A cat eating litter is not a common sight to see, but if you notice your cat eating litter, it may be a sign of an illness. If it is a kitten, he/she may be eating it just out of curiosity. It is just like human babies who put everything in their mouths. But if it is your adult cat eating litter, it is an alarm for you. Cats show weird behavior if they are trying to tell you something. It can also be a sign of any medical condition.
Some cat breeds are susceptible. If you don’t pay them enough attention, they will start eating litter to grab your attention. Such type of behavior is most familiar with Oriental types, Tonkinese, Siamese, and Burmese kinds of breeds.
No worries if you don’t know what to do if your cat is eating litter. Reading this article will help you to understand the reason why your cat is eating litter. You will also know about some of the ways which you can adopt to stop your cat from eating litter.
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What Will I Learn?
What Happens When Your Cat Starts Eating Litter?
As a habit, when cats dig the litter in the box, the litter particles entrap in your cat’s paws. When he grooms himself, it is more likely that he will swallow some particles. However, this intake is deficient and not very dangerous.
Still, if your cat starts eating lots of cat litter, you must find a quick answer to why my cat is eating litter. This is because, in other cases, it may damage your kitten’s digestion system very severely.
The clumping cat litter is even more harmful due to its clumping properties. It expands in size and causes blockage inside the intestine, which is mostly a severe condition.
The blockage usually ends up in severe conditions as it damages the inner lining of the intestine and Bowel ischemia. As a result, the cat is unable to retain any food, which ultimately leads to weakness and weight loss. You may witness your cat eating cat litter, and it vomits or suffering from anorexia. In this condition, you must rush to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Why Your Cat Is Eating Cat Litter? (8 Major Reasons)
There are several reasons for this behavior of cats, as listed below. Whether you witness any symptoms or not, if you ever caught your kitten eating litter, you must visit your Vet. Cat eating litter often ends up choking.
1. Eating Non-Food Items:
Eating non-food items is also termed as pica. A cat eats non-food type things like electric cords, toilet paper, plants, and threads. It can too eat cat litter or any other something a cat could ever chew. This behavior is familiar with cats.
Pica is a consequence of feline immunodeficiency, leukemia, anemia, and hyperthyroidism. As mentioned above, the response of anxiety of lack of attention in some cat breeds is also referred to as pica.
The symptoms for some possible medical conditions are discussed below. It is possible that your feline fellow does not show any signs. But if your cat continues to eat litter, it must be due to a change in routine. It can also be due to a significant difference in its environment or lack of enough physical activity.
2. Stress or Anxiety:
Stress or anxiety can also be the reason why your cat is eating litter. A cat can be stressed due to a change in her routine or changing environment. A cat can also do this to grab your attention. This reason is not very common, but you still need to take care of your cat.
3. Anemia in Cats:
Anemia refers to a lack of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen in the body. It may be a result of malnutrition or just lack of iron in the diet, or it may be related to eating litter. Different symptoms can easily spot anemia. These include pale skin, lethargy, and weakness, lack of energy, pale gums, and loss of physical activities. Anemia can be of two types:
Regenerative Anemia – It is caused by diabetes, infectious diseases, toxins, inherited disorders, and several medications.
Non-Regenerative Anemia – It is more severe than regenerative anemia caused by disorders such as leukemia, aplasia, and some other major nutritional diseases.
It is essential to know that anemia is not a disease but a symptom. More likely, anemia is a consequence of malnutrition or a blockage. Whatever may be the reason an immediate visit to your vet can save your feline from suffering severe conditions. Veterinarian is more likely to suggest some natural litter, loss of appetite, and a balanced diet.
If the cat shows symptoms of the persistence of condition (licking silverware or metal objects) even after the treatment, unfortunately, it is a clear indication of some other serious problems such as feline leukemia, cancer, or infection by some blood-sucking parasite. To the dismay, in most cases, the issue is cancer, which cannot be cured with treatments.
4. Vitamin or Nutritional Deficiency:
Your cat may be eating litter as a response to malnourishing diet because the kittens instinctively eat litter to compensate for the lacking vitamins or minerals. If your cat has access to the garden, he will eat significant amounts of plant material instead of eating litter to compensate for their lacking mineral.
Cat eating litter habits develop as a result of a deficiency in
Hence, you must give feed to your cat the healthiest cat food after proper discussion with your vet so that your lovely kitten may not have to suffer malnourishment.
5. Kidney Problems:
Kidneys of a cat can be affected in two ways either it can be infected, or it may be just too old to function correctly. It has been seen that about 30% of cats older than 7 seven years develop kidney problems. As a response to the malfunction of the kidney, cats eat litter. It serves as a clear indication that there is some problem with the kidneys of your feline.
In addition to eating cat litter when the kidneys are affected, either they drink/urinate too much or not at all. They often urinate outside the litter box. In severe conditions, they urinate a minimal quantity. This is the stage where kidneys are about to lose their function and shut down.
Apart from urination, their drinking habits may also tell you about their problems. They drink so much water to the fullest of their tummy. It is as if they tend to sit next to the water to drink more water, but they cannot.
