Cat Ate Rubber Band – What Responsible Owners Should and Should Not Do!

So your cat ate rubber bands? Your fur baby might have seen them lying around after you fixed your hair or did some organizing. To you, it might be no big deal to leave rubber bands anywhere in the house because they’re tiny and almost invisible, but you can’t be so sure that your cat won’t find them, or worse, eat them.

Rubber bands are made from latex rubber that is harvested from the milky sap of rubber trees. Given its composition, is rubber band something safe for our cats to ingest? Should we be worried when they’ve eaten a band or 2?

While it’s common for cats to play with random things, we can’t help but wonder why they are drawn to rubber bands. In this post, we’ll look at why cats play with rubber bands.

In the unfortunate event that your cat has eaten them, worry not! We’re here to share some tips on how you can calmly and safely handle the situation.

Are Cats Capable of Digesting Rubber?

Cats have an instinctive urge to play, so they often seek out toys to tinker with.

The first thing that happens when a cat plays with a rubber band is they attack it with their claws, which breaks up the surface tension of the rubber band and causes it to unravel into smaller pieces of string and ribbon.

Cats are then able to use their paws and teeth to pull these smaller pieces apart until they’re small enough for them to swallow. When these smaller pieces reach the stomachs of cats, they do not get digested easily.

Can a cat pass a piece of rubber? Cats can poop out almost anything, including rubber. The longer answer is that it depends on the size of the piece of rubber and how long it has been in your cat’s stomach.

If a cat eats a small piece, it will probably pass through its digestive tract without any complications.

However, if the piece of rubber has been in your cat’s stomach for more than a few days, then there may be some problems with passing it through your cat’s digestive system.

Why Are Cats Drawn to Rubber Bands?

Why do cats eat rubber bands in the first place? The answer to this question is more complicated than you think.

rubber bands

The first reason why cats are drawn to rubber bands is because they smell like catnip. Cats love catnip. If you’ve ever seen one roll around in it, you know why: it makes them feel good!

So it’s no surprise that they’d be attracted to something that smells the same.

Another reason cats may eat rubber bands is because they’re curious about what they taste like.

Cats are naturally curious animals that want to explore their environment and figure out how things work–and sometimes this means tasting things that aren’t food!

Finally, some cats may eat rubber bands because they’re bored and looking for something fun to do.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If your cat has nothing else going on in its life besides eating food and sleeping all day (which is definitely not true), then maybe giving them something else fun to do will help keep them busy and happy, or something healthy to snack on, such as these healthy treats for cats.

What Happens If Your Cat Eats a Rubber Band?

You might ask yourself “What happens if my cat eats rubber bands?”

Well, that depends on a few things. First, how much did they eat? If it was just a little bit of the rubber band, they may be fine. But if they ate an entire roll of them, then there are some serious risks.

If your cat has eaten just one or two pieces of rubber band, it’s not likely that they’ll have any problems digesting it.

However, if they ate more than that and experienced vomiting or diarrhea afterwards, then you should take them to the vet right away because this could be a sign of intestinal blockage or toxicity from the rubber bands.

Symptoms to Watch for if Your Cat Consumes a Rubber Band

A rubber band might seem like a harmless, even amusing object which every cat owner has in their home.

Unfortunately, an ingested rubber band can be lethal to your cat and should be taken seriously. Learn how to tell if your cat is in danger and how to save your feline friend if it has swallowed a rubber band.

Abdominal Ache

A cat that has swallowed a rubber band may experience some mild discomfort, but this should subside within a few hours. If you notice that your cat’s abdomen is swollen or tender to the touch, however, it may be time to take it to the vet.

The most common cause of abdominal swelling in cats is internal bleeding caused by swallowing something sharp like a toothpick or needle.

Other possibilities include intestinal blockage due to constipation and pancreatitis–a disease that causes inflammation of the pancreas.


Cats can suffer from constipation, so they may try to pass a bowel movement by chewing on objects.

cute kitten looking up

If they chew up a rubber band, it may cause them to get an intestinal blockage. This can be fatal if left untreated and is best avoided by keeping all rubber bands away from your cat’s reach.


Diarrhea is when there is liquid in the stool instead of solid matter. Liquid makes the stool soft and watery, and this can happen if your cat eats something that doesn’t agree with his or her tummy.

Diarrhea can be caused by many different things, including viruses and bacteria, but if you suspect your cat has eaten a rubber band, keep an eye out for diarrhea.


