Thursday 28 April 2011

Cat Eating Litter

A cat eating litter must be rare and it is means a trip to the vet, for sure. Dogs are less particular about what they eat. They are omnivores with a carnivore bias. They can eat cat food for a while. Dogs sometimes eat cat litter and cat feces.

Grey tabby British Shorthair show cat sleeping on grey litter at a cat show
Not a cat eating litter but sleeping on it. A sign of anxiety.

I'll cut to the chase. There is no reference, as far as I can see, to a cat eating litter in the best book on cat health on the planet: Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, Fully Revised and Updated. Neither is there any reference to it in a first class book on cats: The Cat: Its Behavior, Nutrition and Health. That is what tells me that it is a rare condition.

I am therefore reliant on the internet for information. And the internet is not that reliable. However my research indicates that when a cat eats litter it may be one of three conditions:
  1. A dietary deficiency
  2. Feline anemia
  3. Pica in cats
Clearly the type of litter being consumed will inform us as to what might be wrong. Clumping clay litter may contain minerals that are lacking in the cat's diet. Eating clay based litter is very serious as it can cause a digestive tract blockage. It must stop immediately and veterinary assistance should be sought. The cat's diet will need to be reevaluated. Change the litter and the diet.

Feline anemia is a lack of red blood cells. There may be an underlying condition. Read about feline anemia. If there are signs of feline anemia then my earnest advice is an immediate visit to the vet to check out general health and underlying serious illness.

Pica in cats is a manifestation of a psychological imbalance. Check out the other symptoms. Check out stress, cat play, your absence, your behavior. Stressed cats are usually the result of our behavior. Make changes where necessary and check out the vet too.

Vets are expensive. They are getting more expensive. This presents a resistance to going to see them. But there are times when we must. A cat eating litter is serious enough for a vet visit unless something is obviously wrong after reading these pointers,

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