Scottish Daily Mail

The cat that nearly died af ter eating a toy mouse

- By Tim Bugler

A CAT that swallowed a mouse got rather more than she bargained for after it turned out to be a stuffed toy.

Calypso the tortoisesh­ell would have digested a real, flesh-blood-and-fur mouse in no time, but the toy blocked her digestive system, which could have proved fatal.

Luckily, vet Stuart Ashworth managed to spot the toy in Calypso’s stomach and pulled it by its string tail to guide it back up through her gullet in a 30-minute procedure.

If his method had failed, 18-month-old Calypso would have faced surgery. Owner

‘Swallowed it in front of our eyes’

Edzia Carvalho, of Dundee, said yesterday: ‘My husband and I were talking after a day at work and Calypso, as usual, brought her toy mouse, dropped it in front of us, looked at us then swallowed it in front of our eyes.’

The 34-year-old lecturer in human rights at Dundee University added: ‘We were taken aback and since we don’t have children, we don’t have these kind of lightning reflexes, so we were in shock.

‘We soon realised this was a problem and called the vet to find out if there was anything we could do at home, and they said no, get her here. We took her in and the vet tried to get her to sick it up, which didn’t work, so they kept her in overnight then got it out.’

Mr Ashworth and his team at the Parkside Veterinary Group in Dundee used an endoscope, a long thin tube which incorporat­es a light and camera, to trace the partially digested mouse, then removed the toy from the anaestheti­sed Calypso’s stomach. It was the first time they had carried out such a procedure on a cat.

Group partner Alan Hill said: ‘It was an unusual problem because these little mice are very common toys, but cats, unlike dogs, don’t tend to swallow them whole. It caused an obstructio­n of the gastrointe­stinal tract, which is a very serious problem. It means food can’t leave the stomach, leading to repeated vomiting and a potentiall­y fatal rupture of the stomach.

‘The older method of dealing with this would have been surgery, where we would make a hole in the abdomen, cut into the stomach and remove the mouse directly.

‘But we were able to put the endoscope down the throat, the gullet and into the stomach and use very fine little forceps to grab the tail of the mouse then slowly pull it out.

‘It wasn’t easy because the junction between the gullet and the stomach is quite tight and getting it back up was really quite tricky. But we did manage eventually.

‘It was a nice example of the advances there have been in veterinary medicine, because doing this with an endoscope means recovery is far, far better.’

Dr Carvalho and her husband Dr Sam Mansell, 33, who lectures in business ethics at St Andrews University, have another cat, Artemis – who was apparently ‘bemused’ by the whole episode.

The couple have now banned both cats from playing with small toy mice. Dr Carvalho said: ‘Calypso is fine. We’ve thrown away all the small mice. Now they have larger mice that are too big to swallow.’

 ??  ?? On the mend: Calypso recovering at the veterinary practice
On the mend: Calypso recovering at the veterinary practice
 ??  ?? Off colour: The toy mouse that Calypso ate, right, lost its original grey hue
Off colour: The toy mouse that Calypso ate, right, lost its original grey hue

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