Steve and Frances Gwillm initially put their cat Kevin’s symptoms down to a bug, but after several days of being increasingly distant, weak and off his food they became concerned.
The family took the two-year-old pet to Swansea PDSA Pet Hospital where vets discovered the cause of his woes - a coin from their daughter’s piggy bank.
Veterinary surgeon Lucy Knight said: “When Kevin was brought in he was very unwell and had a lot of tummy pain.
“We carried out X-rays and were gobsmacked when we saw this coin on the screen.
“However, the object was quite small and initially we weren’t sure if this was the only cause of his illness.”
After stabilising Kevin, the vet team carried out surgery to remove the coin from his stomach in an hour-long operation.
That was not the end of Kevin’s problems as he remained jaundiced and required close monitoring.
Miss Knight added: “We called veterinary poison experts at the Veterinary Poisons Information Service and explained that we’d removed a 5p coin from Kevin’s stomach.
“They told us that because it had been minted in 2010, the metals it contained were potentially toxic.
“Even though we had removed the source of the toxin, Kevin wasn’t out of the woods as metal poisoning can cause ill-effects even weeks later, so it was vital to keep a close eye on him.
“Apparently, 5p coins made after 2012 featured a different metal which isn’t as poisonous if swallowed.”
Kevin spent an extra night at the pet hospital while he received treatment and was helped to eat, before he was allowed to return home, with detailed instructions on further signs of poisoning to look out for.
Mrs Gwillm said the family were hugely grateful to PDSA for the care the cat received and said he had now made a full recovery.
The mother-of-four said they believe the curious cat had got his paws on the 5p from their daughter Bobbi’s coin collection.
“When they told us they had removed a 5p coin we couldn’t believe it,” she said.
“Then we realised he must have somehow swallowed one that must have been lying around from Bobbi’s collection.
“She’s only five years old and like a magpie. She loves anything shiny so coins are a real favourite for her.
“We’re now much more careful to ensure no coins are left out and Bobbi knows to put them straight in the piggy bank.”