Have you ever heard about the word Pica? It is a medical term that is used for a particular behavior. It can also be taken as a disorder. Humans also have Pica, but you can also find it in animals such as cats and dogs. Pica in cats is one of the most common reasons why most of the cat owners take the cats to vets.
If your cat has Pica, she will take an interest in non-food items and start eating them. This behavior of a cat of eating non-eatables is problematic for the cat owners, and they become worried.
You don’t need to worry if you do not know about Pica. Reading this article will make you understand what Pica is. Also, you will know some of the materials that a cat starts eating if she has Pica. What are some of the symptoms and signs that you can look for, its treatment, prevention, etc.?
- Why Does My Cat Lick My Hair? 7 Secret Reasons!
- Cat Not Eating Much But Acting Normal? (5 Surprising Reasons)
- Cat Sleeping In The Litter Box, Why? 11 Surprising Causes!
What Will I Learn?
- 1 What is The Meaning of Pica In Cats?
- 2 Which Materials Do Cats Start Eating?
- 3 At What Age Cat is Susceptible To Pica?
- 4 Symptoms & Signs Of Pica In Cats
- 5 4 Main Causes Of Pica In Cats
- 6 Is Pica Harmful To Cats?
- 7 Sign To Look For Blockage
- 8 What To Do If Your Cat Has Eaten Wool Or Something?
- 9 How To Diagnose Pica in Cats
- 10 Treatment & Prevention of Pica in Cats
- 11 Have You Tried and Failed to Stop Pica in Your Cat?
- 12 Can Cat Inherit Pica?
- 13 Conclusion
What is The Meaning of Pica In Cats?
It is an eating disorder in which one starts taking an interest in things other than food. You can also find this eating disorder in human beings. Paints, clay, and dirt are some of the most common words that people start eating. Similarly, cats also start eating unusual things, which can be problematic for them.
It is upsetting for a cat owner if his cat is not well. Therefore, if you notice any signs or symptoms of Pica in your cat, take her to the vet. This will help maintain her health to avoid any further issues.
Which Materials Do Cats Start Eating?
The oriental breed of cats is referred to as wool eating. The material chosen mostly by the cat is wool. Moreover, cats also consume rubber, leather, plastic, paper, cellophane, and cardboard, etc.
Some of the cats start eating soft substances such as fleece, blankets, or other clothing items. Eating such things creates different problems for cats; therefore, it is essential to take care of your cat. Pay attention to it for any sign of Pica in cat and consult your vet.
At What Age Cat is Susceptible To Pica?
Pica occurs typically in the first four years of a cat’s age; however, it mostly occurs in the first two months of a cat’s life. Some kittens already have this habit of eating non-food items when you bring them home. However, they may come out of this habit when they get matured.
However, in some adult cats, this habit continues. Kittens need special care because ingesting such things can cause blockage and other problems.
Symptoms & Signs Of Pica In Cats
There are different behavioral signs that you can notice in your cat to know if your cat has Pica. Most of the cats chew the pieces of material but are unable to consume it. They continue to eat them and grind them with the help of molar teeth. Cats are so susceptible to the chosen material and will do anything to get that.
You will have to spend 24 hours with your cat to notice any signs. Otherwise, it will become difficult for you to know if your cat has Pica.
It has not been understood yet that why cats are so motivated to chew the object they like. Some studies have shown that certain types of chemicals are released when cats eat something. This gives a feeling of pleasure to their mind, and this is the reason that a cat becomes addictive.
So if you see your cat eating wool or anything other than food, this is an indication of Pica in the cat. You need to take care of her to help her come out of this situation.
4 Main Causes Of Pica In Cats
There are several reasons why your cat can have Pica. There are different causes of the unusual cravings of a cat. Some problems may be related to diet, while others can have Pica due to some medical issues.
1. Diet Deficiency:
Some cats start eating litter while you may see some other cats eating grass. Though eating grass is healthy for cats, but this is an indication that something is missing in your cat’s diet. Apart from grass, your cat may also eat a lot of plant materials.
2. Medical Issues:
Different medical problems can be the reason of Pica in cats. A brain tumor or diabetes can cause it. Moreover, feline leukemia is also one of the reasons of Pica in cats. It is also caused due to feline immunodeficiency virus.
