If you’ve ever seen your cat eating litter from their own litterbox, you may find yourself wondering what’s causing this. It’s certainly not normal behavior for cats to eat their litter, and it’s important to get to the root reason why your cat might be doing this.
Read through the information below to find out more about the most common underlying causes of cats eating their litter. After that, check out the additional info on how you can help your cat recover from the issue that is leading to this behavior and get back to his usual self in no time. If you need further help, call Town & Country Veterinary Clinic in Marinette at (715) 735-9511.
Some cats may simply have pica, which is a condition that causes them to lick, chew, or eat non-food items. This is a behavioral condition that does not have any other underlying cause, although it is more common in cats who were abandoned or separated from their mothers too early.
Anemia is a lack of red blood cells in a cat’s body. It can cause an iron and vitamin deficiency which may lead the cat to eat litter to try to regain these substances in his body. If you think your cat may be anemic, check their gums; they may have white, blue, or pale pink gums.
Leukemia in cats is very dangerous and can also be contagious. It can also lead to anemia along with the leukemia. Your cat may be eating litter because they are trying to increase their intake of nutrients due to cancer.
Kidney disease may cause your cat to eat litter as well, especially if they are suffering from blockages or early-stage organ failure due to the disease. You will need to have your cat checked for kidney disease through a urine test as well as blood work to find out for sure.
Vitamin or Nutrient Deficiency
Some cats may be deficient in vitamins or nutrients without having any other underlying health conditions. This usually occurs when cats are extremely picky eaters or when they aren’t being fed high-quality food. It can also happen on some raw food diets for cats that are not very well-balanced.
Being a Kitten
Finally, when your cat is a kitten, they may simply be too curious and try eating cat litter to find out what it is. This is perfectly normal behavior in a kitten as long as it doesn’t go on for too long. Most kittens will try eating litter once or twice, then realize they can’t eat it and move on.
By providing your cat with higher-quality cat food, you can ensure they are getting enough vitamins and nutrients every day. This will help them cut down on the behavior of eating their litter if it is caused by a deficiency in vitamins or nutrients.
Playtime during the day
Playing with your cat more often during the day may help them feel better overall, both mentally and physically. This, in turn, may make it less likely for your cat to start chewing on cat litter often. If the problem is a behavioral one and not a medical one, plenty of playtime and exercise is sure to help.
Puzzle treat toys
Puzzle treat toys help your cat play, learn, and challenge their mind at the same time. When they solve the puzzle, they are rewarded by finding a hidden treat. You can provide high-quality treats for this type of toy to encourage your cat to play with it more.
Cat grass or catnip
Cat grass and catnip may both help to distract your cat from the litter-eating behavior. It also gives your cat a healthy chewing alternative, which may cub some of the compulsion depending on the underlying cause. You can find cat grass and catnip plants both in many modern pet supply stores.
Cat chew toys
There are plenty of cat chew toys designed specifically for a cat’s teeth and overall needs. Look for a high-quality chew toy that will encourage your cat to play with it, and then try redirecting your cat to the toy if you notice them eating their litter.
If all else fails, or if you think your cat may have a serious health problem, talk to your veterinarian.
As you can see, it may be easy to determine the cause of your cat eating his litter, but it might also be challenging. If you notice this behavior in your cat, it’s important to talk to the vet as soon as possible to figure out whether or not the condition causing it may be able to be treated.
Most cats can recover from the problems that cause them to eat litter, but this may not always be the case. Therefore, you should talk to the vet right away so you can catch any potentially serious problems early. Call Town & Country Veterinary Clinic today at (715) 735-9511.