Are you ready to take a trip inside your pet’s gastrointestinal tract? Although we don’t have Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus’s neat special effects, we can still take you on a holiday adventure. Hitch a ride on a piece of Christmas tinsel, and take a journey through your cat to understand the mishap caused by the holiday decoration. 

To pet owners who love tinsel on their Christmas tree:

There I was, a piece of beautiful tinsel glittering brightly on a magnificent white pine, shining more beautifully than the star atop the tree—or at least I thought so. Looking back on the start of my journey, I believe that naughty feline was attracted by my glorious glitter, and if I wasn’t so stunning, none of this would have happened …

There I was, draped around the tree, when up came the cat of the house with her pink nose aquiver and her tail swishing, indicating she was entering stalking mode, so I knew she was up to no good. With my dazzling beauty, I knew I would make the perfect prey and, without legs or adult supervision, I was in trouble. 

As I quietly panicked, the cat crept ever closer. By the time she could see her reflection in my shining strands, I was shrieking in fear on the inside. Her gaping maw opened wide and ripped me from my perch. I struggled to hang on, but she gulped me down. In a last ditch effort, I snagged the base of her tongue and held on tight, but the rest of me disappeared into the dark depths below. 

Clinging for dear life, I stayed wrapped around her tongue, although I could feel attempts to tug me down further. The cat and I became locked in what seemed like a never-ending battle, but I could feel her weakening. Unfortunately, I also felt surges of bile working up her throat—yep, then the waves of vomit. So much for being the tree’s shining star. 

At this point, the cat’s owners rushed her to Alisos Animal Hospital, where Dr. Bahou quickly examined her and noticed my predicament. After snapping a couple of X-rays, Dr. Bahou determined that I was well and truly stuck, trapped at the tongue, and bunching up in the intestines as they tried to move me along. It was time for surgery.

Dr. Bahou anesthetized your feline friend, and then tried to unravel my death grip on her tongue. However, a few gentle tugs did not convince my lower half to let go, so Dr. Bahou went into the intestines, to avoid sawing through their fragile walls. If the cat’s intestines were perforated, digestive juices would leak out, contaminating and infecting the abdomen, and potentially resulting in death. 

Since I was bunched up in the small intestines, Dr. Bahou found the section that appeared the most pleated and made a small incision. Sadly, he had to cut me in half to completely remove me, and he pulled out my upper and lower portions in two separate pieces. Once I was free of the cat, her intestines resumed their normal configuration, but still looked angry and irritated.

After your kitty friend was stitched back together, she spent a couple of days receiving intensive nursing care until she was given the all-clear to return home.

You recoiled in horror and disgust when you met us at the front desk and saw me ensconced in a Ziploc baggie, coated with digestive juices. I was no longer the shining star of the Christmas tree. Instead, I was unceremoniously tossed in the trash, never to grace a tree again. 

Although dogs are more likely to destroy decorations and eat things they shouldn’t, cats can also get into holiday mischief, and they are particularly attracted to string, ribbon, tinsel, and garland. Take special precautions with your holiday decor to prevent an emergency surgery situation, and to help ensure that your furry feline friend enjoys the festivities safely.

Need some tips on keeping your cat out of your Christmas tree? Give us a call for advice on getting your pet and your decor through the holiday season unscathed.