Have you ever wondered why is my cat eating litter? If your cat is eating litter, the behavior may be due to a medical or psychological condition. Your vet can help you determine the underlying cause and recommend lifestyle changes that will help your cat stops eating litter. In some cases, your cat may be simply curious. One common cause of cat eating litter is kidney disease. Kidney disease is often accompanied by other symptoms, including lethargy and lack of appetite, as well as vomiting and depression. Cats who are eating cat litter are often older and show signs of kidney disease. It is important to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms.
We will help you figure out how to normalize your feline’s behaviors regarding eating litter. But first, let’s grasp a wide variety of reasons why he is eating litter.
Why Is My Cat Eat Cat Litter?
Your cat starts eating litter. It could be exhibiting the can’t-not-miss sign of an illness, referred to as Anemia.
Anemia is a decreased amount of red blood cells in circulation. It is the second most common physical cause of many felines’ health conditions.
Red blood cells carry oxygen or nutrients. Without an adequate amount of them, the body’s tissues cannot survive. And organs fail to function properly. Hence, anemia can quickly lead patients to serious or even fatal scenarios.
There are two categories of anemia: regenerative and non-regenerative.
Regenerative anemia is caused by blood loss, hemolysis, toxins, infections, and genetic diseases. The other is caused by poor diet, chronic diseases, kidney disease, and bone marrow disorders.
If your feline has anemia, he may show other signs, such as pale gums, increased breathing rate, and decreased appetite.
Keep an eye on your baby to timely visit a veterinarian in case there could be something wrong with him.
Another medical issue causing litter consumption is Kidney disease. It is the most prevalent disorder, often affecting elderly cats. The older a cat is, the weaker his kidney gets. Kidney illness affects approximately 30% of cats over the age of seven.
Cats with kidney disease may eat litter. Some additional symptoms you may find out in your feline are weight loss, inappetence, increased thirst, and sadness.
Be very attentive and pay attention to your feline baby’s warning signs.
Cats with insufficient nutrition from their unbalanced diet might exhibit an unusual desire for cat litter. This disease is more likely to occur among felines whose owners prepare homemade cat food.
There are six essential nutrients for a cat’s healthy living: water, proteins, amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins.
A deficiency of any nutrient may trigger litter consumption in your cat. It is such a natural response to nutritional shortfalls.
Clay-based litter is composed of a wealth of minerals. Your sensitive feline can easily smell. He may get a snack on it to compensate for the lack of nutrients and handle the problems himself.
Kittens are prone to eat litter purely out of curiosity.
Kittens, especially those under three months old, are fascinated by everything around them. Like human babies, they use their five senses to discover the world, including taste.
So, don’t worry too much when you notice that your little fur baby is eating litter or licking whatever else he can get access to.
Most kittens will grow out of the habit when they realize litter is inedible. Others will do this when they pass the newborn phase. But some may never give up.
Thus, providing close supervision and timely interference on kittens’ behavior. It helps to avoid all the potential consequences. We will explain these measures in detail in the next section.
Read more: When Does a Kitten Become a Cat?
Most people view cats as solitary, mysterious, and independent creatures. Only when you feed them are they with you. But actually, this is a misconception.
According to Dr. Kristyn Vitale, a researcher and educator in animal behavior, cats would rather engage with humans than eat or play with a toy. Some cats exhibit undesirable behavior because of feeling bored, lonely, and increased stress.
High anxiety may also trigger common cat behavior problems, including ingesting litter.
There are many reasons why your four-legged friend feels stressed. One of the most common potentials lies in the living environment.
Humans often value safety and affection as the most vital things for cats. However, being confined indoors or having limited access to open wide areas can enhance cats’ stress levels and spur them to eat litter.
Leaving the mother too soon
There are several negative impacts on kittens if they leave the mother too soon.
Apart from the health consequences, they may fail to master the basic skills learned by imitating their mothers. They may have trouble burying their waste in a litter box and even misconceptions about the litter’s role.
Another cause stems from the weaning process, which normally begins when kittens are four weeks old. Due to being weaned from their mother’s milk from a very early period, they may also exhibit an unusual craving for litter.
How To Stop Cat Eating Litter?
- There are many types of litter: clay, clumping (scented and unscented), corn, wheat, or paper-based. If your cat is eating one kind, try another.
- Your cat may be bored. If you see it eating litter, redirect the behavior with play. Spend more time interacting with your attention-seeking kittens.
- Enhance your cat’s natural prey behavior. In addition to ramping up playtime, looking for food puzzle toys, encourages natural foraging behavior.
- If your cat still eating cat litter, try offering a pot of cat grass, this is to offer them something else to chew.
- You can offer them catnip, sprinkle catnip on scratchers, or buy catnip-filled toys, this is also a distraction from the litter.
- Reevaluate, structure, and upgrade your feline’s current diet. Upgrade the food you’re feeding, especially if it’s supermarket-grade dry food.
A feline chewing litter may pose a risk for blockages in the digestive system, poisoning, electrocution, and gastrointestinal tearing. These serious conditions can kill your cat. But the good news is cat owners can prevent and overcome this problem.
