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No more balls for kitten Herbie

Inquisitive Herbie, a 14-week-old kitten from Watford, has already lost one of his nine lives after undergoing life-saving surgery to remove two pieces of a chewed up rubber ball from his intestines.

Vets at Hendon PDSA PetAid hospital had to operate on the little kitten when an X-ray revealed mysterious solid shapes in his abdomen.

PDSA Veterinary Surgeon, Natalia Eisenberg, who operated on Herbie says: “The pieces of rubber were very big in comparison to the size of Herbie’s mouth and it was amazing he actually managed to swallow them in the first place.

“They were completely blocking his intestines and a fatal infection could have developed if they weren’t removed.”

The Tortoiseshell puss will play with just about anything that takes his fancy, according to owner, Emma Cadby. “He’s such a playful kitten and is always scampering around with his brother Fred. If there’s something to play with then they’ll find it.

“I couldn’t believe it when the vet found parts of a ball inside Herbie, I just thought he had a stomach infection.”

PDSA has a varied case book of pets that have swallowed unusual objects. Rubber ducks, balls and dummies are just some of the items most commonly swallowed by cats and dogs.

Many pets, particularly young dogs and cats use their mouth to explore objects as well as to eat. Sometimes the two functions get confused and they will eat an object by mistake, even though it had only meant to investigate it.

Herbie is one of around 50 sick and injured pets treated at Hendon PDSA PetAid hospital every working day. The PetAid hospital provides free veterinary treatment for pets of owners who are unable to afford private vets fees.