If you are experiencing your cat eating litter out of the litter box then you are not the only one, in fact, this is quite a common problem amongst cat owners. In this post, I am going to show you how you can stop your cat from eating cat litter out of the litter box.
Cats are famous for the voracious curiosity but most pet owners don’t know how much this curiosity can cost them. The cat’s curiosity is what has kept the species for many years and may also come in many forms. You might have seen your cats trying to wedge themselves into small spaces and watching your every move or even observing high voltage points. These are all signs of curiosity but in extreme instances, cats might consider ingesting some materials that are life-threatening or harmful to their health.
I’ve over time heard many cat owners claiming that their cats eat litter and they don’t understand the reason behind that and how to deal with the situation. Cats might ingest litter and other undesirable things for a variety of reasons. Veterinarians refer to this behavior as Pica. So why does your cat ingest Litter or any other things? What can you do in this instance? Hold on for answers.
Why Does My Cat Eat Litter?
Just like human babies, Kitten below three months are so inquisitive and they might end up eating litter. At this age, kittens might ingest almost everything meaning that cats eating litter is very normal. However, there are other instances that you need to get in touch with your veterinarian to determine the main reason why your adult cat is eating litter. Adult cats eating litter can be a sign of a serious medical condition or Vitamin deficiency. So what makes your cat eat litter?
- Kidney disease
- Feline Leukemia
- Vitamin or Mineral deficiency
- Leaving the mother too soon
Kittens just like human babies are curious about almost everything and they might end up eating everything around them. This shows that it’s common for them to eat litter and other foreign materials such as paper, plastics, electric cords, and everything else around. There is information that some cats do this if they’re weaned early.
For cats older than three months eating litter, there are instances that it has a serious health issue such as anemia. The cat might have pica which is a common symptom of anemia. Pica in simple terms is the urge to ingest almost everything around them such as Blankets, carpeting, cat litter, and paper. Anemia means that there are reduced red blood cells in the cat’s blood.
Minerals and Vitamin deficiency
If the cat lacks any of the main vitamins and minerals, there are instances that she will try to get these minerals and vitamins from anything around them including litter. There are common vitamin deficiency that causes pica in cats. Vitamin A deficiency, L-Carnitine Deficiency, Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency, Sodium deficiency, Vitamin B1 Deficiency, and others.
Older cats might eat litter due to kidney issues. As they get older, most organs become weaker and less efficient. In this case, the kidney will have to work harder which eventually leads to other symptoms such as Pica. Statistics show that more than 30% of cats have kidney issues.
Feline leukemia is a very serious health condition that can be fatal if unmonitored. It is actually the second most common cause of death in cats. Leukemia affects the bone marrow and the blood production in cats and other animals causing anemia and pica. It is best to consult your VET if you have not resolved the cat eating litter problem.
Leaving the mother too soon
Some cat owners remove Kittens from their mothers too soon. If Kittens are removed from the mother before the age of eight weeks, they might have such a behavior. They are usually deprived of some important nutrition which is the reason why they start ingesting litter and other foreign materials.
Regardless of the reason why your cat is eating litter, you need to get him checked by a qualified Veterinarian. This is to rule out the root cause and ensure that this doesn’t cause intestinal blockage. It’s also important to note that cats behave differently when sick, stressed or uncomfortable. When the cat is stressed due to a change of home life, he might start eating litter to grab your attention. But still, this is not very common but only seen in Siamese, Tonkinese, and other oriental breeds.
How to stop a cat from eating litter
Now that you have a rough idea as to why your cat is eating litter, what are some of the steps you can take to prevent the cat from eating litter and other foreign materials? The first recommendation is to take the cat to the vet for diagnosis and guidance. Even though the cat might just be curious, there are other life-threatening reasons why she’s eating litter. Consequently, you need to know the root cause and eventually check for any intestinal blockage or any other serious issue.
When you’ve cleared all the worst fears from your mind, you can take the below precautions to make sure the cat stops eating litter. Here are a few of the things you can do to stop a cat from eating litter.
Get a Non-Clumping Litter
The first step to take is to shift to a safe and non-clumping litter. This is an effective precautionary measure. You can proceed to get a biodegradable litter or a kitten-safe litter. There are many products already in the market that you can choose from.
Is your cat bored?
As Humans, we find ourselves bored most of the time but we’re lucky enough to have boredom busters from YouTube to nature walk and Netflix. Unlike humans, cats don’t have a way to express this boredom or deal with the condition. For that reason, they’re likely to get involved in a couple of activities to attract your attention. The cats in this regard might start eating litter to attract your attention. For that reason, you need to help your cat when bored.
