A taste for Christmas proved too much for Middlesbrough cat Leah when she became seriously ill – after swallowing a miniature tree. The peckish puss’s sickness mystified PDSA vets until tests revealed a discarded Christmas tree decoration as the ‘root’ cause.
Leah’s owner Claire Smith (27) noticed the one-year-old cat was losing weight, suffering from chronic sickness and looking poorly, but had no idea why. It was only when vets at Middlesbrough PDSA PetAid hospital investigated the problem that an x-ray revealed a perfectly formed miniature Christmas tree in her abdomen.
PDSA Head Nurse Stephanie Williams said: “Various conditions can cause chronic vomiting and weight loss in cats so there were several possibilities to explain Leah’s symptoms. However the last thing we expected to see was a Christmas tree staring back at us on the x-ray! Even small foreign bodies can cause so much trouble in pets.Leah underwent surgery to remove the tiny tree, which had actually split into two pieces, and was kept in overnight for observation before returning home.
Leah’s owner Claire Smith added: “It was fantastic to see Leah after the operation and to take her home, knowing that the cause of her illness had been treated and she could recover.“I was very surprised when the vets told me that Leah had swallowed a Christmas tree. I can see the lighter side of it now but it was a very stressful period. Now I make sure that nothing is left lying around that Leah can get her paws on.
PDSA Senior veterinary Surgeon Sean Wensley said: “We always see cases of swallowed ‘foreign objects’ around Christmas time. We urge all pet owners to look around their home, room by room, identifying any dangers to their pets. These can include decorations, toys, lighting, shiny objects and turkey bones."“Think of your pet as a curious child and make sure that anything potentially dangerous is safe and out of reach. Make sure that any uneaten food and other tempting items are put in a secure lidded waste bin. Pets can be very inquisitive and can eat the most unexpected things – a hazard more prevalent at this time of year! Christmas trees can be pulled down by curious cats – and chocolate, potentially poisonous to pets, can be too attractive! “Just by taking a few simple measures you can enjoy a happy and safe Christmas with your pet during the festive period.”