In this article, HappyandPolly will examine the causes of cats eating their own feces and offer tips on how to curtail or avoid it.
Stress or Anxiety
Stress or anxiety can be a potential cause of eating litter or feces in cats.
Social stress, a change of environment, and health issues can cause anxiety and stress in your cat. This tension or worry may occasionally cause odd behavior, such as eating non-food substances like excrement or trash.
Cats may experience stress or anxiety due to a variety of reasons, such as:
- Changes in the Environment
Cats may become scared or agitated when their routine is interrupted. Your cat might become stressed or anxious if you relocate or rearrange your furniture.
This is because cats are sensitive to these changes. As a result of the stress, they could behave abnormally, such as eating waste.
- Social Stress
While cats are solitary creatures, living in close quarters with other cats or animals can cause them social discomfort.
Cats may undergo social stress if they cannot establish their personal space or if they face aggression from other felines. While under stress, cats may engage in strange practices to ease their tension.
- Health Issues
When they are ill, cats can also experience worry or anxiety. Cats who experience pain or suffer from medical conditions like urinary tract infections or dental problems may become agitated and nervous, which may result in odd behaviors.
- Separation Anxiety
Cats might experience separation anxiety if they are apart from their owners for a long time. Cats who experience this anxiety may act abnormally to relieve the stress of being alone, such as eating litter or excrement.
Eating excrement or litter can occasionally be caused by behavioral problems in cats. Cats are clever creatures that, for a number of reasons, may develop complicated behaviors.
Eating poop or trash can occasionally be a learned behavior or a symptom of deeper psychological problems. Cats eating litter can result from a variety of behavioral problems, including:
Pica is a behavioral condition that makes cats consume non-food objects like plastic, cloth, or cat litter. This condition is more prevalent in young cats and may be brought on by a number of things, including stress, boredom, or dietary deficits.
The desire to chew or ingest non-food objects may make cats with pica more likely to eat litter.
Cats need mental and physical engagement to stay healthy and happy since they are clever, energetic creatures. Cats who are not stimulated enough may exhibit strange behaviors like eating waste or litter.
Cats can benefit from having lots of toys, climbing cat trees, and playing to combat boredom and stop the emergence of these habits.
- Attention-Seeking Behavior
Cats are social creatures that demand their owners' affection and care. Cats may engage in attention-seeking activities, including eating litter or excrement, to attract their owner's attention when they don't get enough love or attention.
Getting lots of affection and attention can aid in stopping the emergence of these habits.
- Anxiety or Compulsive Disorders
Cats with anxiety and compulsive problems could exhibit odd behaviors, such as consuming trash or litter.
A few of the many potential risk factors that might contribute to the emergence of these illnesses include stress, trauma, and inheritance.
To treat these disorders and prevent the emergence of particular behaviors, medication or behavioral therapy may be required.
Cats who ingest litter or waste may also be experiencing medical problems. The possibility that a cat would swallow non-food objects like litter or excrement rises when certain medical disorders have an impact on its appetite and behavior.
There are several different medical problems that might cause cats to consume litter or feces, including the following:
Cats frequently suffer from hyperthyroidism, especially senior cats. This condition is brought on by the thyroid gland producing too much thyroid hormone.
Some of the signs caused by the thyroid hormone include increased hunger, weight loss, and agitation. As a bid to supplement their diet and sate their increased appetite, cats with hyperthyroidism may be more likely to consume litter.
Diabetes is a condition that affects cats often and is more common in fat or overweight cats. When the body can't control blood sugar levels, it develops this disorder, which manifests as symptoms including increased thirst, urine, and hunger.
Due to their heightened appetite and hunger, diabetic cats may be more inclined to ingest litter.
- Intestinal or Digestive Issues
Even though it could make them feel better, cats with digestive or intestinal issues might find feces or litter more alluring.
Cats are lactose intolerant and may experience gastrointestinal issues especially if they eat dairy, like cheese. This can cause discomforts in cats.
Your cat may resort to litter eating to comfort itself if it is suffering from inflammatory bowel disease and gastrointestinal blockages.
A cat's appetite and behavior may be affected by several drugs, which may increase the chance of eating litter or excrement.
For instance, appetite stimulants may make a cat more ravenous and encourage it to ingest non-food objects, whereas drugs that irritate the stomach or create nausea may urge a cat to eat litter or human waste to feel better.
How to Keep Your Cat From Eating Litter
You must act immediately to stop your cat from eating more litter if you notice this.
1）Deal with any underlying medical conditions
Your veterinarian is able to diagnose any medical conditions and, if necessary, can also administer medication. So see a vet immediately to conduct a checkup on your cat.
2）Switch to a Different Litter
You might want to think about switching to a different type of litter that is fortified with those nutrients if your cat is consuming some that is lacking in those nutrients.
There are litters available, for instance, that are high in fiber or have added vitamins and minerals.
3）Provide nutritious food and supplements
By giving your cat a well-balanced diet and any required supplements, you may help treat any nutritional deficiencies in addition to changing the litter.
See your veterinarian for the ideal food and supplements for your cat's unique requirements.
4）Reduce Stress and Anxiety
There are various things you may do to help if your cat is eating litter as a result of stress or worry. These may include:
- Giving your cat a lot of mental and physical stimulation, such as puzzlecat toys or routine playtime.
- Make your cat's habitat peaceful and pleasant, with lots of hiding places and soft cat beds.
- Employing soothing pheromone diffusers or sprays to ease anxiety. See your veterinarian about possible prescription supplements or sedatives.
Address behavioral issues
There are numerous actions you may take to assist if your cat is eating litter as a result of behavioral concerns. You may, for instance, try to:
- Provide your cat with a lot of playtime and toys for mental and physical stimulation.
- Ensure that your cat has a sufficient number of suitable scratching posts and additional objects to define its territory.
- Employing deterrents to prevent litter eating, like aluminum foil or double-sided tape, and consulting a veterinarian behaviorist or other expert in animal behavior for further direction and counsel.
For cat owners, a cat eating litter or excrement might be a worrying activity. This article has outlined some of the reasons why your cat may resort to eating liters. To rule out any underlying medical issues, it is crucial to seek veterinary consultation.
You can work with your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist to determine and treat any other underlying reasons for the behavior when a medical cause has been ruled out. With the right care and supervision, litter or excrement eating in cats may typically be remedied.
You may help your cat live a happy and healthy life free from this undesirable habit by taking action to address the underlying reasons for the behavior.