While I was wrong about WHAT she ate, I wasn't wrong that Diamond had eaten something 'foreign".
When the vet failed to snag the offending object(s) using an endoscope and going through the mouth, she was forced to remove the stomach and open it up to find:
What are these things? Beats the shit out of me. The one on the left looks like the open end of an empty .410 shotgun shell. The one on the right appears to be a red plastic nipple from the feather cat toy. Neither one is from the toy mouse, and, obviously, neither one is what I believed they were, shrimp tails. These...things.. stunk to high heaven. We think they've been in her stomach for a while, as they are packed with some solidified gunk. The fact that she could still digest food and pass it into her intestine past these things is amazing.
I won't remove my erroneous post stating they were shrimp tails. While it's wrong, it's not bad science, based on what information I had at the time.
What is bizarre is WHY. In fact, why RED? Diamond had eaten one of the red plastic nipples off a feather toy years ago and barfed it up. This time the stuff stuck in her stomach. Of the four foreign objects she's eaten in her life, three were red. We already know cats can see color. But why in the world a cat that is fed the finest of kibble and gets human food very often feels the need to eat plastic, I have no idea. She can't still be operating under the shelter cat syndrome...but perhaps she is.
It might be how she 'plays'. When we play with Sable, our Siamese, she plays. She knows the thing is a toy. It's not real. But to Diamond, all toys are game. They're not toys, they are things to hunt down, kill and then eat. I can't remember how many times I've taken a small toy from her because she showed every intention of devouring it. This time I either missed the toy, or grew careless and left it where she could find it.
She'd refused to eat at the vet's. When I got her home two days ago, I opened the kennel, she marched out into the kitchen and demanded something to eat. She exhibited no signs of pain, indeed, she was purring and ready to play.
It was SABLE, our rowdy Siamese, whose behaviour astonished me. She'd acted a bit lonely without Diamond here but rapidly got used to being the Only Cat. Now Diamond was back, having been gone, what..2 days? And Sable wouldn't go near her. She acted frightened of Diamond, hissing, growling and running away from her.
I told Diamond she'd better take advantage of that. Sable can and often does, bully her. I'm certain the fear came from the vet clinic smell clinging to Diamond's fur. She'd gotten a bath, inadvertently. The vet had flushed her abdomen with copious amounts of saline solution after emptying her intestines, and her fur obviously was drenched. She's a clean cat, but we don't bathe them (are you kidding? She's got teeth and claws like a leopard). Her belly has been shaved. Fortunately, no Elizabethan collar is needed as the stitches in her belly are internal and absorbable. So I don't have to worry about her opening them up. (Every cat I've ever had in my life spends the first hours of its time home after surgery removing the stitches).
Diamond must stay on a 'soft food' diet for two weeks until her stomach incision is healed. She'd never had canned cat food in her life, but she certainly has taken to it. The vet said to keep her from jumping, but also admitted that that would probably be unenforceable, which proved true.
I felt wonderful when, about an hour after going to bed, Diamond jumped onto the bed and curled up next to my head. This often proves a problem when I inhale a cat hair in my sleep...not a pleasant way of awaking, for sure. But this night, I didn't care. My purring cat was purring for me, and I was happy to hear it.
The one thing that still concerns me is her evacuation. She's not pooped yet. She was emptied out at the vets, but by now she should be pooping. If not...it's back to the vet's. I'll keep you updated.