3. Genetic Problem:
Pica in some cats is found in genes. It can be a hereditary transfer of disease. For example, Birman and Siamese cats are more susceptible to Pica. The behavior of wool sucking has been seen more in these cats. It is more prominent in some of the breeds. For this reason, we can take it as a compulsive disorder or genetic disease.
4. Environmental Issues:
Some cats want attention, and they simply get bored. They need more physical or mental stimulation. This also becomes one of the main reasons of Pica in cats. They start taking an interest in such things and then become addicted to them.
Is Pica Harmful To Cats?
Some cats simply suck soft materials such as wool and other things. This is not a problem unless they start ingesting such things which are not edible. For example, they can chew some plastic bags or any piece of paper. It can be harmful to your cat. If you notice that your cat is eating something unusual, take her to the vet.
Some cats even chew rubber bands. Ingesting such things can be problematic for your cat as it can lead to intestinal blockage. In some situations, it can also result in death. Some people think that eating grass is not a problem for cats. But if a cat is eating grass, she may other plants as well.
Some cats tend to eat something non-eatable from the floor, this can cause Giardia in cats, because of the parasite present on the contaminated floor.
Certain flowers such as lily, English ivy, tulip, etc. are poisonous to cats. It may lead your cat to gastrointestinal problems. So it is better if your cat does not eat such things.
Sign To Look For Blockage
If your cat may have eaten something odd, it may pass on its own. You may notice some problems in your cat. While in some cases, if there is an intestinal blockage, the signs are apparent, and you can see them easily.
Your cat may have vomiting, lethargy, or diarrhea. There can also be some behavioral changes in her—for example, unwillingness to lie down, crying, etc. Abdominal swelling and abdominal pain are also signs of intestinal blockage. She may not eat anything or just eat a little bit.
What To Do If Your Cat Has Eaten Wool Or Something?
If you notice any signs that your cat has eaten wool or has ingested something inedible, take her to vet. In some cases, the situation becomes worse if you do not pay proper attention. It may even result in your cat’s death. Therefore consulting veterinarians is very important; otherwise, your cat will have to suffer.
How To Diagnose Pica in Cats
A vet can diagnose Pica in cats. For this, he will ask different questions about a cat’s behavior and what odd things she has eaten. Moreover, he may ask the duration of this unusual behavior of the cat. Pica in cats can be due to any stress or change in routine. So you will have to recall if there was any change made in her routine or your house.
After this, the vet may conduct some tests such as blood tests or urine analysis. This will be done to know if there is some underlying disease, which is causing Pica.
Treatment & Prevention of Pica in Cats
After the vet has diagnosed Pica in your cat, there are certain things that you can do to avoid it. Remove any objects that your cat may want to chew, such as rugs, blankets, or plants. You can also provide her something safe for her to chew.
You can also play with your cat and make things interesting for her so she may not get bored. Talking to your vet and follow his guidelines is also very important.
If you know that there is no medical issue, you can talk to an animal behaviorist. He can suggest to you what to do if your cat is eating non-food items. Keep in touch with the vet also. Moreover, you can remove plants from your house that are dangerous for your cat.
Make the things appealing for your cat, such as her food, etc. so it may look attractive to her. You can also play with her at least for 30 minutes, so she may not feel lonely or stressed.
Have You Tried and Failed to Stop Pica in Your Cat?
It becomes challenging to manage this kind of situation. Therefore, it is essential to contact a behaviorist who can regularly come to your home and can give you advice. Consulting your vet is also important because he may suggest any antidepressant for cats. It will help her to improve behavior and will be less motivated towards unusual things.
Can Cat Inherit Pica?
Some studies have shown that Pica is genetic. It can be present in a cat’s genes. Birman and Siamese cats are most susceptible to Pica, which means that these two breeds inherit it. The genetic issue is one of the causes of Pica in cats.
The term pica is associated with the behavior of eating non-food items. There are different reasons behind it, which can be medical, environmental, and sometimes genetic as well. Pica can be harmful to your cat as it can lead to intestinal blockage.
There are different signs that you can look for to identify if your cat has Pica. Moreover, there are specific prevention and treatments for this kind of behavior. Talking to your vet is very important. However, consulting an animal behaviorist will also prove very useful.