What’s my cat eating?
What’s my cat eating? . Some of a cat’s hankerings are straightforward to comprehend: Cream, catnip, mice.
However -What’s my cat eating?, what about houseplants, plastic bags, wool, paper, and rubber bands? Why on earth would a cat consume those?
Unusual Foods That Cats Consume Pica, often known as the need to consume things that are not intended for human consumption, is a condition that frequently affects cats.
According to Arnold Plotnick, DVM, a veterinary internist and feline expert in New York, many cats may nurse on wool. Dr. Plotnick specialises in feline medicine. He believes that Oriental cats “are genetically prone to it.”
This behaviour may also be seen in cats that were weaned at an inappropriately young age. If a cat is weaned at an earlier age, it will have a higher need to nurse and will be more likely to suck on wool, as well as its owner’s arms, earlobes, or hair if weaned at a later age. Although there are cats who will simply sucking on fluffy objects like wool, fleece, and plush animals, there are others that will proceed to eating these fibres.
According to Nicholas H. Dodman, who is the section head and programme director of Animal Behavior at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, some cats move on to eating stranger items such as shoelaces, paper, plastic goods like grocery bags and shower curtains, and even electrical cords. He made this observation while working at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
What are the Roots of Weird Cravings?
Plotnick responds, “I really wish I knew the solution to that question.” Pica in cats can be brought on by a variety of factors, including the following:
Plotnick writes that dietary shortages can cause cats to consume their own litter, and that this behaviour is common in anaemic cats. That was one of the symptoms that I observed in both of the cats that I treated for anaemia. And while it’s not unusual for cats to nibble on a blade of grass here and there, excessive consumption of plant matter might be an indication that the cat’s diet is lacking something essential.
Pica in cats has been linked to a number of different diseases, including feline leukaemia and feline immunodeficiency virus; in addition, the disorder can be induced by ailments such as diabetes or brain tumours.
Pica seems to run in the family for certain cats, as evidenced by their genetic propensity to the condition. According to Alice Moon-Fanelli, PhD, CAAB, a certified applied animal behaviourist researching wool sucking at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Siamese and Birman cats are more likely to engage in wool sucking, which can be a precursor to pica. Moon-Fanelli is conducting research on wool sucking at Tufts.
Aspects of the surrounding environment: Is the cat restless and looking for attention? Do they require more stimulation, either mentally or physically? According to Moon-Fanelli, “some felines demand a higher level of environmental stimulation than others.”
Moon-Fanelli argues that compulsive disorder should be considered if all other options have been exhausted “We have begun to look at the possibility that the conduct is related to a compulsive condition. Because we notice it more frequently in some breeds, we are led to believe that it may have some sort of hereditary underpinning.”
Even while younger cats are most likely to display signs of feline pica, the condition can also manifest in elder cats.
When anything like this takes place, Moon-Fanelli explains that her “initial thinking is, ‘Is there an underlying medical cause, or stressful changes in the environment that may induce this type of behaviour?'”
When Hunger and Thirst Turn into a Problem
According to the authorities, there is often no cause for concern when a cat merely suckers on wool or other objects that are soft and fluffy.
And although it’s possible that a cat’s habit of nibbling on a piece of paper or sometimes chewing on a plastic bag — some of which contain gelatin, which cats can detect — is nothing more than a harmless little quirk, Plotnick adds, “It’s impossible to tell.” “Take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice that it is eating something strange.”
Some cats make the transition from sucking wool to chewing rubber bands, but this does not happen with every cat. When they first begin to consume indigestible substances, Moon-Fanelli expresses alarm, saying, “It is a problem.” This is due to the fact that indigestible foods have the potential to produce intestinal obstructions, which. According to Moon-Fanelli, the consequences might be catastrophic and even lethal.
What about the grass, though? Many people believe that cats eat grass in order to induce vomiting and relieve themselves of hairballs. However, it is possible that some cats will eventually go from eating grass to chewing on houseplants. This practise can be hazardous since several common houseplants, including lilies, tulips, chrysanthemums, and English ivy, are either toxic to cats or can cause them to have gastrointestinal distress.
What Steps You Can Take
Always start by having a conversation with your veterinarian in order to rule out any potentially significant medical explanations for your cat’s pica.
After that, talk to your veterinarian about strategies to prevent your cat from eating things that aren’t food. The following courses of action have been recommended by the professionals at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis, as well as by other veterinarians and animal behaviourists:
Get rid of the goods in question. It’s possible that the quickest approach would just be to conceal the clothing, plants, or other stuff that your cat enjoys gnawing on.
Provide your cat with an alternative item for it to gnaw on. You should redirect your cat’s natural instinct to chew on items that are less hazardous and more suitable for them, such as cat toys in which you may conceal an edible treat or another tempting object developed exclusively for cats. Grow some catnip or a tiny pot of grass for your cat to chew on so that it won’t bother your houseplants. Grass-eating cats are notorious for eating houseplants. But keep watch. Moon-Fanelli notes that there are instances in which a cat winds up consuming the potting medium in addition to the grass. What is the result? Diarrhea.
Have some fun with your cat. There are some cats that chew just because they are lonely or bored. Therefore, you should make time for your feisty feline companion that is starving for attention by providing them with extra mental or physical activity. Moon-Fanelli says that you might educate your cat to wear a leash and teach them how to go on walks by following her advice. Some cats really like being able to watch birds and interact with other interesting things while they are confined outside.
Make things that are appealing unattractive. If you apply strong-smelling stuff such as citrus air freshener or foul-tasting things such as hot sauce, Bandguard, or Bitter Apple on objects such as electrical wires, a cat may avoid them.
Get rid of any potentially harmful plants. Get rid of any houseplants that are poisonous to animals if you notice that your cat has a preference for indoor plants. On the website of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), you may research whether plants are harmful to cats.
Talk to someone who specialises in animal behaviour. Moon-Fanelli recommends looking for a certified applied animal behaviourist (CAAB) if your cat continues to consume things that aren’t food even after you’ve ruled out the possibility of a medical problem being the cause. Numerous CAABs provide consultations through remote access and are able to collaborate closely with your primary veterinarian.
Be patient. Moon-Fanelli adds that everyone desires a step one, step two, and step three to treat behaviour. However, according to her, behaviour is highly complicated, and “There is no treatment that is universally applicable to all patients. Each and every cat is their own unique individual, and every environment is unique to some degree.”
It can be adorable to watch cats gnaw on teddy bears or thread, but the end product is often anything but adorable. Before you consult your veterinarian about your cat’s peculiar hankerings, you shouldn’t wait for a life-threatening intestinal obstruction or an underlying medical condition to become apparent. Instead, do so as soon as possible.