A CLYDEBANK couple has warned of the danger pet toys can pose after their cat needed THREE rounds of life-saving surgery when it swallowed various items.

At first Ryan Gallagher and his partner Danielle were told that poorly five-year-old Waffles might have cancer. But emergency surgery revealed a large blockage in Waffles’s stomach was actually hair bobbles weighing around 100 grams, a piece of elastic, several pieces of string from cat toys – and a piece of yarn from his scratch post.

The mass was removed – but Waffles’s troubles weren’t over.

Ryan told the Post their pet’s stitches from his first round of surgery began to swell, resulting in another trip to the vets.

But hours after Ryan and Danielle took Waffles home to recuperate from round two, they discovered his wound had opened up – and they had to rush him to Glasgow University’s small animal hospital for emergency treatment.

Recalling the initial round of surgery, at Vets4Pets in Drumchapel, Ryan said: “When we received the call about elastic found in his stomach, we were baffled.

“We couldn’t imagine what was in there and the vet said he had never seen such a mass of string and other things in all his years as a vet. Only God knows how Waffles managed to swallow entire bobbles.

“The vet reckons it had just accumulated over a long period as his stomach could never have broken down any of the elastics and string. It was pretty traumatic for us to see.”

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Sent home with a collar to stop him picking at his stitches, Waffles was recovering well until a few days before the stitches were due to be removed.

After noticing his wound was swelling, the couple took him back to the vet for a second round of surgery. And only hours after that follow-up treatment they realised something was badly wrong.

“Danielle was screaming, saying his wound had opened and his intestines were hanging out,” Ryan said.

“He had dragged himself over and was hiding behind the sink with a look in his eyes we’ll never forget.

“I frantically phoned the animal hospital but I couldn’t get through, and I just thought if I didn’t move quickly then we would lose him.

“Danielle wrapped him in a towel and held him as we rushed in the car, and, as we approached the animal hospital, they had two nurses waiting at the door to take him immediately from us.

“They gave him fluids and pain relief and informed us that they were going to operate on him immediately.

“They had to remove a fair bit of skin from his stomach as well as 40cm of his intestines.”

Three weeks on, Waffles is recovering well, eating solid foods and playing at home – but the couple is warning against leaving animals alone with dangly toys or bobbles, and they say they hope their story will encourage other pet owners to make sure they have insurance.

Thanking the specialists who saved Waffles’s life, Ryan said: “I never thought our little house cat would face this kind of danger, silly us. But he is worth all the money in the world.”