As you’re reading your morning paper, you look down and see Alvin chowing down on a rodent. While you’re probably repulsed at the thought, it’s basically the equivalent of you enjoying a succulent filet mignon for dinner. But, because Alvin can swallow and choke on the bones, it’s best to get the critter away from him if you can safely do so.
Bones from mice are tiny, and kitties tend to crunch down on them until they're small enough to swallow. After all, cats don’t have hands to pull the meat off the bones like a human would do. If you see Alvin coughing while pressing the front half of his body towards the ground, he could be choking. You can open up his mouth to see if the obstruction is visible and yank it out, but if you can’t see the lodged-in bone, you’ll have to get him to an emergency clinic right away. Reaching in and trying to pull out a bone you can’t see can cause it to slide down even further.
If Alvin manages to safely swallow a chunk of bone, you’re not out of the woods yet. If the piece of bone is too big to make it into the opening of the intestines, it can get stuck right there at the bottom of his stomach. He’ll begin throwing up and won’t be able to hold anything down, since very little can get past that bone fragment. If left untreated, he can quickly become dehydrated, warranting an immediate emergency room visit.
Bone fragments can also get stuck in his intestinal tract if they make it down that far, making it nearly impossible for waste to move through. He could go several days without having a bowel movement or have nothing but diarrhea as some waste sneaks out around the blockage. These initial warning signs let you know that your mischievous chum could be suffering from an intestinal obstruction. Get him to the vet right away and let him know that Alvin recently feasted on a mouse. After getting an x-ray of Alvin’s belly, your vet might suggest surgery if the blockage seems completely stuck in Alvin’s gut.
It’s virtually impossible to eliminate mice from your cat’s life all together, although you can lessen the mouse population in your home. Even if you keep Alvin indoors all the time, his natural hunting skills are still intact, making him want to scavenge through the basement if he hears the slightest screech from a scurrying mouse. Watch for mice droppings, which look like tiny black pellets, as well as shredded paper or holes in food bags in your pantry. These little clues let you know you could have mice in your house. Because many store-bought bait traps can be devastating to your feline’s health, you might want to have a professional set up pet-friendly traps so you can get rid of unwanted varmints without worrying about Alvin’s safety.