years before the horrors of the story we just shared really occur to him, I put my head down on the very small table and thought “Why?  Why did she swallow a horse?”  (She died, of course.)

So, to deal with the flood of childhood memories, I have come up with a happier version of the story.  Also, it is true, and based on the aforementioned pretty cool surgery I did later in the week.

I know a young cat who swallowed a dime.

We removed it in time

When she swallowed that dime.

She’ll be fine.

The End

Even in Real Life, foreign body* ingestion can be very dangerous and even fatal.  Five possible outcomes to foreign body ingestion may occur:


  1. It will pass.
  2. It will be barfed.
  3. It will cause a partial obstruction that can cause sickness and may progress to a complete obstruction.
  4. It will get stuck and cause death.
  5. It will get stuck and be removed – usually by surgery or endoscopy.

(*foreign body = veterinary speak for “stuff that ought not be eaten” that may cause a blockage in the stomach or intestine.  Toxins are another catagory of “stuff that ought not be eaten” and deserve their own post as they are also very dangerous.)

As with the old lady and the fly, I don’t know why Kitty swallowed the dime.  It was more a Retriever Puppy sort of thing to do than a Cat thing to do.  Cats tend to play with string and such and accidently swallow things that they are unable to spit out because of how their mouths and tongues work.

The dime became lodged in Kitty’s small intestine.  Food was unable to pass and the dime caused considerable pain and vomiting.  Without surgery, she would have died from lack of nutrition, or more likely, because the dime would have ulcerated through her intestinal wall, causing sepsis.

Such a cool surgery, but I hate foreign bodies because of the pain they cause and danger they pose.  (No, not really because of the story.  It is actually entertaining in a twisted sort of way.)  Kitty is home and well.  But how in the world does a person cat-proof an entire house, including making even spare change inaccessible, when cats can reach everything?? As complex as foreign body removal surgery and medication and aftercare can be…I think I had the easy end of that case.

Next up, an open and ongoing brainstorming list of every foreign body case we can collectively think of…Please add things your own pets have eaten and cases you have heard about or been involved with!  I hope that if you have had to deal with this with your own pets, your stories have ended as well as Kitty’s did.  And may you never (or never again) have to deal with a gastrointestinal foreign body with your own pet.

Stuff Pets Eat

golf balls

bouncy balls

rubber balls

pencil erasers


fishing line attached to fishhooks




rope toys

chicken bones








string attached to balloons



thread attached to needles


Gorilla Glue

Australian palm fruit

peach pits

fishing bait








stolen food scraps

fuzz from the bottom fabric under the couches

rubber bands

Nativity sheep


Nerf footballs






stuffed toys

the plastic eyes from stuffed toys

bags of pet food with the bag

bags of pet treats with the bag

bright pink leotards

action figures


candy wrappers


Polly Pocket shirts


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7 Responses to “Weird Stuff Pets Eat”

  1. Pup Fan says:

    You’re so right – I never truly realized how horrible the story about the old lady swallowing a fly was until I got older. It was a delayed scarring for life.We’ve been really lucky… the only non-food Bella has eaten was half a plastic sheep from my mother-in-law’s Nativity scene… and that just reappeared on the back end, so to speak.

  2. CathyB says:

    The fuzz from the bottom fabric under the couches. And rubber bands.

  3. Looking at your list, maybe Georgia is an angel after all. So far, she’s only ingested (mostly biodegradable) stuff that looks like food.. palm fruit, peach seeds, dried bait (thankfully without hooks attached), decomposing possums/birds/rat tails, possum poop, and of course that infamous bucket of fat and dripping before Christmas last year, from which her tummy has still not fully recovered.Should I count myself lucky?

  4. Jen says:

    Gorilla Glue. Very, very bad if not caught quickly.

  5. oo thanks guys! Good ones! I am adding them all to the list! How could I forget Gorilla Glue? That probably should not be in the same house as dogs! I have not seen a case, but have read two cases of the glue being surgically removed from two dogs’ stomachs. It expands and makes a perfect hardened cast of their stomach. Yeah, very bad stuff but both dogs did well with surgery.

  6. Connie Lee says:

    Action figures! I had a chocolate lab that ate Carlito and Rey Mysterio. I only found out after they came out nearly intact on a potty break. Zeus had no complications from this thankfully but he no longer played with the toddler next door?

  7. oo good one Connie – added! Glad Zeus got through that ok! I do not think dog GI systems are made to process action figures!

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