How’d they get it out, Alphie? or Television poisons everything

January 15, 2013 • 7:49 am

Thank goodness I have loyal readers who call my attention to heartwarming animal stories, like that of a curious English tabby named Alphie who swallowed a television antenna. And thank goodness as well that Alphie is fine. As the Guardian reports:

A kitten has survived after swallowing a 15cm (6in) TV aerial.

Alphie required emergency surgery when the metal antenna became lodged in his oesophagus and stomach.

Vanessa Waite, of , Sheffield, had only owned the young tabby for a few days when he started his love affair with the TV. She said he would sit for a long time, mesmerised by the moving pictures on the screen, but she had no idea he had developed an unhealthy obsession with the aerial.

“One night I heard a loud bang and went upstairs to investigate, but I assumed Alphie had fallen off the window sill. He seemed OK and was just hiding under the bed. However, during the night he was being sick so the next morning I took him to the PDSA. It wasn’t until later that I realised that one of the aerial antennas was missing from my TV.”

The aerial would have proved fatal if it remained inside the kitten, so surgeons removed it through his stomach.

The X-ray evidence:

X-ray of the TV aerial inside Alphie the kittenPhoto by PDSA/PA.

The PDSA, whatever that is, saved Alphie’s life:

Liz Airey, senior veterinary surgeon at the PDSA Sheffield PetAid hospital, said it was one of the most unusual cases she had come across.

“It’s very rare,” she said. “We did have a case a few years ago when a dog ate a tent peg but it’s very unusual for such a solid object to be swallowed in this way. It seems as though the kitten had been playing with the antenna and inadvertently swallowed it which is a very unusual accident.

“It’s fortunate that he didn’t swallow it the other way round as the sharp broken end could have punctured his stomach and caused damage to his intestines, which could have been fatal.”

Lucky Alphie with the removed antenna:

TV-obsessed Alphie eyes the aerial that was removed from his stomach

But this moggie is bad! As his owner said:

“When he came home it was like nothing had happened – it definitely hasn’t taught him any lessons. He’s a real handful and I have to watch him all the time because he’ll try and stick anything in his mouth. He still loves the TV too but I don’t leave him alone with it anymore.”

Maybe they should get a satellite dish.

20 thoughts on “How’d they get it out, Alphie? or Television poisons everything

    1. The PDSA, whatever that is,

      To expand : it’s a UK charity that provides free (or heavily subsidised) veterinary care to the pets of … well, anyone. The only time that I’ve had to use their services was when I was cat-sitting a friend’s cat while he was away visiting other friends abroad, the cat got sick, and I didn’t want him stuck with a big bill when he got back (because I knew he was skint). Job done, in an entirely appropriately professional way – they don’t skimp – and when Tom got back a healthy (but affordable, for Tom) donation went into their coffers.

  1. Alphie is a very handsome lad. He does look like the kind of cat that will create some trouble just for kicks, though. Look at the way he is looking at that antenna.

  2. One does have to ask, “Why?”
    Verily, Ceiling Cat worketh in ways most mysterious. (Obviously needs more Noodly Appendage!)

  3. Poor kitteh! I’m so glad he’s recovered. Bet you can get a lot of channels with a catenna…

    The US should have PDSAs. So many people can’t afford vet care therefore they don’t have pets.

    1. Or, more commonly, they have pets that they simply neglect and therefore get all sorts of infections or other conditions that could have been easily prevented by routine vaccination and veterinary visits.

      But such a thing would be a socialist destruction of OUR PROUD AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE11!1 and people in the US would rather have the freedom to allow their cat to die of FIV or a UTI instead.

    1. How do you think the signal gets from the dish to the set? A cable. My satellite dish uses the same wire in the hous as the previous resident’s cable service did.

  4. I have rattling around in a cupboard somewhere what I call my $2000 piece of tanbark. Swallowed by my kitty, causing a bowel obstruction, and removed by surgery.

  5. Our Gus used to gnaw on antennas around the house — anything with any kind of thin protrusion, like the antenna of a cordless phone. Then we discovered that he craves greens — lettuce, spinach, bok choy, dandelion leaves (roses are his absolute favorite). Since he started getting his daily greenery, his antenna-chewing completely disappeared.

    So I suspect that this kitty is looking for leafy foods, and mistook the TV aerial for a twig.

  6. I’m surprised that the kitten managed to swallow such a long antenna (relative to his size). Given the crash the owner reported hearing, I have to wonder if Alphie was chewing on the end of it when he knocked it off the TV and in the subsequent tumble to the floor it was pushed into his throat.

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