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My cat ate a balloon a few days ago. Sadly, she didn't manage to digest it, so tomorrow the vet will perform an intestinal surgery to remove it from her intestines.

How much will this surgery affect her? I imagine she will have to eat only diet food for the days following. Will the recovery be long and painful for her? Will she recover totally after this surgery?

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I removed your second question, since it widens the scope of this question too much for our format. I highly recommend that you open another question to ask for that advice! –  Zaralynda Jul 3 at 16:00
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Your vet will be able to give you specific instructions for your situation, so please make sure you sit down with them and discuss any and all concerns you have about this surgery.

I've never had a cat who needed intestinal surgery, but we did have a cat who had a hiatal hernia repaired (his stomach was moving into his esophagus), and later he had a gastric feeding tube (the end was placed in his stomach, bypassing the esophagus, where most feline feeding tubes are placed), so I'm familiar with some types of gastric surgery.

The most important thing to remember about this surgery is that it is MAJOR SURGERY. Your cat will take time to recover.

If your cat is on pain medications, she will likely start to feel better before she is better, so she must be confined and not allowed to jump until the sutures heal. We kept our cat in a small bathroom, but he was not naturally a climber. If your cat would normally climb on the toilet, sink, etc, you should instead confine her in a large dog crate, room, or large closet without any furniture. Your vet will instruct you on how long the confinement should last.

I do not remember giving our cat special food after the surgery, but he had so many allergies that his food choices were already pretty limited. Your vet will give you a large number of medications to ensure that the GI system is working properly again, so make sure you administer them according to their schedule (we had to keep a calendar because it seemed like everything was on a different time table).

The good news is that if everything goes well, your cat should be back to normal in a few weeks. There is a risk of complications (as with any surgery, even something routine as a teeth cleaning), and your vet should discuss these risks with you.

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Please remember to ask your vet your health related questions when you take her in.

As for how to prevent your cat from eating strange objects, the most effective method is to simply keep things you know she's particularly attracted to, and things that would be particularly dangerous to her stored away and out of reach. You could even establish a room that cat is not allowed into, to keep things that cannot easily be stored away, but the cat may like eating. Plants, for example.

You could also try spraying objects with sprays designed to keep cats away, but be careful that you make sure it is also non-toxic, so if they don't work to keep your cat from eating things, it doesn't harm the cat. I cannot vouch for the effectiveness of these sprays, since I have not used them.

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It is major surgery and there's always a chance that the cat won't wake up from anesthesia. That being said I have a cat who has had even more major surgery. She has pooping problems so 2/3's of her colon was removed (that is worse than cutting open the intestines, removing an object, then sewing them back up) and she recovered fully from the operation with no problems from it (sadly it did not fix her pooping issue but its great that she recovered so well).

My cat was much younger at the time and recovered quite well. Complications can arise from an operation, but barring those your cat should recover quickly, mine did.

Good luck to you and your cat, and I agree that you should keep objects (that your cat seems to play in an unhealthy way with) away from it.

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