cat ate tinsel

Help, My Cat Ate Tinsel: What Should I Do?

Dr. Lauryn Benson

Sep 22, 2023

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Tinsel is a popular decoration during the festive season, its shimmering strands catching the eye of many, including our feline friends. But, while it might look appealing, tinsel can pose serious health risks to cats. When ingested, tinsel can lead to conditions known as a “foreign body” or a “linear foreign body.” Essentially, this means that the tinsel can become tangled in the intestines and cause blockages, which is life-threatening if not addressed promptly. Beyond this, the sharp edges of tinsel strands can cause irritation to the delicate lining of your cat’s digestive tract.

Recognizing the Signs of Tinsel Ingestion

It’s important to keep a watchful eye on your cat, especially if you suspect they’ve swallowed tinsel. The signs that your cat has ingested tinsel may not be immediate, so vigilance is crucial. Some common symptoms include:


This is often one of the first signs that something is amiss. If your cat starts vomiting repeatedly and you suspect they might have swallowed tinsel, it’s a red flag.

Struggling to Defecate or Diarrhea

Tinsel can cause obstructions which might result in noticeable changes in your cat’s bathroom habits.

Decreased Appetite

If your cat suddenly loses interest in food, it might be due to discomfort or blockage caused by the tinsel.


A cat that’s feeling unwell will often become noticeably less active. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to contact a veterinary professional immediately.

Immediate Steps to Take If Your Cat Eats Tinsel

First and foremost, if you’re reading this because your cat has eaten tinsel, don’t panic. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what you should do:

Do Not Attempt to Pull the Tinsel Out

If you see tinsel hanging from your cat’s mouth or rear, resist the urge to pull it out. This could cause more harm.

Keep Your Cat Calm

Stress can exacerbate health issues. Find a quiet, comfortable space for your cat while you take the next steps.

Contact Your Veterinarian Immediately

This is not a wait-and-see situation. It’s essential to get professional advice as soon as you suspect tinsel ingestion.

Avoid Home Treatments

The internet is rife with home remedies, but when it comes to potential internal blockages, only a qualified vet should make decisions about your cat’s health.

Prevention: Ensuring Your Cat Stays Safe in the Future

While it’s essential to address the immediate situation, it’s also beneficial to think about long-term safety for your cat. Here are some preventative measures:

Limit Access to Tinsel

If you know your cat is curious about shiny objects, it might be best to avoid tinsel altogether. Cats can often reach places you never thought possible so even at distances tinsel is not safe.

Offer Safe Alternatives

 There are many cat-safe toys that shimmer and shine without the associated risks.

Educate Others

If you live with other people or have visitors over the festive season, make sure they know about the risks associated with cats and tinsel.

Trust VEG for All Your Cat’s Emergency Needs

It’s essential to have a reliable, knowledgeable veterinarian you can turn to in emergencies. At Veterinary Emergency Group (VEG), we’re dedicated to providing top-tier emergency care for your pets. If you believe your cat has ingested tinsel or any other potentially harmful substance, don’t hesitate to reach out. We understand the urgency of situations like these and are here to offer support every step of the way.

Tinsel might bring festive joy to our homes, but it can be a danger lurking in the shadows for our curious cats. By understanding the risks, recognizing the signs of ingestion, and knowing what immediate actions to take, you can keep your feline friend safe this festive season and beyond. Always prioritize professional advice over home remedies, and let us at VEG be your trusted partner in pet emergencies.