A Ryedale cat has used up one of her nine lives after secretly scoffing 43 hair bands.
Tiger became seriously ill due to her hair-raising habit.
She secretly stole the hair ties belonging to owner Rebecca Gordon and her two daughters Chloe, ten, and seven-year-old Charlotte at their home in Malton
When the eight-year-old tortoiseshell fell sick, Rebecca took her to the Minster Veterinary Practice in Malton.
There, vets discovered a large, tangled ball of hair ties in her abdomen.
It is one of the most unusual cases vets at the practice have ever encountered, and they are warning owners to keep hair bands out of reach of cats because swallowing even just one could have potentially fatal consequences.
Tiger is thought to have been stealing hair ties over a period of weeks, or even months, and eating them unbeknown to her owners.
After being sick and passing two hair bands in her poo, she was taken for an X-ray at Minster Vets’ main hospital in York.
That revealed a mass of a mystery material in her abdomen, requiring emergency surgery to remove it.
‘I couldn’t believe it’
Clinical director Sarah Ford said: “I once had a case of a cat eating ten hair ties but I couldn’t believe it when we counted 43.
“They were all tangled and knotted together so had created a big clump, and her stomach was so full there was hardly room for anything else.
“Tiger is a lovely cat and is fortunate that her family really care and brought her to us when they suspected something was wrong.
“She has been incredibly lucky as the danger would have been if they had passed into her intestine and caused a blockage which would have been extremely serious.
“Our advice to owners is to keep hair bobbles, hair ties and ribbons well away from cats, preferably in a drawer, as they are clearly very tempting to play with, chew and swallow.”
Ms Gordon had assumed her daughters were losing the hair ties as she never dreamed Tiger was stealing them, and she has joined Minster Vets’ call for owners to be extra cautious about leaving them where their cats can access them.
The family returned to Minster Vets in Middlecave Road, where Tiger had a final check-up, and to thank the veterinary team for their care.
Ms Gordon said: “It was such a shock when we found out how many she had eaten, and the girls were distraught while she was in hospital.
“The team at Minster Vets were brilliant and we couldn’t have asked for more as they rang me at every stage before and after surgery.
“She is a very special part of the family and we are now obsessed with tidying hair bands away and making sure they are well out of her reach.”