If you see your cat acting strange or lethargic, it could be because of a rubber band.

Rubber bands are one of the common household items that can cause serious problems for cats if they are swallowed.

If your cat is acting lethargic, it may be because it ingested a rubber band, and therefore needs immediate veterinary attention.

Reduced Appetite

If your cat has been eating normally, but suddenly starts eating less, this could be an indication that it swallowed something.

Rubber bands are known to cause digestive problems in cats, so it’s important to keep an eye on your cat’s eating habits.

If the rubber band is still in place when you take your cat to the vet, they may be able to remove it without surgery or medication.

Unusual Actions

If you suspect that your cat has ingested a rubber band, watch out for unusual behavior. The most common symptoms of this are:  drooling, chewing on themselves and pawing at their mouth or nose.

cat on a basket

Violent Pawing

If your cat starts pawing at its mouth or stomach area, this could be a sign that it has swallowed something harmful like a rubber band. This happens when your cat tries to get rid of the foreign object in its stomach by pawing at it repeatedly.


If your cat is vomiting and is not showing any other signs of illness, it’s likely that it ate something it shouldn’t have.

Vomiting can be caused by many things, including eating something toxic or having an allergic reaction. If your cat has eaten a rubber band, it can cause them to throw up. This can happen within minutes or hours of ingestion. 

What To Do and Not To Do if Your Cat Ate Rubber Bands?

If Not Yet Swallowed

Try offering your cat some treats as an incentive for them to open their mouth wide enough for you to reach inside and grab the rubber band.

If this doesn’t work, try gently holding their lower jaw open with one hand while reaching into their mouth with the other hand and pulling out the rubber band with your fingers.

Be careful not to hurt them while doing this! If neither of these methods work, then take your cat to see a veterinarian immediately–it may need surgery to remove the object from its stomach or intestines if it already swallowed it.

If It Is Already Swallowed

If your cat has already swallowed the rubber band, there is nothing you can do except wait for it to pass through its system naturally. Monitor your cat and check if it’s acting normal–if it’s lethargic or vomiting, call your vet immediately.

cat owner

It’s also important to make sure that they don’t eat any more of them. If they do eat more, they could become constipated or develop an obstruction in their digestive tract which could require surgery to correct.

If the Swallowed Rubber Bands Burst in Its Anus

If your cat has swallowed a whole bunch of rubber bands and they burst in its anus, then it’s probably not a good idea to try and pull them out yourself.

Instead, take your cat to the vet so they can assess whether or not there are other complications that have arisen due to this ingestion (like an obstruction).

Final Stretch: Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions

Can Eating a Rubber Band Cause a Cat To Die?

No. Cats may eat things they find on the ground that they consider to be food. A rubber band could easily be mistaken for a cat toy, since it’s small and colorful.

Rubber bands won’t lead cats to their death, although if they get stuck in one of these bands, it could cause some problems.

If your cat swallows part of a rubber band, it may become lodged in its throat or esophagus. This can cause choking and difficulty breathing.

If this happens, take your cat immediately to the veterinarian so he or she can remove the object before serious damage occurs.

How long does it take to digest a rubber band? Cats are known for their ability to digest just about anything, but a rubber band is a little different.

It’s hard to say how long it will take a cat to digest a rubber band because there are so many variables that can affect the process.

For example, if you’re feeding your cat raw meat and he eats a piece of string that happens to be in there with it, he might be able to digest that string within 24 hours.

On the other hand, if he eats his food cooked and then finds a piece of string in his bowl later on, it could take several days or even weeks before he digests it completely–if ever!

How Much Does It Cost To Remove Blockage From a Cat?

The cost of removing a blockage from a cat depends on where you live and what kind of vet clinic you go to. In some areas, vets charge more than others because they have higher overhead costs or because they’re located in more expensive neighborhoods.


In the end, eating a rubber band does not appear to be harmful to cats (or dogs). Of course, it’s best not to leave rubber bands lying around if you own a cat—a little carefulness can prevent a lot of chewing.

And if your cat ever does eat a rubber band, it’s best to visit the vet. But don’t panic. Your fur baby will probably be just fine.

For more articles like this one, keep visiting ECC! For questions or anything that you would like to share, send us a message anytime. Another blog post is up so check it out: cat feeder with collar. Hope you find it helpful!

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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