Young cat ate a hair tie - will he be ok?


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Jul 23, 2019
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Our 7 month old boy, Smudge, just got fixed last Friday. His behavior was fairly normal when he returned home from the vet with the exception of being sleepy from the procedure/anesthetic. But he did display one behavior I've never seen him display that day.

Smudge is a rambunctious little squirt and loves to bite and chew on things. Honestly, we ought to just get him a chew toy, but the toys he already has seem to suffice. For some reason, all of my cats have a fixation with hair ties. I always keep one around my wrist because I use them every day. All of my cats will paw at my wrist to get the hair tie, but usually I just pull away and they leave it alone.

Last Friday, the day that Smudge got fixed, he decided he was gonna get the hair tie on my wrist. I woke up in the middle of the night to a chewing sound, and noticed that Smudge was gnawing at the hair tie around my wrist. At the moment I pulled away, the tie broke off in his mouth, and he jolted under the bed. I couldn't reach under there to get him out in time enough to get the tie out of his mouth, and of course, by the time I DID get him, he had swallowed it. He did leave a decent piece behind, so he didn't eat the whole thing, but he definitely ate a good chunk of it.

I freaked out that night after I read online that rubber bands can saw into a cat's intestine and cause a myriad of serious issues. I read horror stories upon horror stories about cats being rushed to the ER and even DYING from ingesting rubber bands and hair ties. So yeah, my anxiety was absolutely through the roof. After digging a little more, some people were saying that if there is no metal clasp on the tie (which there wasn't on mine, see the picture attached), and if the tie isn't very thick, and if there is cloth or something wrapped around the elastic band, then the cat may just pass it without issue.

I considered rushing Smudge to the vet the next day, but our vet's office isn't as available as it usually is. With COVID-19 running amuk, our vets office is extremely busy and limited with the amount of patients they see every day. Getting an appointment would not have been easy or timely. Also, COVID-19 has put a massive strain on my financials at the moment, so rushing him to a pet hospital would definitely yield a bill I can't afford and there's no guarantee he'd be seen immediately anyway. I've decided to wait and see if he passes the hair tie.

Since last Friday, Smudge's behavior hasn't changed at all. He's still running and jumping and playing and acting his normal self (though we do our best to contain him as he is still recovering from surgery). He is eating and drinking regularly, no fever, no vomiting, he's pooping normally, and I've been giving him Miralax to see if that will help pass the hair tie. He seems to act perfectly normal, with the exception of sleeping a little more due to recovery. Recently, even that has ceased and he's been sleeping a normal amount. I've been checking his poop every day, but I still haven't found the hair tie. It's possible that I've missed it because my boyfriend has also been cleaning the litter box and he hasn't been as thorough as I've been. So I have no idea if Smudge has passed it or not. His tummy isn't tense, and he doesn't mind me putting light pressure on his tummy either.

I just don't know what to do. How long should this take to pass through his digestive system? Will it be obvious when he passes it? Is he gonna be ok, or could he still be in serious danger? He's acting very normal, but could this just be him hiding his discomfort from me? Please, if you have any advice, it'd be greatly appreciated.



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Jan 9, 2018
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He's acting very normal,
There isn't really a definitive way to know how long it would/should take to pass through his system.
As long as he's eating, playing, using the litter box and sleeping normally, he should be fine. If you see ANY changes, you'll want to consider it an emergency and rush him in, - I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he remains normal. :heartshape:


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Sep 30, 2019
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If it’s been more than a week and he’a acting normal I would be cautiously optimistic that he passed the little piece with no issues. Just keep an eye on him!

Also if you need a replacement for hair ties that are safe for cats to play with, my formerly hair tie-obsessed cat LOVES these things:

No idea why they’re so fun, they’re just little wavy plastic rings but he loves to fetch them and flings them around the same way he does with hair bands, but they’re not a choking/eating hazard!