Cat rushed to the vet for life-saving surgery after eating 50 hairbands

What a cat-astrophe! Feline is rushed to the vet for life-saving surgery after eating 50 hairbands which had formed a massive lump in her tummy

  • Paul Spraggett, 44, describes how his family’s cat Berry ate 50 hairbands
  • Factory manager, from Stratford-upon-Avon says his cat had life-saving surgery
  • Berry had scoffed hairbands for 18 months, which created a lump in her tummy

A greedy feline was rushed to the vet for life-saving surgery after munching her way through 50 hairbands.

Paul Spraggett, 44, from Stratford-upon-Avon, did not know that his two-year-old cat, Berry, had been eating hair ties for a total of 18 months until they formed a gigantic lump in his pet’s tummy, which needed urgent removal.

The factory manager, rushed her to the vet last month after she stopped eating altogether and started constantly retching and vomiting.

And Paul, who initially thought that Berry had a hair ball was ‘stunned’ to find out what had actually been happening, right under his nose.

Paul Spraggett, 44, explains how his family’s pet cat Berry (pictured) was rushed to the vet after she had scoffed 50 hairbands, which had formed a lump in her tummy

Surprising X-rays at the Willows Veterinary Center in Shirley showed a tangled mass of elasticated bands in the cat’s stomach and she was immediately taken for an emergency operation.

Thankfully, Berry survived the ordeal and returned home the next day.

‘None of us had ever thought about the risks that hairbands and similar everyday objects could pose for our four cats,’ said owner Paul, from Stratford-upon-Avon.

‘We were really shocked to find out that was why Berry had been so sick and that’s why hairbands are now banned from anywhere the cats might go in the house.

Berry was taken to Willows Veterinary Centre, who x-rayed her to find that she had eaten 50 hairbands over an 18 month period

Berry was taken to Willows Veterinary Centre, who x-rayed her to find that she had eaten 50 hairbands over an 18 month period

The feline had always been a grazer, whereas her brother soffed down his food.  The hairbands had formed a lump in her tummy to the point where she would not eat or drink.  The vet said that Berry was clearly dehydrated

The feline had always been a grazer, whereas her brother soffed down his food. The hairbands had formed a lump in her tummy to the point where she would not eat or drink. The vet said that Berry was clearly dehydrated

‘Willows told us they’d had other similar cases in the past – although not involving anything like the amount that Berry had swallowed – which is why we want to highlight this case to try to prevent it happening again.’

Paul said he immediately went home to warn his wife and two daughters about the dangers of leaving hairbands lying around, a message he’s now keen to share with all cat lovers.

‘We’re so grateful to have our lovely cat back and she’s certainly loving being back, too,’ he said.

‘She’s racing around with her brother and has really come on and grown since the operation. She’d always been much smaller and thinner than him but now there’s not much in it at all.

‘The main difference was that he had always wolfed his food straight down, while Berry was more of a grazer. She’d eat a little and then come back for a little more later.

‘Now she has much more of an appetite and that’s convinced us that she must have been snaffling these hairbands over a long period of time, maybe even 18 months.

‘We think they gradually accumulated, filling her stomach and that’s why she could only eat her food in small portions. Finally, her stomach was so full it made her ill and we ended up at Willows to discover why.’

Berry had to undergo a three-hour operation to remove the foreign objects which extended from her stomach into her distal esophagus

Berry had to undergo a three-hour operation to remove the foreign objects which extended from her stomach into her distal esophagus

Commenting on Berry’s strange case, Willows rotating intern Jo McKendry said: ‘Berry arrived having suffered acute vomiting the night before and she now wasn’t eating or drinking. She behaved like she was trying to vomit up a fur ball but was struggling to bring it up.

‘She was clearly dehydrated and when I examined her, I felt a large sausage style structure in her cranial abdomen which was confirmed by x-rays. The images showed a foreign body extending from Berry’s stomach into her distal esophagus – and it appeared to be a mass of hairbands.

‘I performed a gastrotomy (surgical incision into the stomach) to access and remove the bands, and Berry was allowed home the following day. She was quickly back to normal, showed a massive increase in appetite and was soon putting on weight.’

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