I have a small female rescue, about one and a half years old. She was malnourished at first but fully recovered, although she has periods of diarrhea (not lately, AFAIK). Yesterday I petted her and noticed what felt like curly ropes in her abdomen, from upper chest to groin. I gave her parasite medicine and called her vet, who had no idea. The cat is fine and happy, eats, purrs and plays, but the "ropes" are still there. They seem attached to the skin, somewhat. I suspected her intestines might have slipped somehow, but I can not feel anything "missing" in that part of her. If nothing changes she goes to the vet, but the vet suggested to wait a few days and see. I just worry. Any idea what it could be?

Edit: On a phone consult, the vet suspected swollen ovaries due to the cat having been in her first heat recently. Not confirmed, but seems very plausible. Other suggestions are still accepted.

  • What size are this "ropes"? Thick like a small/big finger? Or more like the thin rope one would use for example for parcels? And if you write "under the skin" so it would not include any internal organs for me... I understand this is tricky to wrap in words :) Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 13:51
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    Like the string for parcels. They seem as long as her, about 18cm or 7 inches. It seems almost like bloated veins in the skin, but too clunky. I will put it into words as best as I can, just ask away! Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 14:17
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    Rather than put into words, maybe post some pictures - if the "ropes" are visible. Also, if you fear something bad, just go to the vet (again). An X-RAY or cat-scan might be needed to clarify the issue. Also, be aware that it might just be a blood vessel.
    – virolino
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 17:49
  • They're not visible, I only found them when rubbing her tummy. I live in the boonies so the vet is a full day event and rather stressful for her, so I want to be sure that it is meaningful. That said, if she gets uncomfortable about it in any way, yeah, vet. And I do hope it's just some blood vessel craziness, it does remind me of those "veiny" bodybuilders, or varicose veins, but can cats get those?? Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 20:31
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    In a German forum I found a hint to this illness "fibroepitheliale Hyperplasie". I have no experience, simple want to share my exploration... It is some disease of the milk-tissue so most often in females and more often in not neutered females, seldom in males. Seems that an early stage shows lines around the "milk bar" and later it could swell more and more. But also it seems to disappear most times by itself within the bodies cycle of fertility. Sadly the wikipedia has it in German only :( Commented Dec 5, 2021 at 8:45

1 Answer 1


Just an update: It turned out to be inflamed fallopian tubes. Extremely inflamed! She was set to have them removed when the inflamation suddenly dropped on its own.

I answer this in case someone else experiences something similar.

  • Yikes! Thanks for the feedback!
    – Stephie
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 19:32
  • Yeah, she had me terrified! They grew even after I posted the question, like she was smuggling kiwi fruits on fleshy gym ropes. I thought she would die. Then, they just deflated from one day to the next. Right after I had arranged the vet consult, of course, but before we went there. Life is fun! Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 22:16

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