Below are our top 5 proven methods to stop your feline’s unusual interest in the litter.
Visit the cat veterinarian
The first solution is to bring your cat to the veterinarian. You should do it right away for an early and accurate diagnosis. Many health issues can only be treated if they are detected in the first stages.
A veterinarian may run a Complete Blood Count test (CBC). It analyzes your cat’s blood work, including blood features, immunity systems, anemia, hydration status, etc. The test’s aim is also to identify whether it is regenerative anemia or not.
Then other tests will be conducted based on the analysis result and the feline’s current symptoms to find out the underlying cause of the anemia.
At the same time, the veterinarian will do a urinalysis to evaluate your cat’s concentration level of urine and detect kidney disease.
In the case of anemia, treatment varies in accordance with the specific cause and underlying disease. A blood transfusion, considered as a supportive treatment, might be essential in severe anemia.
However, kidney disease is still incurable. Treatments can only prolong cats’ longevity by relieving the symptoms and reducing the disease progression.
As soon as your cat is scientifically ensured not to have any underlying disease problems, it’s time to move on to our next practical tips.
Using best litter by unbiased reviews
If you notice your fur baby starts to consume cat litter, take him out of the litter box. This action helps to grow him out of this unfavorable behavior soon.
Allow him to become accustomed to the right process of using box litter: entering the box, using it, and then leaving when finishing his business. You can utilize positive reinforcements, such as praise and rewards, to strengthen desired behavior and form good habits.
Today, there are various kinds of litter. They vary in granules’ size, shape, and ingredients, such as clay, wheat, coconut, corn, paper, etc. Make sure you always use non-toxic litter.
If you think your feline is eating one type because of its good taste, switch to another.
But, if we suddenly change the old type to a new natural product, your cat might misconceive it as food. For example, wheat or corn-based litter may attract adult cats to have a snack on it.
To avoid this, have a gradual transition. Start by adding a little bit of the new formula into the using one and increasing the joined amount little by little.
Some notes for the kitten’s parents we would like to stick here.
Some manufacturers guarantee that clumping cat litters are safe for kittens. But, International Cat Care recommends avoiding using them until your fur baby is four months old. It helps to avert absorbing toxic chemicals.
In spite of your efforts, your kittens may continually try to eat litter behind your back. Hence, choose a natural material that can easily travel through the kitten’s digestive tract.
Help your cat change its diet
An optimal prescription diet science will prevent your cat from nutritional deficiency, anemia, and many viral disease killers. Ideally, talk to a veterinary nutritionist for a recommendation on dietary changes or supplements.
It is a good idea to keep track of the amount, quality, and diversity of food your cat consumes to suit his nutrition and energy needs.
You should reevaluate, structure, and upgrade your feline’s current diet. More natural ingredients can make up for the lack of nutrition. Make sure your fur baby is fed with high-quality food to conquer strange cats’ cravings.
Nowadays, the commercial market provides you with various cat food products. They cover more nutritional profiles with enough vital vitamins and minerals.
Keep your cat entertained
We highly recommend you spend more time interacting with your attention-seeking kitty. The interaction should last at least 20 minutes per day.
Activities can range from a simple game of ping pong ball to intense training for improving desired behaviors. Determine your cat’s personality and motivation to play to have active playtime that meets his needs.
Toys can physically and mentally stimulate all the felines. A wiggly ball, a feather dancer, or a fishing pole can ease boredom, keep him occupied in bliss, and offer distractions from the litter.
Some cats prefer outdoor enclosures where they can freely enjoy many interests. Climbing trees, observing birds, chasing small animals, and having a date with other felines are all possible.
Read more: Why Does My Cat Bring Me Toys?
Offer something else to chew
Divert your cat’s strange chewing desire to safer items. Take the puzzle feeder as an example of a healthier option for free-feeding.
Such toys are a combination of funny activities and delicious food rewards which have been placed inside. Our feline friend will be busy working for its food, no longer thinking of eating litter.
There is a wide range of appealing models available on Amazon or in pet shops. Interestingly, you can even make a homemade puzzle feeder by using common household items, such as plastic bottles.
Our next offer to lure cats away from the litter is catnip (also called catmint, field balm, or catwort). It is regarded as the only cat’s vice. After taking one or two sniffs, your lazy feline friend immediately turns into an aggressively playful kitten. And, of course, catnip is feline-friendly.
Besides, you can enrich your cat’s indoor activities by making a cute catnip-filled toy. It is simple but effective in stimulating your cat. Add an amount of catnip into a children’s or an ankle sock, then tie the sock into a knot tightly and decorate it.
So, why don’t you offer your cat a pot of cat grass or try to grow one so that he can take advantage of it?
This article walks you through several reasons for a feline’s unusual craving and how to stop a cat from eating litter. We hope our efforts have helped you ease an obstacle in this experience, demanding but rewarding.
When you notice this strange behavior, follow these rules:
- Visit the veterinarian to figure out the reason
- Have the right treatment if your fluffy baby is suffering from any disease
- Have a healthy diet
- And don’t forget to spend time with your pet
Whether these methods work effectively? Or any further suggestions you would like to offer? Leave a comment below. We’re glad to hear from you!