Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm
BOOK ONLINE NOW!

Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Pica or what did you just eat????!!!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pica is the abnormal appetite for non-food materials, such as wool, fabrics, cat litter, houseplants or licking concrete or stones.

It can arise as a behavioural problem or can be the result of an underlying medical problem such as anaemia.

Behavioural pica

Behavioural pica often is a long standing problem in healthy cats or in playful kittens. They are usually seen at a clinic for vomiting and reduced appetite due to an intestinal obstruction with odd objects, or toxic substances. Behavioural pica may also increase during times of stress (e.g. new pets and moving house).

Siamese and related breeds are particularly prone to fabric eating and this is often a chronic problem starting at a young age. It is presumed that there is a genetic component to the habit and , although incompletely understood, it is thought that the endorphin release the cat experiences makes the habit addictive. Some cases are very difficult to manage and consulting a veterinary behaviourist is highly recommended.

Pica due to medical conditions

Pica can be seen in cats with chronic anaemia or intestinal problems – they consume excessive amount of grass or plant material and consequently vomit, have diarrhoea or lose weight.

Grass/outdoor plant ingestion in cats

Grass eating is common in cats. The reasons for this is not fully understood but it is suspected that grass has some beneficial effects on the stomach and intestines, including easing nausea. Grass eating is not problematic unless the is also showing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea or eating a toxic plant (i.e lilies). Some owners grow grass on trays indoors for their cats to eat – this may discourage houseplant eating in indoor cats.

Empirical treatments

Steps can be taken to prevent cats from eating odd things:

  • Place wool, blankets and clothing out of reach or sight
  • Hide electrical wires or protect them with cord guards
  • Remove houseplants
  • Use non-clay based litter or placing only shredded/torn up newspaper in litter trays.

Behavioural pica can be challenging to manage; a thorough examination and consultation with a veterinarian will help rule out common causes and allow prompt treatment.


Search Blog

Recent Posts


Tags

eyes home heart disease blood pressure worms crytococcosus drinking a lot skinny kibble dental treatment lily herpesvirus hungry euthanasia sensitive cat vet mycoplasma obese fat blood bump inflammatory bowel disease award revolution new kitten toxins rash diarrhoea blockage kittens aerokat grass christmas lilly lymphoma panleukopaenia mouth breathing drinking more exercise allergy computer panadeine bite sore hunting panadol massage opening hours prey wool lilies allergy, fever cat blue cat friendly petting cat stress paracetamol ulcers New Year's Eve abscess,cat fight kitten play teeth hypertension bladder pain relief poisonous paralysis tick client night snakes bladder stones new cat enemies catoberfest eye infection desex hypertrophic cardiomyopathy training best cat clinic string panamax old cat IBD unwell gasping kidney painful sudden blindness skin cancer poisonous plants cat worms flea treatment mince lump diet antibiotics Canberra permethrin arthritis bed groom marking cortisone snake bite food puzzles pain killer introductions Hill's Metabolic unsociable senses sense of smell fight best vet indoor cats gifts blood in urine head hyperactive sneeze hunched over holiday pill sucking wool fabric decision to euthanase ulcer dental restless calicivirus vomiting itchy tooth asthma hiding cat history body language noisy breathing change train tumour whiskers fleas wobbles sick weight annual check open day xylitol antiviral kitten deaths snuffles African wild cat brown snake pain lick hyperthyroidism chlamydia flea prevention toxic love skin outdoor cat cat behaviour cough twitching socialisation rough play appetite behaviour dymadon heavy breathing pheromone sun mental health of cats introduce return home worming FIV appointment hole best clinic hairball ACT physical activity kitten polish best veterinarian high blood pressure face rub tick overweight urinating vet visit kidneys spray advantage vaccine rolls home visit prednisolone hunters competition cat containment straining sick cat dry food pet aggression pred touch blindness insulin aggressive constipation conflict urinating on curtains or carpet odour runny nose spraying corneal ulcer signs of pain learning cryptococcosis breeder pancreatitis vision hospital pet meat intestine abscess spey furball diabetes radioactive iodine blood test snuffle fits urination check-up cognitive dysfunction enteritis vomit behaviour change snake urinating outside litter when to go to vet tartar grooming poison dilated pupils tablet eye ulcer open night cat flu litter diuretics scratch wet litter holes in teeth echocardiography vocal virus joints cat enclosure scale poisoning fireworks sensitive stomach feline AIDS photo competition attack hard faeces moving obesity house call urine spraying goodbye furballs enclosure rigid head dementia plants seizures castration collapse adipokines eye dental check cancer cage FORLS anxiety cranky blocked cat meows a lot Canberra Cat Vet weight loss renal disease kidney disease roundworm senior nails pica birthday AIDS free bad breath tapeworm holidays off food snakebite introducing heaing feline herpesvirus information night panleukopenia strange behaviour in season hearing cystitis scratching checkup changed hunter stare into space old foreign body pet insurance blind on heat holes poisons tradesmen activity thirsty jumping paralysis cta fight weight control feliway fear litter box mass new year depomedrol slow fluid pills rub introduction thyroid anaemia aspirin desexing ribbon lame cat enclosures not eating feline enteritis cat fight liver stiff snot biopsy health check urine yowling headache visit examination plaque vaccination comfortis microchip salivation flu carrier nose scabs runny eyes sore eyes breathing difficult scratching post thiamine deficiency paralysed ulcerated nose sore ears

Archive

A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

Get Directions