Being a cat owner is not a privilege; it’s a huge responsibility that comes with its own challenges. We know exactly what challenge you have been subjected to that brought you here.
The obscene and somewhat unpleasant sight of your beautiful cat eating kitty litter is making you panic.
Your mind is storming with questions like why is my cat eating litter? How do I make it stop? What steps do I need to take to prevent my cat from distressing its health? Well, then, continue reading this article till the end and find answers to all your queries.
Is It Normal for Cats to Eat Litter And/Or Feces?
Cats eat litter, which is common, sure, but is it normal? Not really, especially in the case of an adult cat. Eating cat litter is often a result of underlying health issues or a medical condition that needs immediate attention. Vitamin or mineral deficiency and anemia are among the most common root causes.
As far as poop eating is concerned, it’s a normal behavior observed in many cats and other animals. Coprophagia is the term used to refer to this hideous phenomenon of cats devouring their feces.
However, you cannot let your cat eat feces as it can cause stomach distress, increased worms & parasites burden, and many other health complications.
What Is Pica?
The topic of eating non-food items is incomplete without talking about pica. It is a compulsive eating disorder where one gets a strong urge to eat non-edible things like wood, paper, chalk, sand, dirt, flaking paint, plastic items, and so on. It affects both humans and many animals for a variety of reasons.
It is not precisely curable, but these compulsive behavioral patterns can be tackled.
Reasons Why Cats Eat Litter
Now, there are several reasons why your cat eats litter. We have listed some of the prevalent causes for you.
- Litter made from food-based products
Before jumping to a life-threatening conclusion about why your cat eats litter, you must first check if the litter you use is food-based.Cats are smarty pants with the dangerous combination of greed. So, food-based litter like pine, wheat, grain, corn, etc., might be why your cat is eating litter.
Pica is fairly common among cats. As we discussed above, it’s basically a behavioral compulsion to eat non-food items, including cat litter. Arnold Plotnick, a renowned cat veteran, and specialist, says, “Many cats will nurse on wool” with pica.Your furry friend may also chew and swallow things like fabrics, elastics, hair binders, cardboard, paper, and plastic which can lead to intestinal blockage. So, pica is also responsible for the litter-eating habit in kittens.
- Dietary deficiencies such as anemia
Anemia in cats due to dietary/vitamin and mineral deficiencies such as vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid is pretty common in cats. Anemic cats are prone to eating litter.
- Feline leukemia virus
FeLV, short for Feline Leukemia Virus, is a contagious virus contracted from cat-to-cat transmission. Once infected with FeLV, your cat becomes susceptible to developing other illnesses, including anemia, which, thus, can induce litter eating.
- Feline immunodeficiency virus
Like the human virus HIV, the Feline immunodeficiency virus is a cat virus transferred through biting or saliva interchange. It directly attacks your cat’s immune system.And when the body’s defense system is compromised, other diseases attack your cat easily. The probability of a cat eating litter increases.
- Brain tumors
Unfortunately, the occurrence of brain tumors in felines is very common. It affects cats in several ways; abnormal behaviors and unstable mental status are predominant.In addition, the abnormality in eating behavior can also occur due to brain tumors, making them eat cat litter.
After sleeping most of the day, the mighty creature cat suddenly embarks on their adventurous journey to discover the unexplored treasure. Unfortunately, it also includes Gordam Ramsey food testing on their kitty litter box.Thus, providing your cat with a source of entertainment and mental stimulation is essential to keep them distracted & busy.
Cats can have different coping mechanisms to combat stress. Your feline friend experiencing mental distress can possibly result in eating cat litter. Always make sure to look out for signs.
Just like many people eat sushi out of curiosity just to puke it out later( some end up loving it, though). Cat’s inquisitiveness can get the best of them too.The probability of them liking litter and eating it again is very likely, in young kittens especially.
Is Cat Litter Toxic to Cats?
Eating litter is in no way a good thing for your pet. The majority of cat litter is relatively safe. However, certain litters are more toxic and hazardous than others.
For instance, sodium bentonite in clumping litter causes serious harm to cats. Your cat’s intestine becomes blocked by the sodium bentonite that settles in lumps. This poses a risk to life.
Make sure to keep the litter box clean by scooping it frequently. It keeps them safe from possible infections and diseases. And if you have multiple cats, keeping separate cat litter boxes and feeding bowls is good.
How to Stop Your Cat from Eating Its Litter?
It’s natural for pet parents to become anxious in these situations. The good news is that you can actually stop your cat from eating litter by taking certain measures.
1. Firstly, you need to ensure your cat is getting abalanced diet rich in minerals, vitamins, and other body essentials required for proper functioning. By getting high-quality cat food or a snack, you can avoid nutritional deficiencies which cause your cat to eat litter.
2. Try changing the litter box. Wondering why your cat is laying in a litter box for so long, it’s not a good sign and could indicate an underlying health issue. A hooded litter box can help minimize the amount of litter that your cat can access and eat.
3. Provide your catswithmental and physical stimulation. It not only kills their boredom but greatly helps with anxiety & stress. Get your cat fun food puzzles, interactive cat toys, and play iPad games that involve punching a mouse. How can we forget their most favorite thing in the world; cardboard boxes!
4. Another effective measure to stop your cat from eating litter would be to switch to a different litter type. And switching to Pretty Litter, in that case, would be perfect. One of its kind, this biodegradable litter allows you to keep a track of your cat’s health by changing colors. It is highly absorbent, non-clumping, and safe for your cat.
5. Most importantly, keep track of any strange behaviorsin your cats, both physical and mental. And if you see any sign of concern, consult a veterinarian immediately.
Hope this article made you feel a little relaxed about the litter-eating business and you’ve found a piece of valuable and useful information to tackle it.
Taking care of your cats can be a little draining, considering how ungrateful and sassy these creatures can be. But they do make our lives worth living.
So, if you think your cat can relate to any of the above reasons, consult a vet right away. And try implementing the preventive measures to keep your amazing cat safe and healthy.