If you’ve spotted your cat or kitten eating litter, you might be wondering why this is, and whether it’s dangerous for them. Our cats can demonstrate many unusual behaviours and it’s important to understand which ones are cause for concern.
Some cats may eat (or try to eat) non-food items, including cat litter. If your cat eats litter, this could be a sign of pica, a condition that causes cravings for non-food items. But there are other explanations too, so let’s take a look at the reasons that may be behind a cat eating litter, and what you can do about it.
What is pica?
Pica is a condition that can affect cats, dogs and humans, causing them to crave and eat inedible and non-food items. Feline pica can cause cats to eat materials such as fabric, cardboard, or plastics.
Pica in cats should always be discussed with a vet. It can be dangerous to cats, with the inedible materials causing stomach upsets and potentially resulting in obstructions within the digestive system. The condition can also be a sign of other underlying health problems, so it’s vital to speak to a vet if your cat is demonstrating this behaviour.
Why Is My Cat Eating Litter?
There are a number of things that can result in a cat eating litter, so let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons.
If your cat eats litter, it’s possible this behaviour is caused by anxiety. Familiarise yourself with the signs of stress in cats to better recognise when your cat may be anxious or stressed, and see whether this litter-eating behaviour may be related.
Common causes of anxiety in cats can include changes to their environment, such as a new home, changes within the household or the introduction of another pet, as well as overhandling, or a past traumatic event. Anxious behaviour in cats can also be a result of them feeling unwell or in pain, so it’s always best to speak to the vet if your cat is showing signs of being anxious.
Understanding the cause of your cat’s anxiety can help you to better manage the situation and help to prevent them from eating litter.
In some cases, litter eating behaviour can be caused by boredom. If your cat lacks stimulation in their environment, they can turn to undesirable and sometimes destructive behaviours to keep themselves occupied - and eating litter may be one of them.
It’s important to provide sufficient enrichment for your cats, to keep them stimulated and active, and play is a vital part of a cat’s life. It’s especially important for indoor cats who may be less active, and it can help them cope with being home alone.
There may also be medical reasons that explain why a cat or kitten eats litter. Conditions including anaemia, other nutritional deficiencies, kidney disease or feline leukaemia may sometimes result in a cat eating their cat litter. If you have any concerns about your cat’s behaviour or you suspect that they may be unwell, always speak to their vet.
Why Is My Kitten Eating Litter?
A kitten may eat their cat litter out of curiosity. If it’s new to them, they may taste it to try and find out more. The possibility of a kitten eating litter is why it’s so important to use a non-toxic cat litter that’s suitable for kittens.
Is Cat Litter Safe For Cats To Eat?
While cat litter is never intended to be eaten, its safety for cats depends on the type of cat litter. Cat litter can cause intestinal blockages, especially if it’s made from non-digestible materials. Our Natusan Wheat Litter is suitable for kittens because it’s made from more easily digested fibres, and is less likely to cause problems if a small amount is ingested by curious young cats.
If you are concerned and suspect that your cat has eaten some cat litter, speak to their vet. A small amount of non-toxic litter should not cause too many problems, but larger amounts, toxic materials, or regular consumption can all pose a serious risk to your cat’s health.
Understanding why a cat eats litter can help you get to the root cause of the problem, and prevent your cat from repeating this behaviour. Whether it’s a cat or a kitten eating litter, it highlights the importance of choosing a non-toxic cat litter - and for those curious young kittens, learn more about choosing the best cat litter for kittens.
As with all cat behaviours and concerns, you know your cat best - if you’re worried about them, always speak to their vet.
Can cats get diarrhoea from eating litter?
A cat may experience diarrhoea as a result of litter toxicity or intestinal blockages caused by eating cat litter. Always speak to your vet if your cat is unwell.
What cat litter is safe for cats to eat?
No cat litter is safe to be eaten regularly or in large amounts, but in the case of accidental ingestion of small amounts, litter made from digestible fibres provides the least risk.
14/09/2023 by NatuTeam