Have you ever noticed your cat eating litter? Did you know this behavior is not as uncommon as you might think? Litter eating is a fairly common problem in cats, and some are more prone to the issue than others.
Reasons Why Your Cat Might Be Eating Litter
In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the most common reasons why your cat might be eating litter and let you know what you can do to help in each situation. You can use this information to determine whether it’s time to take your cat to the veterinarian, as well.
Some cats eat litter because the food they’re being fed doesn’t contain enough vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for their bodies. Your cat needs plenty of vitamin A, magnesium, sodium, thiamine, and taurine in her diet, so if she’s not getting what she needs, she might start eating litter.
The good news is that it’s very easy and simple to fix this problem. All you need to do is put your cat on a healthier diet with better ingredients in her food. She may also need supplements for a short time.
Low iron in your cat’s blood could mean she isn’t eating the right type of cat food. On the other hand, it could mean she has something serious going on, such as feline leukemia. You’ll need to work with your vet to figure out whether this could be the cause of your cat’s litter-eating habit.
If your cat does have low iron, your vet will talk with you about the best course of action. If the low iron is caused by her diet, you can upgrade your cat to a better-quality food and likely resolve the problem. If she is sick with feline leukemia or some other illness, however, the solution might not be as simple.
Cats who are extremely anxious may develop a tendency to eat items that are not food. This is a nervous habit and can be very dangerous, especially, if your cat is eating something worse for her than kitty litter.
If your cat is suffering from extreme anxiety, it’s a good idea to talk to your vet about options. You may need to put your cat on anti-anxiety medication to help her deal with this issue, or you may be able to take care of the problem by providing more enrichment and playtime for her at home.
If your cat is very young or is still a kitten, chances are good her litter eating habit is related to her curiosity. She may just be looking for a way to get to know her environment, and she might be trying to figure out what the litter is.
Most of the time, if your cat is eating litter because she’s curious about it, the behavior won’t last very long. She will soon realize she’s not meant to eat the litter, and she’ll go back to using it the way it’s intended instead. If the behavior doesn’t stop, you may need to look at other options.
If your cat is very bored, she might start eating litter just because it’s there. She might be looking for something interesting or different to do, and she may find the litter suits her needs. Boredom could be causing her to look for different ways to explore her environment.
If your cat is bored, she needs enrichment. You will need to provide plenty of toys for her to play with and surfaces for her to jump and climb on. You’ll also need to make sure she has enough interaction with the human members of the family throughout the day.
Although not quite as common as some of the other possibilities on this list, cats may sometimes eat litter because of dementia. In this situation, a cat has forgotten what litter is and is trying to determine whether she can eat it.
If your cat is suffering from dementia, there is no cure. All you can do in this situation is gently redirect your cat to her food instead of her litter when you notice the behavior occurring. Talk to your vet if you’re having difficulties managing the symptoms of your cat’s dementia.
As you can see, most of the common reasons for litter eating are not too serious, but they may require additional veterinary assistance to help clear up the underlying issue. If you think your cat may be dealing with any significant problem causing her litter eating, be sure to talk to your vet for more information.
Your vet will work to rule out any other potential problems and narrow down the root cause of your cat’s litter eating behavior. From there, the vet will help you choose the right course of action for treating and managing the underlying condition moving forward.
To talk with your Country Club Animal Hospital veterinarian call (305) 663-3300 or book an appointment through the online form!