check if cached jquery object is still in DOM

Does anyone know how to tell if a cached jQuery object has gone stale, e.g. is no longer in the DOM? For example:

var $cached_elem = $('.the_button');

// .. and then later


I have recently encountered the situation where the $cached_elem is removed from the DOM due to some other event. So what I would like to do:

if ( $cache_elem.isStillInDOM() ){
  // now do time consuming stuff with $cached_elem in DOM 

Before anyone offers, I have already employed this, which is a fair analog for what I'm trying to do:

if ( $':visible') === true ){ ... }

However, this is not really the same thing and could fail in some cases.

So can anyone think of a simple way to check directly if a cached jQuery object is "stale"? I may be forced to write a plugin if not ...



if($elem.closest('body').length > 0) seems like it could do the trick.

$(function() {
    var $button = $(".the_button");
    alert (isStale($button));
    alert (isStale($button));
function isStale($elem)
    return $elem.closest("body").length > 0;
<script src=""></script>
    <span class="the_button">Hello World</span>

Edit: Updated in response to Yi Jiang's comment so that it will return correctly if its parent element is removed

Edit 2: Updated in response to lonesomeday's comment - changed parents() to 'closest()` for performance improvement


The native document.contains() method should be faster than jQuery to determine if a cached jQuery element exists in the DOM.

if (document.contains($cached_elem[0])) {
    // Element is still in the DOM

If the selector hasn't changed, just reinitialize it:

var $cached_elem = $('.the_button');
// code that might remove some elements of $cached_elem
$cached_elem = $('.the_button');

If you want to avoid duplicating the selector string, use the selector property of the original jQuery object:

var $cached_elem = $('.the_button');
// code that might remove some elements of $cached_elem
$cached_elem = $($cached_elem.selector);
if ($cached_elem.length) {
  // element still exists

In a slightly variant case, one can directly compare the native DOM element wrapped by the jQuery object $cached_elem.

$cached_elem[0] === $($cached_elem.selector)[0]

Besides checking if the $cached_elem is still in DOM, this can tell you if it's still the original DOM element, rather than a re-created one with same attributes after certain/partial page refresh.


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