A cat’s litter box is where they are supposed to do their business. Some cats play in the litter box because it is fun. Others sleep in the litter box due to medical issues, stress, or a need to be alone. As long as your cat doesn’t have a medical condition, sleeping in the litter box isn’t a huge cause for concern. Litter box behavior that should worry you is when your cat is eating cat litter. This is a very serious issue, and there are a few different reasons why your cat is doing this.
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Why Do Cats Eat Cat Litter?
When your cat uses the litter box, it isn’t uncommon for particles of litter to get stuck in their paws. When your cat grooms themselves, they will ingest the particles, but it is usually just a few particles at a time. This is harmless.
If your cat is going into the litter box to eat cat litter intentionally, it can be very dangerous. If you have ever scooped a litter box, you know that the litter clumps. When your cat eats litter in large amounts, it can form a clump, which can expand in your cat’s intestine. This type of blockage can be deadly and would require surgery.
If your cat is eating litter in large amounts, it is essential that you can figure out why so that you can do whatever it takes to stop this behavior before it’s too late.
– Feline Anemia
If your cat’s red blood cells are low, it causes a condition called feline anemia. The red blood cells in your cat’s blood transport iron and oxygen to the body. If your cat doesn’t have an adequate amount of red blood cells and has anemia, they will exhibit several symptoms. These include pale skin，low energy, weakness, excessive sleeping, fast breathing, fever, and depression.
Anemia is a medical condition, but it is also a symptom of something else. Your cat can have anemia from eating cat litter, but there could be another medical condition that is causing them to eat the litter. If your cat has been eating litter and they are showing any of the symptoms listed above, it is essential that you schedule an appointment with the vet immediately.
– Kidney Disease
If your cat is eating litter, they could have kidney disease. There are two types of kidney disease. The first is acute kidney disease, which is caused by a kidney infection, and it comes on suddenly. The second type is chronic kidney disease. This form occurs over time, and it is common in older cats who are beginning to lose their kidney function.
If your cat is suffering from kidney disease, they will start urinating frequently, and often outside the cat box. As the condition progresses, your cat will start urinating less frequently because its kidneys are beginning to shut down.
If your cat is drinking water until they can’t drink anymore, it is another symptom of kidney disease. If your cat is sitting by the water dish wanting to drink but they can’t, kidney disease could be the cause. Other symptoms of this condition include:
- lack of appetite
- sores in the mouth
- isolating themselves
- sunken eyes
- crying while using the litter box
- difficulty walking.
If your cat is eating cat litter and is experiencing any of the kidney disease symptoms, you should call the vet immediately.
– Feline Leukemia or FIV
Feline Leukemia is a very serious virus that is transmitted between cats through saliva, urine, feces, and blood. If your cat has this condition, it can cause lymphoma, which is a cancer of the blood. It can also cause anemia, which is a lack of blood cells, making it difficult for oxygen to be transported to the cat’s body. Both of these conditions can cause your cat to eat cat litter.
Both conditions are extremely serious and can be deadly. If your cat is showing symptoms of anemia and is eating cat litter, you need to take them to the vet right away. The vet will run tests to determine if your cat’s issues are caused by Feline Leukemia.
Feline immunodeficiency, also known as FIV, is a cat virus. It causes cats to eat non-food items, including cat litter. After the initial infection, the virus can remain dormant and will show no symptoms for years. Even though it is a slow-acting virus, FIV can affect your cat’s immune system, making them more prone to secondary infections. If your cat has FIV for years, it can become chronic. Like Feline Leukemia, if your cat has FIV, you need to immediately take them to the vet. The sooner your cat receives treatment, the less chance there is of the condition becoming chronic.
– Nutritional Deficiencies (Malnutrition)
If your cat starts eating cat litter, they could be trying to get the vitamins and nutrients their body needs but aren’t getting. Clay litter is loaded with minerals and vitamins that your cat will be looking for when they eat cat litter. If your cat has suddenly started doing this, they could be deficient in one or more of the following:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1
To prevent your cat from developing a nutritional deficiency, you should make sure that your cat is eating a healthy diet, complete with vitamins and minerals. It is also a good idea to schedule an appointment with the vet to get your cat’s diet back on track and ensure that their nutritional needs are met. This should put a stop to your cat eating cat litter.