Other symptoms for kidney disorders include lethargy, diarrhea, and loss of appetite, sores in the mouth, reclusive behavior, sunken eyes, and constipation are symptoms for severe cases.
6. Eating Out Of Curiosity:
Some cats start eating litter just because of curiosity. Therefore it is better not to use clumping litter until your cat gets old. If the cat ingests clumping litter, it can block her intestines. Using a non-toxic litter is a good option, and you should monitor the use. Moreover, if you see your cat eating litter, just remove her from the litter box.
7. Feline Leukemia:
Feline leukemia refers to a situation in which there is a lack of blood cells in your cat or lymphoma in other words, and cancer is formed. This ultimately affects the oxygen transport system leading to anemic situations. The condition can be estimated with symptoms like yellow or pale gums, white eyes, infections of the skin, respiratory system, poor coat, loss of energy and lethargy, fever, and ulcers in the mouth.
8. Cat Separated From Mother Too Soon:
Ideally, a kitten should stay with her mother and littermates for 12 weeks. Orphaned cats or kittens that were separated from their mother soon are likely to develop weird suckling behaviors. For example, you can see them sucking on blankets, or your arm or pillow. Some of them start eating litter and can also develop other inappropriate behaviors.
2 Things To Do If Your Cat Is Eating Litter
There are certain things that you can do if you find your cat eating litter. Eating litter is not a good sign, and it is an indication that your cat is not well.
1. Visiting your Vet:
The very first thing you can do is to pay a visit to your vet to know if there is any disease behind it. The vet will thoroughly examine your cat to identify any underlying cause behind this condition. He may conduct different blood and urine tests to monitor your cat carefully.
If there is no disease behind this condition of your cat, then you need to monitor your cat’s routine.
2. Monitor your Cat:
Monitoring your cat’s behavior is very important. As soon as you notice that your cat has started eating litter, just remove her from the litter box. If you continue to do this, your cat may leave this habit of eating litter. You can also notice symptoms to know if your cat is suffering from pica.
You can also make some changes in your cat’s diet to know your cat’s response. Noticing cat behavior will give you many clues about the possible solutions.
8 Methods To Stop Your Cat From Eating Litter
If you notice that your cat is eating litter, there are certain things that you can do. You can monitor her behavior, changing the environment, visit your vet, and many other things as well.
1. Shifting Her To Non-Clumping Litter:
Shifting your cat to a safe and non-clumping litter is a precautionary measure that you can take. In this way, you can stop her from eating toxic litter. You can also change your cat litter with safe kitten litter, or biodegradable cat litter. No matter how much grown up your cat is, it is always a safe side.
2. Monitoring Your Cat:
Monitoring your cat is also important to protect her. As soon as you feel that your cat is trying to eat litter, immediately remove her from the litter box. In this way, your cat can get tired and may leave this habit of eating litter.
3. Changing Her Diet:
You can change the diet of your cat as recommended by the nutritionist of your cat. A vet can also ask you to add or remove certain things in your cat’s diet. Moreover, I always make sure that your cat is eating fresh food. Also, keep a bowl of water near her food so she can swig it.
4. Giving Her Catnip:
If your cat is eating litter just because of curiosity, you can try giving her catnip. This will be new for her, and she may leave eating litter. You can also grow some catnip to have sufficient supply.
5. Chewing Toys:
If your cat is curious to eat everything, give her some chewing toys. She will chew them, and also, they wouldn’t be harmful to her. In this way, she may not pay attention to eating litter again.
6. Taking Her To The Vet:
Paying regular visits to your vet will help a lot to save and protect your cat. Do whatever you can to stop your cat from eating litter. In this case, your vet will give some useful suggestions and advice that you can follow.
7. Spend Time With Your Cat:
Most of the time, your cat just needs your attention. She may get bored and wants to spend time with you. So you must spend time and play with her. You can walk with her and can also take her outdoor. Giving her a partner, such as a pet or another cat to play, will also be useful.
8. Preventing Medical Causes Of Eating litter:
Certain health problems make your cat eat litter. For example, these can be anemia or nutritional deficiency. Therefore, you must take some preventive measures to protect your cat from these situations.
Help Your Cat If It is Eating Litter
Here is a list of steps you can take to save your kitten from the adverse effects of eating litter.
- Nowadays, perfect solutions are available for most of the medical problems. Therefore, you must address the issue as soon as noticed.
- You can substitute the clumping cat litter with a biodegradable organic litter such as grass, coconuts, and bamboo.
- Choose the diet for your feline friend wisely. You must choose the cat food which fulfills your cat’s nutritional requirements so that it may not suffer malnutrition.
- You can add supplements to your kitten’s food, such as Lysine, to improve his immune system, but only if your vet supports the idea as well.
- Introduce your cat with interactive fun toys.
Cat eating litter is not a good indication, and you should do everything that you can to stop her. Different reasons are responsible for this condition of your cat. These can be anemia, stress, nutritional deficiency, etc. You need to monitor your cat carefully to take her out of this habit.
Visit your vet regularly to get advice and suggestions regarding your cat’s condition. Moreover, spend time with your cat and play with her so that she does not feel alone.