My Cat Ate a Hair Tie What Should I Do? (Reviewed by Vet)

Reviewed By Rebecca MacMillan, BVetMed BSAVA PGCertSAM MRCVS •  Updated: 03/03/23 •  3 min read
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Cat Ate a Hair Tie

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Has your cat eaten a hair tie? Are you worried the hair tie can make your cat sick? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. We know it’s scary when our kitties eat things they shouldn’t!

We’ve put together this article with information on hair ties and whether or not they can make your cat sick. We’ll also share information on what you need to do in this situation. Let’s get started!

What is a Hair Tie?

A hair tie is simply a piece of elastic that’s made to pull hair back from your face and into a ponytail. You may hear hair ties referred to as a hairband, hair elastics, wrap-arounds, or  ponytail holders. Hair ties can be used to create all types of different hairstyles. .

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

Some hair ties are made only with elastic that has a soft fabric covering. Others are made in the same way but may contain a metal piece in the middle, which holds the fabric in place over the elastic.

What happens if your cat eats a hair tie? Can a hair tie make your cat sick?

Hair Ties & Cats

You may be surprised to learn that this is a common problem with cats! For some reason, which no one really understands, cats seem to be fascinated and drawn to hair ties. It could  be that when dropped, the hair tie bounces, which may be interesting for a cat. Or maybe it’s the texture of the bands that the cat likes.

The problem is that some cats choose to eat  hair ties! No one really understands why a cat would eat a hair tie, but it happens more often than you would think.

Your kitty may vomit up the hair tie right away, or in some cases, the hair tie could pass through your cat’s system without a problem., If this happens it will eventually come out in her poop, though it could take several days.

But there is also a real possibility that a hair tie could cause intestinal obstruction in cats. This is a life-threatening condition that must be treated by a vet as soon as possible. Without treatment, your cat could die. The following symptoms indicate that an obstruction could be going and you must call the vet.

Symptoms of Hair Tie Ingestion in Cats

You may notice these symptoms if your cat has eaten a hair tie:

If your cat has any of these symptoms, then it’s time to call the vet. Be sure to let the vet know approximately when your kitty ate the hairband, as well as what type of hairband it was.

Treatment of Hair Tie Ingestion in Cats

At the vet’s, they will perform a complete physical exam of your cat. The vet may also order lab work and images to be taken.  The images may help to show where the hairband is in your cat’s digestive tract if it contains metal, however elastic-only hairbands might not show up.

If the vet suspects the hair tie might be in your cat’s stomach, then they may try to use an  to remove it. However, if the hair tie has passed into the intestines, then the vet may need to perform emergency surgery to remove it.

The good news is that in many cases cats make a good recovery, as long as they receive prompt medical treatment.

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Rebecca MacMillan, BVetMed BSAVA PGCertSAM MRCVS

This article has been reviewed and approved by an independent Veterinarian: Rebecca is a companion animal vet who has always had a passion for writing and client communication. Since her graduation from the Royal Veterinary college in 2009 she has gained a wealth of experience in first opinion small animal practice, in both clinical and managerial roles. She currently works in the South West and deals with a variety of routine and emergency appointments, but particularly enjoys medicine cases. Outside of work and writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, including her bouncy flat coated retriever George!

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