– You Have a Curious Cat
Have you ever heard the saying, “Curiosity kills the cat?” There is a reason for this saying. Cats are very curious animals, and kittens are even more curious. If your kitten is eating litter, they are trying to explore the world around them to learn more. Young kittens explore with their mouths, which is why they might eat cat litter.
It is important to understand that some kittens are more curious than others. If you notice that your kitten loves to explore and gets into things, you need to keep a close eye on them. While eating cat litter can be dangerous, there are other household items that can be deadly when ingested.
Pica is a human condition, and your cat can develop pica as well. This condition causes your cat to eat non-food items such as electric cords, fabric, toilet paper, and cat litter. If they find something they can chew, your cat will try if they have pica.
There are a few issues that can cause pica, including anemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, leukemia, and hyperthyroidism. Also, Oriental breeds such as Burmese and Siamese are more prone to developing pica. Finally, your cat can develop pica if they have trouble adapting to new surroundings or a new routine.
Like humans, cats can get anxious. Some cats tend to be more skittish than others, but anxiety is caused when there has been a major change in your cat’s life. This can include moving to a new home, introducing a new cat to the family, or a major disruption in your cat’s daily routine. Your cat can even get anxious if they aren’t getting enough attention from you. If your cat starts eating cat litter, they could be trying to tell you that they are anxious, and something needs to be done. Anxiety can also cause pica, which we mentioned earlier.
Is Cat Litter Toxic To Cats?
As mentioned earlier, eating cat litter can cause a dangerous obstruction in your cat’s intestines. This isn’t the only issue that eating cat litter can cause. Many major cat litter brands contain large amounts of silica dust, which can cause respiratory issues in both cats and humans. Also, many cat litters are scented, and the chemical fragrances used by the manufacturer are toxic to cats.
How To Stop Your Cat From Eating Cat Litter?
Because cat litter is toxic and can cause a serious intestinal obstruction, you need to try to stop your cat from eating cat litter as quickly as possible. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to stop this behavior.
1. Schedule an appointment with the vet
The first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with the vet. If your cat has a medical condition that is causing them to eat cat litter, they won’t stop until they get treatment. Fortunately, many conditions that can cause your cat to eat cat litter can be treated if detected early.
2. Change your cat litter
Until you can figure out why your cat is eating cat litter, you need to switch to an organic litter. Because cat litter is so harmful to your cat, you cannot continue using clumping clay litter. The best types of litter include coconut litter, farmed grass litter, and bamboo litter. Any litter that is 100 percent biodegradable will be safe to use while you are trying to find out why your cat is eating litter.
3. Provide your cat with healthy food
Your cat could be eating cat litter due to a lack of vitamins and minerals. To ensure that your cat is getting the nutrients they need, you should check the label on your cat’s food. You can also talk to your vet to get food recommendations that will give your cat the necessary nutrients, which can help stop them from eating cat litter.
4. Cat grass
Cat grass is safe for your cat to chew on, and it is high in fiber. This will help your cat’s digestive system. When your cat chews on cat grass, it will reduce its urge to chew on non-food items, including cat litter.
5. Buy your cat new toys
If your cat is eating cat litter due to anxiety, you can try buying them new toys. Interactive toys that allow your cat to work hard while they play can keep their mind busy, reducing their anxiety level. If you are having trouble getting your cat to use interactive toys, you can buy one that dispenses treats while your cat plays.
Lysine is a cat supplement that helps build their immune system. If your cat has a strong immune system, they are less likely to develop a condition that will cause them to eat cat litter. Lysine is more of a preventative method than a treatment method.
Cats are very silly, quirky animals. Most cat owners will say that not a day goes by that their cat does something crazy that makes them laugh. While some behavior is funny and cute, eating cat litter isn’t. Cat litter is toxic, and the clumping properties can cause a serious digestive obstruction that can result in death without surgery.
If your cat is eating cat litter, the first thing that you need to do is figure out what is causing this behavior. Fortunately, your veterinarian will be able to help. They can run tests to see if they are eating litter due to a medical or nutritional issue. If the results are negative and your cat gets a clean bill of health, you can explore more options.
It would be best if you changed your cat’s litter as soon as you discover they are eating it. If you can figure out the cause of the problem and then solve it, you can start using the old cat litter again. Just be sure to keep an eye on your cat to ensure that the behavior doesn’t start up again. If you are worried about your cat relapsing, you can stick with the 100 percent biodegradable litter.
It is important to remember that cats don’t eat cat litter for no reason at all. Something is going on to cause your cat to do this, and it is up to you to figure out what it is.