Cats are intelligent animals and just like humans, they need a certain level of stimulation to feel engaged. They also need to be busy. Lack of activity can be a serious issue that can lead to bored. To help a bored cat, give it plenty of attention and invest in smart Cat toys.
Some cat owners also hide treats inside the house and get the cats involved in finding them. If you notice that your cat is eating litter, get her a buddy. You can get them another cat to keep them company. You can as well give the bored cat something to look at. Prepare a space for the cats to view life outside the box. It can be a cat tree placed in the window or get her involved in plenty of outdoor activities.
Reevaluate the cat’s diet
I started by saying that vitamin and Mineral deficiency can lead to pica and other symptoms. For that reason, you need to take time to reevaluate the cat’s diet. You need to look for a balanced diet for your feline friends. There are affordable high-quality food options out there that are nutritionally complete. According to information found on The Idle Cat Dot com, most cat owners usually consider dry food for their affordability and ease of storing. But wet foods can be a great choice for cats with pica and nutritional deficiencies.
The first recommendation in this regard is Blue Wilderness Indoor Chicken dry cat food. It is Grain-free and packed full of protein which is perfect for cats with pica. It’s also recommended for its nutritional value and the fact that it’s cold-formed to make sure the ingredients don’t lose their nutritional value.
Besides that, Hill Science Diet Cat Indoor Dry Cat food is a good choice for cats with vitamin and Mineral deficiency. The food is designed for cats with pica and other related conditions. It is balanced with all the nutrients and vitamins that a cat needs to grow. The food is also a great value for you when it comes to prices and what you’ll get.
Lastly, Purina One Urinary Tract Health Formula Dry food is a great option. It is specifically designed to promote urinary tract health by easily reducing the urinary pH levels and providing Omega-6 fatty acids to boost the nutrients needed for a healthy cat.
Enhance the cat’s natural Prey Behavior – Play with them
In addition to checking and upgrading the cat’s diets, it’s time to look for food puzzle toys to encourage the cat’s activity. It should enhance the cat’s natural foraging behavior. There are a couple of ways you can make your own toys using the items already available in the house. These toys are very important for the cat to play and keep herself busy and active. There are different alternatives and options available in pet stores near you.
Monitor and reduce stressors in your cat
Stress can lead to pica and other related issues. Consequently, it’s important to start by reducing stressors in the cat. There are a variety of things that can help reduce stress in your cat. Always keep your cat mentally stimulated and get him a buddy. You can as well give your cat enough space and freedom to play and jog around. Introduce a hormone diffuser to help the cat feel safer. The cat should get plenty of exercises and interactions with toys and other cats can help reduce stress and boredom
Offer a Pot of Cat Grass
Lastly, you can reduce the chances of your cat eating litter by easily offering a pot of cat grass. This is an effective obliteration from the litter and can give your cat something to chew on. Don’t forget that there are different options that you can get for this purpose. The best alternative in this regard is catnip. You can actually grow your own or buy catnip-filled toys.
Is cat Litter toxic to cats?
Regardless of the reason why your cat is eating litter, you must be concerned about the cat’s safety. Litter is not very toxic to the cat’s health but it’s not good for the cat to eat. However, you should understand that clumping litter contains sodium Bentonite which is very dangerous to cats. It can clump inside the cat’s intestines causing a blockage. In extreme cases, it can cause bentonite toxicosis when ingested. Moving on, cat litter can cause choking and other complications depending on the age and the health condition of the cat. Not all litter is created equal meaning that some are more toxic than the other.
What will happen if a cat eats Cat Litter?
In most instances, cats eat litter because they are curious but still you need to take the cat to the veterinarian for checkups and treatment. This is mainly because there are several other reasons why your cat might want to eat litter. Moving on, the absorbency of cat litter can be dangerous to the digestive system and it can cause intestinal blockage or choking.
Why is Cat Litter bad?
Cat Litter can cause a choking or intestinal blockage which can eventually lead to a fatal condition. In most instances, cat litter contains sodium bentonite which is hazardous to people. Moving on, cat litter is environmentally destructive and can cause additional health hazards.
How do I stop my cat from eating litter?
There are countless reasons why your cat is eating litter. The first reason is that it’s boring and so you have to redirect the behavior with playtime. The next thing is diet issues and for that reason, you need to reevaluate the cat’s diet and feed the foods she needs at the moment.
With all the information above, you clearly understand why your cat eats litter and what you can do to stop that. If all the methods shared above don’t work, consider getting a new and a different litter. This might reduce the compulsion.
It’s advisable to switch to a natural litter made of corn, wheat or something similar. The last intervention is to consult your veterinarian about the best approaches for different conditions. The last alternative is to take the cat to the vet and the vet will determine the underlying issue and propose effective measures.